Feature article

10 top tips on advertising your seasonal contract job

It’s time to start looking for valuable seasonal workers to help with the extra mahi needed over summer.

It’s that time of year when you’re starting to look for valuable seasonal workers to help your business with the extra mahi needed over the summer.

But how can you attract the best of the casual workers? What gets them excited and rushing to push the apply button on your Trade Me Jobs listing? We asked both casual workers and recruitment experts for their tips.

1. Stress that this is an opportunity to work lots and earn well

Most seasonal casual workers are looking for plenty of hours in their job this year so they can squirrel away some good savings. Many are students who only have a chance to work and earn intensively at certain times of the year. This means when they do have the opportunity, they want to work long hours to play catch up. Not all employers can offer a choice of hours, but if you can, this will appeal to many people considering casual seasonal work.

2. Describe the good community of people they’ll be working with

Any indication that they’ll be working with an interesting group of people who they’ll learn from and have fun with, is an incentive to a lot of casual job hunters. They’re not just doing this job for the money, but for the experiences they’ll have.

3. “Refer a mate” scheme

A number of employers and recruiters reward workers who bring in others to the job with them. It’s a win-win. They get to work alongside friends and receive a bonus for doing it. If you’re up for this, make this offer in your ad.

4. If the job is remote, highlight communal shelter and accommodation

If the season work is at a remote location, is there accommodation on offer and transport to work? This will be key in rural areas where a place to stay is not a given; or in towns like Queenstown where rental accommodation is scarce.

If your operation is in a remote location, are there also communal areas where staff can congregate and eat together? This can be a strong visual for job hunters.

5. On-site training can be a big pull

If your business offers on-the-job training, mention that in your Trade Me Jobs listing. This will send the message that those without a lot of experience should still feel free to apply and they’ll emerge with some skills. If there’s a good induction process at the company, this can appeal too.

6. Prove you’re a fair employer with a good reputation

Job hunters will want to know that you’re an employer who treats their staff well. Seasonal casual work tends to be quite intense and people want to know they’ll be well treated. You’ll ideally want to communicate that the pay is fair and that the payroll is professionally handled.

If your casual staff return year after year, that’s a sure sign that you’re a good employer, so if this is a case for you, that can be worth mentioning in your ad.

7. Talk about your company’s good communications

For seasonal work, like fruit picking, there can be unplanned breaks in the work due

to weather and resources. Some employers who use a casual workforce have a reputation for being a bit “ad hoc” about communicating when staff might take breaks. Talk about how you communicate, especially if you have a digital system. You’ll also want to flag in the ad what public holidays people will have off.

8. Mention possible career pathways

You may be an employer who sees casual workers as potential future permanent workers.

If you’re hoping that this casual worker might be more in the future, make it clear in the ad that there are pathways ahead if they want to jump to something more permanent in time.

9. No two days are the same

For the young, and the young at heart, the message that ‘no two days are the same’ really is appealing. Seasonal casual working can be pretty unrelenting, with no such thing as a weekend, so give clear examples of what the work might entail - from the interesting to the unglamorous.

10. Opportunities to work at the same time next year

If job hunters looking for seasonal casual workers know that, if they like it this year, there will be openings (for good performers) the following year, that makes for an attractive proposition.

Making a listing they’ll love

As you write your job ad, put yourself in a seasonal casual worker’s shoes as you think about what you’re trying to communicate.

For young people doing casual work, Emma Simpson, recruitment consultant from Extrastaff, says the appeal of these jobs is that it gives them an opportunity to try different industries without commitment.

“They can try it for a day and if they don’t like it they can be sent somewhere else,” she says. This appeals to young workers.

Nikki Manning-English, HR and recruitment adviser with Ultimate Care Group agrees. A seasonal casual job can be the inspiration they need for the direction of their careers, she says. Nikki has seen school workers start in casual work doing laundry and cleaning, then going on to become facility managers at the large company.

On the other side of the job journey, retirees Phil Burridge and his wife Sue, are regular seasonal casual workers for Cromwell-based cherry export company, 45 South. It employs over 600 casual workers every year and provides accommodation to some workers.

The Burridges, who live in Timaru, bring their own caravan and special skills to the cherry picking process, (shooting stoats and tea-making), aren’t doing it for the money. They look forward to it each year and it’s all about meeting people.

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