What should you look for when you hire temporary or seasonal workers? While you want many of the same attributes that make good permanent workers, there are some unique differences that any employer should seek when vetting candidates for a seasonal position. Here are seven of the most important.
1. Interest in Returning
If you need cyclical workers for a season, end-of-year activities, or a big order, that need is likely to arise again. As you interview potential employees, ask about their interest in returning next year (or next cycle). If you can build a quality pool of returning temporary workers, you’ll spend less time and money each time you need more people.
2. Willingness to Learn
Temporary employees often have relevant skills for your positions during your busy season, but they won’t have the exact knowledge and experience of longtime employees. They’ll need to make up for this by learning specific jobs very quickly and putting them to use immediately. Look for indicators that your candidate has learned jobs fast in other situations and can turn information into action.
Because your team is already very busy, temporary workers will often need to be able to work on their own and take some initiative. How have they demonstrated these qualities in their past history? Did they start a project at a prior job? Organize others into a team? Finish some project that had been lingering at their workplace for a while? And can they work independently as well as with others?
How well do candidates play with others? While they may have to take initiative to do work that needs done, they will also need to work well with a higher number of employees — both permanent and fellow seasonal workers — than normal. It may also include a large volume of customers, depending on your business.
Can the candidate work with all these people while maintaining a positive attitude and getting the job done despite challenges? There is no more important time to ensure you have a good team player than when hiring people who will hit the ground running.
5. Flexibility and Adaptability
Seasonal work is often, by its nature, a fluid situation. You may not know exactly when you need new employees or for how long. You may need them in one department or another. They may need to fill in different roles or jobs at a moment’s notice. Is the candidate able to adapt to new circumstances or requirements? Can they ‘go with the flow’ of your busy company’s needs as they arise?
Because new workers don’t know the job yet and aren’t used to your company’s way of doing things, they must be able to both give and receive good communication. They should ask for clarification, bring up questions or concerns, and be able to follow instructions. Do they listen and understand what others are saying? Do they clearly communicate their ideas? Can they use multiple forms of business communication?
Every employee should be reliable, but there is no room for a ‘learning curve’ with temporary positions. You need these jobs filled quickly and for people to be trustworthy from the start. Interviewees should be punctual (or, ideally, early) and have a good work history. They should follow instructions throughout the vetting process. And they should demonstrate that they finish what they start.
Where to Start
It’s difficult, of course, to determine solely through interviews who has the special skill set to make seasonal work a success. Your best ally is a reputable temporary employment agency that locates quality temporary employees for you to meet.
Tulsa’s Green Country Staffing has aided businesses for more than 30 years. Call today to make an appointment and learn how we can help you find great candidates for all your seasonal work.