Competing for Summer Hires

An unseasonably warm winter and a downright hot spring have many employers thinking about summer. For many organizations, summertime brings the specter of seasonal hiring. The good news is there are plenty of talented people out there just chomping at the bit for a summer job — if you know how – and where – to look.

Unfortunately, small companies often feel they are at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting summertime help, simply because they don’t have the same reach as a major employer. While it’s true that large companies have broader resources for casting a wide net, there’s no reason why small companies can’t have a successful seasonal recruitment effort, too.

Successful seasonal hiring requires a well-thought-out process, based upon the following key principles:

Begin Early: While it may be difficult to start thinking about summer when the snow is still falling, it’s best to start planning for seasonal hires as early as possible. Savvy companies begin the process in January, seeking to lock in the best people before someone else snatches them up. This strategy is particularly helpful when you are looking to hire high school or college students, as they feel a sense of security going into their spring semester knowing they have a summer job already lined up.

Be Choosey: Last year’s summer job market was an employer’s dream. High unemployment rates led many terrific employees to seek out seasonal jobs as a means of making ends meet. Employers were clearly in the driver’s seat, receiving countless applications for each open position. That gives them the opportunity to pick and choose to their liking, never having to settle for a substandard hire.

Extend Your Search: When looking for professional entry-level hires, it’s tempting to gear your recruitment efforts towards Harvard, Stanford, and other top-notch schools. It’s important to remember that smaller, lesser known schools also produce desirable candidates, so be sure to reach out to them as well.

Act Quickly: Once you’ve identified someone you wish to hire, make the offer immediately. Any worthwhile candidate is likely to be deluged with offers, so you must act quickly if you want them to commit to your company in advance.

Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to start looking – or to make your hiring decisions. Even in today’s job market, that could be a fatal mistake, as you just may find yourself heading into the summer months without a sufficient staff to deliver warm weather success.

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