Whether it's seasonal role or a core direct-hire position, hiring in the summer can be especially challenging. From temporary hires to meet seasonal demand to full-time roles that affect the trajectory of your business, smart summer hiring requires a smart summer strategy.
While no simple formula guarantees a quick fix for finding best-fit candidates, a strategic approach can help you find the right talent, even when the mercury rises.
what is a summer hiring strategy?
A summer hiring strategy is similar to a typical talent acquisition strategy, but with some adjustments to address key seasonal challenges. At a high level, a talent acquisition strategy describes the process of proactively planning for workforce needs in a way that supports and aligns with business goals. This process requires transitioning your mindset: It's not about simply filling open vacancies, but rather nurturing a candidate pipeline to meet current and future business needs. A well-executed strategy also reduces the chance of making a bad hire, which ultimately costs more time, effort and money.
A comprehensive talent acquisition strategy includes planning for hiring to support business growth, identifying the channels that are best for sourcing these positions and creating an approach to explore untapped talent pools and grow existing ones. It's not reactive, either. It should be forward-looking and be mapped out quarters — or even years — ahead of time.
So why, and how, do you adjust this strategy for summer? First, you need to identify periods of peak demand. Businesses that see increased demand in the summer months need a strategy to plan ahead for the rush. Those that see a spike in demand during fall also need to staff up in advance, giving their new hires time to get onboarded, acclimated and ramped up for the coming season. Then there's candidate behavior to consider. Hiring passive candidates in the summer can be a challenge, as employed professionals often take time off during the summer and may spend more time with family — and less time surfing job boards or checking inboxes and LinkedIn messages.
Taken together, these factors make summer a challenging time to find talent. But with a smart strategy in place, you can overcome those obstacles and more effectively grow your business.
do you need a summer hiring strategy?
Looking at how you hire during summer can help determine if it’s time to embrace a more strategic approach to talent acquisition. For example, if you continually hire in reactive mode, merely with the goal of meeting today’s talent gaps, you're likely losing out on the benefits of a proactive hiring process that aligns with longer-term organizational objectives.
Other signs indicating you could benefit from a strategic approach include:
too many job vacancies remain open for too long
When your time-to-hire drags on, exceeds industry standards or doesn’t produce qualified candidates, it’s time to check if you’re following best practices. For example, are your job postings well-written, are your job postings driving candidates away, are you sourcing candidates through the right traditional and social channels and do you reward internal employees for making referrals?
limited — or no — success with job boards
Online job boards can provide great exposure but won’t produce great candidates if you don’t use them properly. Ask yourself if the job is clearly described, if you provide enough information about your company and if your postings are optimized with appropriate keywords.
Also, since many candidates may put their job search on hold during the summer, you need to consider whether job boards make the most sense for hiring the talent you need during the warmer months. Other channels, like social media and referrals, may bear more fruit when the weather heats up.
persistently low employee morale
Chronically understaffed and overworked teams become frustrated, stressed and disengaged. This is a recipe for low employee morale and, ultimately, lower productivity.
If your demand peaks during summer, prepare for burnout and turnover if you don't have a plan in place to keep pace with demand.
increasingly low employee retention
If employee resignations become more frequent, it’s imperative to know what’s causing the exodus. Understanding how to measure and track retention rates can help you identify, address and correct the issues behind sinking employee retention.
poor or inaccurate employer branding
If job seekers don't know or have a negative perception about your organization, your brand image may need attention. Understanding what candidates want most from an employer can help you better communicate what your organization stands for and why employees would want to join the team.
new initiatives require immediate hires with niche skills
If your normal recruiting methods fall short when you need people with specific proficiencies, a talent acquisition strategy can help you plan for where and how you will source hard-to-find skills when time is short, and the need is high.
inability to attract talent with the right skills
When current recruiting methods don’t attract candidates with the skills you actually need, there are both small- and large-scale steps you can take to improve results. A quick remedy is to ensure the job description clearly articulates which skills are mandatory and which are nice to have. A bigger effort is to expand your recruiting efforts by tapping into passive job seekers who are already doing the job — and doing it well — elsewhere.
The best talent acquisition strategies have the support of leadership who believe that hiring the right people is fundamental to the company’s success. But to make the strategy perform over the long term, you must update it as organizational priorities and market conditions change.
Developing a talent acquisition strategy requires time to rethink your recruiting methods and implement best practices. A professional staffing partner can assist in identifying gaps and recommending effective solutions. With a strategy in place, you’ll be better equipped to recruit top candidates, build strong teams and continue to thrive in any weather.