By this time of year, many retail employers have ramped up their teams with seasonal hires. Speaking from experience, I can assure you that “seasonal” staff members are far more than simple mercenaries slotted in to fill gaps or bolster cash register coverage. Having been a retail store manager in a previous life, I have done my fair share of hiring and succession planning. Seasonal workers are as much a recruitment strategy, as they are a stop-gap solution.

The perception held by seasonal hires may be that their job is for a fixed term only (“use once and destroy”). While there is a good chance the employer may indicate this in your job offer, natural attrition and turnover are significant problems in retail stores. Who does one think will be the first person offered a permanent position when there is a vacancy? That’s right, the individual who has already worked there for 6-8 weeks, and requires little to no additional training.

So given this, it is prudent to give it your best, above and beyond going through the motions during seasonal employment; you never know when you may be called back permanently (not to mention the opportunity for a solid reference).

Here are a few things to remember about making a good impression during your seasonal tenure:

  1. Be flexible! The best way to make a good impression during the holiday season is to be available. Note that you have been hired in part to allow for senior and salaried staff to take time off for vacation. While it may be difficult to sacrifice family or friend time, do not hesitate to take that last minute shift and help out – even if it is in a different area. Trust in this; available employees are at the top of every store manager’s holiday wish list!
  2. Make suggestions! As a seasonal hire, you may assume that your opinion on store operations is not valued. Quite the opposite: you were hired to work for only a short period of time, so you were selected based on your credentials and ability to adapt. As such, your manager obviously trusts in your ability, and by extension, your insight. Providing input will demonstrate that you are invested in store operations. Of course, be careful not to overdo it or else you may risk coming across as a know-it-all. Avoid suggestions which begin “at my old job, we did it this way…”.
  3. Be festive and have fun! This is important. Obviously job duties and customer satisfaction are key, but this is the holiday season. Showing that you are able to communicate and be positive with your team members will leave a lasting, infectious mark. Make the team wonder how they ever got on without you!

Best of luck with your seasonal employment! If you have any additional comments please feel free to share them below.

by Kam Deep, Guest Blogger for Agilec

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