‘Tis the season for holiday hiring, so we’ve rounded up the biggest trends to watch for as employers move into the close of the year. Our staff located in over 40 cities across the United States weighed in sharing what they’re hearing and seeing.
Easy Applications and Fast Hiring
Keeping it simple is the name of the game in hiring. Candidates want the application process to be easy and the hiring/onboarding process to be quick. Employers are using QR codes and text-to-apply systems to get candidates into the funnel quickly. Our team is seeing this strategy at stadiums, in elevators and on social media.
Once hired, candidates are looking for faster and/or remote onboarding with self-assessments to speed up the process of getting to work and getting paid. With so many businesses competing for a small pool of applicants, it’s important to facilitate a simple and quick hiring process.
Holiday hiring may feel like a game of chicken, with candidates waiting until the last minute to apply, putting employers in a scramble to fill positions. Even with the volatility of the economy, candidates are so confident about finding jobs that many aren’t in a particular hurry to apply. But, as stated above, once they do apply, they want the process to go quickly.
Employers need to be proactive in reaching out to potential candidates to attract them to their businesses. Staffing companies are always on the lookout for great talent. They can bring quality candidates to you before the last-minute rush.
Short-Term Hiring for Long-Term Needs
Traditionally, hiring for the holidays meant bringing on temporary employees who would be laid off at the end of the season. Now that staffing has become a year-round challenge, many employers are looking at fourth-quarter hiring as a way to identify high-quality team members to keep on in the year ahead. The holiday season can be used as a trial period for employees, and those who perform well can be offered a job as a permanent member of staff.
More Focus on Back-End Operations
When thinking about holiday hiring, the first roles that come to mind are customer-facing jobs, such as food servers, retail clerks and hotel front-desk staff. While there is always demand for those positions, we’re seeing more interest this year in hiring back-end staff.
Warehouses are increasing temp staff usage for Q3 and Q4 to hit quotas and finish the year strong. In hospitality, we’re seeing an uptick in demand for cooks and culinary personnel. The shortage of culinary professionals long predates Covid-19, and this year our team is getting a lot of requests for candidates to fill those positions. Restaurateurs would rather be able to produce food and then figure out the front-of-house staff. Customers go to a restaurant to eat, and even the best customer service can’t substitute for good food.
Automation, Self-Service and AI
The hospitality and service industries are moving in a clear direction: If a position doesn’t 100% need to be done by a staff person, it will be eliminated.
Self-service at retail stores is on the rise. Hotels are increasingly using reservation platforms, contactless check-in and other technology tools to reduce the need for staff. Some restaurants have QR codes at their tables for customers to order and pay directly — waitstaff simply drops off food and drinks.
Holidays are often a big travel time, but this year, the outlook isn’t quite so clear. Travelers wary of canceled and delayed flights or priced out of the market by high fares and rising gas prices may shift their holiday plans to places closer to home. That outcome could be a boost for local businesses looking to host events and bring in more family and work celebrations. Those opportunities will call for increased staff, and restaurateurs will be working hard to fill those positions.
Savvy employers will start looking for top candidates now for holiday hiring. Using tech tools like QR codes and text-to-apply will help streamline the process and attract job seekers looking for a simple application and hiring process. Staffing professionals can help identify high-quality candidates and make the process much easier on employers during the busiest time of the year.