Fine-Tune Your Hiring Process

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Ensuring that your recreation center runs like a well-oiled machine starts by employing great staff. Your staff are the lifeline of the facility; making sure all equipment is functioning, student needs are met, programing runs on time, brainstorming new and innovative ideas and much more.

And of course, employing top-notch staff starts with a comprehensive hiring process. Tim Mertz, the director of recreational sports at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, answers a few questions regarding hiring new staff.

Campus Rec: What is the hiring process like at MIT campus recreation?

Tim Mertz: Our hiring strategies are different depending on the position and the department. It is very difficult to attract and retain MIT students for jobs within Campus Recreation. The focus on academics and the corresponding rigor often motivates students to seek employment in labs or through research that advances their future career pursuits.

While we do employ MIT students, we actually employ more students from nearby colleges and universities. Candidates apply online and human resources assists with the screening and onboarding of candidates. Interviews are typically scheduled for an hour or two with the hiring supervisor. During the interview, candidates will tour the facilities, learn about the position, and be asked to answer questions specific to their knowledge, skills and abilities. We are hiring part-time employee’s year round.

CR: Do you ever do performance reviews with staff? 

TM: Yes. All full-time and part-time staff participate in an annual performance review.  This review process often includes peer feedback, supervisor feedback as well as self-evaluation. Performance is measured against the required competencies of the position as well as against predetermined goals set by the employee and their supervisor. A well-crafted performance review process to which all parties have knowledge of the metrics and methodologies being used creates a fair environment for feedback to be delivered and discussed.

CR: What advice would you give other recreation directors about hiring new staff? 

TM: On an increasingly frequent basis, I am looking for candidates with campus recreation experience, but may be currently employed in the private sector. For example, three of our last four marketing professionals have come from the private sector. Cornerstones characteristics of a marketing professional’s skill set have rapidly evolved. Design and illustration, social and mobile, print and digital have advanced at such a pace that the marketing professional must demonstrate flexibility and adaptability.

In my experience, acquiring staff from the private sector has rounded out our department’s total skill set and I’ve found their marketing skills and their general understanding of marketing concepts to be superior. As a result, MIT Recreation’s marketing is leading the way here in Boston.

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Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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