How to quickly and efficiently screen seasonal hires

As the Christmas holiday season fast approaches, many retailers begin to look at how they’re going to hire the best people to cover seasonal business spikes. The Office for National Statistics have already reported that the quantity bought in September 2018 increased by 3.0%, with growth across all sectors except department stores (When compared with September 2017¹).  Many businesses will therefore be looking to scale up their work forces in anticipation of the increasing demand over the holiday season, but with such staff in high competition, it’s important to hire the right people, and fast.


“The Office for National Statistics have already reported that the quantity bought in September 2018 increased by 3.0%”

To do this, you need to start on boarding your new hires early enough to get the best people, but also to allow enough time for them to learn the ropes before the busy season arrives. This way you can ensure both your permanent and temporary staff are not only well-trained, but also that you have the right amount of staff to support the seasonal trade.

Seasonal recruitment often means hiring a large amount of new staff within a short time period, which can put added pressure on areas of the business, such as your HR department. The sudden influx of applications, interviews, training and so on, can mean your existing HR processes soon becomes under pressured and therefore the quality of on boarding can be affected. To ease these pressures, it’s worth thinking about what areas of the hiring process can be outsourced and whether you need to recruit extra HR staff to support the increase in recruitment.


 “The sudden influx of applications, interviews, training and so on, can mean your existing HR processes soon becomes under pressured and therefore the quality of on boarding can be affected.”

When deciding how you’re going to recruit a large number of new hires quickly, particularly when budgets to manage these are often restrained, you may be thinking about which parts of the recruitment process you can streamline for seasonal staff. In this blog we help answer 3 of the most common areas recruiting teams question when efficiency and budgets are top priority:

  1. Should we perform background checks on seasonal workers?

Time pressure during seasons of high demand, mean it sometimes seems like there isn’t enough time to perform background checks – you just need to get staff in quickly. But if there’s one thing to consider when looking at ways to recruit quickly, do not cut out background screening. For seasonal hiring in particular, the background screening of candidates is vital to ensure you get the right people working for you and therefore the best representation for your brand. Skipping background checks brings risks to your customer safety, business and data protection; the outcomes of which may be much costlier than the time it takes to have background checks completed.


“Skipping background checks brings risks to your customer safety, business and data protection.”

Think about the increased amount of financial transactions that take place during the holiday season. Putting unchecked seasonal hires in positions which have access to this information is a big risk if this data was fraudulently used or abused. If you employ service personnel such as delivery drivers or engineers, who may need to enter people’s homes to make deliveries or install equipment, then you need to make sure you’re carrying out the right type of background checks, such as DBS or DVLA checks, to ensure you’re protecting your customers and your brand.

  1. When it comes to employing a large volume of seasonal hires, how do you perform background checks quickly and efficiently?

As with many areas of business, when it comes to needing to upscale quickly for a short period of time, the most efficient route is usually to look to outsource the work. It also means you can bring in outside expertise to maintain your onboarding standards, and checks can be done quickly as the outsourced partner is focused only on the task in hand. Consistent hiring procedures can be maintained across your entire workforce, so the same background checks are performed for the same job roles, regardless of the length of employment or time of year recruited; the perfect approach for permanent and temporary staff.


“Checks can be done quickly as the outsourced partner is focused only on the task in hand.”

  1. With a high volume of hires, will the cost of checks become expensive?

There is a cost-efficient way of ensuring you carry out the relevant background checks you need without needing a huge amount of investment.

Some background checks, such as the right to work check, are mandatory and so costs can’t be avoided. However, if you think about efficiencies in resource, applications that allow these checks to be done quickly, such as the Experian Right to Work app, can ensure these types of checks are done without draining your internal HR teams. When employing seasonal hires, on top of Right to Work, adverse financial checks are a great way to effectively screen your new hires, without excessive costs endured in the process. These checks are available from Experian for £54.99 and include a basic criminal record check.


“When employing seasonal hires, on top of Right to Work, adverse financial checks are a great way to effectively screen your new hires.”

For seasonal hires that need extra checks, these can be added, so they’re only relevant to the role being applied for. For instance, DVLA checks can be added for drivers or enhanced DBS checks for those working with vulnerable adults or children. Our DVLA checks have recently been improved to make the process of checking extremely quick and efficient.


Find out more about how you can get deeper expertise from our experienced UK team with our tailored Experian background checking solutions.

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¹  https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/retailindustry/bulletins/retailsales/september2018