Administrative

15 Camp Interview Questions

You most likely have an interview sheet already created with specific questions on them. Here are some that you might want to add to that sheet, if they are not already on there.

  1. You just won counselor of the year by your peers/supervisors/teens/parents; why?
  2. What is your greatest personality asset working with kids?
  3. What is the difference between punishment and discipline?
  4. What is the difference between yelling and raising your voice?
  5. What are you much better at than you used to be?
  6. What hobbies, special interests or talents do you have that you think might be useful here?
  7. Who is your personal hero?
  8. Why did you decide to choose this organization for employment?
  9. How do you handle a stressful situation?
  10. There are 3 problems to deal with and a kid tugging on you. Your co-counselor is sitting on the side. What do you do to defuse the situations?
  11. Why are you a good role model?
  12. Describe what you think your job duties would be.
  13. Come up with a 10 minute game for ages 6-11.
  14. Describe yourself in 5 words or less.
  15. If I asked a previous co-worker what your greatest strength is, what would they say?

Need more questions? Check out the 100 Interview Questions resource in the Patchwork Marketplace.

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What are some great interview questions you use?

15 Comments

  • Wow, these are really good honest questions to ask in an interview. I believe questions #3, 10 & 13 are very intriguing. Especially question 13.
    Here a couple more.
    – What do you look to gain from this position?
    – Why do you think this camp is important for these children to experience?

    • Teirra and Dave, thanks for taking the time to add to the discussion. When I interview my aim is to get a feel for the applicant. Personally, I like my applicants to feel comfortable, not stressed. I know other directors want to see how an applicant does under stress because there can be stressful ordeals that happen at camp. However, I have a good core staff that can handle just about anything.

      What I want is someone who can be fun, responsible and fit in well with my existing staff. I can teach them techniques on how to deal with most situations and emergencies. I want to make sure they will keep the kids safe and can act as a positive mentor. Asking hypothetical questions, creative questions or standard interview questions isn’t so much to test them or see if they have the “right” answer, it’s more of a way for me to get to know the applicants. I can tell in a matter of minutes if I want to hire someone regardless of the questions. Maybe I have a knack for choosing very good staff. Maybe it’s just luck. Either way, I like just having a conversation with an applicant and the best way for me to do that is to ask interesting questions and start a conversation that is give and take. I want the applicant to know me as well, know who they will be working for.

      Most interviewers will burn through a list of questions and write down the applicants answers, listening for what they feel are the “correct” answers. That just isn’t my style. In fact, I will take an applicant that has a great personality, success in past projects, common sense and a willingness to learn, over someone with a lot of camp experience but not the camp personality I’m looking for. I can train someone to be a counselor. I cannot train someone to have a fun personality or common sense or to WANT to get up and lead a camp song or to WANT to take initiative. It just has to be who they are.

      My style of interviewing with a mix of serious and fun questions, including a ton of hypotheticals, has worked for me thus far. However, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not for everyone. I more or less feel my way through an interview because that is how I liked to be interviewed myself and it lends itself to good conversation.

  • I think it is important to note that the success rate (in my experience) for questions that are hypothetical is fairly low. I want to hear stories that indicate past success in a particular area. For this reason, I also find questions regarding the amount of research someone has done are also not hugely useful. I LOVE the define the difference questions, and show me you are creative questions.

    One important thing I have found over the years is that quality staff bring their high-quality friends to me for jobs. I was able to almost weed out all the folks-off-the-street, the ones of whom I would ask most of these questions.

    Thanks, Dave

  • New this year, I introduced group interviewing! It was amazing! I am hoping to do a session at our next State Conference for the PA Recreation and Park Society. I had approximately 15 interviewees in each group…if you would like more information I would be more than happy to share! It was a great mix of questions, games, and participation!

  • Here’s one that I’ve been using for the past few years. It really makes them think (and often stumps them), but also provides insight into one of the more vital aspects of their position as counselor/supervisor/Director:

    – What is the most creative thing you’ve ever done?

  • Toward the end of an interview I always ask “what motivates you?” The answers can give you insight to that person and also strategies to use to keep the energy going through out the summer, of course if the answer is money you know this is not the field for them.

  • As my team and I are gearing up for hiring season it was nice to run across some new questions, or just new ways of asking older ones. I also like to ask “Who is the customer, the child or the parent”. We run tech programs with high expectations and a student take home project at the end of the week. It is interesting to hear the candidates thought process as they explain their answer.

  • As a new Camp Director I really appreciate these questions. I have only been the interviewee, never the interviewer so this was a big help.

  • So I assume that Curt’s camp councelors consist of 95% extroverts? You are good at finding out weather somebody is one or not and that is why you are so good at picking staff with such personalities.
    Don’t be too brief with your explanations; you might offend 30% of readers.

    • Rod, I do like having extroverts on my staff, especially since I am not one. They don’t mind being silly or leading camp songs or getting in front of groups to tell them the rules of the game in a fun and entertaining way. I don’t want all my staff to be extroverts, however. That would just get annoying. I like a mix. There are many, many kids that relate much better to introverts, and it evens out the energy of camp as well. I usually get a mix of about 50/50. Though, if I had it my way, I would prefer it to be 60/40.

  • I like to ask a lot of scenarios– for example,
    “how would you respond to a 12 year old who is refusing to participate” OR “how do you respond to a 5 year old that knocked over someone’s tower of blocks”

    I also like to ask what they think a parent wants the program. Because we’re a day camp, we see parents twice a day– if a parent walks into the room, what do you think they want to see (or not see).

    I LOVE to ask why and when is it the right time to use a cell phone. It’s a trick– because the answer SHOULD be never– but sometimes they genuinely have a valid reason (calling 911, while on a field trip, for example)

  • What are your thoughts on asking these additional questions?

    1. What’s your favorite joke?
    2. Do you have a go to karaoke song?
    3. If we host a talent show, how would you participate?

    I’m trying to make sure my counselors will work well with the program’s children. Any thoughts would be helpful.

  • Tiffany – This will be my 3rd season doing group interviews for camp applicants and I do a combination of scenarios, 1:1 questions, team activities, etc. I also have each candidate bring a game/activity, craft or song to share and teach the group. I am really looking for some new ideas and would love to hear yours!

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