Recruiting, Talent

Seasonal Hiring: How Background Screening Can Save Companies Money this Holiday Season

The short holiday shopping season (totaling 25 and 31 days each year) often creates a seasonal labor hiring crunch for retailers. This year, companies are already trying to speed seasonal hiring efforts by setting up recruiting events that offer faster than average hiring timelines – even offering applicants jobs the same day they apply.


Facing supply chain issues, the rising cost of goods and a challenging labor market, retailers may try to hire and onboard seasonal workers faster than usual by skimping on background checks. This makes it easier for a bad elf to enter the workshop – resulting in costly risks for companies.

However, organizations can reduce risks and costs associated with a bad hire by improving three key processes that streamline hiring without sacrificing safety.

Pre-Employment Background Checks  

Insider theft is one of the most common operational risks during the holiday season. Thirty-two million dollars in cash and stolen goods were recovered from over 26,000 dishonest employees in 2020, according to an international loss prevention/shrinkage control consultant. In addition to stealing from Santa’s workshop, a bad hire can result in a toxic company culture during the most wonderful time of the year.

According to the Department of Labor, a bad hire can cost a company more than 30% of the employee’s earnings. As the cost per hire continues to rise and turnover continues to be high, employers must hire the right people the first time around since there isn’t the time (or money) to waste replacing bad hires.

Comprehensive background checks, including criminal records and credit reports, are an integral piece to any successful pre-employment strategy. Most comprehensive background checks can be completed in less than 48 hours, so retailers can staff up quickly while still offering timely responses to candidates.

Drug Tests

According to Quit Genius, lost productivity resulting from a substance abuse disorder costs employers $25.5 billion overall annually, and employees with multiple addictions can cost employers between $16,000 – $21,000 annually, almost three times more than those with no underlying drug or alcohol issues.

One of the best ways to determine if an applicant is struggling with a substance abuse issue is to conduct pre-employment drug testing; then continue routine testing per the organization’s drug-free workplace plan. Instant or rapid drug tests provide accurate results in minutes at the point of collection and are more private and convenient for applicants or employees.

By choosing a drug screening provider that has earned a Consortium/Third-Party Administrator accreditation, organizations can work with the provider to determine which type of drug testing method is best for them.

Cybersecurity Offboarding

Research from Adobe Digital Insights shows holiday e-commerce will hit a record $107 billion this year. Employees who use their corporate emails or passwords for seasonal shopping put their companies at an increased risk for potential cyber breaches and phishing scams.

Beyond phishing attempts of current employees, it’s crucial to securely offboard seasonal employees. These temporary workers need to be removed from all company applications, networks, and devices they’ve used to keep systems secure and intact. If not securely offboarded, former seasonal employees can still access company systems and internal data. Large retailers who hire hundreds of thousands of seasonal workers in a short amount of time may have difficulty keeping track of minimum access rights and security privileges – and only 15% of organizations are confident in their access control program.

The supply and labor shortage is predicted to stretch past the holiday season into next year, so streamlining hiring processes will ensure retailers remain competitive if the coronavirus continues to change traditional business operation models. Having a comprehensive onboarding and offboarding process helps companies ensure they are seizing top talent this holiday season and reducing costly risks afterward.

RJ Frasca is Vice President of Marketing and Product at EBI Inc., a leading background screening provider. Frasca brings over 20 years of marketing and product experience with companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Time Warner, and Verizon.

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