November 17 2019 - The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that retailers will hire up to 590,000 seasonal workers to meet the needs of the year's busiest time.
A Checkster report on holiday hiring notes that seasonal pressure can lead to hiring managers feeling a strong sense of urgency. They may make quick decisions without:
- taking a deeper look at candidates' background and, even more importantly
- not obtaining reference checks
With a limited supply of fresh talent, hiring unsuitable or even fraudulent recruits can lead to substantial consequences. Checkster' research found that the referees of 26% of retail candidates said that they were unlikely to hire them again.
According to Yves Lermusi, CEO of Checkster:
"The pressure to remain fully staffed around the holidays, particularly in retail, often drives companies to take short-cuts. A company's best defense against hiring fraudsters is through a complete background and reference check - and temporary seasonal positions are no exception."
Consequences of bad hiring decisions can include:
- Lower overall morale
- Poor customer service
- Failure to achieve retail sales goals
- Theft of merchandise
- Offering inappropriate discounts
- Failing to charge friends for items
With inventory shrinkage costing U.S. retailers over $45 billion each year, and roughly 42% perpetrated by employees, retailers need to do everything possible to weed out potential bad hires. This is especially important in the high-risk holiday season.
Some of Checkster's recommendations for best practice hiring of seasonal workers:
- Recruit existing customers. They will be familiar with your brand already and will (theoretically) have developed loyalty to your company and its products.
- Ask your best employees for referrals. As a good fit for your company, they may have relatives or friends who will also be a good fit. Trusted employees can also be reliable references for potential recruits.
- Retirees can be a great resource. They may be very flexibile and can excel at the social interactions that come with seasonal retail jobs.
- Conduct face-to-face or video chat interviews whenever possible. Particularly in retail, interpersonal skills and likability are important in retail. Coaching may not be possible in short-term timeframes.
- Screen, screen, and screen! To quote Checkster: "The process of checking references and getting to the truth about a candidate is the best way to protect yourself from a bad hire.
Yves Lermusi concludes:
"While there are many tactics that can ensure a successful hire, the single most important action is screening, screening and more screening. The new digital reference checking process gets to the truth about candidates and saves hiring managers time, money, and stress in the long run."