By Kelly McGinty
If you’ve ever been to one of our Roadshow Presentations, you’re in on the secret of our success here at Apogee. You know that no matter the beautiful scenery, or the fun and challenge in a great Apogee program, creating magical experiences for each of our students depends primarily on one catalyst: our trip leaders. We are certain that the success of any given element of our programs depends on having terrific, responsible role models out in the field making good decisions on a day-in, day-out basis. And because of this, we make our leader recruiting a top organizational priority. Truly, we spend the majority of the year working to find the best of the best to send out with Apogee students. We wanted to take a minute to tell you about that process in a bit more detail here.
To say that applying for a position at Apogee is competitive is an understatement. Because of our high return rate, we have minimal openings each year and annually meet hundreds of applicants vying for only a few dozen positions. We start the process of filling those spots as soon as the previous summer season ends in mid-August. In both the fall and spring semesters, we work closely with the career services offices at nearly 40 universities across the country – from Maine to Minnesota and from Colorado to California – to coordinate campus visits. When we’re on campus, we hold information sessions to articulate the nuances of the position, show some beautiful summer photos (which are always welcome on bleak wintry days!), and let applicants know what we’re looking for: responsible, fun-loving role models with great experiences to share.
Because an in-person interview is required to be considered for a leadership position, we spend the rest of our time on campus getting to know applicants better. Throughout the course of one of our walking interviews, we dive into questions that help us understand the applicant’s past experience and the type of leader they would be in an Apogee context. And what is a walking interview, you may ask? Well, it’s just what it sounds like – rather than sit on opposite sides of a conference table, buttoned up in a stuffy, usually windowless, interview room, we love to get out and walk around campus during interviews with applicants. Not only does a walking interview align with our organizational culture and love of the outdoors, but it often provides us with a more realistic setting and a chance to see another side of an applicant as they answer questions in the rain or snow.
After weeks on the road completing first-round interviews, our Hiring Committee meets to determine which applicants merit a second interview. Second-round interviews are usually conducted over Skype and allow us to probe deeper into applicants’ leadership and experience working with kids, and pose several challenging scenarios to the applicant. Additionally, we connect with three references for each applicant in order to add dimension to their application, giving us a chance to hear about their previous work experience, how they handle stress, their demonstrated work ethic, and best qualities, among other things.
Finally, months into the process and many hundreds of interviews later, it’s time for one of the best parts of our job – making job offers to successful applicants! Now, with the dust settling on this season’s leader hiring, we cannot wait to start sharing leader biographies with you in the coming months. Each of our leaders, both new and veteran, have amazing things to share with the greater Apogee community and students alike. Stay tuned!