During the launch of a new walking tour company, our customer was considering how they could create more value for their potential customers. Their goal was to create a company that offered:
- Fanatical Customer Service
- Exceptional Experiences
- Engaging stories
- Clear Communication with groups
They spent several weeks defining the best routes, identifying and researching stories, and writing and polishing guided scripts.
Next, they created audio soundscapes, background music and sound effects to serve as backdrops to their narrated stories. Unlike traditional oral storytelling on walking tours, our customer aimed to bring their customers closer to the stories themselves by adding depth to the experience through sound design.
With great scripts in hand and differentiation in experience, they were building a strong foundation for success. However, they required great guides! The company decided to break their own rules for hiring. They eliminated one-on-one interviews with candidates in meeting rooms.
Hiring the Best Tour Guides Meant Breaking Rules
A top priority for the company was developing a hiring process for tour guides that would allow them to see the very best in the people applying for the job. They were looking for people who were personable, had strong communication skills, enthusiasm, confidence, a good memory, and a passion for their community.
Concerned that a one-on-one job interview at the office would fail, the company dreamed up a better approach to hiring guides and decided to give it a try.
Unlike traditional hiring practices, they came up with a two-step process that allowed job candidates to show off their skills. The first step, interview candidates in groups. This way, management got a good feeling about who stood out.
After sifting through resumes and making the initial calls, the company gathered potential candidates in a room and asked each person to recite from memory a segment from the walking tour script (in front of the rest of the group). The goal was to identify the people who had the skills to be excellent guides. They wanted to hire confident people who worked with their heads and their hearts.
Walk and Talks Where Candidates Stand Out
Our customer was mindful of the impact they wanted to create on every excursion, driven by the desire to deliver fun, engaging tours. They knew from experience, (owning a sightseeing company) that great stories, coupled with fanatical customer service were two keys to growing a new business.
Group interviews proved to be a great way to narrow down their search. Management selected A-list candidates to move onto part two of the selection process, which we’ll call “passion.”
The second part of their process was a walk and talk. (We love this). Final candidates were invited back for a one hour stroll (or longer) with the Tour Manager. He had a straightforward mission. Guide me, “introduce me to our city,” so I can get to know you better. Simply put, this strategy allowed the organization to see someone’s real passion and interest in their community.
Getting to know someone by tweaking the (interview) environment (a walk and talk), made it easier for management to identify the people who were passionate about their community. Also, let’s face it, it also gave the Tour Manager an opportunity to work with the people he liked the most, fit his leadership style, and had the highest potential to deliver excellent tours. Moreover, it gave the final candidates the opportunity to share their passion.
Tour Guides Deliver Fun, Cinematic Narratives
The two-step hiring process was a huge success. The new company hasn’t seen any turnover in their first season. Moreover, tour guides are getting rave reviews on social media channels like TripAdvisor, Facebook and Instagram.
So what is it about this hiring process that is so different from any other? When we create experiences that people care about, people respond by caring about us. By tweaking a hiring strategy, the company removed themselves from a rigid interview process of Q&A across chairs, which helped the hiring manager identify star-performers. They hired tour guides by seeing through their eyes, in the city they love.
Tour Guide Systems
Our customer chose HearMe Tour Guide Systems to deliver clear, wireless tour group communication. The solution supports the simultaneous delivery of tour guide narration and pre-recorded audio.