Why background checking is important for seasonal recruitment and how large volumes of checks can be done at speed

Seasonal workers are as much a part of the holiday season as Christmas carols, fairy lights and Father Christmas.

Added to this, our economy is becoming increasingly reliant on agency workers, with 800,000 temporary staff now part of the workforce. Seasonal demand creates a spike in agency hiring, while the outsourcing of traditionally in-house responsibilities, such as training or payroll management, is a common reason for taking on new short-term contractors[1].



Although these workers are temporary, it is vital that background checks are conducted to be able to identify and ensure an individual is the right candidate for the role. Every business wants to make sure they’re protecting their brand and their employees, which is why even with temporary workers, it’s important to conduct all the correct pre-employment checks.

Seasonal recruitment often puts added pressure on internal resources because of the need to hire a large number of staff in a short time scale. Last year, Sainsbury’s and Argos were looking for 11,500 temporary workers in the run-up to Christmas[2]. Social media, company websites and job boards have all made it easier for employers to connect with candidates, but this season of high demand is nevertheless a very busy time for hiring managers and HR teams.

Due to the sudden influx in demand during seasonal recruitment, existing processes and background checks are sometimes skipped, so that the pressure is eased. However, not conducting checks poses the same level of risk with temporary workers as it does with full time employees.



It is worth investing time and money to ensure you have a robust recruitment process, even when dealing with temporary hires. You need to ensure you understand who you’re hiring, even with temporary recruitment, as you’re still exposed to the risks of a bad hire. The hidden costs involved in bad recruitment include money wasted on training, lost productivity, and increased staff turnover. Bad hires may also result in risks to the business, the brand reputation and other employees.


 Easing the pressure on HR and hiring managers

To ease the pressures on HR, it’s worth thinking about what areas of the hiring process can be outsourced and whether you may need to recruit extra HR staff to support the increase in recruitment. Experian’s employee background checking service automates and speeds up the vetting and screening process, so you can quickly fill roles with the right people. It removes risk for the business and gives candidates a better journey.

Screening appropriately is becoming ever more essential, and certain checks are vital depending on the business sector.  Adverse financial checks are conducted for roles dealing with business cash and enhanced DBS checks for positions involving work with children and vulnerable adults, even if it’s a temporary role. Roles in firms governed by the FCA should have an FCA check and anyone in any role and sector should always have a Right to Work check; there’s a £20,000 fine for those found to be working illegally. Experian offer a right to work app to help ensure results are accurate, up to date and in line with immigration codes of practice and GDPR regulation.



You may have a large volume of candidates who you want to screen quickly. Our bulk upload service can help aid in recruitment decisions and fast onboarding of new employees, helping to smooth the process in busy periods.

Speak to our HR specialists about how we can help your business hire effectively over the festive season.


[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uk-economy-latest-agency-workers-employment-workforce-labour-resolution-foundation-research-a8202686.html

[2] https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/16970101.sainsburys-and-argos-want-11500-temporary-christmas-workers/

[3] https://www.rec.uk.com/news-and-policy/press-releases/hiring-mistakes-are-costing-uk-businesses-billions-each-year-