Hiring extra staff for Christmas doesn’t have to be an annual nightmare

Liverpool-based HR consultant Peter Waller-Flynn offers invaluable advice to firms looking to hire season staff without going through a long, drawn-out recruitment process

Peter Waller-Flynn, co-founder of Liverpool-based HR consultancy, PrivilegeHR. Picture by Gareth Jones


Christmas is coming and for many small and medium-sized firms, particularly in the hospitality sector, this time of year means hiring extra staff.

Hotels, restaurants, bars and caterers can experience an unprecedented spike in recruitment during the winter months as customer demand soars.

Taking on staff, be it permanent or temporary, is much more of a bureaucratic chore than it used to be and will cost time and money. It is no wonder many bosses will dread starting that festive recruitment process.

Peter Waller-Flynn, an experienced HR professional and co-founder of new Liverpool-based HR consultancy, PrivilegeHR, says the process can go smoothly if you plan properly and follow a few straightforward steps.

He offers the following advice:

  • Right attitude – more than a quarter of people who work in hospitality are under 21 and young people often apply looking for vital experience. It is important to identify those with a hard-working ethos as they may end up saving you the time of hiring permanent staff in the future.
  • Be clear – people apply for seasonal work for different reasons. Some just seek flexibility and a short-term job but others may be hoping the role leads to permanent work. To avoid disappointment or confusion be clear on the arrangement from the start of the process.
  • Start now – the quicker you get the advert out asking for candidates the better the head start you will have as the volume of applications is likely to be high and the process can be long.
  • Recruitment daysinstead of traditional interview methods, employers could consider holding assessment centres or recruitment days, which often see a large number of potential employees attending an interactive session over the course of a full or half day. This is a great way to see how candidates work around others.
  • Pay planning – around 86% of hospitality employees are paid by the hour which equates to more paperwork. There are a number of payroll methods that can offer a cost-effective way to ensure that payments are received on time and sick pay and holidays are dealt with accordingly.

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