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Recreation Workers Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated January 20th, 2020 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
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Question 1 of 25
As a recreation worker there will be times you'll need to talk in front of a group, how comfortable are you speaking to a group?
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How to Answer
As a recreation worker you'll be in charge of a lot of groups, so the interviewer wants to make sure you are comfortable taking charge of a group. Many times there will be moments when people are talking over each other and you will have to get everyone's attention to start an activity.

If you aren't super comfortable speaking in front of a group, be honest with the interviewer, but also talk about how you are working on it.
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Answer Examples
1.
As a recreation worker there will be times you'll need to talk in front of a group, how comfortable are you speaking to a group?
As a recreation worker you'll be in charge of a lot of groups, so the interviewer wants to make sure you are comfortable taking charge of a group. Many times there will be moments when people are talking over each other and you will have to get everyone's attention to start an activity.

If you aren't super comfortable speaking in front of a group, be honest with the interviewer, but also talk about how you are working on it.

Rachelle's Answer
"To be completely honest, I am not super comfortable talking in front of large groups, but it is something I'm working on. I used to be really shy and not talk to groups at all, so I've already come a long way, but know I have a long way to go."
2.
Provide a time you worked with management to resolve a participant complaint.
Any job you have working in direct service with people there will be complaints, a lot of the times you are able to prevent problems but there will be times when you can't. The interviewer wants to make sure you can appropriately handle complaints/problems when they occur. It will be expected that you can solve small issues on your own, but with big issues they are brought to the attention of a supervisor.

The interviewer wants to hear about a time that you had to help resolve a bigger issue that you had to get management involved. Sometimes bigger issues can get messy, there are always ways to improve how situations are dealt with, so don't be alarmed if the interviewer talks about how they would handle the situation if it happened at their camp/nursing home.

Rachelle's Answer
"I had a very angry loved one started yelling at me about one of the residents on my wing. The resident had told her that she was being mistreated by one of the nurses, I had to calm the woman down before I could address her concerns. I had to bring in my supervisor due to the seriousness of the allegations and they worked on the next steps to take to help figure out what had happened."
3.
Working with children/residents can be very stressful, how do you handle stressful situations?
The interviewer does not expect you to tell them that you never get stressed out- that is nearly impossible. Working with youth or the aging population can be difficult and the interviewer wants to make sure that you can handle the stress.

Both working with youth or the elderly is a team environment, you can't do everything on your own. There will be moments that are stressful, so for your answer talk about ways that you cope with stress.

Rachelle's Answer
"There will always be different stressful situations at work, but what I like to do is take a deep breathe in that moment and figure out what my next steps are. In really high stress situations I like to follow up afterwards with my supervisor to talk about the situation, how I handled it, and how I can do better next time."
4.
What recreation activities do you already have planned in your mind to implement?
For a recreation worker it is important to have ideas for programming to bring to an interview. The interviewer is not trying to catch you off guard, they just want to know what you can bring to the table.

You don't have to talk about all your ideas but you should be prepared to talk about one or two. You also don't have to go into all the detail about activity plans you have, you can do a brief overview of your ideas. Depending on the population of the company you are applying for, answers will vary.

Rachelle's Answer
"I used to volunteer at a nursing home before and one of my activities was having children come in during Halloween time to collect candy from our residents. Unfortunately, that activity can only happen once a year. An idea that I would like to try is including more students with residents. I believe getting students in to help engage residents helps both the residents and students."
5.
What hobbies, special interests or talents do you have that you think might be useful here?
Due to the freedom of a Recreation Worker you may bring some of you specialties or hobbies into the workplace. You can talk about anything that interests you that you'd be able to create into a program. Even if there is something that you've always been interested in trying you can mention it to the interviewer.

New and fun ideas are always important in the recreation field, because sometimes programs get stuck doing the same programs over and over again. For your answer talk about one or two things that might be fun to create a program.

Rachelle's Answer
"I am very into card games. I know that card games are probably a huge thing for this population, but I think it would be fun to create a tournament out of different card games with a prize at the end. I also really enjoy friendship bracelets, it would help this population with their fine motor skills as well."
6.
Describe a time you identified the needs of your student/resident and successfully developed a way to teach/train them.
The interviewer wants to know how you address and help residents/campers that you've noticed need extra support. With young campers you can use examples about tasks that they haven't learned yet like- tying shoes, reminders to clean up the table, standing in line, etc. With residents you will focus more on ways you made need to reteach or assist the person with items such as- dressing, eating, different games, etc.

The interviewer wants to know that you'll be able to identify and support different needs that campers/residents have. If you can't think of an example that you've done yourself, you can talk about a time that you were informed that staff would be assisting a resident/camper differently.

Rachelle's Answer
"I was working with a camper who never cleaned up after himself after lunch. I would always have to remind him to go back to take care of his stop. I had a discussion with the camper about it and I learned that he never had to do it at home, so he kept forgetting that it needed to happen here. We worked out a system among my group that once everyone was done eating everyone would get up together to throw everything away so that everyone would remember to do it. Slowly we moved away from that and the camper eventually started to clean up without prompting."
7.
Why did you choose to become a recreation worker?
The interviewer wants to know a little about you and why you want to be a Recreation Worker. This is your time to talk about what you are passionate about. When working with residents/clients there is generally a reason that people want to with either elderly or the youth- this may be because they want to make a difference at a senior center or changes the lives of young kids.

This is your chance to show the interviewer why you want to be in this career and why you want to make a difference in people's lives. Take time prior to the interview to think about why you want to be a Recreation Worker. You don't have to come up with a ton of reasons why you want to do this job, but you should have a solid answer thought out prior.

Rachelle's Answer
"Growing up my grandparents passed away before I was born, so I never got the traditional grandparent experience. When I was in eighth grade I join a club after school that took as to the nursing home to hangout with residents there- I love it. The residents were generally interested in knowing about our lives and telling us about theirs. Ever since the first day I went there, I have continued to volunteer there and I want to make a bigger difference than just volunteering- I want to change and help people."
8.
How would you handle a camper/resident who becomes violent to another?
The interviewer wants to know the tools that you already have to manage aggressive behaviors. For your answer you can provide an example of a time you have to manage a camper/resident in the same or similar situation. If you are not able to provide an example you managed, you can talk about the different policies and procedures your previous employer had.

The interviewer isn't going to expect that you have all the tools needed for their company, because they will help train you on what the specifics are for their companies.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"At my current company, I had situation very similar, but was able to deescalate the situation prior to anything bad happened. One student of mine picked up a book and was ready to throw it at another student, but I was able to stop the student from throwing it. I sat with both students separately to discuss their stories and then together. I held both students accountable for their actions that built up to one wanting to throw something."
Cassandra's Answer #2
"At the nursing home I work at, I have not experienced any residents being violent yet, but have heard about it happening. Thankfully in a nursing home we are in one wing of the building and it is easier to alert another staff if help is needed. The first thing I would do is separate the resident who is being violent and call for help to help with the other residents. We have a reporting policy here that I would also have to go through- it includes asking the resident about what happened and why."
9.
How do you handle campers/residents who don't want to stay with the group?
It is important to remember when working with people that they all have their own mind and sometimes they don't want to part of group activities. Depending on the organization, like summer camps it is required for campers to stay with their groups due to safety concerns. The interviewer wants to know how you will address campers who tend to leave the group often or start to run away.

Situations like this are never ideal and generally it is hard to have a 'perfect' way to handle it, but the interviewer wants to hear how you would so they can discuss different strategies as well.

Rachelle's Answer
"At my last camp we stayed within yelling range of each group in case situations like this happen. My policy at my last camp was to chase after by having eyes on them, so we could make sure the camper didn't get hurt. With our radios we would also let the nearest group know support is needed as well as one of our directors coming to help the situation. The follow through by our directors talking to parents is also important for consequences. Depending on the age of the student could be suspended from camp."
10.
What is your greatest personality asset working with kids/elderly?
As a Recreation Worker you are going to be spending a lot of time with kids/the elderly. They want to know if your personality matches the clientele. There is not meant to be a trick question, it is just to make you think about how and why you connect with this age group.

Your work self is different than your home self, so think about two different personality traits that you generally display at work. Now think about an example for each of the traits how it is beneficial to you for work. When answering this question pick the better example of the two.

Rachelle's Answer
"I think my greatest strength is being approachable, it is very important to me to have our clients feel comfortable coming to me when they have an issue or concern. I think being approachable is important for any workplace environment."
11.
Why did you leave your last job or are leaving?
This is a very common interview question, especially in social service work. The interviewer does not need to listen to you bash about the old company you worked for- you never know who knows who. If you did have a bad experience at your last company, you can share the experience but keep if general and do not use names of people that you had issues with.

Sometimes people switch jobs because they need change in their work life and want to grow more professional. There are many reasons to leave jobs, so don't feel unfortunately discussing your reasons, just remember not to bash on your past place of work.

Rachelle's Answer
"I didn't feel like I had a chance to grow at my last place of work. I had been there for three years and I talked to my boss about getting more professional development and where I wanted to go with my career. She explained that due to the atmosphere and change happening at the company with management that there weren't going to be many chances to grow. I want to grow with a company and continue to help it grow."
12.
What does customer service mean to you related to this job?

Customer service isn't just something you'd see in a store, all businesses can talk about their customer service. Customer service is different in a nursing home or camp than it would be at a restaurant. Your customer base is your children, parents/guardians, or your residents and their families.

The interviewer wants to know that you understand that part of your job is to my sure people are enjoying their time and if they aren't you can work on steps to improve their time. For this answer you can talk about how you make sure people are doing well or what customer service means to you.

Rachelle's Answer
"I believe customer service for this company surrounds the person we are working with and also everyone that is connected to that person. What I mean by that it is not only making sure the children are safe and having fun, but also make sure the parents are well informed about what is happening and what to expect. Customer service also means making sure all concerns are addressed and issues are acknowledged and taken care of."
13.
Not everyone will be at the same learning levels, name a time you adapted an activity to meet the participant's needs.
As a Recreation Worker one of your goals is to be able to run group events, unfortunately if someone is not able to or isn't understanding an activity it makes your job a little harder. Sometimes during activities you'll need to adapt or adjust parts for different participants. The interviewer wants to make sure you are comfortable doing that and are able to recognize when things need to change.

For this question you should talk about a time where you had to adapt an activity for the camper/resident when you discovered they were struggling. If you haven't done this yet yourself you can talk about how you would adapt an activity once you've come across the situation or talk about a time you've seen an activity adaptive.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I created a ropes course for my campers one year for a summer camp- I was super excited for my campers to do it. I had two campers that were scared to do it and one that did not to try at all. So I had three campers that didn't want to do the activity with another ten that did, I didn't want to force them to do it nor make them which everyone having fun. I came up with the three campers being my ropes course supervisors to make sure no one was cheating or cutting- they loved it. I was able to make everyone felt comfortable and had a great time."
Cassandra's Answer #2
"As you can see from my resume, I've been the director of previous centers before and I believe it is time for me to slow down for my family. Working as a recreation worker I would have less responsibilities- not that I can't handle more, I just want to make more time for my family at this time."
14.
How does this position fit into your career goals?
This question is similar to 'where do you see yourself in five years', but the interviewer wants to know how this position is good for you. Is this position a stepping stone into a director position you'd like one day, if so talk about how it will help you.

Prior to the interview you should think about why you want this position and how it will help you. If you're not sure what you want to do yet, that's okay. You can tell the interviewer that you are focusing on this position currently and if moving up in this field is something that seems interesting down the line, you'll talk to them.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"This position would help me gain experience for eventually becoming a director one day. I think it is important for directors to have experience in all positions that they supervise."
Cassandra's Answer #2
"To be honest, I've been focused on this current position and getting into this career that I haven't thought about where I want this career to take me. I would love to discuss potential options with a manager further down the line, but would like to focus on this position for now."
15.
Name a time when your creativity or alternative thinking solved a problem at the camp/nursing home you were at.
While working with people there are going to be surprises and unplanned things that pop up. The interviewer wants to make sure you are okay with the unplanned and can handle coming up with new plans on the spot. For your answer you should talk about a time when you or a coworker had to change plans last minute due to an irruption or surprise. Sometimes people have items set aside just in case for rainy days at camp or 'five-minute activities' when you need to keep your residents occupied for a few minutes while you think of a game plan.

Another problem you'd be able to discuss if two campers/residents wanting to use the same item and how you would handle it. For this question just discuss one problem you've encountered and how you fix it.

Rachelle's Answer
"I was wondering in a nursing home one night that we were suppose to have a movie night. Unfortunately, the TV we were going to use stopped working and there were no others we would be able to use. At the time I was working with two other recreation workers and we decided to do an improv night instead- the residents loved it. I was absolutely terrified that it would go horrible, but it turned out to be one of my favorite memories."
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25 Recreation Workers Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. As a recreation worker there will be times you'll need to talk in front of a group, how comfortable are you speaking to a group?
  2. Provide a time you worked with management to resolve a participant complaint.
  3. Working with children/residents can be very stressful, how do you handle stressful situations?
  4. What recreation activities do you already have planned in your mind to implement?
  5. What hobbies, special interests or talents do you have that you think might be useful here?
  6. Describe a time you identified the needs of your student/resident and successfully developed a way to teach/train them.
  7. Why did you choose to become a recreation worker?
  8. How would you handle a camper/resident who becomes violent to another?
  9. How do you handle campers/residents who don't want to stay with the group?
  10. What is your greatest personality asset working with kids/elderly?
  11. Why did you leave your last job or are leaving?
  12. What does customer service mean to you related to this job?
  13. Not everyone will be at the same learning levels, name a time you adapted an activity to meet the participant's needs.
  14. How does this position fit into your career goals?
  15. Name a time when your creativity or alternative thinking solved a problem at the camp/nursing home you were at.
  16. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  17. Do you have experience in this field?
  18. When working with kids/residents they will have different belief systems, how do you handle situations where you don't agree with statements being made?
  19. Children/residents can be predictable sometimes, give an example when you were able to prevent a problem because you foresaw the reaction of another person.
  20. Why did you decide to choose this organization for employment?
  21. Share an experience in which you tried to coordinate an activity, but it was not successful.
  22. Share an experience in which you successfully led others in a coordinated recreation activity.
  23. Why are you the best candidate for us?
  24. Provide an example of a time when you successfully organized a diverse group of people to accomplish a task.
  25. Think about an area you need to improve on, what support do you need to help you succeed?
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