Even with my info on how to get ready for them, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to the summer camp recruitment fairs – you want to impress the camp directors and hopefully get hired on the day, so I thought I’d answer all your questions, before you even ask them!
1. What are the summer camp recruitment fairs?
Every year the summer camp agencies bring a whole bunch of camp directors from camps across America to the UK. They host what is essentially a job fair (but specifically for summer camp counselor jobs), where each camp will have their own stall, and you can go around chatting to the camp directors (and any camp counselor staff they bring along )to get an idea of what the camps are like. The camp directors will give you a brief interview and hopefully you will impress them with your skills, experience and personality so much that you will be hired on the day!
2. Which agencies host the fairs?
Almost all the big name agencies in the business are hosting recruitment fairs this year – CCUSA, Camp Leaders, AmeriCamp, BUNAC, Camp America and NYQuest (summer camps in Canada), so you just need to decide which agency to go with!
3. What camps will be there?
Each agency will be bringing different camps – if you head to their websites you will easily be able to find a list of camps that are coming to each recruitment fair. Your agency will also most likely send you a list of the camps that will be there when you sign up!
4. Who will I meet?
You will get a chance to meet some representatives from your agency and chat to them about your applications or any questions/worries you may have. You’ll then get to do what you came to do… meet the camp directors! They will be there to chat to and get a feel for the camps that you have (hopefully) researched beforehand. They might even like you enough to give you a brief interview and a job at their camp for the summer!
Most camps will most probably also bring along a few previous staff members too – these are great people to chat to about the job you are applying for, as they have been there and done it and can probably answer every single question you might have!
And last but not least, don’t forget all the other applicants – they are all in exactly the same boat as you, and who knows, maybe you’ll end up at the same camp as someone you meet there?
5. What should I wear?
No need for a suit, but don’t turn up in sweatpants either. Look smart and presentable, and like you made at least a little bit of an effort, but make sure you still dress like yourself and are comfortable in what you’re wearing.
6. What do I take with me?
You should take a printed copy of your application (if you have already applied), any certificates or qualifications you have, a pen and paper, a drink and some snacks, and maybe even some photos or videos (on a tablet) that show you working with kids or in your area of expertise.
7. Do I need to take any money?
If you haven’t already completed your application and/or paid your fees, some of the agencies ask that you bring some form of payment method (cash or card) so you can settle up/start your application when you get there.
8. Do I need to have already completed my application before the fairs?
Not necessarily. You can turn up to the recruitment fairs just to get a feel of what summer camp is like and chat to a few camp directors to see if you think the job is for you, but in this case you will need to fill out a short form upon entry.
However, you will have a major advantage if you have already completed your application – you will get in to the recruitment fairs first, which means getting to the camp of your choice first, and meeting the camp directors first, and hopefully getting hired before everyone else even steps through the door.
9. Can I apply at the recruitment fair?
You can absolutely apply at the recruitment fair, in fact it’s a great place to apply, as you’ll have a bunch of people from the agency on hand to help you out with your application. Like I said before though, it’s advisable that you at least get your application started online before the fairs, as this will give you a head-start on the whole process.
10. What will the camp directors ask me?
There’s no set answer to this I’m afraid. They are looking for people who can fill the specific roles they have open – maybe lifeguards, art teachers or horse riding instructors. They will ask you anything from what you like to do in your spare time; to questions about your experience in a leadership role; to who your biggest inspiration is. You should be prepared to answer pretty much anything but, like in most job interviews, it’s important to be honest and try to give examples of how you have done or can do something, rather than just saying you can do it.
The directors will go through your application with you and ask you some questions based on your experience – nothing too scary, and they will always be questions you should be able to answer (provided you didn’t lie on your application).
Have a few answers ready about why you want to work at summer camp (and at the particular camps you have research and targeted at the fair), and what you can bring to the role of summer camp counselor – remember you are trying to show the camp directors why they should hire YOU!
11. How long should I spend at the recruitment fairs?
This all depends on how early you get there. If you’re one of the first to arrive, you will most likely be in and out fairly quickly (hopefully with a job!), however sometimes it can all get a little crazy and you might end up spending the entire time there.
Some fairs last all day, some just a couple of hours, so it’s important to be ready and raring to go as soon as you arrive in order to get the most out of your time at the fair.
12. How do I get to the recruitment fairs?
This one is entirely up to you – obviously depending on where you live and where your closest recruitment fair is being held (there are fairs in London, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin), you will need to find a way to get yourself there, at your own cost – train, plane, car, bike, public transport – it’s up to you!
13. Do you have any top tips for me?
Do your research beforehand, know which camps you want to approach first, get there early, dress smart, be positive and most importantly, smile!