A Counselor Runs Through It

If you confirm their relationship with the candidate, include their contact information, and take written notes of your conversation, it counts as a written reference in any up-to-date HR department.

But even it it’s a great catch we still might lose them if we don’t keep ‘em on the line. A good fish can bite, but throw the hook because of the fisherman’s inattention.

We need to let them know every few weeks that we’re really counting on the being a part of our team, and that it will be the experience of their life.

Each candidate gets on a schedule that includes a welcome letter, contacts via e-mail by returning staff, monthly newsletters, and information to send to their parents to help sell them on the idea!

That continues from whenever they accept the job until staff orientation begins, never longer than three weeks in between. None of their friends are getting that kind of attention for the jobs they have agreed to take. No buyer’s remorse from our future staff!

Do I hire extra counselors to cover for the ones that may have to change their minds? You bet. Nothing’s more important than having great staff, and if I have to settle for second-best in June, the kids will pay for it this summer, and my enrolment will suffer next summer. When you look at it that way, a couple extra counselors is very inexpensive insurance against loss of business.

Another reason some fishermen are more successful? They have better tackle and better bait. So right now, before another month goes by, make sure your Web site is not only up-to-date for campers and their parents, but your summer employment section has great photos, a great message of the uniqueness of your camp community, the benefits of working a summer at camp, and an easy and short way to make an initial application. If you ask for seven pages of text, you’re not likely to get the best candidates. They’re too busy with life to fill those out. They’ll just jump to the next Web site.

Work that bait! Get ‘em on the line, and reel ‘em in!

Gary Forster is the camping specialist for the YMCA of the USA. e-mail him at gary.forster@ymca.net.

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Related posts:

  1. Counselor Query
  2. Staff Recruitment – Beyond the Resume
  3. Counselor-In-Training
  4. Offsides
  5. Incremental Improvement, Part 2

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