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Group Auditions for Prospective Employees - Part 1

Apr 25, 2014 9:35 AM

Tip of the WeekFor new centers that are getting ready to open, the hiring process can be cumbersome.  Depending on the size of your facility, you may need to hire 10, 20, or maybe 30+ employees.  Knowing that you won't hire everyone you interview  (or, to use the Disney term, Audition), then you'll be doing a whole lot of auditions, which will take a whole lot of time.  Obviously, starting a business is a time-consuming venture, and most owners won't want to spend all that time trying to hire a staff.

That is why group auditions are extremely handy.  Group auditions are just like they sound.  Instead of doing one-on-one auditions with dozens of potential employees, you invite several candidates and hold their auditions simultaneously.  This allows you to get through the process much faster, among many other benefits.  There are several ways to get the most out of these auditions.  First, don't tell these prospective candidates that it's a group audition.  Simply provide them the day and time.  When they show up, you'll get to judge their reaction to being caught off-guard and put in a group situation.  This correlates well with working in entertainment centers, because during a shift, not everything will go according to plan.  You'll want your employees to be able to react well to unexpected issues.

This audition process is not exclusive to new facilities getting ready to open.  In fact, it works extremely well for existing facilities that need to hire only one or two people.  At the beginning of the audition, you can be up-front and let the entire group know that you only have two openings available.  If you have eight people at the audition, they know that at least six of them are guaranteed to walk out without a job (or maybe all of them, since you're not required to hire anyone if you don't like the group).  By presenting this information up front, you'll get the best effort from the candidates and you'll see who really wants the job.

Another way to immediately sift out those who aren't hungry for the position is to be very blunt with your expectations.  Let them know that the job is difficult and demanding.  Let them know exactly what you expect as an owner and operator.  Give them the opportunity to go ahead and leave right away it doesn't sound like something that jives with their goals.  Yes, most of the people that apply for these jobs are high school students.  But that doesn't mean that can't be great employees if challenged.  Treat them like adults, and you may be surprised with the results.

Now you can line everyone up and start asking questions, just like you would in any other audition/interview.  In order to keep everyone on their toes, don't go in order down the line with your questions.  Instead, pick people at random.  Also, continue switching up the questions.  If you ask "what's your best quality?" to every person before moving on to the next question, they'll have a lot of time to prepare an answer before you get to them.  Mix things up, ask questions out of order, and just make the entire audition unpredictable.

Feel free to try out some different group activities.  One activity that works really well is singing a song.  Have everyone get in a circle and sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."  As we know, the entertainment industry is fun, so you'll want employees that can have fun with tasks like this.  If you see people that don't want to participate, or who are only giving it half effort, you'll know they may not be the best fit for your business.

There really isn't any limit to what you can do with these group auditions.  Get creative with ideas to see what works and what doesn't.  After some time, you'll have a fine-tuned process for getting the best candidates possible.

This is part 1 in a 3-part series about group auditions.  In the coming weeks, we'll cover "Grown-up Show and Tell" and "Who Took Your Job?"

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