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Tips & Best Practices for Family Entertainment Centers

How to Hire A Plus Players

Last week, I had the opportunity to work with a group of new hire candidates. We executed the 3–step TrainerTainment hiring process in order to hire a performing staff for a new location: Job Fair, Casting Call and Auditions. The basic goal is to hire “performers” and then teach them the job.

It is an awesome process. The job fair is atypical in that the applicant really only gets a “hand shake” moment, two questions, and then “bye bye”. They are on their way. A member of management then makes “first impression” decisions about the potential performer based on:

  1. The applicant’s smile.
  2. Their ability to make eye contact.
  3. Their confidence level. (Yes, I know this is subjective.)
  4. Their dress.
  5. Their handshake.

The card below is the rating card that is used. Once the 2 questions are asked, then the score is taken. Scoring is 1–5 with 1 being “Oops! You might be able to work somewhere, but NOT here!”, and 5 is – “YES you have made it to the next round.” With 7 categories, 35 is the highest possible grade.

In the past, we have decided that a score of at least 28, which is 80%, is good enough to go to the next level. When we are talking about making the grade, an 80% in most school grading models is the lowest score for a B.

Our original thought about requiring a score of 28 was that number usually gave us the right number of people for the auditions which is the next level of interview based on the number of people who attend the job fair.

With one exception, this has been a pretty good method of judging. Our exception location had 1500 applicants for approximately 135 jobs so we bumped the required score to 32. (Note – 31.5 = 90% – an A)

This weekend, I was able to evaluate and compare scores of the people who made it through the casting call process and performed at a top level at the auditions. In this location, we assigned audition time slots to those who scored at the B level (28 and above) at the job fair.

Auditions were scheduled for 15–25 people and applicants were invited to a 90 minute “try out”. During this audition process candidates were required to do the following 6 things:

  1. Introduce themselves in a way that was memorable to the judges – (NOTE: Must be legal and moral!) I saw a kart wheel. Someone initiated the wave. We’ve seen people juggle, tell jokes, suck up, and I’m confident that we’ve only scratched the surface of the things we will see in the future.
  2. Creatively perform a random request based on a slip of paper that they draw. This weekend, a small young man responded to the question of, “If you were a puppy dog, what kind would you be and why?” in the following way – “I would be a Shih Tzu (he pronounced it “S––T Zoo” with a strong emphasis on the first syllable!) because they are small but they don’t know it.  I am perfectly suited to be a Shih Tzu (again he used his pronounciation) because I know I can run with the big dogs!” Hysterical, truthful, and I think we hired him! I have to admit that I felt like a 4th grader trying not to laugh in church. He used his version of the pronunciation about 7 times during his creative explanation.
  3. There’s about 10 minutes of training. We teach the 4 core guest service concepts of the Fish Philosophy as developed by the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington. (
  4. We have everyone participate in the hand dance game.
  5. There’s a team building activity where they all work together.
  6. Finally we end with a role play exercise. This is their final audition moment. They put together an actual skit based on an everyday scenario that might come up in a family entertainment center.

It was an incredible two days! Approximately 105 people attended 7 different sessions. We identified 38 qualified performers. Their selection in the audition process is also quantifiable just like in the job fair grading. Candidates are only selected if they score at least 4 out of 5 from all the judges’ scores combined.

The cool thing that I noticed this weekend is that at least 95% of the time, when we looked back at the job fair score,  the candidates that were selected for hire in the audition process scored 32+. We had candidates that did not show up, and, most of the time, those candidates and the ones not selected were those who had job fair scores of 28–32. Please note that this discovery was after the fact. Each phase is an independent process. What I mean is that applications are reviewed, people are invited to job fair, some are invited to auditions based on the first impression scores, and then auditions are held, evaluations made, and finally there is an end review of the application and the job fair score card.

We know that this process helps us hire the cream of the crop, which is certainly different than hiring the first guy or gal that comes in the door. Seeing the relationship of the A–A+ scores from the job fair phase to the actual performance of the candidates at the auditions was very exciting.

If you want to see a live audition and are attending Bowl Expo, then be sure and mark your calendar for Tuesday afternoon, June 29th, from 3–4:15 PM in Las Vegas! This seminar is an experiential learning session that you won’t want to miss!

As a matter of fact, if you’d like to receive a FREE Recruiting Manual ($149.00 value) so that you can begin hosting your own casting call/audition events then VOLUNTEER to be a participant at the Bowl Expo Seminar. I’m looking for 6 performers to be audition–ees, and 3 judges. If you’d like to be a participant in our Bowl Expo seminar, email me today at



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