A job is a job, whether it’s temporary or permanent. Employers who hire seasonal workers look for the same qualities they seek when hiring long-term employees. Attitude, professionalism, and a good work ethic are all crucial in landing a job. Hiring seasonal employees is fairly similar to hiring anyone else, and you can normally expect the usual set of interview questions. However, at the same time, there are a few key differences that separate seasonal and permanent positions and the same inevitable questions for temporary jobs will always creep up.

Why are you in the market for temporary employment?

This question will almost definitely come up in every interview you undertake for temporary work and you shouldn’t be put off by the employer’s frankness at asking it. Make sure you develop a convincing answer avoiding any responses that may tend to make you sound less than reliable.

Are there any gaps in your résumé?

Gaps are a standard thing in even the most experienced CV’s and they arise for numerous reasons which employers understand. However, a lot of seasonal workers look for jobs cyclically with the idea to try and make extra money around the holidays and if they are previously familiar with temporary employment. The point to stress is that seasonal employees need to be reliable. No-one wants to be stuck with inadequate staffing. You will be asked to explain any CV gaps. Be honest, as a recruiter or employer will immediately see through you if you aren’t. They will notice the gaps and chase you on the dates from the offset so be honest from the beginning, highlighting why and how the gaps arose and emphasising your ability and reliability towards the job.

Choose responses that pinpoint your professionalism.

Employers are looking for the candidates most likely to get up to speed quickly with little or no difficulty. Act as professionally as you would if applying for a permanent, career-enhancing position, and don’t be shy about highlighting your experience. Some people have a tendency to overlook and under prepare for temporary or seasonal jobs.

Clearly outline your level of schedule flexibility.

Hospitality and Retail are the main sources of seasonal employment and are often the most demanding, customer focused and fast paced jobs possible. They require constant customer communication, thus flexibility is imperative considering the influx of customers throughout the extended busy period and how all types of consumers need to be catered too. Often when hiring, the employer will give a guideline of the rough hours of work, most commonly being evening and weekends. If you cannot adhere to these, or have very little flexibility it is not worth your time. What employers want is someone who is either fully flexible or able to abide by the agreed hours. Not being honest will only lead to contention down the line and a bad rapport between you and employer.

Use examples that demonstrate your ability to learn quickly.

Job seekers who can easily adjust to new work environments and swiftly get up to speed in an unfamiliar setting are exactly what employers are looking for. In your interview answers, choose past experiences and scenarios that illustrate this and your instant adaptability and ability to the job.

Long term availability

Temporary work, for the most part is for a fixed term and like name suggests, is just temporary. However, there is often a possibility that particularly promising temp staff may be offered permanent positions after the busier period cools down. Most temps would be enthused at the possibility of a long term and permanent job. Subtly skew your answers to this in the interview if you feel that the interviewer would be receptive towards these. However, remember that for the majority of the time, temporary work will only be for the agreed period.