Using Skills Testing to Expedite Seasonal Hires
Posted by Eric Friedman
For many companies, the holiday season is a time of high demand and increased workload. Near the end of October, companies begin looking for temporary workers to meet this demand. The positions available to seasonal workers span retail positions, marketing and design, photography, and tourism. These seasonal workers are hired to help companies reach more people and to serve them better during the holiday spending boom.
Currently, most seasonal hiring is for behind-the-scenes positions. According to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, “it used to be that the bulk of holiday hires would be in customer-facing positions on the sales floor and behind the cash register. These extra workers would also help pick up the slack in the backroom, helping to receive and stock increased deliveries. Now, as more and more shopping is completed online, the holiday hiring is shifting away from stores and into the warehouses.”
Online retailer Amazon announced its plans to hire 100,000 people for the holidays, a 25% increase from last year. More online shopping means that companies are looking to hire seasonal workers with a certain set of skills that set them above their competition. Additionally, companies have to find and train qualified candidates quickly so they can hit the ground running once they’re hired.
The boom in seasonal hiring means companies can’t afford to waste any time; their recruiting, hiring, and training process must be fast and effective. Although the process for filling a regular full-time position can take longer, for seasonal workers it has to be done fast and well – there’s no time to waste since these employees will be working for only a few short months.
Skills assessments can help companies find the seasonal workers with the right skills to meet the holiday rush. Candidates with proven skills are more likely to start performing effectively right away, which means less time for onboarding and training.
On the front end, pre-employment testing can help companies to narrow down the candidate pool to those with proven skills for the job. Instead of depending on a resume and an interview, which can be subjective and less reliable, hiring managers can administer skills assessment tests, tally the results, and pick the candidates with the highest scores. In this way the chosen candidates have demonstrated their expertise and can start working sooner with less training.
When training is necessary, skills assessments can also serve as an effective tool for more efficient training. Once the seasonal workers are hired, skills assessments can help companies get them ready and producing in a shorter timeframe.
Through skills assessments, companies can determine the level of training that workers need and adjust their workflow accordingly. For instance, a worker who achieves a high score on a skills-assessment test will likely start performing well without much training. The company can save time (and money) by figuring out how much the incoming workers actually know to determine how much training they will actually need.
With this skills-gap analysis, companies can optimize training to cover the topics that the seasonal workers need to master. This reduces the time to reach maximum productivity among workers, which is critical for achieving the company’s short-term seasonal goals.
For companies that depend on seasonal workers, skills assessments can be an invaluable tool in determining which candidates have the necessary skills and how much training they need. With a quick turnaround time, it’s crucial to streamline the training process and get workers producing.
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Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of Web-based skills testing for pre-employment and training. With academic degrees in Psychology and Business, and experience with both mature and expansion-stage company growth, Eric has focused on how best to hire and motivate team members to be the best they can be for their companies.