Summer camp jobs - a place to grow!

Welcome everyone to my blog. Running a residential camp (Maine Arts Camp), as well as MySummers (a staffing site) and Camp Finders (a summer camp referral service), I have gained a unique perspective about sleepaway camps. I first attended camp in 1970 in Maine; I'm still at camp and love it!

Rick Mades

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Interviewing tips

We're off to Maine in a week for camp and may hire one more female staff. We had a brief interview, if you can call it that, this evening with an applicant. Here are some things not to do if you're applying to work at a sleepaway camp...

We asked the applicant what she did last summer. She worked at another sleepaway camp and said that living with kids 24/7 was tedious. If that is the case, then why even take an interview for a camp job? Then, I asked my typical first question, which is why do you want to work at our camp? She said that she hadn't looked at our web site and asked me to tell her more about our camp and how it was different from the one she worked at last summer. I told her that if one is applying for any job, he or she should learn as much about the business (or camp) as possible. This didn't seem to register and we ended one of the shortest phone interviews ever. With so little time before we leave, there is no time to waste on applicants who aren't committed and excited about the opportunity to work at a camp job. My significant other (Candy) loves the movie "The American President". As Andrew Shepherd said "We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them." "This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up." Our interview only lasted 5 minutes, even shorter than Bob Rumson's 15.

Are you really interested in a summer camp job? If so, and you want some good interview tips (some serious ones), here is a partial list from a previous blog that is particularly relevant:

*Be professional - you are not talking with your friends in an informal atmosphere.

*Avoid certain phrases and words - if you have the tendency to use the word "like" or expressions such as "you know", take your time and put together thoughtful responses to questions. We have had applicants use the word "like" at least 50 times in several interviews. This is a big turnoff!

*Learn about the camp - we often start by asking "why are you interested in working at our camp? Many applicants have general responses. The ones that have read through our web site and are interested in being part of our camp community really stand out.

*Why summer camp jobs? - think about why you really want to work at a camp. If it just sounds like fun, you're applying for the wrong reason and may want to research other types of jobs. Camp counselors work very hard (24/7). It can be exhausting, but very rewarding. Are you ready to put much of your "normal" life on hold for the summer?

*Learning experience - take the interview as a learning experience, so you're better prepared for the next one.

*Have some questions ready - this shows good preparation and will also make you think more about the interview and camp.

Have a great summer;

Rick Mades
Camp Director, Maine Arts Camp
Owner, Camp Finders (sleepaway camps referral service) and MySummers (the best resource for summer camp jobs)