I have discovered that hiring teenagers is an interesting process and is completely different from hiring adults. Teens might not know how to properly answer the phone or might have “jokes” set up as a voicemail message. They might not know how to answer interview questions and talk about their accomplishments.
This helped us realize that we needed to add an interviewing skills class to our programs. We learned that teens are all different and all awesome! We hired two teens who were as different as night and day – one quiet and introverted, one outgoing and self-directed – and loved having them both here!
Keeping our teens occupied during the summer was not a problem at all. We have a full complement of weekly programs plus special events/programs that always require extra staffing. In addition, since our two hired teens were not regular program attenders, I had them attend a few of the teen programs as a part of their work cycle. It was a backhanded way to introduce them to programming for their age and had the added advantage of demonstrating program planning and implementation for an older age group.
Our teen interns were instrumental in helping prep for, set up, implement, and clean up our programs. Their only complaint was wishing they had more hours because they had so much fun working with staff and getting to know our kids. They were truly a part of our team.
If you are thinking about hiring teens but not sure, do it! The right teen/teens will bring fun, energy, fresh ideas, and just the right amount of snark to keep you laughing.
Lola Snyder is the Head of Youth Services at the Jackson County Public Library in Indiana.