Seasonal Hiring: Not a Good Time to Be Lax
By Michael Cormier
Spring is finally here. The season when thoughts turn to warm weather, baseball, and blooming plant life. And if you’re in HR, seasonal hiring.
For a lot of industry, especially retail, spring is a busy time. Obvious examples are nurseries and the big box stores, but it doesn’t end there. Landscapers, hospitality companies, amusement parks, outdoor stores. When you think of everything you do outside in the spring and summer, it’s not surprising that so many jobs become available this time of year.
For most retailers, business typically drops off after the New Year. But when April and May come back around, so do the shoppers. That’s why many retailers start looking for temporary help in February and March, hiring for April, May and June.
These businesses need to be ready for the spring hiring rush with a top-notch background investigation firm already on board. An expert firm like Hire Authority (www.hireauth.com; 508-230-5901) will be there to help make the hiring process not only smooth, but safe.
Now, doing a background screen for seasonal employees may seem like overkill. After all, these hires typically stay with the company for only a few months, and most are placed in non-essential functions where the potential for damage is lower. But this thinking actually mirrors that of some job applicants, who realize background checks will be sketchy this time of year.
Here are some very good reasons for performing background checks on seasonal applicants:
- Knowing it’s rush time, some applicants with a bad history will figure they can slide through the cracks undetected.
- It’s easier to steal during rush season, and that attracts applicants with criminal motives.
- Seasonal employment often pays minimally; minimal wages can give a bad egg the sense that it’s “okay” to supplement his wages with a 100% employee discount.
- Loyalty, too, can be low, since seasonal work is typically for 90 days or less, and there’s no sense of really belonging to the company.
Seasonal employees are not all bad, of course. Most are honest, hardworking people who need the work, or even prefer a short-term position. Some figure, as they should, that if they do well on the job they may get hired on full-time. For them, getting their foot in the door is more important than the initial pay.
Others may be motivated by other goals. Shoplifting and embezzlement are just two potential hazards. Then there are those who just don’t have the personality for dealing with customers or even co-workers. The ones with explosive tempers and a penchant for stirring up trouble wherever they go.
All of these types can be weeded out with a proper background check.
And don’t kid yourself: even a short-term employee can do significant damage. Loss of goods is just the tip of the iceberg. Damage to expensive equipment only takes a moment. Injury to a customer—purposeful or not—can result in significant, long-term damage.
Then there are the occasional quick-hit cybercriminals who are looking for access to company records and intellectual property. What better way than on the inside?
The point is that permanent, long-term employees are not the only ones that hiring professionals should be careful with. Just because a seasonal employee is expected to be around only a short time doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking him out. Besides, some of those seasonals may wind up on the permanent rolls, anyway.
Be just as cautious with your company’s seasonal positions as you are with the permanent ones. First hire an experienced and thorough background investigation firm like Hire Authority (www.hireauth.com; 508-230-5901).
The foregoing should not be construed as legal advice. Employers should always consult their own legal counsel for advice on labor and employment matters.