How to Hire Staff for Activities in 3 Simple Steps + Free Recruiting, Interviewing and Onboarding Checklist

Learn how to plan for a growing team and set yourself up for success!

Alanna Crochetiere
Alanna Crochetiere
January 18, 2023 5 min read

The foundation of any organization that runs activities and recreational programs are the people who welcome, create, teach and interact with the members and clients. As an owner, director or manager of these organizations, your staff is an extension of you and the business. That’s what makes it so important it is to hire the right people. But hiring isn’t as simple as we’d like it to be.

Not to mention, things in the workforce have changed drastically over recent years. With high demand and a lack of talent, employees are leaving jobs more frequently than before and expecting a different type of environment that has more flexibility, inclusivity and community (McKinsey, 2022).

Whether it’s your first time hiring an employee, or you are looking for a refresher, together we’ll break down the hiring process into 3 manageable steps that will help you make sure you’re attracting qualified applicants, hiring the right people and setting them up for success.

If you feel like you are ready to jump right into the process, you can download our Checklist for Recruiting, Interviewing and Onboarding Staff to get started today!

Reviewing Applications

Step 1: Recruiting and sourcing strong candidates

One of the most underrated aspects of personnel management is recruitment. In the era of LinkedIn, Glassdoor and online job applications, there are many ways to source qualified candidates.

That being said, the employee market can be unpredictable in the post-pandemic world, so while you consider your needs, you should also be taking into account the availability of the type of worker you are looking for. Keep an open mind during this process and get creative if you need to; for example, you can hire two part-time workers instead of one full-time employee or maybe you can split the role into two more focused positions.

Once you choose the role you need to fill, take time to create a job description. Your job listing is the first impression of your business. The title, skills, experience, salary & benefits listed can be the difference to whether a candidate hits the “apply now” button or not. Checking out how other organizations are listing similar roles can help you make sure you come up in the search engines. You can also try and add some flare to your job description by incorporating fun and unique details about you and your organization. Check out these examples of what to include in each section.

Now it’s time to get that job posting out there! Your website, newsletter and social media accounts are great places to start. You’ll also want to consider job listing sites or even paying for ads on social media if budget allows. There are also plenty of free options. Check out this list of free job posting sites provided by

two women sitting at a table talking

Step 2: Interviewing for your unique team and business

Before the interview process is in full swing, map out a plan and schedule for your interview. The plan involves what interviews you want to conduct and who you’d like to include in them. For example, if you are the hiring manager, you might want to have the owner or director of your organization do a second interview. If you are the hiring manager and the owner, you can do a second interview with team members to do a culture fit. In terms of your schedule, you’ll want to be able to share with candidates the rough time period for when they could expect call-backs for the first or second round and final round interviews. This not only helps candidates know what to expect but also helps you create a timeline based on when you need the candidate to start.

To prepare for the interviews themselves, you’ll want to plan out your questions and create a system for note taking, rating and debriefing. This will help make each interview consistent and fair, plus it will streamline the process with the other interviewers involved. You can group questions into different categories to make sure everything is covered and assign each interviewer specific questions or complete categories. Some examples of categories could be skill-based, management style/collaboration style, personality-based, and culture fit. For note taking, you can set up a grid with a rating system and notes section for each question, or use a free template. The most important thing is that you find a way to help you and your fellow interviewers evaluate and remember each candidate.

Which leads us to the last point! As the hiring manager, you should set up a debrief as soon as possible after each interview phase. This will help you share first impressions, gather additional information to take note of, as well as inform you on whether the candidate will make it to the next phase. It’ll also make sure the interviewer group comes to a consensus quickly and allows you to keep the candidate in the loop with any news as soon as possible.

Group of people meeting and talking with coffee looking happy

Step 3: Onboarding for success

First impressions make for lasting impressions, and it’s not only your new staff member who should be looking to make a good one. You want to reassure your new team members that they’ve made a good decision by setting up the right onboarding process. We break this down into 3 items: First day/week, check-ins, milestones & expectations.

Getting your new employee started on the right foot can really make or break whether all the work you’ve put into finding them will pay off. During the first day or week, make sure that you are prepared with their gear (missing gear can make employees feel like you do not prioritize them), that you have time to give them a tour of your facilities (a great way opportunity to impress them and get them situated), as well as offering a schedule of trainings or shadowing to keep them occupied and learning as they take in everything. If you have season or session-based business such as courses, camps, swim lessons or sports then it may be a good idea to hire your new staff before the prior one ends so they can observe the current one in action.

For check-ins, milestones and expectations, this serves to give clear direction to your new recruit just as much as it helps you make sure they are ready when you need them to be and to manage your own expectations. Everyone has different learning curves, so giving them time to adjust and learn is helpful. Create a learning path that targets developing new skills during different time periods such as the first week, month or first session. Then as they gain more experience, your milestones can expand in terms of independence or leadership. Don’t forget to be open to increasing compensation if they go beyond the initial scope of the role you hired for. Lastly, schedule casual check-ins to see how they are liking the job, share feedback and deliver positive reinforcement. Depending on the size of your organization, you might want to have them check-in with other team members as well.

Hiring to help you run your activities, today and in the future

Taking on new employees is a task that requires reflection, foresight and a lot of planning. By making sure your hiring plan follows these steps, you’ll be ensuring that the staff you do hire fit exactly what you need, and that they are set up for success.

To help you along your way, we’ve created a free checklist with steps for all three phases, so you don’t forget any details. Good luck with expanding your team!

Download the checklist today! 

Keep your recruiting process on track thanks to this free downloadable document.

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