5 simple tips for retailers to scale its seasonal hiring

January 10th, 2017

police check for retail

With the holiday season just around the corner, most retailers across the country are now gearing up to recruit a new batch of casual employees. As shelves and racks get raided by customers trying to purchase last minute presents or score the sales – businesses need all the help they can get to tackle the chaos!

These 5 tips will help you optimise your hiring process and be more prepared for the busy season.

1. Plan ahead

We’ve all heard the age old saying about the early bird. At a time when you know every retailer in town will be hiring from a pool of locals, the best employees get snapped up by companies that hire early. Given that you already know that you’ll be hiring holiday employees, it is best you plan beforehand – and hire the right person for the job.

2. Hire students

When it comes to holiday recruiting, your best bet lies with students. They’re usually enthusiastic, energetic, and easy to mould employees who don’t mind some extra cash. You need people to jump right in and give it all during the busy period. In the end, you both benefit from this arrangement.

If you don’t need this much commitment during the rest of the year, that works out well too. They’re most likely to want fewer hours anyway once the semester starts, and you won’t have to feel guilty for cutting back on their hours when your business is quieter.

3. Hire your customers

One of the most important requirements of a retail job is for the employee to know and understand the product they’re selling. During Boxing Day sales, for instance, they won’t have time to ask someone else about a product that a customer wants advice about, or asks them to find. They need to have all the information at the tip of their fingers for all the products and be able to apply them to situations on demand at lightning speed.

This can be hard for an employee who is new to your business and gets thrown into the deep end on their second week. As such, you should try to hire those who are already familiar with your product – your own customers! People who buy your brand regularly, or has an active interest in the overall product you’re selling, already know what the trends are, what your range is, and how to match them with the buyers’ expectations. What’s more – if they’re already a fan of your product or brand, they’ll probably be more enthusiastic selling it, which will make the experience more fun for your customers.

4. Advertise on social media

The easiest way for you to go about hiring this season is to simply advertise on social media. It will reach and attract millennials within seconds, and you can do it yourself, without having to spend money or time in buying advertising space with a recruiting agency.

Put up a colourful post on your official Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin pages, ask some of your employees and friends to share it on their personal profiles, and just sit back and wait for the responses to pour in! As Gene Cabalerro, the co-founder of GreenPal said:

“Referrals are the best way to go. Referrals from your “ideal” employees will allow you to vet the work history, work ethic, and cultural fit a lot faster than your standard off-the-street hire. This hiring practice is best for any long-term hires or seasonal hires.”

5. Get background checks

Many employers don’t bother to run thorough background checks because of the temporary and hectic nature of holiday recruiting. That, of course, is a rookie mistake because it is during busy periods that you need to be able to trust your employees the most. As your business processes thousands of purchases, returns and exchanges on a daily basis – your employees will have more autonomy than usual when handling your products and money. Doing due diligence when checking their backgrounds can save you a lot of trouble and headache going forward. 

In addition, Australia has strict employment law and the penalties for employing illegal workers can be up to $270,000. The best practice is to not only perform a right to work check before hiring, but also frequently after you hire them as the condition of their Visa can be changed overnight. This process can cost your business a lot of administration time. You can opt for an automated platform that notifies you about any unqualified workers in your organisation.

As a general rule, always read resumes carefully, call up at least one referee who can vouch for the applicant’s character and professionalism, and make sure that they don’t have a criminal record which could be relevant to their role. While you may want to avoid hiring anyone with a criminal history that directly affects their ability to perform the job, you obviously have nothing to worry about if their criminal record shows a driving offence or something irrelevant.

While this is obviously easier when you have some time on your hands, don’t think you have to hire someone without a police check simply because you’re recruiting last minute. InterCheck, an accredited agency that provides widely accepted police check certificates – giving you the peace of mind that you’ve hired the right person without having to undergo any hassle, or wait a long time during a very busy time!

At the end of the day, here is no one best way to scale your seasonal hiring.  While these tips can be pretty useful, what works best for your business ultimately depends on the size and the objective of the hiring program.  As such, we must ask you: what is your best seasonal hiring tip? Share it with @IntercheckAu or enquiry@intercheck.com.au and we might just add it to this article!

Hayden Langhorn

Hayden Langhorn is the Managing Director at Intercheck Australia. He is a leading expert in pre-employment screening and is passionate in helping businesses to reduce employment risks while scaling up their businesses.