Hiring an Executive Director for a summer camp can be one of the most challenging tasks a board might face. Experienced camp managers are few and far between and even if you can find a few, you want to make sure they are skilled, strong leaders and passionate about your camp’s mission. This blog provides information for board members when it comes time to hire a new camp director.
Starting the Search
In some cases, there might be an assistant director or another senior management staff member that has been groomed and is ready to move up into the director position. In other cases, you’re going to have to start the recruiting and hiring process from scratch. Before you start advertising the position, here are a few things you should consider:
What are your camp’s needs? Knowing what you camp needs from it’s leader will help you put together a list of skills and experience an ideal candidate for the position will have to have. Get input from the board, camp staff, supporters, stakeholders and volunteers and put together a job profile. Then determine the requirements for this job and determine the salary available for the position.
What is the process? How will you go about recruiting and hiring the new director? Who is responsible for doing what during the search, hiring and training? How will you handle conflicts of interest and where will you extend your search for the right candidate?
Who will find the candidates? Set up a small search committee, preferably with someone who has human resources experience. The committee doesn’t necessarily have to be made up of board members.
Advertising the Position
There are lots of ways your camp can advertise the vacant Executive Director position. ACA Members can submit a job posting on the Alberta Camping Association Job Board at no cost. If you let us know about your needs, we can also send out your job posting in our monthly newsletter and on our social media pages.
You can also invest in paid advertising on online job posting sites like Indeed or Monster. Another option is posting the job on social media sites like LinkedIn and then sharing it on your other social media accounts.
If you are in a smaller community, local newspaper advertising can be affective, but in most cases you want to reach out directly to the camping community. Try sending out an e-blast to your network to stimulate any interest or ideas for an ideal candidate. Pick up the phone and start sharing with other camps what you are looking for. Sometimes "word of mouth" is the best way to fill an important role at camp.
Screening & Interviewing Candidates
Once you have some applications, have your search committee review them and determine who doesn’t meet your minimum requirements for the job. The call the short list for interviews. You should also decide who will be conducting the interviews and if any camp staff will be present to help make the decision.
Put together a list of interview questions and make sure they are compliant with legislation. For example, by law you are not allowed to ask questions about a person’s religion, marital status, etc. Learn more about legal and illegal interview questions here. Ask questions that will help the candidate best share their passion and experience. You might decide to do several rounds of interviews with ideal candidates.
After you’ve narrowed it down to two or three applications, they should have interviews with the entire board before making a final decision. This gives everyone the opportunity to meet the candidate and weigh in on the hiring decision. The final hiring decision is made by the entire board.
For more help, check out this great resource: “Hiring a Director for a Non-Profit Agency: A Step-by-Step Guide”
Read next week’s post for part 2 of this blog - “Transitioning your New Camp Director”