A Guide to Finding Temporary Workers This Holiday Season

With Christmas almost two months away, companies are ramping up their holiday hiring needs. Amazon, FedEx, UPS, Target, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and USPS are among just some of the companies that are hiring thousands of seasonal workers this year.¹ PeopleReady, a division of TrueBlue Inc., reported that 19 million jobs were posted in the U.S. between August and September, as holiday hiring starts to heat up.²

As holiday hiring heats up though, the labor shortage is still very present, and this holiday hiring season is set to be one of the toughest yet. Of the 19 million jobs noted above, 14 million of those jobs are still active. PeopleReady also noted some of the most in-demand jobs for the holiday season include: delivery drivers, retail associates, warehouse workers, servers and food service workers, hosts/hostesses, and cleaners/ housekeepers.³

While hiring challenges are certainly going to be present this holiday season, it does provide an opportunity for staffing companies to team up with companies that may not normally turn to staffing firms for their hiring needs. Now is the time to reach out to prospective clients that may have holiday hiring needs and establish the benefits of working with your staffing firm. An easy way to search for these prospective clients is by using your ATS to search for companies that work in the in-demand industries noted above. A simple email and call campaign can be put together to reach out to these prospective clients. You’ll want to finalize your holiday orders early though, as it may take longer to fill positions this year.

Once you have your holiday orders, setting a strategy for filling these orders will be essential. Below are a few tips to think about as you find workers this holiday season.

Offer Hiring Incentives

A big part of hiring this holiday season will involve hiring incentives, such as sign-on bonuses, referral bonuses, and more. Indeed noted the last week in September showed that 3.2% of seasonal job postings on Indeed highlighted financial incentives, which is up from 0.6% during the same period in 2020 (4). Ways you can incorporate hiring incentives include:

  • Sign-on bonuses
  • Referral bonuses if a candidate you hire refers someone. A special referral bonus can also be offered to employees that work at the company you are hiring for.
  • Incentives for returning seasonal workers
  • Incentives can also be non-cash related: streaming subscription service, holiday dinner provided to the family, grocery store voucher, monthly or yearly meal subscription service, tickets to a sporting event or local attraction, etc.

What is important to note though, as you are forming your incentive strategy, is that different generations have different values. What might entice a baby boomer, might not entice a millennial. Knowing your audience and what entices them to work is important. As you are offering incentives for each of your jobs, think about the ideal candidate and what they would value. They may value a non-cash related item versus a bonus.

If you are unsure of what would entice your candidates, you can send out a survey to the candidates you are reaching out to and see what hiring incentives motivates them. Another option is to offer up a number of hiring incentives of similar value and the candidate can choose which one they want. This could make it even a little more fun when the candidate has the opportunity to choose their “hiring gift.”

Lastly, for jobs that may be less desirable, consider offering a better incentive. This could include jobs with non-traditional hours, intensive labor, etc. Less desirable jobs will be even harder to fill, but an extra incentive may entice more individuals to pursue that job opportunity.

Incorporate Holiday Cheer into Your Job Description

Are you looking for ways to help your job description stand out? What better way than to incorporate holiday cheer! Would you rather “help Santa deliver presents this holiday season” or “work in a warehouse.” Would you rather “help holiday shoppers find the perfect gift for their loved one” or “work in retail.” By getting creative with your job description, you can immediately gain more traction and interest in the position. You want the job to sound appealing and this is one way you can accomplish that.

Also, remember to incorporate hiring incentives into the job description. You can even tailor this towards your holiday description by saying “our holiday gift to you is a $500 sign-on bonus” versus “we are offering a $500 sign-on bonus.” Be creative and have fun with your job description, otherwise it will be passed up.

Promote Your Holiday Jobs on Your Website

Whether you have a special landing page for your holiday jobs or a banner on your homepage that promotes you are hiring seasonal workers, be sure your holiday jobs have a presence on your website. Every time someone visits your website you want it to be known that you are hiring for the holiday season. That way you don’t miss an opportunity for a candidate to apply. Someone visiting your site may also see it and could refer someone to it. Your website is an important place for promotion you don’t want to miss out on.

Use Your ATS to Find Last Year’s Seasonal Workers

If a candidate was a seasonal worker for you last year, they may be interested in being a seasonal worker this year. Reaching out to last year’s seasonal workers is a good place to start your search. You can use your ATS to identify last year’s seasonal workers and send an email campaign to these individuals about the openings you have available. This would be a good opportunity to mention the hiring incentives you have to offer-perhaps you have a special incentive for returning seasonal workers.

If you are undecided on what might entice these candidates to work, you could include a survey that asks which incentive would entice them to come back as a seasonal worker. This is a good way to gauge appealing hiring incentives for your candidate pool.

Use Your ATS to Contact Other Candidates

After you reached out to last year’s seasonal workers, you can then use your database to find other candidates that worked in some of those in-demand industries that are hiring for the holidays. You can also search for candidates whose job is ending around the holidays and for candidates that worked around the holidays in the past. These are just a few search options you can conduct to find relevant candidates.

Reach Out to Local Colleges and High Schools

College kids fit into the right demographic for a holiday job. College students have 3-4-week winter breaks, which makes it the perfect opportunity for them to work over their break if they are interested. High school students may also qualify for some of the jobs you are hiring for, especially for retail and restaurant workers. College and high school students may not be the typical demographic you target for hiring needs, but a seasonal job can be a perfect fit for them. This year even more so then ever, it may be helpful to tap into this market as you try to fill positions.

If you do reach out to colleges and high schools, think about some hiring incentives that you could offer for this generation, as what they are interested in will be very different then the baby boomer generation.

Launch Social Media Campaign

The holidays are a special time when holiday joy is spread, chestnuts roast on an open fire, cookies are exchanged, tree lightings are taking place, and more. It’s a time of year that is extra special and so are the seasonal jobs you are recruiting for. Social media is the perfect place to have fun with it! Invite your followers to join in the holiday cheer by working a holiday job. Create special holiday themes for your posts, create a hashtag personalized for your company, perhaps you can even encourage your followers to share your posts and, every time they share, they can be entered into a raffle to win a special holiday gift. The social media campaign is also a good opportunity to discuss the benefits of working a seasonal job. You may capture someone’s attention that wouldn’t even think about working during the holidays.

Host a Holiday Job Fair

Hosting a holiday job fair is another opportunity where you can have fun promoting your seasonal jobs. Invite candidates to come to your “winter wonderland” holiday job fair where hot chocolate will be served. They can learn about your holiday job opportunities and the benefits of seasonal work as they enjoy a freshly baked holiday cookie. Perhaps you can even offer an incentive for coming, such as all attendees are entered into “Frosty’s Gift Card Raffle Drawing.”

Overall, the holiday job fair is a great occasion to connect with potential workers and turn holiday jobs into an exciting opportunity to work.

Endorse it Could Lead to a Full Time Position if Applicable

If the job has the potential to lead to a full-time position, you will want to note this in the job description and as you are promoting the job. Some may only be interested if there could be an opportunity for a full-time position afterwards, so you wouldn’t want to miss out on these candidates.

‘Tis the Season for Hiring

We reviewed just a few ideas to think about as you are filling positions this holiday season. While finding workers for holiday jobs may be even tougher this season, it introduces an opportunity for staffing companies to tap into new markets and pursue opportunities for new business. It’s a time when staffing companies can provide support and expertise to companies, they might not normally work with who are in need of hiring workers. Once presented with holiday job orders, thinking about the right incentive for your target audience will be critical, in addition to, finding the right candidates to reach out to. Lastly, have fun with it! The holidays are a happy time. Incorporate that holiday spirit into your job description, into your social media posts, and at your holiday job fair. If you were a candidate looking to work around the holidays, would you rather work for Santa at the North Pole or work for the Grinch on Mount Crumpit? I’m guessing they would want to work at a company that is warm, welcoming, and offering a special holiday gift to them.


1. Hip2Save

2. and 3. Staffing Industry Analysts

4. Yahoo! Finance

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