WARREN - Retailers nationwide are stocking their stores with more than just merchandise for the holiday season.
Nationwide, retailers are expected to hire 585,000 to 625,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, according to estimates by the National Retail Federation.
At least one nationwide human resources survey indicated this year could be the highest numbers of seasonal hiring the U.S. has had in recent years. The study conducted in late summer by CareerBuilder, a human resources expert, showed that 36 percent of retailers plan to have extra hands on deck around the holidays this year, compared to only 29 percent in 2011.
"An increase in consumer confidence is helping to fuel the best seasonal hiring the U.S. has seen in recent years," said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. "While the bulk of seasonal recruitment falls within the retail space, companies across industries are hiring for a wide range of positions to support their business operations as they wrap up the year."
All indications nationally are that companies are hiring more and paying more.
Officials at Things Remembered Fulfillment Center in North Jackson, a big local seasonal employer, were expecting to follow that trend with expectations to hire more seasonal workers this year than in 2011.
It might not be too late to land one of those seasonal retail jobs. The Better Business Bureau of Youngstown offered these tips to help land a seasonal job:
Do research ahead of time. Find out which companies are offering seasonal employment opportunities, and whether that would be a place you would like to work. Go to youngstown.bbb.org to find additional information on the company, including consumer complaints about the company and other details.
Be suspicious of "too good to be true" job offers that could be fake. Never give your personal information without thoroughly researching the company first.
Work where you shop. Employers want applicants that know their products well. So, if you frequently shop at certain stores, chances are you know a lot about the company and the merchandise they sell. This will make you an attractive choice because they may not 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, inconvenient hours and often on 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 shoppers, long check-out lines and holiday returns.
Source: Better Business Bureau
The North Jackson warehouse, distribution and call center is the only fulfillment center for the nationwide retailer known for engraving and personalized gifts.
Things Remembered Human Resources Generalist Barbara Neiswanger said the company began hiring seasonal help in September and was still completing those hires in recent weeks. Overall the company was hoping to add about 250 holiday season employees.
''They will work until after Christmas and January," Neiswanger said. ''There is a short layoff, and then we start bringing people back in March for a March-to-July period."
Neiswanger said the spring-summer employment covers the company's second-largest sales period, the spring gift-giving season for things like graduations, Mother's Day and Father's Day and weddings.
While Neiswanger said the seasonal work can provide a good opportunity for a secondary or a primary job, the company does look to the seasonal workers to recall for the next season or to retain for permanent positions when needed.
On the retail end, more than 600 Things Remembered stores nationwide and in Canada also are adding seasonal help, but that is done at each individual location.
Seasonal help is also on the rise at other retailers around the area and across the nation.
Niles Best Buy General Manager Ryan Molish said his store, likewise, has been hiring seasonal help and in fact, still has some positions left to fill.
Molish declined to say how many employees the store is adding, but said it falls into corporate guidelines set by the company. Each new and existing employee undergoes extensive training on the electronic gadgets and products so they are ready and knowledgeable to help the customers once the rush begins.