‘Tis the season for holiday hiring and this year the National Retail Federation predicts that retailers could hire up to 590,000 seasonal workers to meet the demands of the busiest time of the year.
The pressure of the season can fuel a sense of urgency among hiring managers to make quick decisions, often without taking a deeper dive into the background and, perhaps more significantly, neglecting to reference check potential employees, says a new Checkster report on holiday hiring. For those racing to bring on new talent from a limited supply, the cost of an unfit or fraudulent hire can be substantial. In fact, Checkster research discovered that 26% of retail candidates were deemed by their own references as low probability of rehire, meaning they wouldn’t likely hire them given the choice again.
“The pressure to remain fully staffed around the holidays, particularly in retail, often drives companies to take short-cuts,” says Yves Lermusi, CEO, Checkster. “A company’s best defense against hiring fraudsters is through a complete background and reference check -- and temporary seasonal positions are no exception.”
A bad hire can lower overall morale, give poor customer service or fall drastically short of retail sales goals. Other possible financial fiascos resulting from a bad hire include contributing to inventory shrinkage by stealing merchandise, shorting registers, offering inappropriate discounts or failing to charge friends for items. It is estimated that inventory shrinkage costs U.S. retailers more than $45 billion each year, with roughly 42% perpetrated by employees.
Thwarting this problem begins at the hiring process. It is paramount for retailers to do everything they can to weed out potentially bad employees before the damage is done.
“While there are many tactics that can ensure a successful hire, the single most important action is screening, screening, and more screening,” explains Lermusi. “The new digital reference checking process gets to the truth about candidates and saves hiring managers time, money, and stress in the long run.”
Checkster’s best practices for hiring seasonal workers include:
- Recruit existing customers who are already familiar with your brand and theoretically have developed a loyalty to the company and its products.
- Ask your best employees for referrals. If they are a good fit for your company, they may have friends or family who will be too. The trusted employee is also already a reliable reference for the potential candidate.
- Retirees can be a great resource. They have built-in flexibility and may love and excel at the social interactions that come with a seasonal retail job.
- Conduct face-to-face or video chat interviews whenever possible. Particularly in retail, interpersonal skills and likability matter a lot, and cannot necessarily be coached, especially in the short term.
- Screen, screen, and screen! The process of checking references and getting to the truth about a candidate is the best way to protect yourself from a bad hire.