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Get prepared for seasonal jobs

September 9, 2018

Q: I am planning to search for a seasonal job during the holidays and would like to know what type of questions or concerns employers may have when hiring?

A: Seasonal jobs can often be gateways to further opportunities, especially if you deliver excellent customer service and are reliable. Holiday jobs can be turning points for future opportunities by showing management your strengths and value during a busy season of the year.

To help you prepare, keep in mind the most important characteristic employers look for when staffing up for the holidays is a positive attitude. This attitude affects both your behavior and your performance, and often indicates great customer service skills.

The questions and concerns that most employers share when making hiring decisions usually relate to a mixture of skills combined with a willingness to serve. Getting a grasp on these areas beforehand will help you send a good impression during the interview and make you a stronger candidate.

Here are some characteristics and skills that employers look for in candidates:

Self-directed — Employers are concerned about candidates who lack the initiative to improve customer service or lack awareness of what needs to be done next. Highlight your willingness to add value when meeting with customers and staying busy by taking care of business.

Problem-solving — Employers are attracted to problem-solvers instead of those who complain. Complaining without a solution just gives the perception of a negative attitude.

People-centered — Most jobs during the holidays will involve working with people, so displaying good people skills is a must. Use your accomplishments to describe your customer service skills and helping coworkers as needed.

Motivated — Candidates will need to want to work hard. Seasonal jobs can be stressful with the amount of work in a short time span, so highlight your ability to multi-task and complete projects.

Taking ownership — Hiring managers seek candidates who take responsibility for their job, instead of looking to blame others. Emphasize your ability to find a solution rather than assigning fault.

Team player — Knowing how to work on a team is crucial during the holidays. Highlight your ability to work with others to accomplish goals.

Good time management — Seasonal jobs come at the busiest time of year and knowing how to manage time wisely is a sought-after skill. Never forget the employer’s No. 1 goal is to make a profit. Time equals money to a hiring manager.

Flexibility — The ability to remain flexible and adaptable to changing needs is of great concern to employers. Willingness to accommodate the employer’s needs will make you a top candidate during the holidays.

Kimberly Thompson is a board-certified counselor. Send questions to kim@careerrescue.com or Houston Chronicle, P.O. Box 4260, Houston, TX 77210. Visit her blog at www.blogs.chron.com/careerrescue.

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