Operations Best Practices

Tips and Tricks to Hiring an AMAZING Recreation Team

May 9, 2024

It’s not a secret that the job market and staff turnover have changed drastically since the pandemic. While it can be very hard to find recreation staff, it’s important to still seek out hiring dedicated and enthusiastic staff to enhance recreational programs in your senior living community. Finding the right candidates who possess the necessary skills and passion for enriching the lives of seniors through engaging activities is crucial. In this blog post, we'll provide you with valuable tips, interview questions, and best practices for hiring casual or part-time staff for recreation roles.

1. Craft Clear and Detailed Job Descriptions

Start by creating clear and detailed job descriptions that outline the responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations for the role. Clearly define the duties, such as organizing and running programs, documenting resident attendance, and creating printed calendars. Be specific about the desired qualifications, including any prior experience in recreational or customer service-oriented roles, communication skills, and flexibility in scheduling.

2. Interview Questions to Assess Fit and Skills

During the interview process, ask questions that help assess candidates' suitability for the role and their ability to work effectively in a senior living community setting. Here are some sample interview questions:

  • Can you describe your experience working with seniors or in a recreational setting?
  • How do you approach planning and organizing recreational programs to meet the diverse needs and interests of seniors?
  • Can you provide an example of a challenging situation you encountered while leading a recreational activity and how you handled it?
  • How do you prioritize tasks and manage your time effectively in a fast-paced environment?
  • What strategies do you use to encourage resident engagement and participation in recreational activities?
  • How do you handle documentation and record-keeping to ensure accuracy and compliance with regulations?

3. Best Practices for Hiring

  • Promote the Position Widely: Utilize various channels to promote the job opening, including online job boards, social media platforms, and local community resources. Consider reaching out to local colleges or universities with recreation programs to attract qualified candidates.
  • Screen Candidates Thoroughly: Review resumes and cover letters carefully to identify candidates who meet the required qualifications and demonstrate a genuine interest in working with seniors. Conduct phone or video interviews to further assess candidates' suitability before inviting them for in-person interviews.
  • Conduct In-Person Interviews: Invite top candidates for in-person interviews to assess their interpersonal skills, professionalism, and compatibility with the team culture. Provide opportunities for candidates to share examples of their past experiences and how they would contribute to the success of the recreation program. Consider having a member from your resident council involved in the process.
  • Consider Cultural Fit: Evaluate candidates not only based on their qualifications and skills but also on their alignment with the values and mission of your senior living community. Look for individuals who demonstrate empathy, compassion, and a commitment to enhancing the well-being of seniors.

4. Skills to Look for in Recreation Staff

When hiring recreation staff for senior living communities, look for candidates who possess the following skills and attributes:

  • Interpersonal Skills: The ability to communicate effectively and build rapport with seniors, families, and colleagues is essential for fostering a positive and inclusive environment.
  • Creativity: Look for candidates who can think outside the box and develop innovative and engaging recreational programs that cater to the interests and preferences of seniors.
  • Organization and Time Management: Recreational activities require careful planning, scheduling, and coordination. Seek candidates who demonstrate strong organizational skills and can effectively manage their time to ensure the smooth execution of programs.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Seniors' needs and preferences may vary, so it's important to hire staff who can adapt quickly to changing circumstances and adjust recreational programs accordingly.

Remember, the right staff can make all the difference in creating meaningful and enjoyable experiences for residents, so invest time and effort in the hiring process to find the best candidates for your team.

Katie Stewart

Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.

Holly Mathias

Holly is a member of Welbi’s Marketing team! She has a background in communications and marketing, and is a compassionate individual who loves team work, story telling, and wellness.

Wendy Riopelle

Wendy is a student in the Honours BA in English program at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.

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