'Holiday season good time for temp jobs'

Many retailers are increasing their number of hires during the holiday season, said the president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Metro Atlanta, Athens and Northeast Georgia.

Fred Elsberry, Jr., said, the Los Angeles Times reported that retailers are looking for more seasonal employees for the coming holidays than in previous years; that Toys "R" Us is hiring 45,000 holiday employees, while other retailers are increasing their seasonal staffs about 30 percent more than in 2009.

The outsourcing firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., reported that as many as 600,000 people are expected to be hired for the holidays this year, Elsberry said.

"The holiday season will create a much-welcome bump in the number of job openings, particularly in the retail and restaurant industries," said Elsberry, in a prepared statement. "While the jobs are usually temporary, this is great news for struggling families and people who have had problems finding work."

Dottie Callina, a spokesperson for the local BBB, said it's pretty typical for retailers to hire extra employees during the holiday season, though she said she did not know why retailers are hiring more this holiday season, than in the past.

"It's the busiest time of the year for retailers starting now, until [a] little bit past New Year's [Day]," said Callina, during a phone interview.

Fred Elsberry added that, individuals looking for a job this holiday season should start their job search early. Retail, shipping, restaurant and catering companies commonly seek seasonal employees, he said.

"Now is the time for job hunters to determine which job suits them best, identify companies they'd like to work for, and then begin submitting applications and resumes," said Elsberry.

He said job hunters should seek employment in places where they shop, or frequent. This is because individuals may be more familiar with the company and its products. If the employee is hired, he or she may find that the company offers discounts to its workers, which grants significant savings for Christmas shopping, he said.

"Discounts can range from [20 to 40] percent for seasonal employees," said the local BBB president and CEO. He said job hunters should always dress to impress, even if they are only picking up applications at stores, and be prepared for an interview.

They should also be familiar with the company's brand, as well as its product, said Elsberry. "Retail job hunters, in particular, need to focus on impressing potential employers with their customer-service skills — which is a must when dealing with stressed-out shoppers, long check-out lines and day-after-Christmas returns," he said.

When hired as a seasonal employee, individuals should be prepared to work inconvenient shifts, which include working on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

"If this is a second job, in addition to your day job, be upfront and clear with your new employer about your available hours," Elsberry said.

For more consumer information during the holidays, visit www.bbb.org/us/consumer-tips-holiday.