5 Tips for Interviewing for Parks and Recreation Jobs

5 Tips for Interviewing for Parks and Recreation Jobs

Interviewing for a job opening can be one of the more difficult parts of one’s job. Interviewees come in trying everything they can to get the job. Choosing between different candidates and trying to predict who will be the best at the job is incredibly difficult to predict.


Although a lot of successful interviewing relies on your intuition, a lot of emphasis is put on your preparation as well. Here are 5 tips for creating the right parks and recreation interview questions, along with advice on how to prepare to be interviewed.



While usually the interviewee is more nervous than the interviewer, it’s important for the interviewer to keep in mind that they’re having a conversation with a purpose. While some industries may like to see how an employee reacts under immense pressure, a parks and recreation job probably doesn’t need that intensity. Allow both of yourselves to feel comfortable and this will let you get a more genuine sense of what your candidate is like. This will get better answers out of your parks and recreation interview questions.


Being interviewed, this can be easier said than done. Remember: you should be getting almost as much information out of this interview as they are. Take the time to ask questions, loosen up, and get to know the organization you’re applying to better. Show knowledge about the parks and recreation organization you’re applying to. What services do they offer? When were they established? What community initiatives are they a part of?



Culture and Fit

Culture and fit are a huge part of whether a candidate will be a good choice or not. Make sure to consider this, when creating your parks and recreation interview questions. Every parks and rec group will have their own culture (a lack of culture could be one too). Think about how they would add (or detract) from it. For example, SPLICE has a big love of food, and therefore tells candidates that they celebrate Pi Day on March 14 when everyone brings in their favorite pie. They’ll ask the candidate what their favorite pie is, and “if the person isn’t excited to talk about and share food, they’re probably not a fit.” A few important interests could include a love for being social with park attendees, having a keen interest in nature and animal habitats or having a strong sense of civic duty as a parks employee.


As an interviewee, these are also important points to think about. Get a feel for the culture of the parks and rec organization and make sure it works for you. You’re better off at a park or facility where you’re a good personal fit, or you may end up dreading your daily work routine. Use the opportunity to learn more about how they engage with their community, how well kept their grounds and facilities are, and their future plans to help improve their surrounding area.



Non-verbal Cues

This is where the more intuitive interviewers find success: in the way they interpret applicant responses to their parks and recreation interview questions. Looking out for non-verbal cues can be difficult but, with enough attention to the small things, you can uncover quite a bit. A candidate can spend a lot of time formulating answers and preparing for verbal response but lots of non-verbal forms of communication can’t be faked. Forbes has a great list of non-verbal mistakes in job interviews to check out to get an idea of what to look out for as well as what to pay attention to as an interviewee.

Expect questions specifically geared to your interested in parks and recreation. If you’re applying as an instructor or greeter, you’ll need to respond confidentially to questions about dealing with the public. If you’re in maintenance, you’ll want keen observations and no fidgeting, when it comes to technical questions.




Preparation is key. Do some research on different sorts of interview questions. Make a list of things you want to uncover about your candidate. We’ve already hit on culture and fit and that’s one of many aspects to look at. Prepare parks and recreation interview questions to determine their leadership qualities, their values, their emotional intelligence, and more. Interviewees are encouraged to write down some of the potential questions they could be asked, especially around work experience, goals, strengths and weaknesses. Remember to save some time to learn specifics about the parks groups, along with their local community, to give you a better understand of the needs of the organization, along with improving your chances for a successful interview.



Get to the Point 

At the end of the day, the most important aspects of a candidate will be their ability to excel in the job responsibilities they’re applying for. Crafting your parks and recreation interview questions to be industry and role specific will resulted in a stronger interview process. Make a solid list of the key responsibilities of the job and then formulate parks and recreation interview questions that will demonstrate whether a candidate can succeed or not. Does the job have certain personalities that might excel more than others? Make sure you look out for that too. 


Interviewees should look over the responsibilities ahead of time, to make sure there aren’t any they’ve missed. In most cases, it’s okay to not have a full knowledge of each facet of the job posting. In many circumstances, a willingness to learn will go far. Make sure you aren’t making up your workplace skills or it will quickly get you in hot water.


Looking to get started in the parks and recreation field? Learn more about job types, certification and where to look for potential job postings.

What are your best interview strategies to really get to know a potential employee? As an employee, what tips would you give to those applying? Let us know on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your Xplor Recreation news.

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