While each agency is different in how they present their staff in their profiles, there are a few key things camps look for at first which tend to narrow down the potential staff they’re looking at contacting with info on how to apply.
Below are some things that we look for while reviewing candidates (again, we are ONE camp … others may look at tons of other factors):
- Experience with children – Many have babysitting as their experience which has been found to not be enough experience and often is a reason many potential staff get bounced. Day Camps (known as Holiday clubs in other countries) camps in their hometown, practical experience for their studies like teaching in a classroom setting, working with foster children, counseling experience, or anything more formal tends to separate out those who have a stronger passion for working with children.
- Reason for applying for the program – Usually potentials get 150 words to express this so they need to make it count. It is surprising how many will state that they want to travel and see the world and meet new people. Less than half say that they love working with children and want to make an impact on their lives. The latter statement gets potentials one step closer to being contacted. If not mentioned, we tend to move on.
- Work Experience Counselor – The hours at camp are LONG and grueling, emotionally and physically taxing. Looking at the amount of work experience a candidate has shows us if they are used to a hectic daily schedule, the type of work they typically place themselves in, and to a lesser extent it shows their values, what sort of work they typically go for. Candidates who work in cosmetics (as a random example) may have a tougher time upholding our value of inner beauty and not needing to alter your outward appearance to be accepted.
- Work Experience Kitchen Staff – While the kitchen staff spend less time with the campers it is still important that they have a love for children, community living, and all the same personality criteria that we look for with counselors. Having experience prepping food and working in a kitchen setting is almost a must as we’ve experienced in previous years that without it, a staff member can struggle greatly. Ideally, they will have the experience of being in a kitchen working and not just working at a restaurant as a waiter.
- Social Network Profiles – This one isn’t something you get from their profile directly. Take a candidate’s email address (or full name in quotations on google) and then do a search on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter – this can reveal a lot about a candidate. It is easy to make yourself look more campy on your agency profile to make yourself more desirable to camps. What many don’t realize, is that with the ever growing social networking online people tend to have a more accurate portrayal of themselves on these sites. Sometimes it is amazing to see the difference! How do they portray themselves here? While not a death knell it can be the reason a candidate isn’t contacted to apply with us.
- Once you have a candidate on reserve, you will have access to their email address (sometimes before putting them on reserve). Using a candidate’s email address is much easier as it might link you directly to that person’s profile as opposed to their name which can give you dozens of results.
- Lots of social networking sites have varying levels of security and how much information you can see if you are not “friends” or “following” someone. Sometimes all you get to see is a photo, but it does show how this person chooses to represent themselves so you get a glimmer of insight.
- Available dates – So a camp has found the perfect person who you know would just be fantastic for camp. But wait, they are only able to fly out to camp on June 14th?! They have to fly out on August 15th?! Oh no! Often candidates put in a start or ending date as a general guideline that is flexible. More success comes from those who put their start date within a week of our starting date and might be able to make it for the start of staff training. Ending dates are usually less successful as potentials often have school commitments, a new job or, for numerous potential reasons that means they have to be home by that date.
- How long has someone been on the database? – A smaller thing to look at is how long a person has been available on a database. Many camps look for people with certain skill sets and experience at those activities, we don’t. Strong candidates get snapped up very quickly, so be aware of who has been available for what period of time. Other camps are seeing something that makes them stay away. And considering there are hundreds of camps that use this service, what message are they picking up on?
- Age – With Camp Augusta being a much more intensive camp than others, our staff tend to be older than the average of most camps. When doing searches for candidates, look for those who are 21+ in age. It is a common thread that most people under this age do not have the depth and life experience that we are looking for. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, so it is up to you if you want to sift through the younger candidates. Never put in a maximum age range for the same reasons.
- Skill set – Each candidate, irrespective of the agency, will have various skills listed. While Camp Augusta does not look for specific skill sets (apart from Equestrian) some can actually be indicators to this person’s interests and shine some insight into who they are.