Thanksgiving may be just around the corner, however, many retailers are still determining exactly how many workers they will need to meet projected demand. Economic forecasts suggest that overall holiday spending will rise in 2020, but the gains will be at a much smaller rate than what we’ve seen in recent years.
The uncertainty surrounding holiday hiring is attributed to, of course, the coronavirus pandemic and its associated impacts, which are making it more difficult for employers to gauge not only how many employees they’ll need but the exact roles required given dramatic changes in shopping preferences. More specifically, while e-commerce and Buy Online, Pick-up in Store (BOPIS) have been rising steadily each season, these options are expected to spike dramatically as COVID-19 makes shoppers wary of making in-store purchases—one reason why we’ve seen Amazon, UPS, Walmart and Target announce their plans to hire a significant number of seasonal workers.
Interest in seasonal work among job seekers appears strong, even considering the health risks associated with working in stores and fulfillment centers and as delivery drivers. According to Monster’s Jobs & Hiring Report: Trends for Fall 2020, 84% of job seekers plan to apply for seasonal work with nearly half (46%) identifying the ability to earn extra income as their motivation.
How Retail Recruiters Can Manage Holiday Hiring Uncertainty
Based on the seasonal trends anticipated for 2020, it’s more important than ever that recruiters have access to the tools and solutions that will allow them to not simply manage high-volume hiring but respond immediately to hiring needs that may fluctuate throughout the season. This means that enterprise talent acquisition teams should focus on:
• Investing in a suite of tools that support the end-to-end management of virtual recruiting events. Onsite job fairs and hiring events, once a primary source of seasonal workers, are no longer a viable option due to COVID-19. With virtual recruiting events having taken the place of in-person hiring, it’s essential that recruiting teams can manage event promotion, registration, and both pre- and post-event communications seamlessly. For those still reviewing software providers, keep in mind that there are virtual recruiting event solutions out there that can have your team up and running in as little as 48 hours.
• Taking advantage of features and functionality that streamline the hiring process. One of the biggest benefits associated with virtual recruiting events is a major reduction in average time to hire. This is due, in large part, to the ability to automate hiring process steps and alleviate the administrative burdens most recruiters face. For example, virtual recruiting events make it easy to integrate knockout questions into the registration process, which ensures both quality and availability of event registrants. Self-scheduling functionality eliminates the back-and-forth nature of manual scheduling, resulting in the delivery of completed and confirmed interview schedules for event day directly to the recruiter’s desktop.
• Evaluating virtual event solutions that have a built-in Talent CRM. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 holiday recruiting season, many recruiters will find themselves having to respond immediately to hiring needs that are continually in flux. The ability to tap into talent pipelines full of qualified, interested and available candidates (those who have passed pre-screening questionnaires and participated in a virtual recruiting event but are yet to be hired)—as opposed to starting from scratch each time—will make it possible to immediately match the right talent to newly available jobs.
And, keep in mind that although a sizeable percentage of job seekers says they plan to seek seasonal opportunities, the decision to accept an offer will be highly influenced by the practices employers have implemented in response to COVID-19. So, in addition to the tools outlined above, it’s important that recruiters clearly communicate what their company is doing to keep their employees safe and healthy, no matter the type of seasonal position they are hired into.
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