Interview potential holiday workers with questions that focus on their skills and plans for the future. Use this list as your guide to the best questions.
Here's what you need to know:
- To determine who the best seasonal hires are, asking the right interview questions is critical
- Consider asking why they are choosing a temporary position and what plans they have after the season is complete
- Additionally, consider asking about their availability, flexibility, the value they will bring to the team, and more
Many companies need to bring on extra hands during the holiday season. Others may have elevated demands during other parts of the year. No matter when needed, some businesses add sign-on bonuses, increase pay, and include other perks to bring in seasonal employees.
Attracting the right employees for seasonal positions isn’t the same as it is for year-round workers. The talent hired needs to have a different set of skills while easily integrating into the team to keep customers smiling when things are hectic. The best seasonal hires should embrace the brand, think on their feet, and be upbeat and helpful.
10 interview questions to ask holiday hires
To determine who the best seasonal hires are, asking the right interview questions is critical. Below are some that you can use to make sure only the best of the best are hired for short-term projects. Add them to a seasonal interview list to ensure all the right questions are answered.
1. Why are they choosing a temporary position?
When hiring seasonal employees, asking a candidate for more information about why they want a temporary position can provide a great deal of insight. They might be testing out different industries or moving around the state or country. Knowing the reason might illuminate whether this person would be a good addition to the team.
In addition, sometimes, seasonal positions become more long-term. Knowing why someone is interested in temporary work also gives evidence of whether they’d be interested in a full-time position after the season finishes.
2. What plans do they have after the season is complete?
Asking about a candidate’s work plans after the season finishes helps assess what types of roles the person is interested in. This can be useful for the talent pipeline. Sometimes a candidate with great skills might be having trouble with job searching and be looking for a seasonal position until a more permanent one is available.
Other people who come on for a season might have plans to go to school after the time is up or could list roles and companies that appeal to them. They might go on to apply to those places after the position is no longer needed.
3. What availability do they have?
Availability is one of the most important things to ask candidates about. Most companies need to hire people who can be there on specific days and shifts. If that isn’t possible, another candidate would likely make a better choice.
Let candidates know about the days and times when you need workers. Then only go further with the candidates who have a schedule that works with specific company needs.
4. How flexible is their schedule?
Many companies have a higher volume of work and extended business hours near the holiday season. This may mean that coverage is needed beyond the traditional hours the business is open. Asking how flexible a potential employee is can make the difference between having shifts covered and being overwhelmed.
5. Can they provide an example of learning quickly on the job?
Seasonal workers need to be adaptable and quick to pick up on new things. Since these positions are short-term and have a quick turnaround, the staff needs to quickly respond and recognize company culture, learn integral protocols and processes, and pick up the specific nuances of the project.
6. What do they hope to gain or learn from the position?
Most people looking for a seasonal position aren’t searching for a permanent gig. However, that doesn’t mean their motivations aren’t important to be aware of. Everyone is there for one reason or another, so make sure that’s known before moving forward.
Pay extra attention to any candidate who notes certain experiences and skills they hope to gain over the season. The people who answer this way tend to be the most determined and dedicated seasonal employees.
7. Which of the company goals do they align with the most?
There are lots of surface questions that are good to use with seasonal candidates. However, this one digs a bit deeper. Many candidates won’t have considered this aspect for what they see as a short-term work assignment.
Share the company values if needed and let the potential employee take some time to consider the inquiry. The response will give insight into whether this person has a genuine connection to the company and its customers.
8. What value will they bring to the team over the season?
A seasonal worker is only going to be with a company for a short period. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t create an impact on the store’s customer satisfaction and end-of-year numbers.
Asking this question has the person step back from a simple need for employment and think about the goals they have as a seasonal worker. The individuals who seem confident in their skills and dedicated to contributing to the team are the ones who will show value without needing constant assistance.
9. What is their experience in the industry?
Some candidates might be well-versed in the industry of the company, while others may have never had a position like the seasonal one. This question is an essential one since it lets you know the depth of training a candidate will need to handle the tasks of the position.
However, that doesn’t mean only experienced candidates should be considered. Look into similar skills to the ones needed in the position or whether the candidate seems as if they can learn new things quickly.
10. Have they worked through a holiday rush in the past?
The holiday season is very different from a typical day at work. Having employees who are accustomed to the pace can ensure things get done right. Seasonal positions require accuracy, speed, stress management, flexibility, and friendliness, which may be tougher for some.
Seasonal positions require accuracy, speed, stress management, flexibility, and friendliness.
This isn’t to say that you should avoid candidates who have not worked through a holiday season in the past. However, think about their traits and whether those equip them to excel in a quick environment like the one found around the holidays.
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Tips for interviewing seasonal candidates
Equipped with these 10 questions, it will be easier than ever to interview seasonal workers. However, there are a few other tips to be aware of in this situation. The first is that honesty is the best policy. Be sure the job advertisement is honest, and then go over the important points at the interview.
It’s also a good idea to hire those who have values that fit the company. Over the holiday season, these workers are the face of a brand. Watch for the kind of people who have the same values and objectives as the company itself.
Setting expectations early is also an essential part of interviewing for seasonal positions. Being direct is important because that way, nobody is surprised once they get on the floor. The alternative might lead to people leaving during the season, which can have serious consequences.
The right interview questions are still important
Seasonal employees might only be around for a short period, but that doesn’t mean the right interview isn’t important. Selecting the best candidates adds to the company’s talent pool.
These are people that could be called back in for long-term assignments in the future. Always ask thought-provoking questions and consider each employee and their skills.