Small businesses should have a plan for seasonal hiring

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Black Friday kicked off the season of the part-time worker.

The National Retail Federation predicts that nationwide retailers will hire about 500,000 seasonal employees this holiday season.

Dan Hannaher, Small Business Administration regional administrator whose region includes Colorado, said, “hiring extra help for the hoped-for push should be thought out more than ever.”

He offers 10 tips for holiday season hiring:

1.  Have a staffing plan. Resist the temptation to be over-optimistic about what you will need to handle holiday season volumes.

2.  Know how much a new hire really costs. Recruiting, hiring, training, employment taxes and wages all have costs.  Compare that with expected revenues.

3.  Don’t over think the process. Don’t let the process suck up all your time and energy.  If you plan to take more than a week, 10 days at the most, you’re overdoing it.

4.  Do at least minimal background checks. Verify at least two separate work references in the last year, if available, and be wary of applicants with no verifiable work experience.

5.  Recruit early. The longer you wait the less chance you’ll have to select from the best applicants.

6.  Don’t over hire. Hire to fill the current need, and not for the future.

7.  Don’t make promises. Never say you may be able to keep someone on after the holidays just to get what you perceive as a good applicant to commit to joining your firm

8.  Use your community. Rely on local associations and clubs, schools, religious organizations, friends and family to find qualified employees.

9.  Trust your gut. If your gut says ‘not this one,’ move on to the next interview.

10. Hire personality and train for skill gaps. People pleasers help make sales, and you can’t teach personality.  Get the most cheerful, helpful and positive person you can find.  It will be the best investment you can make in holiday staffing.