5 of the best types of candidates for seasonal hiring

5 of the best types of candidates for seasonal hiring

Seasonal work is typically a popular way for people to find short-term employment. These jobs often involve working for a set period during a particular season, usually during the holidays or busy times of the year. If you're considering hiring an employee for a seasonal job or think you might be soon, knowing the best types of candidates to look for can help ensure you find a great fit for each role. Here are some of the best types of candidates for seasonal hiring, along with tips you can use during the hiring process.

What is a seasonal employee?

seasonal employee is someone who takes a job temporarily that they can typically repeat every year during the same period. There are usually several options for seasonal work in the summer and winter and during major holidays, as many industries require additional help during those times of the year. For example, seasonal workers interested in agriculture can often find seasonal jobs on farms that involve harvesting crops in the spring and summer.

While several industries typically offer seasonal work, the most popular are retail, agriculture, construction, and tourism. For example, some department stores or large retailers hire more staff members during the holiday season to account for increased customers. In the tourism industry, seasonal jobs are available at resorts or camps only open during specific parts of the year due to weather.

"Some of your full-time employees may have connections with candidates looking for seasonal work, so asking your internal staff for referrals may help you find strong applicants."

What are the best types of candidates for seasonal hiring?

Here are a few types of people who can be ideal candidates for seasonal hiring: 


Retirees are individuals who have left the formal workforce. While many use this opportunity to pursue other interests, it can also be common for retirees to take on temporary, seasonal jobs. Working in a seasonal role can allow these individuals to get out of the house and make some extra money without the pressures and commitment of a full-time job.

Since many retirees are of advanced age, a few areas of seasonal work are typically the most popular for these candidates. For example, many retirees look for seasonal retail jobs where they can work at a cash register, answer customer service requests, or wrap gifts during the holidays. Retirees can also be great seasonal employees in tutoring roles, where they can help students learn during periods when they don't have class.

Stay-at-home parents

Stay-at-home parents can also be excellent candidates for seasonal jobs. While parents often spend much time caring for their children and maintaining their households, some look for opportunities to get out of the house and earn additional income. Many seasonal work options exist for stay-at-home parents during the school year and holiday seasons. 

For example, a stay-at-home parent can be a perfect candidate for a seasonal role during the school year that involves working while their child is at school. Retail, tourism, and customer service jobs can work well for their schedule. Parents can also look for temporary work in their children's school district, such as serving lunch during the school year. Some stay-at-home parents also take advantage of remote seasonal jobs in data entry or customer service roles that open during the busy seasons for various companies.

College students

As many college students return to their hometowns for the summer and holiday seasons, they can make perfect seasonal employees. Even students who remain on campus during holidays can take advantage of seasonal employment opportunities available in their area. Many college students prioritize gaining work experience when they aren't at school. So you can find motivated candidates eager to learn, making them a huge asset to the workplace. And you don't have to worry about them asking to stay beyond their contract, as they'll already be planning to return to college.

College students often make ideal candidates for jobs in food service, retail, and customer service, as they typically are experienced in responsibly managing a college course load. Students interested in tourism or agriculture may also opt for jobs in these industries, especially in roles pertaining to their study area. For example, an environmental science major may be interested in a seasonal harvesting role on a farm where they can interact with different plant species.

High school students

Like college students, high school students can be good candidates for seasonal jobs. Many high school students have minimal work experience, so they may look for jobs to help them build up their resumes before leaving for college or entering the workforce once they graduate. Seasonal jobs can be ideal for high school students, as they have long summer breaks and often smaller breaks in the winter and spring that allow for temporary contracts. 

High school students can work in a variety of seasonal jobs, including retail, food service, and tourism. For example, one of the most popular seasonal jobs for a high school student is a summer camp counselor, which involves leading activities and supervising children during summer camp.

Gig workers

A gig worker is someone who earns a living by completing short-term contracts or employment opportunities. This work style can be especially common for professionals such as chefs, construction contractors, actors, photographers, and other types of creatives. While some gig workers have set opportunities that they complete year-round, many look for seasonal work during off-seasons when they aren't as busy.

For example, an actor may look for a seasonal job to fill the time between two filming projects, as this can allow them to continue earning an income. Gig workers often have specialized skills, making them perfect for seasonal work that requires specific abilities. Photographers, for example, can find seasonal work during holidays when tourist attractions and other businesses hold photo opportunities to celebrate the seasons.

Tips for successful seasonal hiring

Here are a few tips that may help you successfully hire seasonal employees: 

  • Use your internal network: If you've hired seasonal employees in the past, refer to your network to see if any previous seasonal workers may be interested in completing another contract with you.
  • Use social media: Advertising a seasonal opening on social media can often enable you to reach more candidates quickly.
  • Ask for referrals: Some of your full-time employees may have connections with candidates looking for seasonal work, so asking your internal staff for referrals may help you find strong applicants.
  • Host recruiting events: If you want to attract and meet candidates in person, host an event to promote your seasonal openings and allow candidates to meet potential supervisors and coworkers.
  • Maintain communication: When hiring seasonal workers, maintaining consistent communication with candidates can show that you're a serious employer who values their time and wants them to succeed.

If you're looking for the best types of candidates for your seasonal hiring needs, consider recruiting someone from one of the groups we've discussed. No matter the time of year, many candidates are often looking for seasonal jobs. You can always consider your entire applicant base, but it may benefit you to give candidates in these groups extra consideration. You can also view CareerBuilder's recruiting solutions for even more help building your staff for the season.

More tips about seasonal employment

Hiring for a seasonal job? Learn more about how to develop a successful recruiting strategy.

Looking to hire for a summer gig? Here are five summer seasonal hiring tips.

Interested in why seasonal work is popular? Learn about why employees find a side hustle.

Tired of wading through a sea of candidates? Learn how to simplify your hiring process.

If you want to use more technology in your hiring process, read about how to use Google as a recruiter.

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