Seasonal hiring smarts: the hiring process

Canadian Pizza
June 11, 2018
By Canadian Pizza
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business this spring hosted a webinar entitled “Getting smart about seasonal hiring” that provided useful tips for improving your seasonal hiring success.

The learning session was presented by Fitzii, a company that provides tools and strategies to small to medium-sized businesses.

In order to make hiring less painful, presenters Carla Tancredi, a recruiter with Fitzii, and Edwin Jansen, the company’s head of marketing, suggested employers plan ahead, screen candidates and learn to manage the process better.

In an earlier post, we highlighted the recruiters’ advice on planning ahead, writing a great job ad and promoting your job opening.

Here they discuss what mature workers are looking for and getting the most out of the hiring process.

WHAT ARE MATURE WORKERS LOOKING FOR?
Mature workers looking for different things in a job than other workers, Fitzii’s Tancredi and Jansen said. The longer people have been in the workforce, the more they care about the mission and what the company stands for. Younger people tend to be more practical, just want money.

WHAT IS A REASONABLE REFERRAL BONUS?
The amount is less important than having an incentive that will remind staff to refer their friends, the presenters said. “Make sure that reminder is there.” Also, they cautioned operators that referral fees are taxable for employees: gift cards may be a more appealing reward.

THE HIRING PROCESS
The CFIB session offered tips for getting the most out of the hiring process:
·      Keep your expectations realistic: no-shows are a reality, the process is rarely smooth, so it’s wise to accept this reality early on.
·      Plan for efficiency and consider the cost of your own time.
·      Review applicants daily (not all at once): Take 20 minutes a day to look at applications, and contact them quickly to snap up good candidates.
·      Phone screening is helpful to find out about availability and working conditions: a five-minute conversation can tell you a lot.
·      Construct interview questions ahead of time: It’s hard to compare candidates if you don’t ask the same questions and you may forget to ask questions. Planning will help.
·      Make candidates comfortable to see their true colours, they said. If you are casual, make fun of yourself and admit your own weakness, candidates will be more likely to feel comfortable and show their true selves. Jansen suggested giving a speech that tells them “I can’t hire unless I feel I know you.”
·      Close great candidates on the spot or as soon as possible. If you want to hire a great person but need to ask for the references, they recommend extending an job offer conditional on your references. This will keep them happy and let them know they are in a good place.
·      Court your candidates. A big complaint from applicants is that they didn’t have a good interview experience. The best people have options, so you need to woo them. Keep in mind that they are interviewing you as well.

DON'T JUDGE
Although many people think they are a good judge of character, almost no one is, the presenters cautioned. They cited a study that found a computer program was better able to select high-performing candidates than experienced managers.

Instead, look for people who show interest in what you do, have transferable skills and have enthusiasm about learning. Looking for people with a good attitude is smart, they agreed. “You can’t teach attitude.”

GIVE CANDIDATES A REALISTIC JOB PREVIEW
Giving potential new hires a chance to role-play or shadow one of your employees can be a good way to give them a realistic preview of what the job is like. Offering a preview is the number 1 predictor of a good employee and the best way to avoid hiring wrong people, Tancredi and Jansen said.

DO REFERENCE SURVEYS
The recruiters suggested not calling but doing a reference survey. Sometimes an email can get you more responses from those giving references. It is a convenient way to communicate and can make it easier for people to be more honest. You can survey up to 15 people, using emails provided by the candidate.

For your part, it can also reduce time spent by more than 90 per cent and make it easier to compare candidates objectively.

HOW DO YOU ENTICE A GOOD CANDIDATE TO RETURN NEXT SEASON?
In answer to an audience question, if you want staff to return each season, tell them in the job ad, spell it out, ask about it in the interview. Jansen said. Also, consider paying them more or giving them perks and valuable training.

Tancredi added, “Make sure people know they are important to their business and not replaceable. Ask them for their opinion on key decisions and make them feel important.”

Read our earlier article to learn about planning ahead, writing a great job ad and promoting your job opening.

For more information on hiring and other educational webinars, visit cfib.ca.

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