Why are Retailers Hiring Seasonal Help so Early in The Year?

It’s August.

The holiday rush is still months away.

But some companies are starting to hire seasonal workers now.

“Smart employers, particularly those who need to fill front-facing jobs, are trying to get a jump on the seasonal hiring insanity by starting the process early,” says Retail Dive.

Why the Rush to Hire Seasonal Help?

There are thousands of positions to fill nationwide. In fact, a mid-August “retail” search on Indeed turned up nearly 1 million available positions. That number will likely escalate as the holiday season rolls around. And with unemployment numbers plummeting—even reaching historic lows in some categories—the applicant pool is shrinking.

“A tight applicant market, rising wages and benefits, even for part-timers, and stiff competition are pushing recruiters to be more flexible and get more creative in their hiring practices, even for entry-level jobs.”

Source: Retail Dive

According to Rebecca Henderson, CEO of Randstad Sourceright, companies are going to need a proactive strategy to attract and train workers for seasonal needs.

“Employers want to attract the top talent before their competitors do, and seasonal workers offer employers the ability to test out new employees before hiring them as year-round, contingent or permanent hires.” 

Source: Retail Dive

While organization and efficiency are important aspects of all successful recruitment practices, for mass seasonal hiring they’re an absolute must. Employers should prepare now by streamlining their hiring and onboarding processes.

“By leveraging as much technology as possible in recruitment workflows, including screening and scheduling, recruiters will be freer to focus on more strategic work when it comes to nurturing potential holiday hires, like negotiating offers and engaging candidates throughout the process.”

Source: Retail Dive

Many companies are doing just that, scrambling to implement same-day hiring policies (especially for entry-level staffers) to prevent candidates from continuing their job search.

Ghosting—new hires who don’t show up for day one—is another challenge of hiring so early in the year. Many businesses are trying to alleviate this problem by hiring more staffers than necessary, assuming that some will never make it to orientation.

To prevent ghosting, employers and recruiters will need to maintain consistent contact with new hires prior to their first day of work. “This will keep these candidates engaged and help them form an emotional connection to the company before they even start,” explains Rebecca Henderson.


With unemployment low and thousands of retail positions available nationwide, the pressure is on to hire seasonal workers now, particularly for front-facing jobs.

Employers should assess their hiring processes, wages and incentives well before the holiday rush to determine what they can improve to increase the odds of new hires starting during the holiday season.

“Businesses that plan early may have better luck handling the rush and reaching hiring goals before the madness begins,” says Retail Dive.

From a mobile-friendly website to accurate inventory data across your online and offline stores, Rain POS helps retailers like you keep customers happy all year long…no matter the season!

Also published on Medium.

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.