Making the Winning Team Skating Center Hiring Practices

Hiring for a roller skating center can be much like tryouts for a team sport. When asked about their hiring process, several RSA members said they have actual tryouts.  Picture a scene similar to that of the local high school varsity football team tryout, but instead of a position on the football team, it’s a job they are after.
The applicant is given a number, has a photo taken and is asked to do a 30-second video clip introducing themselves. Next the applicant group performs several tasks/activities to mimic job responsibilities.
Each skating/fun center has their own specialized tryout program, below is a brief example of the formula used by Jan Scott of Scotties Fun Spot in Quincy, Ill.
Welcome: Let applicants know the process will take at least two hours.
Icebreakers: Applicants are asked to partner up and get to know three unique things about their partner. (Other than name, age and where they live.) This allows the applicants to use their social skills and demonstrate talking to a stranger.
Go to the floor: Applicants take the skating floor minus skates accompanied by the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken Dance. Looking at the applicants’ reaction, can they have fun with the songs and get into it?
Scavenger Hunt: Divided into teams, the applicants are asked to choose a team captain and search the facility for items on a list. This exercise allows applicants to show leadership ability.
Math quiz: Basic math and a few word problems will demonstrate the ability to run a cash register and basic problem solving.
Customer service quiz: Fill-in-the-blank sentences give examples of situations that might happen in the center.
Applicants then relax with a soda in the snack bar area and wait to see if they are asked to do a one-on-one interview.
While the applicants are relaxing, the panel of managers compare notes considering how the applicants presented themselves (clothing and attitude) and matching the “Yes” photos with the applications.
One-on-one interviews take place right there. After a series a questions and answers, the applicant is told to watch his/her phone at a specific date and time for a text message that will say “Hired” if they are moving to the next phase. When they receive the message, they will then be scheduled to attend employee training.
Employee training at the center includes a  PowerPoint presentation so staffers know exactly what is expected of them in their new role.
Further, Jan Scott talked about the Progressive Discipline (covered in the PowerPoint) process their company follows. This three-step process offers first a verbal warning, next a written form notice and lastly termination if the action is not corrected. Of course they reserve the right to terminate at any point if the offense is severe. Jan also covered a positive program they use too. If an employee is doing something great, they receive a star for their nametag. An employee may also receive a gift card if they are really outstanding.
Customer service reigns at Scotties Fun Spot and is evident in the training given to their birthday party specialists. Employees can become a birthday party specialist after completing six weeks of training. The training includes a test of more than 100 questions as well as learning magic tricks and balloon animal sculpting. Upon completion of the training, the employee joins the ranks as a birthday party specialist.
The specialist is responsible for calling the parents a week before the party to introduce themselves and talk about the party plan. They also organize, entertain and clean up on the day of the party. At the end of the party, they give the parent referral cards and if a referral comes back to the center with their name they are given a reward.
As in a team sport, the sport of roller skating and the hiring of a fun, competent staff leads to a safe and exciting environment. –
(Susan Melenchuk is the executive director of the Roller Skating Association International.)

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