Are You Selecting the Right P&R Candidate?

March 26, 2020, Department, by Nick Aceves, CPRP

2020 April We Are Parks and Rec Are You Selecting the Right Candidate 410 1

So, it’s time to recruit and hire someone new into your organization and you are considering what to do. First, let’s hope that you are replacing a great employee who you encouraged to grow and develop inside your organization. There is no need to fret over the impending process, but it may help to keep a few things in mind as you figure out who is the right fit for your park and recreation team.

Pre-Process Approach
You should never go into the process of hiring new staff with thoughts of dread. You should, however, keep in mind that you won’t find the exact same person who just left. Instead of looking for a clone, keep your mind open to whoever walks into the room. Different perspectives and personalities will bring fresh ideas and add to your organization. That said, you must determine which way you prefer to handle the process.

The Recruitment and Selection Process
When hiring a full-time position, usually there should be at least a three-step interview process: (1) the application, (2) the first round of interviews and (3) the second round of interviews. The first round of interviews can be as simple as three to five questions emailed to the candidate. This is a good time to make them think critically with questions like: “What would your biggest naysayer and supporter both say about you?” Use these submissions to whittle down your selection pool for in-person interviews.

Once you have the number of desired in-person candidates, make sure your process will allow them to convey their experience, ideas, ambitions and personality. This can be done through role-play scenarios or by asking general questions about philosophy and having them elaborate on past experiences. Make sure when you bring them in, you have at least one other person on hand to take part in the process and provide their perspective on how the candidate performed and what they had to offer.

More competitive positions may require more interview rounds and additional visits with top candidates. This would be a good time for a facilities tour, where you can talk in a more relaxed setting to gauge other candidate characteristics. Once your process is completed, debrief with the interview panel and use all the information available to come to a decision.

Adding to Your Team
Remember that who you hire will be a vital member of your team. Expecting them to be the person who last held the position will only frustrate both you and them. Give your new employee the chance to contribute and share what you saw in them during the process. If you enter the interview process with an optimistic attitude, chances are you will end up with a great and fitting hire.

Bonus Tip

Check out the NRPA Career Center to post your open positions. Employers receive an average of 10 applications per posting. The Career Center provides access to nearly 7,000 searchable résumés. There are new resources for employers, such as sample job descriptions, tips to conduct a successful interview and background screening information.

Nick Aceves, CPRP, is the Director of Parks and Recreation at City of Salisbury, North Carolina.