3 min read

Finding and hiring great camp staff is one of the most important parts of running a summer camp. It can be very time consuming, so you need to have a streamlined process for not only recruiting camp staff but also hiring them. This will take time and effort, and you may find yourself making adjustments along the way. But the time and effort will pay off ten-fold.

Doing this right will not only mean your campers have a great time, but it will also ensure they have a safe time as well. Parents put their trust in you and your camp staff, so don’t let them down.

Locating great camp staff

Get referrals

If you have run a camp before, ask previous camp staff to refer their friends. Friends tend to have similar characteristics, so if you have a great camp staff, chances are they have great friends. You may want to offer some type of referral compensation. This will increase the chance of your camp staff doing some leg-work for you.

Go online

There are so many online job portals to choose from. Craigslist, Barefoot Student and Indeed are just some of the many places you can post an add. These services allow you to cast a wide net, and filter candidates in a more controlled fashion. Great camp staff members are looking for work this summer, so get online and make sure they can find you.

Try to make the job description as detailed a possible and include pay info. Have the potential camp staff member send you their resume along with a cover letter explaining why they want to be a part of your camp. This will help you filter the candidates based on who you feel will fit in with your camp culture.

Check the community

College students and teachers get the summer off, so why not take advantage of the huge supply. Go to your local college or survey teachers at your school to see who would be interested in working during the summer. Teachers can be a great fit for your camp, as teachers have a natural affinity towards kids. College students have free time, tons of energy and generally like to give back to the community.

Interviewing great camp staff

Prepare your questions

Before you meet candidates face-to-face, you need to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in a new hire so that you’re asking the right questions during the interview. Begin this process by compiling a list of required attributes for the position. For inspiration and guidance, look at your current top camp staff members. What do they have in common? How are they resourceful? What did they accomplish prior to working at your camp? What roles did they hold? Those answers will help you create criteria and enable you to construct relevant questions.

Make some questions open-ended

All interviews require you to ask specific questions that get answered with narrow data points. “What was your last  job?” But the most interesting responses I get come from open-ended questions, such as, “What is your vision for yourself five years from today?”

Do:

-Lower your candidates’ stress levels by giving them an outline of the interview process

-Ask behavioral and situational questions

-Sell the position and the camp once you’re confident in your candidate

Don’t:

-Forget to do pre-interview prep — list the attributes of an ideal candidate and use it to construct relevant questions

-Involve too many other colleagues in the interviews — multiple checks are good, but too many people can belabor process

-Put too much emphasis on “cultural fit” —  remember, people adapt

 

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