3 Things to Implement Today to Start Hiring Smarter

September 30, 2018
9 mins

As we approach Q4 of 2018, I am asked more and more about hiring seasonal workers for the upcoming holiday season. My response is always the same “follow the same hiring principles for anyone working in a flexible workforce.” The holiday season behaves the same as any other dynamic business: sudden high-volume and high customer demand. The main distinguishing factor is that this is an anticipated surge companies can prepare for proactively. So what about the rest of the service economy? Companies relying on gig workers, contractors or flexible workforce all have executives asking their hiring managers the same key questions:

“Will we have enough employees to cover our extended operations throughout our busy period?” and “How can we fill our workforce quickly, with the most qualified workers?”

These questions are valid. Our historically low unemployment rate means there is a smaller pool of job seekers, intensifying competition for flexible workers. For the retail industry, however, which employs 17.8 percent of total part-time workers in the United States and 22.7 percent of working teenagers, there are some tried-and-true measures your company can take to ensure you’re fully staffed, with employees who meet your hiring criteria.


1. Create an engaging and positive candidate experience

People who are satisfied with their candidate experiences are 38 percent more likely to accept a job offer (IBM, The Far-Reaching Impact of Candidate Experience, 2017). During the recruitment process, every touchpoint counts. Retailers who respond to applicants quickly and personably are more likely to win them over. Creating a successful candidate experience helps you stand out against the competition and builds a positive relationship with each worker, encouraging them to come back for future high-traffic periods.

What you can do right now and why:

2. Make applying easy and effortless for candidates - Mobile first!

According to CareerBuilder, 60 percent of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity. Good candidates know their time is important and they have plenty of opportunities in the job market. Their tolerance for jumping through hoops is much lower.

For the service economy in particular, the rate of job searches from mobile devices is quite high - close to 80%. The simple reason for this: they are non-traditional, deskless workers.

The flexible workforce is applying for match their lifestyle - flexible, wireless and portable. Recruiters and hiring managers can also create a positive candidate experience by making the process as easy as possible, such as:

When the hiring process is effortless, you’ll see a lower drop-off rate and increase your chances of hiring seasonal workers before your competitors do.


3. Adapt to new expectations

A tight labor force means it’s no longer a numbers game; it’s now all about response time. Hourly workers want to start earning money right away, and companies who take a significant amount of time to respond to candidates have a higher likelihood of losing that worker to their competitors.

While candidate expectations have changed, companies are having to make major changes in how they hire.

What you can do right now and why:


Hiring flexible workers means tens of thousands of workers will be applying for positions with your company. Reset your expectations and you will see immediate results in your hiring.

The Takeaway:

Hiring hourly workers is expensive. The average cost-per-hire is currently $4,129 – one of the largest expenses for the retail industry. Identifying easy ways to make improvements, however, will help mitigate this cost, saving your business time, money, and resources. It will also help you improve on the quality of your hires.

Start with these simple tasks and then look at scaling. Once you have taken these first steps, you can then start to explore technology solutions to match your needs.

At Fountain, we’re seeing this upward trend first-hand: we process almost 1 million applications on behalf of our clients in the month of September.

Interested in how Fountain can help your company embrace automation to solve your high-volume hiring challenges this holiday season? Contact us to learn more about our retail hiring automation software today.