Thousands of Theme Park University readers either are either currently working in a theme park or have at one time during their career. This article is aimed primarily at you. If you’ve ever wanted to know the ins and outs of having to run a huge operation like an amusement park with thousands of employees, this will be of interest to you as well. Today, we discuss hiring.
Typically, if you’re working for a major theme park that hires thousands of employees in every department, from attractions to merchandise to food and beverage to guest services, they have their own department that just handles hiring. Most companies these days have an online assessment followed by an in-person interview to determine what roles in the park might be the right fit. That in-person interview is extremely limited in time, thus it’s not always easy to determine who is a right fit for a particular position and a lot of guess work is involved.
Nearly every company in America has applicants apply online these days and many come with their own version of an assessment to determine if you are a right fit. That online quiz or “survey” is often filled with very dry questions about what kind of team player you are and if you consider yourself a “people person” or not. Most people know the answers the companies are looking for and respond accordingly in order to get the job. However, that doesn’t mean the amusement park is putting the right people in the right positions.
Last week at IAAPA, I stumbled across a booth for Employment Technologies Corporation who is looking to rectify, if not revolutionize, the entire theme park hiring process. With their online software, instead of a cookie cutter question and answer form, prospective employees interact with an online role playing scenario.
Through the use of flash animation, hopefuls place themselves in the role of several theme park employee’s shoes. For example, you can be working at an attraction and a virtual cartoon guest approaches you and asks where the restroom is. Granted, if you’ve ever worked in a theme park, you know that this question is asked dozens of times a day no matter where you work.
This software gives you several answers to choose from and lets you rank those answers from very good to very poor. Where this gets interesting is that there are no clear cut “right” or “wrong” answers, rather certain options are better than others and it’s your job as an applicant to determine what might be the best answer for that particular situation.
In addition, the animation is done in such a way that you can sort of “read” the guest based on their facial expression and the tone in their voice. Meaning, the answers you give should reflect the guest’s mood in front of you. Maybe they are having a bad day and just want a straight answer and move on. Maybe they seem talkative and could get a more detailed explanation. Good customer service means not only being able to regurgitate information, but also knowing how to respond to guests as individuals.
In addition, for cash handling positions, applicants are given a virtual cash drawer and are asked to process transactions and make change. Not only do they make change, but they are asked in certain scenarios to give only fives and ones back or just singles.
At the end of the role playing scenario, job hopefuls are thanked for their time and told that someone from recruiting will be contacting them. Meanwhile, the hiring department gets scores on how well the applicant did based on how appropriate their answers were, how accurate their cash draw skills are and even takes into account how long it took them to respond to each question.
Can these lessons about guest services and cash handling be taught? Absolutely. However, having someone with a particular skill set be placed into the right job can be crucial. One bad experience with an employee can often make or break an entire vacation. In addition, if the candidate or the company decides to transfer to another position within the theme park, that’s a lot of training dollars wasted when it could have been done right the first time.
To me, this seems like the future of hiring not only theme park workers, but just about anyone in the hospitality industry. For more information visit etc-easy.com. Also, make sure to follow TPU on Twitter by clicking this link and like us on Facebook by clicking here!