SmartRecruiters Blog

How I Hired 90 Tour Guides

The success of PEAK Adventure Travel North America depends on great tour guides. As a Destination Management Company, operating tours throughout Canada and America, our active adventure holidays are as short as a few days to as long as a couple of months. As a tour operator, we are committed to ensuring that our travelers exceed their expectations, have the best experience possible while travelling in a sustainable and responsible way.

We focus on developing our people through a values based business philosophy. This incorporates all aspects of the business from recruitment and training, to goals setting and rewards. Our tour guides are talented people with amazing skills to accommodate a diverse group of travelers and are focused on personal growth, they also live our company values and share our passion for adventure travel. Our leaders represent Intrepid Travel, Trek America, Grand American Adventures, and many other brands throughout Canada and America.

Whether it’s a rustic camping trek visiting the Inuit people in the Arctic Circle or a foodie tour exploring the Cajun flavors of New Orleans, the reason we’ve become North America’s leading adventure travel company is through the strengths of our people. We feel this is the secret to our continued success.

To evaluate candidates who can live up to the challenges associated with the lifestyle and responsibilities of being a tour guide. We host local hiring events, where we invite 30-40 potential tour guides from all over the world for a day of interactive interviews, public speaking exercises, team building challenges and company presentations. The goal is to connect with the candidates individually, sharing some of our company culture and learn more about each other and to eventually use field evaluations to choose the best of the best.

The problem lied in attracting enough good and qualified candidates for our local hiring events within a relatively short period of time.  To hire 90 tour guides a season, we needed a massive inflow of relevant and interested candidates in a very short period of time. Through SmartRecruiters we are able to source, manage and engage with each potential hire quickly and on a personal level.

It’s essential to have our open jobs listed where people are checking out our company profile and learning more about what we do and who we are, hopefully differentiating us from our competitors. We used the SmartRecruiters job widget to list our open jobs next to our rich content, such as pictures of guides in action and our recruitment videos. Additionally, we post our job openings to Craigslist all over North America and a handful of niche adventure boards, all while funneling every applicant into the SmartRecruiters hiring platform.

Then, we make assessments and take detailed notes on our candidate profiles, eliminate any candidates who aren’t a good fit, conduct a round of phone interviews, further eliminate candidates if needed and then reach the point where we have our 40 to invite to the in-person hiring event, where we can see their tour skills inaction. To eventually ensure 90 exceptionally strong and qualified candidates become tour guides, we need a very large number of applicants in our candidate pool.

SmartRecruiters gives us the volume of resumes we need  – all in one site – and provides the structure to stay organized and to quickly keep pace with our intensive hiring process.

The simplicity SmartRecruiters provides is pretty awesome.

christian tongChristian Tong is the Recruiting and Training Manager at PEAK Adventure Travel  as well as the owner of San Francisco Urban Adventures.
You can follow him and his ramblings at @christiantong and @uasanfrancisco.

Christian Tong