Tips for High-Volume Summer Hiring

How Hersheypark hires thousands of summer workers each year

Think it’s tough finding one good summer employee?

Try hiring 4,000 of them.

That’s how many part-time seasonal employees will be working for Hersheypark this summer (part of the 7,000 hired by Hershey Entertainment & Resorts each year). Positions include lifeguards, ride operators, cooks, servers and cashiers.

“We maintain a 60 percent return rate; however, we still have a significant volume of new employees to recruit,” says Shelley Mastrella, Hershey’s Director of Talent Acquisition & Workforce Inclusion. And every one of those employees has to reflect the Hershey brand. So how does Hershey do it? Mastrella shared a few summer hiring tips that can apply to businesses of every size.


Focus on the three most important traits you need in your summer hires.

Why three? If you give your hiring managers a laundry list, they’re more apt to hire anyone who meets some of the requirements – which means you might end up with a summer workforce that’s super friendly, but also super prone to calling in every week.

At Hersheypark, recruiters look for:
1. Model communication behaviors, including their interest in the position, enthusiasm, eye contact, etc.
2. Experience, including volunteer experience, club or association experience, and leadership experience
3. Availability for required shifts

Centering the screening and interview process on these three traits helps managers focus on what’s important for success in the job.


Double screen – on the computer and in person.

It doesn’t make sense to waste hiring managers’ time on unqualified candidates when screening can help identify the best candidates. Hersheypark takes screening seriously. Applicants first complete a Pre-Screening Questionnaire (PSQ) as part of the online application. The PSQ collects information on interests, skill sets, availability, and job preferences, which is reviewed by a Hersheypark HR representative.

Applicants who pass this first round of screening move on to the TEAM Screen, a face-to- evaluation that collects information on Transportation and Availability, Experience, Appearance Standards, and Model Communication Behaviors. Only after an applicant passes this screen does he or she move on to the departmental interview for the specific job.


Give your job applicants a cheat sheet.

In our recent summer hiring survey, we heard from a lot of summer hiring managers who are fed up with applicants’ unprofessionalism.

“Dress like you want the job, not like you just got out of bed!” one said.

“Get to the interview on time. Speak correctly. Turn off cell phone. No gum. Be enthusiastic,” another manager suggested.

Most summer job applicants are teens or students who, let’s face it, don’t have a ton of work experience. It’s OK to offer them a little help. Before the interview, Hersheypark sends candidates an email with directions and tips for interview success. This increases the chances that applicants will arrive on time and be prepared.


It’s never too early to train.

Hersheypark doesn’t waste any time. “For newly hired employees, onboarding begins once they are extended an offer at the interview session,” Mastrella says. An HR representative reviews employment steps and schedules the new hire for their company orientation and wardrobe fitting. The new employee (and his or her parent) then participates in a short presentation about policies and procedures, perks and privileges, and next steps in the employment process.


Call in the moms.

Because so many summer hires are teens, Hershey involves the parents in the hiring process. “To engage the parents/guardians, we provide them with a guide to Hersheypark’s employment process so they can assist their child in becoming a newly hired employee,” Mastrella says. And when the alarm clock fails, there’s nothing like Mom for getting a teen to show up on time.