Should You Do Background Checks on Seasonal Employees?

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Posted by: David Garcia February 10, 2023

Whether it’s summertime or the holidays, many industries experience an influx in demand at specific times of the year. 

If you’re a business owner who thrives during peak season, you may have already been planning to increase your hiring in the coming months.

Bringing onboard seasonal employees lets you tap into a highly motivated workforce, exceed business goals, and save on payroll costs by limiting overtime for your current staff. 

But hiring temp workers comes with some challenges. Without the proper background checks, you’re at risk of potential employee theft, fraud, and customer complaints. 

This guide covers everything you need to know about running background checks on seasonal workers, including their benefits and best practices to do them efficiently. 

Industries That May Hire Seasonal Employees

Many sectors have their ebbs and flow throughout the year. Knowing if your organization falls into one of the top industries that hire seasonal employees can help you plan for an efficient recruitment drive. 


The holidays are the busiest times for retailers. They need extra help to provide exceptional customer service, stock shelves, manage the increased workforce, etc. Even pop-up businesses that sell Halloween or event-specific products may need temporary staff.

Some retail businesses hire brand ambassadors during the peak season to spread the word about their products or hand out coupons or free samples while building customer relationships. 


The Postal Service’s peak mailing season is typically between November and January when more consumers send gifts to loved ones or have online items delivered. Postal companies rush to fill numerous jobs for supplemental delivery drivers, factory shift workers, mail processing workers, and even administrative roles. 


The hospitality sector operates in cycles based on the climate of the location and the timing of school calendars and holidays. Whether it’s summer vacations, work functions, or winter season celebrations, an increase in food, beverage, and hotel bookings calls for more help in hospitality-centric businesses. 

Why Are Background Checks Important When Hiring Seasonal Employees?

Seasonal employees only stick around for six months or less. Their temporary status may tempt you to shortcut the screening process to bring them on board quickly. Unfortunately, this is a huge mistake. Performing background checks on temporary workers not only reduces hiring risks but also improves workplace performance.

Theft and Fraud 

Seasonal workers don’t have a long-term relationship with their employers, making them more likely to commit fraud and theft. Nearly 20% of job applicants for retail were at high risk of stealing from their employers.

It’s vital to run background checks on seasonal employees to ensure they don’t have a criminal background, especially with violence, fraud, or theft. Additionally, you may require that applicants complete a drug screen test.

Pre-employment screening helps you make an informed hiring decision about whether the prospective candidate is suitable for the job.

Potential for Permanent Role

High-performing seasonal employees may prove worthy of a full-time or permanent position. If you take the time to vet out the seasonal applicants properly the first time around, you’ll be able to be more efficient in your hiring process.

Background checks let you check previous employment history, social media presence, and criminal background. Hiring can be tiring, but screening lets you find skilled and trustworthy candidates who fit your company culture. 

Better Hiring, Better Business

Background checks give a complete picture of who you’re employing. It allows you to consider any past convictions that could affect your decision-making.

Vetting candidates will allow you to find seasonal workers who exhibit exemplary customer service and the skills required for the job. The better your hiring process is, the more customers you can retain, which leads to the future growth of your business.  

Tips for Background Checks When Hiring Seasonal Employees

Background checks can offer peace of mind and protection for employers. However, you’ll need to ensure you run the background checks properly to avoid legal consequences. 

Know the Laws Governing Background Checks 

Local, federal, and state laws regulate background checks to ensure employers provide a fair hiring process for candidates. Employers must comply with anti-discrimination laws, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, and local screening regulations like the Ban the Box laws

Give Candidates Proper Notice 

If you reject a potential candidate based on information from the background check, you must send them an adverse action notice. According to the FTC, this notice must include information from the consumer report used against the applicant. The adverse action letter must include the background check company’s contact information and inform the candidate about their rights to dispute the completeness or accuracy of the report.

Outsource Background Checks to a Third Party

Outsourcing background checks to third-party companies saves time since you won’t have to call on their previous employers yourself. Furthermore, a professional screening ensures that everything is compliant with the law, preventing the likelihood of legal disputes. 

Background checks like the ones we conduct at ScoutLogic verify the following: 

  • Criminal records: Keep your customers, employees, and workplace safe by checking country, federal, and international criminal records. 
  • Employment history: Validate the legitimacy of the candidate’s resume application by verifying their previous employment history. 
  • Education verifications: Verify their course of study, degrees received, and dates of attendance. 
  • Motor vehicle records: Screen their driving record over the last three to seven years for any major accidents, especially for delivery or logistics-related positions. 
  • Credit checks: Money-related positions may want to receive insight into the applicant’s credit and lending history. 
  • Drug and alcohol screening: Receive drug test results from reputable lab-based testing methods. 

Seasonal Hiring Is Easier Than Ever With the Help of ScoutLogic

A hectic peak season can leave business owners scrambling during their hiring process. Screening ensures more qualified and reliable hires, prevents safety concerns, and protects you from liability. 

ScoutLogic offers professional pre-employment screening and background checks for seasonal, part-time, and full-time staffing. Learn more about our background check services today. 

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