Retailers lead the way in holiday hiring

It's shaping up to be a record-setting opening to this holiday shopping season. As Terrell Brown reports, with the numbers coming in, the nation's merchants have a reason for joy.

(MoneyWatch) Many employers plan to hire seasonal workers this year.

A study conducted by Harris Interactive and published by found that several industries plan to bring in extra help for the holidays, with retailers at the head of the pack. Thirty-nine percent of retail hiring managers surveyed said they will need seasonal help, and in many cases those jobs could become permanent.

Other industries bringing in extra help this holiday season:

Customer Service - 33 percent

Shipping/Delivery - 18 percent

Inventory Management - 17 percent

Administrative/Clerical - 15 percent

Sales (non-retail) - 12 percent

Marketing - 9 percent

Accounting/Finance - 6 percent

Get the job

More than 2,000 hiring managers participated in the survey. They said that while some seasonal workers are hired in November and December, a lot of the hiring is done earlier, in October. They said they receive a great many applications in early to mid-autumn, and advised anyone interested in holiday work to start the process as soon as possible.

They also offered additional tips to those seeking seasonal employment:

- Do your research. Arrive at the interview already knowing a lot about the company, its history and what it does. A third of those surveyed said they routinely dismiss people who come in unprepared and know little about the product.

- If you are interested in a permanent position with the company, say so. Employers said applicants set themselves apart by showing they have a long term interest, beyond seasonal work.

- Forget about the company discount. Believe it or not, hiring managers said they often encounter applicants who seem more interested in the company discount than in the actual job. This is a big turn off.

- Whatever you do, don't show up looking like an advertisement for the competition. Eighteen percent of managers said they routinely see applicants wearing clothes or other merchandise from a competitor's store.

Temp to Perm?

About half, some 49 percent of the hiring managers surveyed, said they expect to offer their seasonal workers permanent positions. They said they look for temp workers who went above and beyond -- those who provided great customer service, or who asked to take on extra projects. They also give extra consideration to employees who expressed an interest in a permanent position. Fifty-three percent of managers surveyed said they look to those candidates first.

Who gets hired?

Sixty-seven percent of hiring managers said they often re-hire the same seasonal workers year after year. For the remaining positions, they often look to students and retirees. Forty-five percent of managers recruited college students. Another 23 percent hired a large number of high school students. Some 17 percent of employers specifically targeted retirees to fill their holiday openings.