You’ve arrived at the fair, your application in hand and a list of camps you want to speak to.
The queue whittles down and you’re about to speak next.
This is the moment most people dread when coming to the job fairs. The moment when you realise you’re actually speaking to an American director and you haven’t a clue what to say.
This blog is here to walk you through what you should prepare, what you might be asked and top tips to get you placed.
Top tip number one.
Camp directors are looking for people who are friendly and want to be there. It’s a simple way to make you look confident - even if you’re not feeling it at that moment.
When you walk forward shake their hand, flash a toothy grin and say hello.
They’ll invite you to take a seat opposite and will normally jump straight in.
They’ll want to know why you’ve come to them
Whether you’ve seen your skill advertised on their whiteboard, you researched them before or you just liked the colour of their camp flag - have your answer ready.
Researching the camp’s before will set you in good stead. Talk about their facilities - maybe you liked the look of their waterfront or perhaps their camp video caught your eye?
Camp director’s will notice if you’ve taken the time to find out about their camp, plus it’s a really great talking point and a quick way to break the ice!
On the day, if you’re not sure what to say or hadn’t considered that camp before, then grab one of the team for a quick overview and some tips for talking to that director.
Look out for the the information desk on the day, the team stationed here will be able to quickly help you find a camp to talk to and will be able to throw in so facts and figures to help you shine.
Find out which camps are coming to each fair and make note of who you’d like to speak to on the day.
When speaking to the directors - they’ll want to know what you can do.
The golden question you’re going to be asked is ...
“Why should I hire you for my camp?”
Good question right.
It sounds a bit intimidating but if you have your answer prepared, then it becomes the best question you could be asked on the day.
Because this question allows you to sell you and what an amazing person you are.
A camp director will hire you because they like you. The biggest factors that they’ll be looking at are personality, your enthusiasm and what you can bring to camp… even if it’s just your energy.
Start by talking about your skill.
If a camp is looking for a particular skill and you have it… well then this should be top of the list in the reasons to hire you.
When speaking about your skill level, be confident. It’s a very British trait to be modest (and to queue) but today when talking about you, don’t talk yourself down.
Talk about your experience in detail. Throw in the stats and facts - but most importantly, be enthusiastic. - If you sit there with a deadpan face and no emotion, then a camp director might question whether you even enjoy doing it, let alone could you motivate a group of campers?
The more excited you are when you talk about your skill, the better. Being passionate about something you’re planning to teach all summer is a selling point.
You’ll hear this a lot on the day…
The biggest reason a camp director will hire someone - is because of their personality.
Don’t be afraid to laugh and have fun. Camp Directors want to get to know you and will be looking for people to bring fun and energy to their camp. So don’t be afraid to be yourself.
The more you can relax and really chat to them, the more they will get to know you.
Camp Directors are always thinking about the campers. So show that you’re a good egg to be around.
Talking about working with children is another winner.
Camp is all about the campers. So another great talking point is any work experience you’ve got with children (even if it’s just informal experience from babysitting younger members of your family.)
Top tip - Think of examples of working with children before you go.
Ultimately this is an informal chat to get to get to know you. You’ll find yourself speaking about the most random things and topics, the director is going to want to see what interests you - and it doesn’t have to be camp.
The interview is far from scary. We’re not even sure it counts as an interview.
Camp directors are very enthusiastic and friendly. They are even more enthusiastic about skill demonstrations. So if you’ve brought your guitar with you, be prepared to play.
As the interview begins to comes to a close, be prepared to fire some questions back.
Not only will you look super prepared and interested, it will give you an edge and make them remember you.
Here’s a few ideas of what to ask
- What is the day to day of camp like?
- What’s your favourite thing about camp?
- What’s it like being based in New York? (this will only work if their camp is in New York… if their camp is in Chicago then please don’t ask them this…)
Interviewing with a director felt more like talking to one of my friends about all the things I really enjoy doing. They wanted to know why I want to work with kids and why I want to do media, so I told them about all the great experiences I had in a summer camp in Hungary before and also how much I enjoyed working for the radio stations in the past. They also told me so much about camp, so after the interview I knew I'm gonna have an amazing time there.
Eva - placed at Camp Chi
So that’s it.
Our advice for the day is -
- Do some research before
- To have an answer ready for “why should you work at my camp”
- Prepare some of your own questions
- Enjoy it and have fun
It’s a great day.