Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Seasonal Hiring: Four Ways to be More Intentional About Employee Selection

September 30, 2014 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

As the winter holidays approach, retailers and other sectors are quickly gearing up to hire seasonal staff, and this year’s holiday season is projected to be one of the biggest hiring events in nearly 15 years. According to a recent report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the U.S. retail sector alone has plans to hire more than 800,000 seasonal workers – more than any holiday season since 1999.

While great news for the economy, it also creates an opportunity for hiring managers and leaders, who will be working harder than ever to recruit, hire, onboard, and train a significant number of new employees in a relatively short timespan. The risk, of course, is that this fast-paced recruiting environment can result in taking shortcuts in the hiring process – an all-too-common mistake that can undermine productivity, frustrate customers, and very possibly create a negative and lasting impact on a company culture.

At Disney, we have conducted these types of large seasonal hiring events throughout our parks and resorts. What have we learned? The key to our success lies in paying attention to those details in our employee selection (hiring) process that ensure we hire people who are the right fit our culture.

So, what does this look like? Here are four ways any organization can be intentional about hiring exemplary employees:

  • Look at your organization’s very best employees and write down all of the skills and behaviors they demonstrate on the job. Use those specific skills and behaviors when writing the job descriptions.
  • In the job description, use verbiage that genuinely reflects the specific values in your organization, such as “The ideal candidate will maintain a positive attitude under pressure” or “will collaborate effectively with others to produce results.”
  • Create behaviorally focused questions based on realistic on-the-job scenarios to be used as a part of the interview process (e.g., What would you do if a customer wants to buy a T-shirt in a size that is not immediately available in the shop?)
  • Include questions that deliberately test for cultural values. Specifically listen for these values and then probe for understanding. (e.g., “You mentioned ‘greeting each and every customer’ several times in your response, can you explain what makes this so important to you?”)

Want to learn more? Our professional development training course, Disney’s Approach to Employee Engagement, offers more insights from our time-tested business practices to help you attract, train, and retain the very best people who will excel within your company culture.

What are some other ways your organization hires intentionally for your culture? 

We’d love to hear from you! 
Post your response below, or respond to us on Facebook or Twitter using Hashtag #DThinkBlog.

For nearly three decades, Disney Institute has provided engaging and insightful learning opportunities for business professionals and organizations, teaching them the Disney approach to business….focusing on Service, Leadership, Culture, Brand Loyalty, Creativity and Innovation. To learn more about how you can attend an upcoming course, see our full Course Calendar. Not sure which course is best for you? Try our Course Recommender


Disney Institute is ready to help you apply strategic rigor to your customer experience efforts - call us at 321.939.4600 or complete our Contact Form

Posted in Employee Engagement | Tagged Employee Selection, Seasonal Hiring, Employee Hiring, Employee Recruiting, Recruiting, Hiring, Selection, Culture, Workplace Culture, Company Culture, Organizational Culture, Bruce Jones

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