Only 3 percent of camps are fully staffed.

It’s no secret that staff recruitment this year is harder than ever. According to an April ACA poll, just 3 percent of camps are fully staffed, with the majority of camps at or below the 50 percent mark.

The camp recruitment ecosystem is vast. Aside from cultivating the usual referral network and international partnerships for counselors and staff, camp directors now need to be proficient in navigating platforms like paid job boards (Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor), college-specific job boards (Handshake and Symplicity), university career fairs, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram), and a variety of free and paid niche job boards. The list goes on and on. But this year, with no international staff, dismal campus recruitment, and steep COVID-19 restrictions, finding good people and getting them to commit to camp is a tall task.

With your usual pipeline of candidates dried up, you are likely looking in places you’re not used to frequenting. Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, and other big job aggregators. That might scare some of you, but it is a necessary adjustment this year. At this stage in the game, you don’t have time to focus your energy on sources that aren’t fruitful. You have to meet candidates where they are.

To Handle Volume, You Have to Automate

At CampHire, we rely heavily on Indeed for candidates. Indeed is the number one job site in the world, and it’s not even close (for more on Indeed, read our blog on job board promotion here). But to get good at Indeed, you have to be equipped to handle the volume of candidates. And to handle volume, you have to automate. In this blog we will feature simple, low-cost automation tools we swear by at CampHire. If you are working the job boards this spring, integrating these tools into your process will make your life a lot easier.

First things first, get yourself an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). What’s an Applicant Tracking System? It’s a platform that houses all your hiring activities in one place. It enables you to manage jobs, message candidates, store interview notes, and track progress. The biggest benefit is the ability to post jobs to dozens of job boards in one click. Time saver-alert! This feature alone makes it a worthwhile investment. An entry level ATS starts around $50 a month. We like JazzHR, but there are many reputable alternatives.

  • Cost: $50–$150 per month.

If You Aren’t Using Calendly, Get on It

Now that you’ve automated job posting, get ready to field applicants. At CampHire, we leverage an integration with our ATS to send Calendly links to candidates so they can choose an interview time. This eliminates all the back-and-forth between candidates about scheduling. Time saver-alert! If a candidate doesn’t sign up, we don’t sweat it. Proactively scheduling a meeting with us is the first real step to showing commitment to camp. If you aren’t using Calendly yet, get on it!

  • Cost: Free

Tracking Down References Can Be Extremely Labor-Intensive

With lots of candidates cycling through, it’s time to do your homework on the ones you like. References are critical and can make or break a candidate. At CampHire, we like to gather feedback quickly so it doesn’t hold up the process. But tracking down references can be extremely labor-intensive. With speed on our mind, we automated the process by setting up a “Reference Hotline” using Google Voice. We invite references to give feedback using a voicemail system. Time saver-alert! Because of how easy it is to use, most people respond within 24 hours, especially if they have positive things to say. While further due diligence is required for many candidates, we find that feedback gathered via the Reference Hotline is the quickest way to gather information from a third party. 

  • Cost: $8 per month

By integrating these automation tools into our day-to-day routine at CampHire, we have screened over 2,000 applicants and interviewed more than 600 candidates for camp jobs this season. They are critical to helping us decipher the “gos” from the “no-gos.”

Sound like too much work? Leave it to the experts! Send us a message to get started with CampHire today.

Periodically, the American Camp Association (ACA) makes timely and relevant information about products and services available to its members so they can make informed decisions for their camps. However, the ACA does not endorse products, services, or companies.