It's that time of the year. With fall quickly approaching, we are all scrambling to find quality staff that will uphold our mission and values. Staff that will make a positive impact in the lives of kids. Staff that know how to adapt, recognize others, and take constructive criticism well. These people are hard to find, but by God they exist. Just scroll down to the end of this post and see how amazing my lil' summer staffie angels are! But it does take hard work and commitment to get this kind of person in your Club. This is especially true because they have to constantly manage multiple responsibilities, are not paid $65 an hour, and are expected to ensure the safety and protection of our sweet babies.
Over my years with the Club and experience with hiring great staff, I wanted to share some resources and advice that can hopefully make your hiring and interviewing processes better.
Formula For Impact
Review our Formula for Impact before searching for staff. Most of us know this thing front, back, and sideways, but it is so wonderful to have it fresh in your head. As you search, this formula will be fresh in your brain. I start EVERY training with it.
Post your job call on your Club website, Social Media, BCGA website, etc.
If you have the luxury of being located by colleges, contact teachers or professors on local campuses. You can even be department specific. For example, you want to hire someone for your gym. Contact the sports, physical therapy, athletic training, exercise and sports science, physical education departments and let them know you are hiring for a gym position. I have found SO many amazing staff this way. Plus side: You get people who have a passion for the position.
Also, if you just need a general staff, you could contact the education departments. Students who are hoping to become counselors, teachers, coaches, etc. will gain incredible experience at a Club.
I think this is such an important part of the process. While we can't put everything on this description, it outlines general responsibilities. I make one for each position. If you hire for general positions, job descriptions are still important. If you need an example, I am happy to help with that...just shoot me a message!
See below for a sample job description for the Music Room.
The Interview Process
Welcome and Introductions: This sets the tone!
Club Mission: I think this is important. You are not only looking for someone who is a great fit for your Club, but you also want to make sure a potential staff can uphold your mission.
Formula for Impact: During this point, I make it know that the FFI is how we operate.
Job Description and Programs: I highlight the job description and talk about Programming so potential staff understand we are not a day care!
Situational Questions: I love these. It helps you to gauge how potential staff would handle situations that happen all the time at the Club. If you ask, "You have planned an activity for 15 kids, but 25 kids are in your area. How do you adapt to ensure members have a quality experience?" Your interviewee probably isn't the best choice for the Club if he or she replies, "Cry in the corner or kick kids out..."
Assurance of Commitment: Check to see if they are available during the hours you operate. Get a feel if they are committed to the mission and the goals for your Club.
Assurance of Excitement: Can you gauge if the person is excited about working with kids? Not all potential staff express their excitement visually so ask questions like, "What are you most excited about if you get a position?"
Assurance of Train-ability: Can you gauge if this person is open to the idea of learning new things? Once I interviewed a young lad that was diametrically opposed to recognizing kids for anything they do...that didn't work for me, the Club, or our culture so...
Assurance of Adaptability: Again make sure you ask questions about adaptability. Some people are not comfortable with changing things up. That is important to know since we adapt every minute of the day!
Interview Questions (see below for some samples)
I do second interviews with ALL potential staff. I know this seems silly for a part-time position, but I do contribute it to limited staff turnover.
What do you do on a Second Interview?
Set up a time and date and explain the purpose of a second interview (to see how you adapt, working with our team, work with our kids, your ideas, etc.)
Make sure you have the interviewee sign in as a volunteer or visitor!
I ask the potential staff in the first interview to return with three ideas they could implement in their area. I do not limit these ideas, but most come back with program ideas rather than one time activities (i.e. LEGO Club, Nature Club, Coding Hour, etc.). This is great because one time activities are fine, but when they come with bigger picture ideas, it is attractive to me.
I also ask staff to wear appropriate clothing as I will have them helping in an area. I observe their interactions, their contributions, etc. *It is important to note that this kind of situation is uncomfortable for a lot of interviewees. They don't necessarily know their role. So I would not base the entire decision of hiring someone on this step. However, it is a great way to see how they interact with kids and fit your team.
You could also ask the potential staff to run a small program hour in the area you hope to hire them.
If this potential staff is going to be a co-staff (i.e. the gym has two staff), make sure you let the current staff know about this interview. It is important that both staff can work together effectively too.
What can you tell from a second interview?
Connections with Team
Call References (see below for template)
Call your potential staff and ask additional questions if needed.
Sample follow-up ideas include: school schedule, program ideas, contacts, etc.
Once you have a great staff, don't forget to train.
You will lose staff if they are not trained
You cannot implement the FFI without training
You will experience more discipline issues
You will experience more incidents
Your members will not experience the best opportunities
Your staff cannot be as effective and influential
Click here for the information above in Power Point form
Click here for more interview questions from Mr. Jeff and Mr. Johnathan from the Musgrave Unit. They love to ask silly question amongst the serious ones to see how potential staff answer. It is great!
Click here for sample Program Director interview questions (I will have a post that highlights hiring PDs later, but these questions can help now!)
A lot of these tips have helped me in the past. And I have been fortunate enough to have a team of BGC warriors who are committed to making the world a better place for kids! Writing this post really made me realize how fortunate I am to have an amazing group of people that work for me. They are so incredible and each one brings something to the Club that I never could. I have learned so much from them. Look at these wonderful people:
Ms. Amber (Program Director)-She is so incredibly creative. She is great with member discipline and uses every disciplinary action as a teaching moment. She cares about kids so much and has such a passion for helping Club members. She is also is so thoughtful, except when she coughed directly in my mouth one day. I would be lost without her!
Ms. Lauren ( Membership Coordinator)- She is so organized and patient. She is the first and last person Club kids see and she uses that role to inspire kids and make them feel special. She loves red-heads and will tell you everyday! I would be lost without her!
Mr. Marcus (Learning Center Coordinator)- He brings a such a sense of joy and positivity to our team. He comes up with amazing experiences for members and hold them accountable for their actions. He also randomly yells, "change your mindset" to serve as a reminder to us that we could have it worse.I would be lost without him!
Ms. Sarah (Pre-Teen Coordinator)- She is so committed to the Club and can adapt super quickly. She comes up with such creative ideas for programs like Master Chef club and Fitness Frenzy. She is funny and really bad at drawing but we just pretend the kids made the masterpieces she creates. I would be lost without her!
Ms. Antonia (Games Room Coordinator)-She is so unbelievably consistent. She is kind and when she disciplines, she is stern, fair, and compassionate. She is super adaptable and makes faces that clearly represent how she is feeling. Sometimes when I need validation I can look at her face and know if I am doing a good job. I would be lost without her!
Ms. Sara (Games Room Coordinator)- She is so easy-going and fun. She brings a sense of structure and excitement to the Club. She has such a big heart and really loves to help others. She communicates needs effectively, especially when she "needs" to eat a snack in my office. I would be lost without her!
Ms. Julia (Gym Coordinator)-She has such a positive aura and truly wants to create magical moments for kids. She is creative, athletic, and kind. She is also a great audience for a joke...because she laughs like a chipmunk every single time...no matter how lame the joke may be. I would be lost without her!
Mr. Brandon (Gym Coordinator)-He is so easy-going. He is committed to increasing healthy lifestyles for members and loves to play gym games with them. He also handles everything that is thrown at him with such grace...even if a member poops on himself or steals his money. I would be lost without him!
Ms. Kendall (Art Room Coordinator)-She is so committed to the Club. She can work with every age and creates memorable moments for members. She handles conflict well and is always professional. She also loves to eat pineapple and tell everyone about it. I would be lost without her!
Ms. Alisha (Tech Lab Coordinator)-She is so smart and witty. She can even make math fun. She was a Club kid, Youth of the Year, and offers an expertise at the Club that is unrivaled. She is very funny...sometimes when she gets fangry (fake angry) she picks up a chair and yels, "John Cena!"
I would be lost without her!
Ms. Aneva (Music Room Coordinator)- She is so sweet and a lifer for the Club. As a former Club kid and Youth of the Year, she has a passion for the Club like none other. She loves to make the Club a safe place where kids can just be kids. She has been through so much but still wears a smile each day. Sometimes there is chocolate in that smile, but it still makes me happy! I would be lost without her!
Mr. Michael (AmeriCorps Staff)- He is so committed to academic success. He has an innate ability to teach members, especially about literacy and math. He cares so much for members and rides a bike like nobody's business, equipped with a beautiful bell. I would be lost without him!
Mr. Daniel (Community Support Specialist)- He is wonderful with several members. He is committed to helping members become productive, caring, and responsible. He is a total nerd and it is so amazing to see him talk about Pokemon, Magic, and other cool things. I would be lost without him!