When it comes to dance studios, the employees truly make the experience. It doesn’t matter how nice your facility is or where you are located if parents and students don’t enjoy interacting with your team. This is why hiring top-notch instructors and employees is the key to a successful dance studio.
How do you find and hire staff for your dance studio? There are a few different avenues you can take to find good candidates: word of mouth, local businesses, Facebook groups, job postings, and in-studio students. When it comes to hiring, it is important to find candidates that have cheerful attitudes, are motivated to learn and grow, and will positively impact your business.
Dance studios are like a second family for many students. They most likely spend many hours a week taking different classes and preparing for recitals and shows. You want to bolster that caring, familial environment by hiring the best staff members.
How to Find Staff for Your Dance Studio
Take your time when you are looking to fill job openings. You don’t want to rush into hiring someone who ends up being a bad fit for your studio. You and your team may be stretched thin for a little while, but it will be worth it once the best candidate takes the job.
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful search tools available to us. Let parents, students, friends, family, and really anyone you trust know that you are looking to fill a position. Personal recommendations can be an accurate indicator that someone is right for the job, especially if you trust the person making the recommendation.
When you are hiring for office roles, like clerical work, bookkeeping, and assistants, you can look to local businesses for hiring.
Many small accountants or bookkeepers operate as independent contractors. You can easily hire someone local to help with the financial management of your studio.
Freelance and virtual assistants can help out with a variety of tasks of your choosing. Maybe you need someone to respond to inquiries or send out studio communications or manage the social media pages. Virtual assistants can be an especially great option because they tend to be more affordable than in-person assistants.
Before hiring someone as an independent contractor, make sure you check with local regulations around employees vs. independent contractors. There are usually stipulations about how a contractor controls their schedule and assigned tasks.
It can be helpful to chat with people in your industry when looking to fill jobs, especially dance instructor positions. Look for local dance groups on Facebook. You may need to check with a group administrator, but you can probably post your ad in the group. Even if no one is interested in applying, they may know someone else in the community who is qualified and looking for a job.
You can also look for local community Facebook groups. Depending on who is moderating the group, you may be able to post your job listing or ask for recommendations. This is not as specific to dance instructors, but you can still find excellent local employees.
Whether it is in a newspaper, job search website, or dance studio job board, letting the masses know that you are hiring is the best way to bring in candidates. Online postings are helpful because someone looking for a job will most likely search for their desired job title and location.
When creating your job posting, include as much information as possible. Let everyone know what the requirements are for applications and give an honest description of the job’s roles and responsibilities.
One “trick” that is becoming popular is including a hidden question. Within your job posting, include a request like “type your favorite color in the subject line.” It seems silly, but it is an easy way to see that people applying are reading through the entire description. This one question can weed out the people who just apply to every job they find.
When it comes to payment, including the salary range or hourly rate is up to you. Since many fitness and sports professionals are underpaid, there has been a movement toward wage transparency and fair compensation. By listing your pay rate, you can weed out candidates that are looking for higher wages while also showing candidates that they will be paid fairly for the work.
Hire In Studio
Many dance studios choose to employ older students (high school and college-aged) as instructors for the younger kids. They may also help with office work or putting together recitals or productions. In these cases, you may be able to offer discounted or free dance classes in return for their work.
Many studio parents are heavily involved with their children’s dance careers and the studio. Some studios have found success in employing parents as part-time or as-needed employees. They can help out during recital season, handle memberships, or take on any job. While some of the parents may not work or work from home, they all have different backgrounds that you could take advantage of.
How to Hire Instructors for your Dance Studio
Arguably the most important job you will hire for is the dance instructor. These are the people interacting with your students, planning and executing the classes, and creating routines. It may be a little harder to express passion and creativity on a resume, so you’ll need to approach hiring a little differently.
If you receive word-of-mouth recommendations from an instructor’s previous students, this is an excellent sign that they know what they’re doing. It can also be helpful to reach out to previous studios to ask for feedback on candidates.
When interviewing dance instructor candidates, you want to get a feel for how they would fit into the culture of the studio. You can do this by asking open-ended questions about their preferred teaching methods, previous experiences, favorite performances, etc.
Once you get to see their creative side, you can begin to discuss the studio’s culture. Save this part until after they’ve told you about themselves because people looking for jobs tend to agree with the interviewer just to look good. Be upfront and honest about how the studio operates and what you expect of the person who fills the instructor position.
After you’ve interviewed the candidates and narrowed down your search, you should have the finalists teach a trial class. This is the best way for you to see them in action. You can see how they explain movements, how they correct the students, and if they have the skills required for the job.
Necessary Staff for a Dance Studio
If you started the dance studio by yourself, it may have been a one-person, many hats operation. While this is a great way to get a business up and running, it is not sustainable if you want to grow. This is why it is so important to find the right employees to help you execute your vision and build a thriving dance studio.
The most important role you will fill is a dance instructor. These are the people that make your studio what it is. Students want to learn and get better. Your instructors are the people who will help them get there.
While you are busy running everything behind the scenes, it can be helpful to have a front desk or receptionist position. This person not only acts as a greeter for everyone who arrives at the studio, but they also are the first line of response for inquiries and concerns. They take some of the burdens off of your shoulders.
Depending on the size of your studio and your business model, you may need several different office positions. This can include a bookkeeper, an accountant, a studio operations manager, a communications coordinator, a personal assistant, a social media manager, or a combination. You’ll need to decide while employees you need to build the studio of your dreams.
How to Retain Staff Members
When you are hiring a new employee, the goal should be to find someone who will stick around long-term. It is a waste of your time to have high turnover and need to frequently hire new people. The hiring process can be exhausting and expensive because each new hire takes time and training before they are ready to work.
Pay a Reasonable Wage
You cannot ask the world of someone but only pay them minimum wage. Of course, you should be paying a reasonable wage within your budget. Raises are the best way to reward someone’s hard work, so they should not be held back when due. Do your best to offer competitive compensation based on your industry and location.
Provide Training and Protocols
A mistake that many dance studio owners make is hiring a new employee and assuming they know the way everything should be done. You can prevent confusion by providing comprehensive training for all employees. Many people use a training process similar to “see one, do one, teach one” which asks new hires to watch how things are done, do the job themselves, and then be able to teach (or at least explain) how the job is done.
Maintaining up-to-date written protocols is another way to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to business operations. By having documents that everyone can reference, there is no question about the expectations of the job.
Lead Your Team
This may seem like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, not everyone is a natural-born leader. As a studio owner, you are the head of the business. This means that you should be keeping open and direct communication with your employees. Open communication includes employees feeling empowered to come to you with feedback, concerns, or questions.
Don’t be intimidated by the hiring process for your dance studio. Go into hiring with a plan. First, get the word out through personal connections, job postings, Facebook groups, or local businesses. For dance instructors, get to know their creative side during the interview and have all final candidates teach a trial class. The time and thought put into finding and hiring staff for your dance studio will pay off in the form of happy and fulfilled students.