October 26, 2007
Hiring for the holidays has already begun
Special to The Seattle Times
BETTY UDESEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Robin Young needed extra spending money during her winter vacation, so at 16 years old she took a holiday job at jewelry store Something Silver in Portland.
Ten years later, after working for the company during breaks from school, she's the manager of the Seattle-based chain's store at Bellevue Square.
She describes her job as a career she loves.
"I like working with people and I love jewelry," said Young, now 26. "This combines both of them."
Now it's her turn to do the hiring. Something Silver, along with dozens of companies across the Puget Sound region, is on the hunt for temporary workers to supplement its permanent staff during the bustling holiday season, usually described as early October through early January.
Not only do traditional retail stores look for seasonal workers, many other businesses do, too.
Holiday entertaining increases the demand for people to work for caterers, restaurants, bakeries and housecleaners.
The need for pizza deliverers also increases, as more people stay at home because of the dark, cold and wet weather.
Something Silver has already started looking for full- and part-time workers and expects to hire up to 12 additional employees for each of its three Seattle locations.
Workers will make $9 to $11 an hour and don't need formal training or sales experience to nab the job, said Laura Alvarez, manager of Something Silver's downtown Seattle store.
In fact, while experience is appreciated, Alvarez said it's sometimes easier for the store to train people who don't have previous experience at other retailers.
"The type of people we really look for are energetic people that aren't afraid to strike up a conversation with strangers," said Alvarez.
And their chances of getting hired on permanently? Pretty high.
Young is not a special case – many of the managers scattered throughout Something Silver's 10 stores in three states are employees who got their foot in the door through seasonal jobs.
"If you apply yourself, chances are they will hire you," Alvarez said. "No one ever gets rid of a good employee."
Jeff Altchech, president of Seattle-based staffing company Temporarily Yours, is used to seeing temporary workers snatched up after wowing companies with good work.
He advocates it as the best way to get a job, far better "than sitting back and sending out résumés over the Internet."
"Your chances are so much better at landing a job you might like," he said.
Of course, a bevy of seasonal retail positions are available, usually ranging in pay from about $8.50 to $15 an hour.
An advantage for job seekers is that most seasonal positions don't require experience and you will be trained on the job.
A drawback for employers is finding people who are reliable and available to work through the holidays, said Andy Warren, director of operations for Something Silver.
College students, for example, aren't always the best choice because they want to leave town for the holidays unless they live locally.
That's why the company tries to find people who already have permanent jobs and are looking to supplement their income – teachers, for example.
"Some years it's easier to find people than others," said Warren.
Some jobs can go fast.
Each holiday season, Half-Price Books on Capitol Hill hires three additional employees to cover the three-month rush and is able to quickly fill all of them, said Brian Thompson, assistant manager of the store.
"We have a lot of people applying for the job," he said. "It's a good place to work."
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