By Barry Sloane

Even though we’re partway into summer, small businesses may be finding they need to bring in some summertime help. But before just running out and hiring someone, businesses should take the time to prepare wisely and find the right kind of hire. With a plan in place, small businesses can experience significant growth in revenues and operations from summer employees—without a lot of hassle and aggravation.

Before You Hire

Planning is key. Even though it’s a temporary job, it’s still important for small businesses to put together a job description, just as they would for any other position in the business. Identifying precisely what they want a summer employee to be doing will help them mobilize the new hire. If the temporary job is likely to entail a variety of responsibilities, businesses should include those responsibilities with as much detail as possible in the written job description.

From there, small businesses should determine how many hours per week they’ll probably need these employees. If there’s any doubt about the number of hours needed, businesses should consider hiring a part-time employee and adding hours to his or her schedule as the need arises.

It’s important for employers to be aware of the minimum wage in their area. Pay rates can vary by state, city or region. Getting caught offering less than a competitive wage for temporary workers could spread among job-seekers and the qualified candidate pool will quickly dry up.

Focused Recruitment Effort

Businesses should envision the type of worker they want as a summer employee. Plenty of young people are looking for temporary work, and that’s always a good place to start. One option is for employers to contact high-school guidance counselors and campus career centers. Once there, they should be able to describe the open position and the kinds of skills they’re looking for and ask the counselors to share this information with their most reliable and talented students.

Older and retired workers are another source of potentially ideal summer employees. Many men and women over 55 are among today’s long-term unemployed, so even those with considerable skill and experience could be interested in a short-term position in your business.

Young or old, the best workers are ones with longer-term potential. When deliberating over possible candidates, small businesses should focus on those qualities which might translate into a full-time hire once the summer is over. Unlike someone brought on for the first time, a summer employee who transitions to full-time status has already demonstrated his or her value and they’re familiar with your business.

In recruitment materials, small businesses should emphasize the best qualities of the workplace environment. Temporary employees are drawn to a business where it’s fun to work, just as much as any full-time candidate would.

On the Job

Once a new hire comes on board, small businesses need to take care of the necessary paperwork. When the season’s over, most temporary employees move on and become difficult to track down. Finding them for additional tax forms can be difficult if necessary at the end of the fiscal year. Getting this paperwork out of the way eliminates an unwelcome nuisance later on.

Businesses should also be prepared to set aside a reasonable amount of time for training and orientation. Even the best new hires need some help to hit the ground running. Briefing new employees on policies and procedures is necessary, but it’s particularly essential on all aspects of the business that affect customer service. One misstep by an uninformed or poorly trained temporary employee can impact the bottom line. On the other hand, a dedicated and reliable summer employee will help keep a business thriving during the long summer months.

Barry Sloane is president of Newtek. For more information go to