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November 21, 2022

Are You Hiring Seasonal Employees? Read This First!

Many companies experience seasonal surges in business that cause them to need additional staff. We’re coming upon one of the busiest seasons of the year.

For example, the U.S. Labor Department data shows the retail sector typically adds 450,000 workers over the holiday shopping season. Warehousing and delivery add another 350,000 additional staff.

If you’re planning to hire temporary workers for the holiday season, you’ve probably already worried about finding honest, hard-working applicants to fill your positions.

Temporary, seasonal employees may only be with your company for a short while, but they pose just as much risk to your organization as your full-time, permanent team members.

They can:

  • Treat customers rudely, which damages your company’s reputation.
  • Be unqualified and unable to perform the job.
  • Cause time-consuming conflicts with current staff.
  • Bring their drug problems to your workplace.

Don’t cut corners on your seasonal employee background screening process!

You may be in a hurry to get your seasonal roles filled. We understand. Don’t let haste tempt you to cut corners. Background screening should be part of every new hire’s vetting process, whether they’re permanent employees or not. Failing to screen your seasonal staff can set you up to deal with unqualified, unsafe, or problematic new hires.

The good news is that you can have your cake and eat it, too. You can still screen your seasonal hires AND bring them onboard quickly. Here are some clever, proactive ways to protect your workplace and still operate a speedy hiring process.

Instead of this…Forgoing screening for drugs

You may consider not screening your temporary hires for drugs and alcohol. After all, lab-based tests may take days to return. While you’re waiting, someone else could hire your candidate out from under you.

Do this…Use instant drug screening solutions

Cut your wait time for drug testing to a few minutes, and the cost to a few dollars. Invest in instant saliva and/or urine tests. You can perform them on-site. This solution returns drug use results in about 15 minutes, letting you quickly move forward with your hiring process.

Instead of this… Skipping critical searches

Yes, you can bring new hires on board faster if you don’t run a background check. However, not investigating their criminal, education, and employment history can cause disastrous consequences that could negatively impact your business.

Do this…Order them earlier in the process

Instead of waiting until you make an offer, process your background checks after you’ve pre-screened your applicants. If you decide for sure to hire them, they will already be vetted and ready to onboard.

Instead of this…Waiting around for applicant authorizations

Sometimes the hiring process stalls because the applicant doesn’t respond promptly. Applicants need to sign an authorization to agree to a background search. Candidates may forget to sign it, or it may go to their spam folder. Before you know it, your hiring progress is behind schedule.

Do this…Use mobile-capable document signing

Make it as convenient as possible to get these back quickly. Use mobile-friendly forms and signatures with automated texted reminders to get those critical signatures back fast.

Instead of this…Ignoring Adverse Action requirements

If you decide not to hire a candidate due to the information returned in the background check (even if the information is only part of the reason for not hiring the person), you’re supposed to send out a Pre-Adverse Action letter. After ample time passes (usually 5 business days) you then need to send out a Final Adverse Action letter. You may be tempted to avoid this paperwork since the new hire will only be with you for a few months.

Do this…Automate your paperwork

Failing to follow Adverse Action procedures puts you out of compliance and opens your company to risk. Instead of dealing with a slow, paperwork-heavy process, automate it. Some background screening companies offer pre-built templates that auto-fill the applicant’s information. Even if this seems like a drawn-out process, staying in compliance is worth the extra effort.

Other Ways to Decrease Your Hiring Time and Save Money

Tweaking your background screening process can cut days off your hiring time while still helping maintain a safe working environment filled with qualified staff.

You may also consider these 3 options for filling your seasonal positions.

  • Promote an employee referral program. Your employees may know of family and friends who need a job during the holidays. While you would still need to perform background and drug screening on these candidates, referrals cut out the time it takes to attract and recruit candidates for your seasonal positions.
  • Tap former employees. Have some of your Boomer employees recently retired? Do you know some former staff members who quit to focus on family? These individuals may be interested in returning to work temporarily to make some extra money. And you wouldn’t need to screen OR train them, which decreases the onboarding process time significantly.
  • Ask last year’s seasonal workers back. Hopefully, you kept a list of the temporary employees you used last year, along with their contact information. Why not reach out to them again? They already know your business. You could avoid in-depth background checks since you’ve already conducted them. (Still screen them again for drugs, however).

Seasonal hiring comes with its unique challenges and obstacles. It will be especially tricky this year with the low unemployment rate. However, don’t get lulled into relaxing your background and drug screening processes because the new hires are temporary. By following these tips, you can stay in compliance, keep screening costs down, and decrease hiring time.

Sonya Weathers

Sonya Weathers is a National Account Executive for Data Facts.

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