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Tips for Hiring Seasonal Staff

By Stephanie Ganz of The Apple Cart

With the summer months, restaurants in tourist destinations see an influx of customers and find themselves with the need for more staff. Onboarding seasonal employees should be done thoughtfully to ensure that your new hires help the entire team achieve your brand vision and business objectives. Here are a few tips for hiring seasonal employees

Take a core-values-first approach.
In any hiring opportunity, you should be going back to your business’ core values to find and train new employees. Making sure your new hires understand your core values can help you transition seasonal employees into long-term assets.

Identify your needs before you start hiring.
Take a look at where you already have coverage and where you see gaps, and work to fill the schedule accordingly. Be clear in your job postings about what hours you are hiring for.

Recruit from within
Let your existing staff know that you’ll be hiring soon, and ask them for referrals. You may even want to offer referral bonuses to staff who recommend candidates who are hired.

Hire the person, not the position
Evaluate seasonal employees on personality first. Have enough faith in your training process to know that you can get the right person up to speed on the requirements of the job. You can’t train someone to have a great attitude--they either have it, or they don’t. So, focus on finding the candidates who are ready to learn, rather than candidates who may have more experience and a negative demeanor.

Do background checks
Though it may not be standard practice year-round, performing background checks on seasonal hires can be a quick way to avoid bringing on an employee who may not be the best fit for your team.

Know your best trainers
Examine your staff to see who is embodying your core values, and tap those team members to train others. Make shadowing these employees a central component of your training experience, as seasonal employees typically have less training time and more demands from guests, so it’s essential to make sure they’re learning from the best.

Include seasonal staff as part of the team
Designate a time for orientation where new hires can review your employee handbook, learn the ropes, and most importantly, ask questions of management and current employees. Bringing together new and existing staff in a training exercise can help quickly strengthen team dynamics and avoid an us-versus-them attitude among staff.

Retain the best of the bunch, and plan ahead
Identify seasonal employees who show initiative and the ability to advance, and make them an offer as your season is winding down. Also, keep seasonal employee information on-hand andreach out early the following year to see if they are interested in returning. You’ll make the job of hiring seasonal employees that much easier the next time around.

Contributed By: Stephanie Ganz. Stephanie is the co-owner of 
The Apple Cart, a Richmond, VA-based company that helps food businesses start and grow.