What is a recruitment fair you ask? Well! Only the best way to get your face out there and get hired! They are big events where camps from the USA, send a representative to hire UK staff to work at their camp. Camp America host fairs in January and February, there’s usually 2 in London and 1 in Edinburgh and Manchester.
Recently, Camp America announced that they’ve added 2 new recruitment fairs! One will be in Leeds on November 11th and Birmingham on November 12th.
By the time all the recruitment fairs are over, hundreds of camps from all over America will have hired here in the UK. I have worked at more than a few, and hopefully my top tips will help you get hired!
Before the Fair
There’s a few thing you can do to prepare. Complete your application and get your interview out the way asap. Once you’ve had your interview, this allows you fast track entry to the fair! Sign up to the Camp America website for information on the upcoming fairs.
Have a Plan
Once you’ve chosen a recruitment fair, it’s worth having a look at what camps are attending. Camp America provide a list of the camps on their site, how many staff they are looking for, ages and skills. For the bigger fairs, in the past there’s been a floor plan so you can seek out the camps which interest you.
I can’t stress this enough. My experience of the London recruitment fairs, was – busy and big! Some camps only hire a few staff and others a few hundred. You can stand in line for a while to speak to a camp director, over the course of the day, it all adds up. If the fair starts at 9am, I would advise aiming to be in line up to an hour before.
A difficult one. All the fairs are in winter, so you’ll want to be warm. Though the venues can get really sweaty, so layers are advised!
It’s also worth remembering that you are effectively interviewing for a job, even though it’s casual. So think about your first impressions. You’re being hired to work with children, sometimes at camps with strict dress codes. Jeans and casual wear are fine, but ladies – watch the short skirts and cleavage. Gents – my personal pet peeve is low slung jeans/trousers, I do not want to see your underwear, pull them up.
This is your first impression and it might get you a job. Even if you are dripping in sweat and self doubt, smile and be friendly. I’ve helped hire for the camp I spent 4 years at, and first impressions matter. Try your hardest to be confident and sell yourself – why should they hire YOU?
Yes, we hired quiet people who were obviously young and nervous. But you need to convince people that they could work with you. Communication is key. If you can’t talk and smile to your potential boss, then how will you be with kids?
Bring a ‘Portfolio’
Ok, so it doesn’t need to be an actual portfolio, that’s excessive, though I’ve seen it before. Bringing along a little folder with a copy of your application is a must! Any certificates you have, plus a few photos just looks good. It shows that you’re prepared and also gives some visual info for a potential employer.
If You Don’t Place
Unfortunately some people will leave without being placed. This could be for many reasons! You might not have found a camp which suited you, or maybe the places just filled up too quickly.
DO NOT feel disheartened! I’ve seen so many tears and truly sad wee faces at the end of the day. Have another look at your application and see if there’s anything you would like to change, and then it’s just a waiting game. People place right up until around May, so don’t feel like you’ve missed your only chance!
Good luck if you’re attending a fair! If I can be of any help, please contact me through any of my social media pages. I’m more than happy to help!
*Photos belong to Camp America. I received permission to use these for the purpose of this post.