Seasonal hiring is going bananas this year. So far, this consulting firm says national retailers are on tap to bring on roughly 700,000 workers to handle the holiday swell; that is about 200,000 more people than just two years ago!
That is great news for thousands of us who are looking to line our pockets with some extra spending cash. It’s even better news for folks who may be looking to turn a seasonal gig into a full-time career. Just last year, the president of CareerBuilder North America said that nearly half of all U.S. employers who hire seasonal staffers aim to transition some of them into permanent positions.
How well business booms during the holiday season is a huge determining factor on whether or not employers can turn temps into full-timers. If sales are weak, seasonal gigs may be terminated early. On the other hand, a solid selling season, especially for businesses who generate year-round demand like home improvement and clothing stores, restaurants and hotels, may mean better opportunities for full-time employment.
It’s also competitive. Even if your employer has plans on keeping a few of you around in 2015, most of them will only keep about 10% of their seasonal hires.
So what can you do to improve your odds? Here’s five useful strategies:
Consider it a test drive. Every day you report to your seasonal job is a chance to shine… and carefully examine how the business operates and how you’d see yourself fitting in with it on a long-term basis. Not only are your employers ‘test driving’ you to see if they like your style, you’re ‘test driving’ them for a whole host of reasons. Do their values align with yours? Are you satisfied with their managers and the relationships they build with employees? What about working conditions and morale? Keep a close eye on all of this stuff so if you’re approached with a full-time offer you’re prepared to engage in the conversation and not blindly accept any position.
Cross Train. Nobody likes a one-trick pony but everyone likes a jack-of-all-trades. Do yourself a favor and learn everything you can about every position your seasonal employer has. Work the sales floor AND run the till. Pack boxes AND learn the computerized categorizing system. Bus tables AND host AND serve AND bartend. When you make yourself a versatile, team player decision makers almost don’t have a choice not to notice you. You’ve made yourself stand out for all the right reasons. One word of caution, though – don’t ignore your current responsibilities to learn a new skill. Collaborate with managers to make sure you’re meeting your goals and getting on a plan to expand your reach.
Communicate. Have you told anyone that you’d like to stay on board once your seasonal time expires? We’re not saying you have to pipe up with this information during your interview (in fact, there are some good reasons why this is NOT the time to do that) but more than half of employers from a CareerBuilder survey say holiday workers should tell a hiring manager they’re interested in a permanent role. Do yourself a favor, though, and do a little homework about your seasonal employer beyond what you may already know. Check out their website, news announcements and talk to other managers to get the inside scoop. Managers will want to know they’re talking to someone who’s serious about working for THEIR company, not just any place willing to offer a full-time gig.
Care about your company. Which leads us to showing your employer that you care about working with them. Thoughtful questions are a great way to demonstrate this. The next time you grab a manager’s ear for a moment, ask them what they like about the company’s values or what they see as opportunities or challenges in the coming year. Additionally, if your employer offers any extra activities like volunteer opportunities or sports teams, sign up!
Crush customer service. If you’re willing to go above and beyond in your reach and relationship building with customers, chances are you will quickly rise to the top of the list of potential permanent candidates. A CareerBuilder survey shows that 66% of hiring managers take notice of this kind of go-getter attribute. If you’re new to customer service positions, here’s a tip. The easiest way to be a best-in-class customer service provider is to offer to help a customer BEFORE they have to ask for it. Simple as that.
Employers, don’t think we’ve forgotten about you. If you’re looking to transition some of your part-timers to full-timers and you haven’t already run a background check on them (sometimes you need to hire fast and furiously during the holidays… we totally get that!), now is DEFINITELY the time. Conducting a thorough check on a permanent hire is a smart business move on your part. You’ve already invested time, energy, money, and training into this person, now you need to ensure that they are the right fit for your company’s long-term vision. A background check conducted by an accredited screening agency like Active Screening is the first step toward determining if your part-time pick is a full-time fit. Although you may already be sold on your seasonal hire as a person, it’s important to vet them for any red flags before bringing them permanently into your fold. Click here to see how we run our background checks and why our system is fully compatible with whatever your needs are.