Top Interview Questions for Parks & Recreation Summer Positions

The core of your department are the passionate, hardworking people. That’s why it’s so important to spend the time properly staffing, to ensure that your residents and program participants have the best experience possible.

Miriam Saslove
Miriam Saslove
February 21, 2023 2 min read

Whether you’re hiring camp counselors, lifeguards, park maintenance staff, or another summer position, use this list of questions to find the best fit for your Parks & Rec department (or if you’re on the lookout for a summer position, use it to nail your next interview!)

✨ Make sure you stay tuned to the end, because we’ve got a special FREE downloadable interview notes template for you!

List of the Best Interview Questions For Hiring Managers in Parks and Recreation

1) Interview question to learn more the applicant: "Tell me about yourself"

Why ask this? This is a great opening question to get the candidate talking. You can use whatever they say here to begin the conversation and inform your next question.

Things to look out for in an answer:

A description of their current role, past experience, and why they are interested in the position. A bit of personal information is okay, but the answer should focus on their professional journey.

2) Interview question to challenge the applicant: "Why do you think you would be a good fit for this position?"

Why ask this? This is the candidate’s opportunity to directly relate their skills to the position requirements.

Things to look out for in an answer: Look for specific references to things mentioned in the job description and justification for why they applied. For example, they might say: “this position seems like it will involve a lot of creative problem solving, which is something I did a lot when dealing with XYZ at my last job.”

3) Interview question to understand the applicant's soft skills: "How do you feel about working in teams?"

Why ask this? It’s important to gauge a candidate’s comfort level when it comes to collaboration, since most P&R positions involve working with others and being a team player for the greater good of the community.

Things to look out for in an answer: Overall, the candidate should react positively. They should show enthusiasm about working with others, and hopefully give an example of when they were a team player.

4) Interview question to make sure basic job skills are met: "What do you like best about working with children?"

Why ask this? This is particularly important for summer positions that will interact with kids, like camp counselors or lifeguards that teach swimming lessons.

Things to look out for in an answer: There isn’t necessarily a “right” answer here, but the candidate should show enthusiasm about working with kids. They might mention the joy they get from seeing the world through the kids’ lens, or the importance of being a role model for the younger generation.

5) Interview question to close hiring process with the candidate: "What does Parks & Recreation mean to you?"

Why ask this? The one thing that all public servants have in common is passion. At the end of the day, people work for Parks & Recreation departments because they care about their communities. Whether it’s a part-time summer position or a high-level Director position, the candidate should show that they are passionate about working for their local government and making a difference in the lives of other residents.

Things to look out for in an answer: Again, this will be a personal answer, but there should be some passion shown in the response. The answer may involve a story from the candidate’s past as well.

Monitor and campers all sitting on the ground.

The candidate should show enthusiasm about working with kids. They might mention the joy they get from seeing the world through the kids’ lens, or the importance of being a role model for the younger generation.

Top 8 Behavioral Interview Questions to Ask Applicants For A Successful Parks and Recreation Hiring Process

These questions are meant for you to find out how your candidate would respond to a situation that may arise on the job. You can get creative with these, but here are some examples:

1) Tell me about a time where you encountered conflict in a team setting and how you resolved it.

2) If a child was misbehaving, how would you handle it?

3) How do you handle stress in your workplace?

4) What would you do if a participant refused to do an activity?

What to look for in the candidates' interview answers

While the answers to these questions will vary, here are some things to look out for in the answer to a behavioral interview question:

✨ A clear beginning, middle and end to the story

✨ Possibly using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to describe the experience

✨ Specifics and quantifiable data where possible

✨ Keeping the answer professional, leaving personal feelings aside

Make Sure Your Parks And Recreation Agency Culture Fits with the Candidates

Use the following interview questions:

Use these to get to know the candidate on a more personal level. You aren’t necessarily looking for a “right” answer here either, but more for a response that shows that some thought was put into it! Here are some ideas, but feel free to think outside the box:

1) What would surprise us to know about you?

2) What’s the last thing you geeked out on (or, what are your hobbies)?

3) What does your ideal weekend look like?

4) Can you share an example of a time when you worked on something you were proud of?

Now that you’ve gathered your list of questions, go forth and interview with confidence! Use our FREE template to take notes during your next interview 📝

Get the free and exclusive Parks and Recreation interview template now!

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