The expert advice to answer your most pressing questions. This month, Tim Mertz, the director of recreational sports at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discusses hiring professional staff.
CR: What is the hiring process like at MIT campus recreation?
TM: Boston has over 50 colleges and universities within an hour’s drive of the city, and as such, we are very competitive when it comes to recruiting for full-time employees. Once a candidate applies online, Human Resources screens for basic qualifications. Those that meet the minimum requirements are forwarded on to the hiring manager who works with a search team to conduct the second round of interviews. At this point, we may invite them to participate in a phone interview or offer to arrange an online video conference call interview. Once the second round of interviews is conducted, the hiring manager will begin to coordinate on-campus interviews. Depending on the position, an on-campus interview will last between four to eight hours. We often ask our candidates to prepare a presentation, and the presentation is typically related to an existing trend, challenge or future aspiration of the department. Candidates will meet with a variety of panels during their on-campus interview and will be introduced to the facilities, members and often stakeholders from other departments across campus.
CR: What qualities do you look for when hiring?
TM: I am looking for candidates that understand the role of student life and development within higher education. Clearly they must appreciate and understand how campus recreation contributes to the quality of life for the campus community, and it’s helpful when the candidate has direct experiences connecting their career highlights with our vision and mission. More specifically, I am looking for candidates that have a broad base of experiences and who understand that we are educators and promoters of health and wellness. I am looking for someone that demonstrates unique and creative thinking and has a portfolio of experiences that demonstrates their prowess for innovation. Today, many positions will require candidates to understand financial structures within campus recreation. I am looking for those individuals who have created new reoccurring revenue, have established a history for expense management and who can interpret complex financial statements. Lastly, any new employee must integrate themselves into the existing staff. The best candidates are strong communicators who understand culture and have the innate leadership abilities to assist with advancing our department to meet the needs of our current and future campus community.
CR: What sort of training do new staff go through?
TM: Training is specific to the position. New employees are provided with a staff manual that contains specific training guidelines specific to the department to which they are being hired to work within. Finally, we encourage all new employees to register for a campus tour that is offered daily through the Admissions office at MIT. These tours often provide a new employee with an appreciation for the history of MIT. We are often told that this is one of the most fun and interesting components to new staff training.