Here you are, at your desk overlooking your objectives for the months leading to summer camp. Enrollment goal numbers. Food supplier contract. Day camp time slots. T-shirt orders. New staff.
Ah yes, new staff, because unlike a new camp flag or t-shirt, this addition is not an inanimate object but a human being—and yes—ideally, your next camp staff member should be a human being. So, what do you look for in a (human) staff member? You can’t begin a hiring ad without knowing exactly how to go about what you’re looking for. That’s why you clicked this blog and that’s why I’m here to help get the creative engine going. Let the checklist begin!
1. Get the Team Involved
Somewhere on a football field a team huddle is happening. Teammates are discussing a goal everyone will be committed to. Now take those teammates and replace them with your staff. Take their captain team leader and put yourself there. Your staff can be the best resource for hiring more recruits to your camp family. Why? How? You know why and how because you know your staff. All that’s required is their input.
Devise a feedback sheet. Browse through their past evaluations and, absolutely yes, call in a team huddle to discuss the situation. “Ok team, we’re looking for new staff members to hire. What should we look for?” Even if you know the answer, your team appreciates the heads up and could very well contribute information you may not know or think about. Senior staff member Susie Sue may have a twin cousin visiting over the summer that’s looking for a summer job. You never know until you ask. Or in this case, huddle.
2. Make The Online Ad Highly Accessible
Think of something you’d like to share online… Let’s say a photograph. Ok Nickelback, now ideally, when you post that photo, it’s in a place you have control of like a Facebook page and ideally again, you should make sure those social pages have options for viewers to continue the chain of sharing that photo. Make no mistake these are great steps, but the cherry on top is missing. It’s important to make sure the info you post is accessible by users on different devices. Not just for multiple platforms, but for multiple viewers. Turning a simple video into one with subtitles attracts mobile users like Amy who is always on the train and has little time to sift through summer jobs.
3. Share Your Camp Story
The new face of your new team staffer is going to be a little curious about a lot of things. They’ll want to know who your staff is and what your camp does. While this may sound like your moment to shine, remember this shouldn’t feel like you need to write a novel or a screenplay about your camp. The objective here is to present your camp with all that you know to make it uniquely shine. Interview staff on the spot. Make a video on a day in the life of a camp staffer. Now you have yourself some content for both a hiring ad and a marketing campaign. Platforms from Facebook to Instagram to Youtube, all offer video and photo sharing opportunities to help spread the story about your camp and the community its looking to build upon.
4. Guide Your Applicants
What’s the application journey like? Detail the process. Don’t make it seem easy-simply have it be easy. For example, list the process of the application ahead of time. Almost in the fashion of a tutorial. Explain where the link will take them. Inform them the wait time for a response and such. It's also important to have a comprehensive guide for your perspective of the hiring process as well!
5. Give Homework
Great news! It turns out that Amy (while on the train) saw your ad and sent in an application. She also sent in the assignment you requested alongside the application too! Yes, the assignment! By requesting a task be done in addition to filling out the standard resume, each applicant will bring with them a sample of their work when it comes to your camp specifically. For example let’s say Amy’s assignment showed her approach to solving problems were very different compared to other employed staffers-but still yeiled the same result. After reading about this new perspective of Amy you feel you know her and therefore are able to come up with more questions to better understand how good of a fit she is for the role during the interview. Without this assignment, certain questions might have never surfaced in the interview.
6. Take Notes from Applications
Now. the not so great news. Amy, although a good applicant turned out to not be a good fit for the staff position. Not because of a lacking skillset but her availability. You see, Amy could only fulfill her position for half of summer because she just got accepted to medical school yesterday. This would be fine if your camp didn’t have a 12 day training period that includes outside assignments. You make a note to add there is a 12 day training period in the application so that other applicants are aware of how much time it takes to learn the life of the position.
7. Make the Orientation Less “Orientation”
What is there to be done on the first day of a new camp staffer? What is there to announce? Welcome new comers? Welcome new staffers? These titles carry a “new girl / guy” label and anyone who has seen a teen movie, that label does not fall under the most positive spotlight. Your new staffer is going to be helping you. Help them by making them feel comfortable without smothering camp hugs and high fives. The best productivity comes from an environment that’s easy to work in.
8. Analyze Where You Advertise
The destination of the ad: A school. A college. Too bland? Too obvious? Some of the best staffers may not be familiar with camp at all. Think of public venues like small theatres, fairs, and sports games. Places where people who attend or work carry about a similar creative mindset and responsibility. Still like schools and colleges? No problem. Just go deeper. Have a staff member go to a local school and talk with a class. Send a small team to put up a table at nearby to college internship fairs.
Your camp staff may not be living up to their best potential if they’re not helping you find a new staffer. Gather your team and keep them in the loop on what positions are in need of filling. It doesn’t have to be a grand referral setup. Something as small as getting staffers to spread the word on social media can create a longer reach towards the new applicant your looking for. Sometimes, if you listen closely, you can hear it in the air… Camp HireRing is hiring. Camp HireRing is hiring. Camp HireRing is—oh a new application arrived!
10. Let The Details Be Delicious
What sounds better? Cooked pasta with shrimp in a garlic and oil sauce or, sizzling linguini with shrimp, topped with fresh chives, in garlic and oil. The goal here is to make your camp sound as delicious as a Friday night feast with friends that no one would possibly want to turn down. Even if the reader is not interested in the meal, they may know someone who is interested. Now excuse me while I go check the camp kitchen.