Ultimate guide to holiday hiring in the USA

Ultimate Guide to Holiday Hiring

Talent acquisition is one of the biggest challenges for recruiters. Come rain or shine, hiring is always on the timeline for business enterprises. Do you know, many recruiters consider holidays as a great time for hiring? Holiday hiring or seasonal hiring, as they are commonly called is a win-win situation for both employers and employees. This is why exactly, the ultimate guide to holiday hiring is a must-read for everyone, who look to reinvent their jobs and careers in holidays.

Popular Holidays in the USA

Holidays are the number one stress buster for most people around the world and employees are no exception. Apart from the grind and slog in everyday life, holidays give a reason to unwind, relax and spend quality time with family and friends.

According to Statista Research Department, popular holidays in the US are:

  • New Year’s Eve
  • Christmas
  • Independence Day
  • Easter
  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday

On the contrary, holidays are not perhaps the best time to relax for some; it is certainly true for those seeking new avenues and careers in their life, holidays are a potential time to reflect on their jobs and opportunities. Since they are away from work, which is filled with hectic schedules and projects, it is a time to refine and polish the resume and pursue those jobs out there.

Holidays have got special importance in employers mind too. Not just because they have sprint sales and hot business deals, but it is also the time to source potential candidates and fill in those vacancies.

“Holiday hiring is the biggest challenge for retailers. They have to always work out on how to get the sales associates and the warehouse workers in a position to fulfill demand,” – Greg Portell, lead partner, Kearney Consultancy

Who Is a Seasonal Employee?

Generally, a seasonal employee is hired for a position that lasts for six months or less than that. In other words, he/she works no more than 35 hours and/or less than six months in the year.

From the recruiter’s perspective, a seasonal employee or a holiday hire’s employment duration must begin and end around the same part of the calendar year.

According to the definition by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a seasonal employee is “an employee who is hired into a position for which the customary annual employment is six months or less and for which the period of employment begins each calendar year in approximately the same part of the year, such as summer or winter.”

There is a thin line of difference between a seasonal employee and a seasonal worker. While the former is hired for six months or less around the same part of a calendar year, the latter is employed for less than four months, or 120 days of work, during a calendar year.

Why Do Companies Go for Holiday Hiring?

New Financial goals: Holidays, especially the new year usher new financial targets and goals, which means more manpower requirements to achieve goals. According to a 2019 study by National Retail Federation many retailers hired more than 5 million seasonal employees. They also agreed that they could have hired more if it was possible.

Candidate Accessibility: The job market is more active in holidays. Similar to recruiters, some potential candidates are looking for opportunities to land their dream role/job. Though the numbers might be small, the chances of hiring good to great candidates can never be minimal. Holiday seasons come as a blessing to recruiters, they need not have to go through a heap of resumes before landing on the right ones (though hiring automation does this job on their behalf).

FOMO – Fear of Missing Out: Companies do not wish to miss out on talented candidates, who are especially on job hunting mode during holiday breaks. Recruiters know that it is the time skilled talents come out from their burrow and look out for jobs or career changes. This reason is enough to be all eyes and ears on all their company’s career pages and other job sites as well.

DEI in Workplace: There is no other time better than holidays to accommodate DEI in workplaces. Holiday seasons require extra workers to manage the more customer footfall. Many studies show that seasonal hiring is the most challenging recruitment duration. As a thoughtful part of society, business enterprises can hire them to walk the talk. Seasonal job postings focusing on the DEI workforce will come to the rescue.

Business as usual: Rain or shine, some businesses treat holidays just like any other normal day in their timeline. So, for some companies, holidays do not make any difference when it comes to hiring and staffing. Candidates who are mindful of this fact can apply for jobs even during the holiday season.

Why Do Candidates Job Search in Holidays?

Hiring Time: A simple search on ‘holiday hiring’ on Google dishes out more than at least 360 million results (try for yourself!). From tech to non-tech and from FTE (Full Time Employment) to CTH (Contract to Hire), business enterprises are on a hiring spree during holidays. Recently, Walmart has planned to hire at least 20,000 workers in the supply-chain division ahead of the busy holiday schedule. Labour shortage, which is made worse by the Covid pandemic has put seasonal hiring on spree in countries like the US.

According to research by Oregon Employment Department, holiday hiring is increasing in e-commerce-related industries as compared to traditional brick and mortar stores. While in 2010, e-commerce accounted for just 31 percent of all holiday hiring, it saw a spike of 57 percent in 2019.

On-demand Hiring: Jobs based on functional roles like sales, distribution, customer service, tourism, hospitality, and logistics is in high demand during holiday breaks. Companies hire seasonal or gig employees for these roles to manage additional business traffic during holidays like New Year’s Eve and Christmas. Most of the time, business enterprises convert part-time jobs into full-time too.

Less Competition: A lot of job searchers hibernate during holidays. Candidates looking for a job change can surely make most of the opportunity and land in their dream job/role. It means, while your competitors fritter their time in binge-watching shows or meandering, you can make yourself visible to recruiters. A bit of hard work and interview preparation is what it all takes to get hired during the holiday season.

Networking: As we said earlier, holidays are the time when miracles happen. Candidates can do just more than job search and career planning. One can cash in on business events and gatherings happening in holidays and start building networks on professional networking sites. Additionally, having an elevator pitch serves as a cherry on the cake, as you don’t know when you meet someone ‘influential’ in the business parties.

Added Benefits: It is best to get hired in holidays, as you can get many benefits that are not available all year round. Come on, who doesn’t want perks like instant visibility, recognition, extra vacation, holiday discounts, overtime wages, and incentives?

How Do Business Enterprises Hire During Holidays?

Well, the obvious question. While candidates think about careers or job changes, recruiters lookout for unique ways to attract top talent during the holiday season. Apart from the usual career pages on their company websites and job sites, there are other ways to hire effectively during the holiday season. We have listed them below just for you:

Classic Job Posters: “We are hiring” and “Help Wanted” do the job neat and good. Inviting job applicants to visit and drop in their resumes during holidays is still a trusted mantra many companies follow. Apart from this, employees within the company are also encouraged to refer their family and friends for seasonal hiring.

ATS: Applicant Tracking System is a part of recruitment automation that sources and screens talented applicants through volumes of resumes from the database. Recruiters are rescued from the tedious process of finding the right person every day and holiday hiring is no exception.

Social Media: Job adverts and referrals on social media are some of the most attractive ways to invite applicants. Evident researches show that people are more glued to social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn on holidays than on other days. From announcing holiday sale discounts to holiday hiring, social media has always played its part well. Additionally, employers must make sure they have a strong online presence too.

According to a recent survey by Aberdeen Strategy and Research, over 73 percent of millennials found their last position through a social media site.

Display “cultural alignment”: Business enterprises must demonstrate how their culture fits perfectly with that of a job applicant. Candidates looking forward to applying for those companies that make them feel at home, friendly and welcoming.

Curate talent: Hiring managers have an active role in holiday hiring. They can ensure quality hiring in holiday seasons through building a candidate pool and talent pipeline all through the year. This not only saves them effort and time but also know what skills are relevant for seasonal hiring.


Holiday hiring is the answer to talent shortages across all industries. Businesses can make impactful hiring through tailored recruitment strategies and competitive advantages. On the other hand, job-seeking candidates can cash in the perfect opportunity and gear up for the challenge.

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