Christmas in July. When I was a kid, July was the time of year I'd start digging through the toy advert section of the paper that showed up on our doorstep every Sunday. It meant begging my parents to take us to Toys ‘R Us so we could start our lists and maybe, just maybe, my eight-year-old enthusiasm for My Little Pony would rub off and I would come home with a new pony to add to my growing herd. 

Fast forward to many years later, and Christmas in July is all about Amazon. Between Prime Day and Wishlists, it’s not surprising that Amazon is dominating the market and Toys ‘R Us has entered into the realm of nostalgia. One retailer though, is bound and determined to make this holiday season more successful than ever before. 

Last week, Kohl’s kicked off a massive press push to announce their 2019 holiday hiring season has begun, and they want you! 

With unemployment at record lows, and no signs of increasing, Kohl’s is smart to get an early jump on their competitors. According to RetailDive, Kohl’s was one of the major players in the seasonal hiring market last year, and if they want to hire the best of the best, they need to think ahead of the likes of Target and Gap. To become a leader, Kohl’s is already following some of the best practices in seasonal hiring we recommend to all of our clients, and then some. 

Where Kohl’s is Killing It

1.    Plan the Plan

There is no doubt in my mind that Kohl’s knows exactly how many employees they need to hire throughout their stores and distribution centers. I love how they’re slow-rolling their hiring, by starting with an early wave in preparation for Back to School. According to the press release, they intend on keeping these associates throughout the entire holiday season. This gives them plenty of time to ramp up, without overwhelming the store managers and more experienced associates.

2.    Find the Candidates

With the press push that came out the other day, I think it’s safe to say that Kohl’s has put a lot of thought into where they’re going to source their talent. I would assume that HR leaders and managers are using their ‘tried and true’ methods, but this press push goes way above and beyond traditional job postings and will likely reach new job candidates that may not have thought about working for Kohl’s previously. 

3.    Think like a Marketer

HR leaders are starting to think like marketers when sourcing candidates, and Kohl’s has clearly got this nailed. Their PR strategy is only one component of an HR marketing campaign. Their career website is extremely compelling, has a strong value prop and there are nearly 82 thousand Instagram posts with #lifeatKohls. Not only does Kohl’s look like a fun place to work, there’s also “an immediate 15% discount” (which appears to be one-time), tons of coupons, and associate shopping days. As much as I love working for Kronos, I could be tempted…

Kohl's Image 1
4.    Make it Easy to Apply

Speaking of which, OMG you guys, the application process was SO easy! In fact, it was so easy that I may have accidentally applied for a job as a store manager (sorry Gregg…). They have a bot that walks you through the entire application process on your iPhone in under 5 minutes. 

Kohl's phone

Deliver on the Promise

Kohl’s has nailed it when it comes to their seasonal hiring strategy, and I have no doubt they’ll receive more applicants than they know what to do with. Kohl’s seems like an awesome place to work. Their next big hurdle is, can they deliver on that promise?

Do their associates have the flexibility to swap shifts, pick up extra shifts or easily get coverage when their plans change? Are their roles, responsibilities and daily tasks clearly communicated, and are they set up for success at the beginning of each shift? Are policies fair, and fairly enforced across the store? And perhaps most important, are they valued by the organization for the long haul? 

If Kohl’s can deliver on the expectations set by the hiring and application process, they’ll quickly become an employer of choice. Not only will their associates be happy and more engaged, they’ll stay with Kohl’s longer, come back next year, and recommend Kohl’s to friends and family members, both as a great organization to work for and shop at. 

Disclaimer: Screenshots above are from Kohl's career page at and Instagram #LifeAtKohls. 

Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2019