Theme Park Hiring – Tips & Tricks
Although each theme park will have its own hiring requirements and process, there are some standards across the board that applicants should meet before applying. If you want a theme park summer job, then heed the following advice.
Since most theme park jobs require heavy guest contact, each operation will have personal appearance guidelines. Some theme parks have stricter regulations, while others seek a more relaxed atmosphere. Some standards include having one, natural hair color and be groomed in a business casual style, neutral colored makeup and natural colored nails, good personal hygiene, no visible tattoos or piercing (except one hole in each lobe for women only), and minimal, well-maintained facial hair. When going to an interview, applicants should be dressed professionally in a business suit, blouse and skirt, or dress/polo shirt and slacks. Sneakers and sandals should not be worn. Jewelry should be kept at a minimum – necklaces should be small and tasteful, no more than one ring per hand, one wristwatch, one pair of earrings (women only), and minimal cologne/perfume.
Your resume should be up-to-date with your latest employment and written to highlight individual duties performed and skills gained in each previous position. It’s a good idea to include sections such as an objective, transferable skills, education, previous employment, and professional references (family members do not count). Also, try to use action verbs wherever possible to make your resume stand out.
Occasionally, theme park applicants are given a phone interview. In this case, you won’t have the benefit of eye contact and body language to help you. It’s all about “putting a smile in your voice.” Theme park recruiters are looking for people that exude enthusiasm, are confident in their knowledge, are good communicators, and are able to consistently remain positive. All of this can be conveyed in your tone of voice. Be professional. Speak slowly. Don’t be afraid to repeat the interviewer’s question to confirm understanding. Have your resume in front of you for easy reference.
One recommendation many people have is to dress professionally for the phone interview – if you feel successful, you’ll be successful.
During your interview, you’ll be allowed the chance to ask questions. Sometimes, your questions can make or break you. Avoid questions like, “Will I have to work overtime?” “This job sounds cool. Why did the last person leave?” and “I really hated my last boss because he was always yelling and looking over my shoulder. How does management work here?” It’s better to focus on questions to either help you understand your future potential with the company, or show that you’ve done your research before applying. Try “What are the day-to-day expectations and responsibilities of this job?” and “I’ve researched the company and noticed that (company name) has excellent health care benefits. Can you tell me more about them?” Also, avoid calling the interviewer by their first name, if possible.
So, what kinds of questions can you expect in a theme park interview? Be prepared to introduce yourself and talk about why you want to work at that particular theme park, previous job experiences, your expectations for this job/company, your career goals and why you feel this job will help you reach them, and relevant skills and training. You may also be asked to describe yourself using only three words, talk about your perceived strengths and weaknesses, and report on your worst job experience. During your interview, be as honest as possible – recruiters can tell when you are being phony or just repeating memorized answers. And remember, an interview is a chance for you to sell yourself, so every answer needs to reflect your past experiences, skills, and teamwork abilities. Basically, you’ll be answering their unspoken question: Why should we hire you?
There is one last question many theme park recruiters ask – what is your favorite ride? This question, although simple, provides a wealth of knowledge for the recruiter. It lets them know if you are familiar enough with their operation to be able to name one of their attractions. It lets recruiters know if you are more the thrill-seeking type, or one to enjoy intricate details, which translates into whether you are a big-picture thinker or detail-oriented planner. The question is also a way to demonstrate if you are more likely to be a short-term employee, or are planning to make your career in the theme park industry. Those that choose one of the newer thrill attractions tend to be more short-term employees; i.e. always looking for the latest, greatest thing. Applicants that state a fondness for legacy attractions demonstrate dedication to preservation, understanding the importance of company heritage, and show an inclination to create long-term roles for themselves within the organization.
After the interview, applicants will be rated on several factors other than their resumes. You can expect to be judged on having a professional appearance, being flexible with your hours and job roles, overall attitude and enthusiasm, ability/willingness to work in a team, related employment background, communication skills, and leadership abilities. Recruiters will also be looking for what unique qualities you can bring into the operation. Mention skills such as being bilingual, an artist or musician, or even prior park knowledge.
Even if you’re thinking the theme park world might not be for you, these tips and tricks will come in handy during virtually any interview you have. Hopefully, these insights will help you no matter what career path you take.