Imagine this. You’re 15 years old, working at an amusement park during summer break. You’re not taking tickets or working with roller coasters. Instead, you’re stuck working games. You know, cheesy stuff like Whac-a-Mole or Guess My Weight, the stuff that visitors aren’t psyched to do but might do anyway as they’re waiting for their hot dogs and nachos to digest before riding the next coaster.
Your job is to get people to play games, the thing that no one comes to an amusement park to do. Sometimes you’re working 12-15 hour shifts. On the surface, it’s not that great a job, right? But your boss is pretty special. He’s energetic and goofy and runs fun contests and doesn’t care that he looks like a fool as long as it’s bringing out the best in his employees.
That boss is Cole Lindbergh.
A few years ago, the radio show This American Life did an episode called ‘Amusement Park.’ The first segment is called Game Boy Grows Up , and it features Cole. In his job managing the games department at the Worlds of Fun amusement park in Kansas City, Mo., Cole hires and supervises hundreds of teenagers every summer.
Teenagers. Some associations that might come to mind include too-cool-for-school, moody, inexperienced. Not exactly the model employee, right? But the teenagers love Cole. They have so much fun at work that they return to their amusement park jobs summer after summer. Candidates literally line up to work for Cole.
Cole made a series of videos about the Worlds of Fun games department. Some of the videos show viewers how the games are made, one of them shows Cole getting thrown into a dirty pond by his employees. Collectively, the videos are pretty incredible recruitment tools. Here are some videos that do a great job capturing employer brand, hiring and onboarding.
Cole enlists some of his teen employees in this music video, sung to the tune of MIA’s ‘Paper Planes.’ With more than 50,000 views, it’s far and away the most-watched video on the channel.
Regardless of whether you’re in a “fun” industry, employees want to know that they’ll have a good experience with management before they take a position. Cole’s engaging his employees in a creative way and it’s evident they’re having a great time.
Among the comments in the comments section:
- “I love your genuine enthusiasm, if I ever find myself in Kansas city, I think I know where I’m gonna go! I only wish there were more people like you hiring!”
- “I’m almost 29 and heard you on TAL here in South Africa and I want to come work there for a summer! Keep up the awesome.”
If you can get people from halfway around the world to express interest in working for your company, you know you’re doing something right.
In one shot, Cole shows a line of close to 100 people, all who want to work in games.
By showing excerpts of real interviews, this video gives candidate a great idea of what to expect during the interview process. Some of the questions are pretty zany. Clearly, “T-Rex or pterodactyl?” and “What’s your favorite Muppet?” aren’t right for every organization. And they’re not right for every candidate–some people may find this off-putting. But by giving candidates a real sense of the hiring manager’s personality and company culture ahead of time, you’ll make sure to attract people who are a great fit.
With the classical music and his suit, Cole is simultaneously mocking and making a corporate training video.
When a new hire begins, establishing responsibilities and setting expectations is crucial. This video clearly shows how employees go through the sign-in process, and addresses what’s covered at required shift meetings. Viewers receive clear instructions like “Be on time” and “Don’t forget to smile.” Engaging employees from the beginning is vital to retention efforts. If you can make training funny and fun, all the better.
Cole’s moved on in his career, but his videos continue to draw comments about how wonderful it must be to work at Worlds of Fun. You don’t need a high budget or fancy editing software to create videos that make a lasting impression on prospective candidates. A little creativity and a lot of authenticity will go a long way.
Image courtesy of IQRemix
About the author
Erin Engstrom is the web content strategist at Trakstar. I’m in Chicago for now, but hope to take advantage of Trakstar’s remote workplace and do the digital nomad thing. Relax and eat the elephant one bite at a time.