Tip of the Week: Hiring for the Holidays

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Retailers are the most common companies that come to mind when the topic of seasonal workers comes up. However, other industries like shipping and receiving, e-commerce warehouses, and the postal service are all affected by the holiday hiring season. Even the food industry, depending on what product is being produced, will hire extra hands to meet seasonal demands. Here are tips your facility might want to consider when hiring temporary employees.

Every employer has the obligation to exercise due diligence in hiring. Due diligence includes running a background check and checking credentials. Far too often applicants lie on their application form and fool the employer. Don’t fall victim to this criminal behavior. Strong evidence suggests that if a person lied their way into a job, they will be dishonest while working on the job.

Another way to perform good due diligence is to watch for red flags on the application:

  1. Does not sign application
  2. Does not sign release
  3. Leaves criminal questions blank when asked
  4. Self-reports offense
  5. Fails to identify past employers
  6. Fails to identify past supervisors
  7. Fails to explain why left past jobs
  8. Doesn’t explain employment gaps
  9. Makes explanations for employment gaps or leaving past jobs that do not make sense
  10. Makes excessive cross-outs and changes

Seasonal hiring can be a stressful task for any company especially with the number of people needed to be hired in a short amount of time. But this isn’t an excuse for not following existing hiring practices. Each hire represents a potential legal and financial nightmare if the wrong individual is brought on board. If not properly trained these employees could accidentally cause food safety issues that could lead to recalls and loss of consumer trust.

There have been cases of seasonal workers contracted to hire by a third-party vendor. The food production company then trusts that the vendor has complied with standard hiring procedures including background checks. It’s important to ask questions, raise awareness, and if uncertain establish protocol. At a minimum, food facilities should periodically audit the hiring agency's programs. Food facilities also have a unique factor when hiring seasonal workers. If these employees fill a function in the facility that is tied to FSMA, then they must be qualified for that position or role. Additionally, they must be trained in basic GMPs and food defense awareness. Food facilities must provide food safety training for any temporary or contract employees when regulations require.

Finding talented seasonal employees with the right skill set can be difficult. These individuals will represent your company and product quality during the busiest holiday time, so make sure to give detailed attention to the hiring process.

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