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Questions to Ask When Interviewing an Activity Director

by Kristine Tucker, studioD

Hospitals, senior centers, campgrounds and other organizations often employ activity directors to create programs that encourage physical and mental activity. Most events are designed to be fun and help participants connect with each other. When interviewing candidates for an activity director position, ask questions that test their resourcefulness and creativity. You need effective programming so participants enjoy their time and choose to stay involved.

Ideas for Activities

You want to determine if the job applicant has the energy and enthusiasm to create and facilitate activities that meet participants' needs. You might ask, "What activities have you successfully created and directed in the past?" or "What types of events would you plan to incorporate into our program?" If your residents or participants have limitations or specific requests, you might ask, "How do you customize activities to meet individual needs?" Select one of the applicant's ideas and inquire as to how she might organize and promote the event. The goal is to determine if the candidate has the creativity, interpersonal skills and detail-oriented strengths it takes to host both small and large events.

Physical Limitations

Activity directors must be physically able to supervise and aid participants during events. You might need your director to carry supplies, set up games, referee activities or provide hands-on instruction. As a hiring manager, you might ask, "Do you have any physical limitations that might restrict or limit your involvement with participants?" or "Are you able to lift 20 pounds and physically assist participants with activities?" The job might not require athletic ability, but you need someone who is able to actively engage and interact with participants.

Leadership Skills

Activity directors often supervise staff who help ensure that activities run smoothly. You might need a director who can effectively organize drivers for off-campus events or oversee instructors who teach classes, such as ballroom dancing, poker, arts and crafts, swimming and tennis. You might ask, "What leadership roles have you held that equip you to supervise support staff?" or "What leadership strengths do you have that help you motivate and inspire employees?" You might even ask a behavioral interview question, such as "How would you handle a conflict between a staff member and an activity participant?"

Education or Certifications

If your activity director will be expected to perform recreational therapy, ask about certifications. You might prefer to hire someone who is certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification and who specializes in a particular practice, such as physical rehabilitation, geriatrics, developmental disabilities or behavioral health, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You might ask, "Do you have any certifications or training that will help you perform activity director duties?" or "What educational background or experience do you have that might qualify you to work with senior citizens?"

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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