13 Tips for Hiring Qualified Part-Time Employees

Updated June 24, 2022

Part-time employees can offer organizations cost-effectiveness while reducing a team's current workload and improving the scheduling flexibility of existing employees. With this, though, sourcing and hiring qualified part-time employees can be a challenging task for human resources professionals since such a process differs somewhat from hiring full-time employees. Therefore, if you're attempting to do so, it may be helpful to review strategies for attracting and hiring well-suited candidates on a part-time basis. In this article, we outline the characteristics of part-time work and 13 tips for hiring part-time employees that effectively meet your organization's particular needs.

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What are the characteristics of part-time work?

Here are a few characteristics that define part-time work:

  • Hours: Part-time employees perform work on a basis of over one hour but less than 35 hours per week.

  • Compensation: Often, part-time employees receive compensation at an hourly rate rather than through a salary wage, but this varies depending on employer preferences.

  • Schedule: A part-time employee's schedule may vary depending on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. They may work in rotations or shifts at different times, depending on an organization's changing needs.

  • Benefits: Commonly, part-time employees aren't entitled to employer-sponsored benefits such as health insurance through legal regulations, but may qualify depending on an employer's specific policies.

Read more: How Many Hours Per Week Is Part-Time?

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13 tips for hiring part-time employees

Finding and hiring qualified part-time candidates can require a significant amount of consideration and time, but doing so can help your organization grow successfully and meet its productivity needs. With this, here are 13 helpful tips to keep in mind when hiring part-time employees that may streamline the process:

1. Prepare a well-written job description

When posting a job description for a part-time employee, it's best to be clear about your expectations for the role. This can help ensure that you'll attract candidates who are able to perform the position's duties successfully. Try to be as thorough and specific as possible about what the ideal candidate should be able to offer, including expectations for education, training and experience.

2. Post the job description in targeted locations

Once you've drafted a clear job description, be purposeful about where you list the opening. There are various websites and sources that connect employers and candidates, but try to select listing locations that can allow you to connect more easily with the particular candidates you're seeking. For instance, if you're hiring for a position in a certain industry, you may choose to advertise the job opening on an industry-specific website.

Related: Differences Between Seasonal vs. Part-Time Positions

3. Consider non-traditional candidates equally

There are a variety of candidates that hiring managers often overlook when screening for part-time roles. For instance, hiring managers sometimes make the mistake of prioritizing other candidates over those resume gaps and students who apply. It's important to give these nontraditional candidates a chance to prove their qualifications and offer them the same consideration as others in the applicant pool. Nontraditional candidates may, in fact, possess the qualities you want in a new employee.

4. Conduct interviews with a culture-based portion

When interviewing candidates, it can be helpful to include a culture-based portion that can evaluate whether the candidate is a good fit for the organization's specific environment. This type of evaluation can allow you to ensure that you hire candidates who align with an organization in terms of values and skills. An employee with a level of alignment with an organization's culture may be able to form healthier relationships with existing full-time team members, collaborate more effectively and find more satisfaction in their role.

5. Assess a candidate's skills through a pre-employment test

To ensure a part-time candidate can perform the duties you're expecting them to, it may be useful to assess their skills during the interview stage through a pre-employment test. This test may include a knowledge-based portion and a practical portion that can assess their competencies in particular areas. For instance, if you're seeking a part-time who is able to work directly with customers, you may ask them to respond to mock scenarios that mimic the type of situations they can expect to encounter. From here, you can evaluate their responses.

Read more: 7 Types of Pre-Employment Tests Given by Employers

6. Promote the role's level of flexibility

Part-time roles can offer a high level of flexibility, which can be appealing for candidates of all types, like students, parents, freelancers or retirees. Therefore, when advertising a part-time job opening, try to promote the flexibility that comes along with it as a perk for potential hires. This tactic may attract more candidates than otherwise.

7. Advertise competitive wages

With part-time roles, similarly to full-time roles, it's important to offer suitable wages to candidates. This can ensure that you're attracting top talent that may otherwise seek employment with competitor organizations. When designing your wage structure for part-time employees, keep in mind that they typically work fewer hours and, therefore, it's likely that your organization can afford to pay them at a higher rate.

Related: FAQ: Part-Time Salaried Employees

8. Offer benefits whenever possible

While regulations usually don't require employers to offer part-time employees benefits like health insurance or paid time off (PTO), you may attract more talented candidates if you do. This is especially true for candidates who may want to seek a higher wage at a different organization but prioritize benefits over pay. You may choose to offer comprehensive benefits or limited benefits compared to those that full-time employees receive, depending on your organization's budget and preferences.

9. Ask for referrals from current employees

If you're facing challenges sourcing qualified part-time candidates, you may ask current employees to refer professionals they know for consideration. Current employees typically understand the needs of an organization and what skills a role requires. With these factors in mind, they may be able to direct you toward candidates who align with the organization better than those you can find through organic methods.

10. Allow for scheduling preferences

Part-time employees typically value scheduling flexibility since they're seeking roles with fewer hours. In addition, candidates who apply for part-time roles often do so because they have other time commitments like school, parenting or freelance projects. Therefore, be purposeful about working with candidates to accommodate their schedules and advertise your willingness to do so in the job posting.

Read more: Guide To Flexible Work Schedules

11. Create a reward program for retention

It may be difficult to retain part-time employees who sometimes take jobs on a temporary basis to fit their needs during a specific period of their life. In order to improve your organization's retention of these employees, you can design a reward program that incentivizes longevity. For instance, you may offer a raise schedule or bonuses to reward employees who stay with an organization over time.

12. Be clear about job security

Job security can be an important factor that candidates consider when applying for part-time roles. It's common for employers to limit a part-time employee's hours due to fluctuating organizational needs and this can be challenging, especially if a part-time employee depends on their wages to pay certain expenses. Therefore, try to be clear about the level of job security your organization is willing to offer candidates so they can feel confident in applying, interviewing and accepting a role.

13. Explain your expectations about full-time work

Employers frequently promote part-time employees to full-time status when the need for increased labor arises. Further, some part-time candidates may hope to upgrade their status eventually. Therefore, it's important to explain your expectations in terms of full-time work and whether you plan on offering such a shift in the future so candidates understand the position and your organization's needs accurately.

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