The words Black Friday can send a chill up the spine of any regular retail worker. As a former mall employee myself, I have a few stories that could make you cringe. But, I worked with people who saw that seasonal job as a lifeline. I can imagine that will be the case for an untold number of families this year.
The good news is that, according to the National Retail Federation, retail sales are expected to increase 2.8 percent this holiday season. This means more retail jobs in a time of high unemployment numbers. According to a release from the retail organization, stores are expected to hire approximately 500,000 seasonal workers this year.
The bad news is that con artists will be using the opportunity to get your personal information or money by posting fake employment ads, and competition will be fierce for the genuine jobs that are available.
Better Business Bureau recommends researching potential employers before applying. Once you see that a job offer is legitimate, apply early and prepare for the interview.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to avoid scams and increase your chance of landing a seasonal job:
- Do research ahead of time. Figure out what job suits you best and then identify companies you would like to work for. Check with bbb.org to find trustworthy companies that might be hiring seasonal staff. Many companies direct applicants to their website to apply for a job, so make sure to apply there instead of through a third party Internet site.
- Be suspicious of “too good to be true” job offers. Many consumers use sites like Craigslist to search for local job openings. Unfortunately, scammers flock to these sites, posting job scams aimed at stealing money or the identities of job seekers. Never pay for a background check, a job application or for anything else before you are hired.
- Work where you shop. Employers want applicants who know their products well. So, if you shop at certain stores frequently, chances are you know a lot about the company and the merchandise it sells. This will make you an attractive choice because the company won’t have to spend as much time and money training you.
- Be available and flexible. Holiday hiring managers are drawn to candidates who will be available and have a flexible schedule. Seasonal employees will likely find themselves working long, sometimes inconvenient hours and even holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.
- Put your best foot forward. Job hunters need to dress their best and be prepared for the interview. This includes being familiar with the company’s brand and its products. Retail job hunters in particular need to focus on impressing potential employers with their customer service skill set — which is a must when dealing with stressed-out shoppers, long check-out lines and day-after-Christmas returns.
Have you ever had a seasonal job? Share your stories with us!