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’Tis the Season for Temporary Hiring

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And the most hectic. To take the holidays in stride—and make serving those private parties and tables of 17 look effortless—many restaurants will hire seasonal help. Here are some practical tips for doing so.

DON’T: Hire people that need tons of training

You’ll have precious little ramp-up time; invest in people that can hit the ground running. If possible, have prospective employees work on a probationary period for a shift or two “so you can evaluate their ability to perform,” says Benjamin Groeger, Chef and Culinary Specialist for Sysco Arizona. “Plus, you’ll also see how they work with your permanent staff; it’s important for everyone to gel.”

DO: Use social media to recruit

Putting out the word on social media doesn’t cost anything and has incredible reach. “Get on Facebook and Twitter and talk up the opportunity. Make sure to say ‘Tell your friends’ or ‘Grab a college buddy,” says Jovan Djokovic, Business Resource Consultant for Sysco Eastern Wisconsin.

DO: Be transparent

If you’re hiring for just six weeks of work, stress the seasonal nature of the job. “When you interview, ask the candidate why that idea appeals to them,” Groeger says. “If you get answers like ‘I’m a college student on Christmas break,’ it makes perfect sense and could be a mutually ben- eficial relationship.” Ask what other types of jobs the candidate is currently applying for. “If you find they are going for full-time jobs, and yours is part-time, that could be  a sign that they might leave if something else comes along,” Groeger says.

DON’T: Underestimate your need

Hitting that magic number of seasonal employees can be tricky, but you don’t want to come up short. “If you’ve already been through a holiday season, go through your historic records to get a gauge,” Djokovic says. “But if you’re new, always plan for more than you think you’ll need. Better safe than sorry.”

DO: Give everyone time off

Holidays are meant to be spent with people you love. Give everyone—temporary and permanent employees alike—a day off on the holiday or close to it. “If that’s just not possible,” Groeger says, “offer to invite your employee’s family in for dinner and let them enjoy a meal together.”