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Hiring Seasonal Employees? Here's Why You Should Screen Them.
Mariah Barr
8 mins read
Hiring Seasonal Employees? Here's Why You Should Screen Them.

Summer 2024 is almost here, which means seasonal businesses will be ramping up their workforces. Think farms and orchards, amusement parks, landscaping companies, construction sites, golf courses — the list goes on. 

Some businesses hire the same seasonal workers year after year, while others hire new people each year, or a combination of new and old. For college kids, a summer job is an annual rite of passage. For other seasonal workers, the gig might supplement a full-time job.

Of course, summer isn't the only time we see an uptick in seasonal employment. During the winter, ski resorts see their workforces expand dramatically. Retailers hire extra people between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, and more commercial drivers are needed to complete deliveries during the holiday season. 

Given the temporary nature of these positions, it's easy to think background checks are unnecessary. But nothing could be further from the truth. The way a seasonal business screens its temporary workforce shouldn't be any different from the way an organization that operates year-round conducts its background screens.

Disagree? Consider the following points... 

Seasonal businesses face the same hiring risks that organizations operating year-round do.

All businesses need productive and responsible employees to be successful. In fact, the cost of a bad hire can adversely affect your workforce — and your bottom line.

With a seasonal business, however, it's easy to think, "I'm only in business four to six months out of the year. I have to maximize profits. I can't afford to do background checks." But honestly, you can't afford not to. Think about it: If you make a critical hiring mistake, you have even less time to recover (plus, you'll have to fill that position all over again).

For example, if you hire someone with a history of pinching cash from the register, the damage that person could wreak on your seasonal business would be even more catastrophic because you have fewer months to recoup those losses. (And itchy fingers don't simply take cash — they also steal products: Employee theft was the second-biggest source of inventory shrinkage in 2018.)

Or consider this scenario: If you hire someone who uses controlled substances, they might end up regularly missing work, which would affect productivity and, ultimately, your bottom line. This is an especially serious offense if they drive commercial vehicles for your business

Don't Stress About DOT-Compliant Drug Testing

Rescreening is necessary, even if you rehire the same people each year.

If you operate a seasonal business and you already screen new employees, congrats! But you also need to rescreen anyone you re-hire from the previous year.

Think about it realistically. They worked for you a year ago for four to six months. What have they been doing for the last six to nine months? A lot can happen in half a year — car accidents, substance use, and even poor behavior on social media. Sure, most of your former employees will probably sail through the re-screening process without any issues. But if a bad hire slips through, that person could cost your business. 

Seasonal businesses should take advantage of contemporary screenings as well.

A seasonal business might think a criminal background check is the only screening it needs to do. But just as we've been educating companies that operate year-round that a criminal background check isn't enough in the Age of Social Media, we'd give the same advice to seasonal enterprises as well.

Social media screening, in particular, is especially important given the influx of Millennials and Gen Z into the workforce. Everyone spends so much of their lives online, where "bad egg" behaviors (such as racist language) can flourish. Every workforce — even a temporary one — deserves better. A compliant social media screening can flag the bad eggs so you can avoid hiring them in the first place.

Remember, your employees represent your company. You want to ensure that you have the best face on your brand (especially since seasonal workers often interact with the public). Social media screening supports this endeavor. 

Run Social Media Background Checks to  Ensure You Hire Ethical Employees

Drug testing is also important. This is especially true for businesses that employ younger people and/or people who operate machinery or are responsible for people's safety. (Think amusement parks or construction sites.) The last thing any project needs is a bulldozer operator who's under the influence.

If you own a seasonal business and currently conduct background checks, here are three tips to keep in mind.

Tip #1: Compliance still matters! Considering you're likely moving quickly to get people screened and hired, you should work with a background screening partner that's fast, efficient, accurate, and knows the ins and outs of compliance.

Why? Laws can change. During the off-season, you might miss a new regulation that could affect your hiring process in the upcoming season. Your once-compliant screening might no longer be compliant. A good partner will keep track of compliance issues so you can always have peace of mind.

Tip #2: As we noted earlier, seasonal businesses aren't the only ones that hire temporary workers. Plenty of other types of businesses hire temporary employees from time to time as well. Something for your HR department to investigate: Your organization might have customer contracts that require everyone working for the company (full-time, part-time, temporary, or even unpaid internships) to go through a background check.

Tip #3: Many smaller seasonal businesses (such as your local ice cream stand) hire high school kids and college students. Many states have determined that minors are not capable of consenting to background checks. "The age of majority" varies by state, but a best practice is to always require parental consent for background checks on anyone under 18. Note: In a few states, individuals 18 and older are still considered minors (e.g., under 19; under 21). 

Rely on a Seasonal Employee Background Check Partner this Summer

When you need all of the above in a background screening partner, you need to work with Foley. Our comprehensive suite of background checks can be customized to your business's exact hiring needs, whether you're taking on temporary landscapers or full-time drivers and equipment operators. 

Not sure what screens you need? Talk to one of our background check specialists by clicking here or filling out the form below. The Foley team is ready to help you ramp up for the summer season and year-round.

Fill out this form and a member of our team will reach out shorty.

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Whether you’re looking for a quick background check, or a comprehensive DOT compliance solution, Foley can help.