Hiring season is upon us, which means many employees to hire and even more interviews to conduct. While interviews are super important to finding the ideal candidates to fill your open positions, they can also be very time-consuming when hiring 50-200 staff members in a couple of months. Here are some tips and tricks to refresh your interviews and streamline your seasonal interview process so you can spend less time in interviews and more time checking off your summer-season to-do list!

Refresh Your Questions

When was the last time you reviewed your interview questions? Be sure to make time to refine the interview questions so that you target the specific needs of each position.

  • Ask questions that will save you an email or a call in the future.
    • Ex: What size t-shirt would you wear for a uniform?
  • Set expectations for the position.
    • Ex: Applicants hired for this position are expected to work on the Fourth of July. Will you be able to work on this day?
  • Reduce the number of management team interviews you conduct by splitting them into two parts. Part 1 – a written portion with questions. Have each applicant write down their responses and send them back to you. You will get to see additional skill sets, see their thoughts when they have time, and weed out applicants who give little effort or no response at all. Part 2- invite your top candidates from part 1 to an interview. Now you have fewer interviews and the opportunity for more meaningful in-person interview responses.
  • A few interview question favorites:
    • Michael Jordan or Lebron James? Why?
    • Which characteristic do you think is most important for a [INSERT POSITION TITLE] to have; integrity, worth ethic, leadership, discipline? You can only pick one. Please explain.
    • For returning staff: If you were the Aquatics Director, what is one thing you would change from last year and why?
    • Tell me about a time something was challenging and how you overcame it.

Group Interviews

Individual interviews can be incredibly time-consuming whether you are hiring 50 staff members or 350. So why not group them together? Group interviews can save you a tremendous amount of time, let you see more from your applicants, and add an active or “fun” element to your interview experience.

  • How to conduct
    • Notify applicants beforehand that they will participate in a group interview.
    • Select your interviewers (I highly recommend more than one to be able to observe more)
    • Develop your game plan.
      • You can make your group interviews fit whatever mold you’d like. In the past, I would have three stations.
        • Station 1: Team Activity
          • Ex 1: Build the tallest tower possible with spaghetti noodles and marshmallows.
            • Observe: Who takes the lead versus a back seat? How do the applicants communicate with one another?
          • Ex 2: Blow up a beach ball and write different questions applicants might have to answer. Toss the ball around in a circle; whichever question the applicant’s right-hand lands on is the question they must answer. Make the questions fun!
            • Observe: How do the applicants interact with one another? Are they encouraging? How do they answer the questions?
        • Station 2:
          • Individual Activity
            • Ex: Give them a pile of fake money to count and complete a simple deposit sheet. Everyone has a different amount of money.
              • Observe: Did anyone magically come up with the same amount? Did they organize their dollar bills by number? Is the form neatly filled out?
        • Station 3:
          • Traditional Interview Questions
          • Target a few interview questions you’d like to ask in the conventional format.
              • Observe: How do applicants build off each other’s responses?

Group interviews allow you to interview many applicants in one sitting, saving you significant time. In addition, group interviews will enable you to showcase your organization’s culture and how fun the job might be. You can almost guarantee that applicants will be talking about their interview with their friends later!

Brainstorm with your HR Team

Become friends with your HR team! Often your HR team wants to streamline the process just as much as you do. Set up a meeting and see how you can simplify the process for yourself and the applicants.

Remove barriers to applying to your positions.

  • When my team used to recruit in schools, we aimed to get applicants to apply on the spot. However, we noticed that interested applicants were blocked from applying for our seasonal aquatics positions due to a resume requirement. Resumes, for me, were kind of useless. They all looked the same. For most, this was their first job. Outside of the school they attended and any volunteer opportunities they might have completed, the resumes didn’t tell me what I needed to know. I knew that if I could get them into an interview, I could decide if they would be a good candidate for the position. So, we had our HR team remove the resume required to apply. This meant applicants could apply on the spot when they stopped by our table at school recruitment or saw a QR code on a flyer or banner. Make it easy for prospects to apply, and you’ll see the applications rolling in.

Expedite the hiring process for applicants.

While we would love to have applicants who apply well before the season start date and have time to go through a long and drawn-out hiring process, we don’t have that luxury. Once an applicant applies, we need them trained and working quickly. Work with your HR team to see how you expedite the hiring process for all parties involved.

Often, we run into applicants who don’t have printers/scanners and therefore don’t have a way to fill out and turn in their hiring paperwork. Maybe they are supposed to present their IDs, but they keep missing HR office hours due to after-school activities. Make the hiring process easy with a one-stop shop for all hiring needs.

Create an onboarding time:

  • Set up a time after school hours that is easy for students to attend.
  • Have HR set up a station to collect paperwork, provide additional copies, and answer any questions.
  • If your organization requires drug screening, have the drug screeners onsite to collect samples.
  • Set up a station for uniform and training schedule pick-up. Here they can have the aquatic staff’s attention to ask any questions.
  • Applicants complete all onboarding stations and then head home!

I used this one-stop-shop method for onboarding as an operator, and I could fully onboard 60 staff members in about 2.5 hours. If applicants came prepared to take their drug screen, they were in and out within 20 minutes. This saved tremendous back-and-forth time between individual applicants, myself, and the HR team!

Onboarding setup with uniform packets, first-aid supplies, etc

Use Technology to Streamline.

Spend less time emailing and calling applicants. Provide them with a platform that lets them be self-sufficient when scheduling interviews, onboarding times, etc. A couple of my favorites are Calendar Hero and Signup Genius.

Hiring for the summer season can be a stressful time! Finding ways to streamline your hiring process can make the hiring experience a little more enjoyable for all parties, giving you back the most precious commodity during preseason, TIME!