Educator Resources

Questions to ask during camp counselor interviews

Hiring responsible and trustworthy camp counselors is an important part of success when you are running a camp for kids. Counselors are an extension of yourself during the camp session. You need to know that you can trust them to keep your campers safe, make the right decisions in tough situations, and act appropriately at all times.

In this article, we will review the camp counselor hiring process, questions to ask during camp counselor interviews, and average pay for camp counselors. If you are looking for more support on starting and running a kids camp successfully, check out our ultimate guide.

Camp counselor hiring process

As you prepare to hire camp counselors for this season of camp, review this typical camp counselor hiring process to make sure you hit all of the key points.

  1. Write a strong job description. A good job description should include an accurate job title, necessary skills, experience, and qualifications, and responsibilities required as well as salary and benefits. If you are hiring for a camp counselor who will run the art program, include that information in the job title and description. Use our guide with more detailed information on how to write a job description.
  2. Organize your needs. Before you can hire camp counselors, you need to determine your needs. How many counselors will return from the year before and how many new spots do you need to fill? Are the roles specialized (for example, teaching art classes or running soccer drills) or are they more general? Make a master list of the types of counselors you need to hire so you can have a smooth application and interview process.
  3. Post your job in the right places. Most camp counselors are young adults (over 18 years old) because they have the most flexibility in schedule and they can romp around in the sun with their campers. Therefore, we recommend posting your camp counselor jobs in places where they will look: college career centers and university job fairs, Indeed.com, local community centers, and SimplyHired.com.
  4. Plan and run your interviews. In the next section, we will outline our recommended questions to ask during camp counselor interviews. Beyond just planning the questions you will ask, you need to decide how you will hold the interviews (in person, over the phone, over Zoom, or some combination?), how long they will be, if you will require references, and more. You should also include time in the interview to discuss the camp schedule, dates they will be needed, and more logistics.
  5. Make your hiring decisions. After you (and any other relevant staff members and/or administrators) have interviewed the candidates, it’s time to make your decisions. Let the counselors know if they have been hired or not hired and provide feedback for those who you decided not to hire. Keep your door open for future relationships and, if you are still looking for more counselors, ask for referrals from the counselors you did hire.

Looking for more support on hiring for your camp? Check out our guide.

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Questions to ask during camp counselor interviews

As you prepare to speak with candidates, knowing what to ask is important. The goal of these interviews is to learn about the potential camp counselors, determine if they share the same values as your camp, and gain insight into their experience working with children. Would a parent feel comfortable leaving their child with this counselor? 

Beyond the general questions that are important to ask, you should also ask questions specific to your camp and the role. At some camps, counselors and campers sing and dance before or after meals or at different times during the day. Therefore, you need to know that the counselors you hire will be comfortable singing and dancing in public. Likewise, if you are hiring an art counselor or a tennis coach, they need to have experience teaching and coaching. Make sure to include questions about the role as well as the general camp culture.

Here are some of the recommended questions to ask during camp counselor interviews from the American Camp Association (ACA) and our many Sawyer camp providers.

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Talk about your experience working with children. What do you like most about working with children? What do you like the least?
  3. Tell me about your experience with camp. Have you ever gone to camp or worked at a camp? If not, what do you know about camp from friends and/or pop culture? How do you think your experience working at camp might be similar or different?
  4. Who is your role model? Why?
  5. What are you hoping to gain from your time as a camp counselor?
  6. What do you think the best part of being a camp counselor is? What do you imagine is the worst?
  7. Talk about a time where you had to be a team player. What about a time where you had to lead? How do you deal with conflict when working on a team?
  8. Tell me about a time where you had to remain calm under pressure or stress. What happened? How did you handle the situation?
  9. Tell me about a time when you made a big mistake at work or school. What happened? How did you resolve the situation?
  10. Talk about a time where you anticipated a potential problem at work, school, or with friends. Were you able to prevent the problem? If so, how did you do it? If not, what could you have done differently?
  11. Describe a challenging situation or problem where you took the lead to correct it instead of waiting for someone else to do it.
  12. What would you do with a group of campers on a rainy day?
  13. A camper is struggling with homesickness. What would you say or do to help them?
  14. Campers in your cabin are arguing. Do you step in or let them figure it out? If you step in, what would you say or do?
  15. A parent is upset about something that happened with their child that day at camp. Role play the conversation with me.
  16. A camper is refusing to participate in an activity. How would you convince them to try it? Role play the conversation with me.

How much are camp counselors paid?

According to a survey done by the ACA in 2019, the average camp counselor salary for a day camp is $350 per week. The salary for overnight camp counselors is a bit lower: $223 per week. If you want to make your camp counselor job posts more enticing than your peers, make sure you include a competitive salary range. Plus, paying counselors what they are worth is a good way to encourage retention year-over-year.

If you are ready to start a kids camp and run it successfully, the team at Sawyer is here to support you! We have the best camp registration and management software, which helps hundreds of camps across the country save time on admin so they can spend more time changing the lives of their campers. 

With our suite of tools, like custom forms to record allergies and t-shirt sizes, flexible payment options like gift cards and installment plans, and seamless scheduling and registration on any device, Sawyer saves business owners 28 hours per month. If you are ready to spend less time on admin and more time doing more of what you love, see how Sawyer can help with a free trial or demo.

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