We’re hot on the heels of summer, which, for employers in seasonal industries like tourism, means hiring is in high gear. For these employers, this type of hiring can pose two key challenges: 1) HR spends time and effort scouting, screening, and hiring employees who likely won’t stick around after September 2.) The temporary nature of the work can narrow the applicant pool and make it tough to recruit enough of the right people.
The upside is that though this type of hiring is certainly unique, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a hassle. How?
1.) Position your company as an interesting place to work.
Many summer job seekers are high school and college students, and today’s best and brightest will be looking for summer work that serves up the opportunity to learn new skills and make a difference. The same is true for full-time professionals interested in supplemental summer income, like educators who have the summer months off. Your job seeker audience isn’t necessarily interested in just “having a job” this summer. They want it to be a meaningful one.
To get the right eyes interested in your job opportunities, distill and define who you are, and why your company is a great place to work. In other words, refine your “employer brand”. Highlight why someone would want to work at your company, and translate that message to your career site and recruiting materials. As iCIMS’ CMO Susan Vitale shared with ERE Media, “Today, candidates tend to use split-second judgment when it comes to looking for jobs and internships.” iCIMS finds that 78 percent of candidates agree that the appearance and content of a company’s career site plays a substantial role in deciding whether they’ll apply for a position within the organization.
2.) Don't focus too much on recruiting for "experience"–your competition isn't.
If you’re not an employer that’s challenged to get summer applicants in the door, you might be an employer that’s worried about finding summer applicants with the right skills. Summer hiring does tend to attract younger, first-time workers, and that can spark worries of incessant training, hand-holding, or course-correcting on the job. It’s a fair point, but it’s not something other summer employers are too concerned about. What really matters, research finds, is a positive attitude. Forty percent of employers say it’s the most important characteristic to look for in a summer hire, followed by flexibility and commitment. Maybe your new hire doesn’t bring five to ten years of experience as a tour guide to the table, but their team spirit and willingness to learn on the job contributes to your customer service. Be sure to offer the right training and support to these kinds of employees; a positive work experience can go along way when that employee thinks about where to apply next summer, or when considering career-track companies after college.
3.) Broaden your job seeker search.
Okay, so we’ve talked about how summer hires are often young high school or college students, and that’s generally true. However, it’s also true that there are more seasoned folks out there who are willing to take these short-term jobs. Workers over 45 make up 35 percent of the long-term unemployed, even though they make up just 25 percent of the workforce. These long-term unemployed, who may have been impacted by the recession, are willing to work, and they have the job skills and workplace experiences that could positively contribute to your team.
The takeaway: don’t expect that you’ll only be hearing from younger applicants, and don’t limit your candidate search to traditional summer-hire stomping grounds like college career fairs and internship websites. Posting to high-traffic job boards or social media accounts that either target or are more accessible to the long-term unemployed can be effective ways of reaching these willing and able professionals.
Rachel Giza is a content strategy associate at iCIMS.
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