'Cast members' must have the right attitude
Candidates hoping to land one of the 600 or so seasonal jobs on offer this summer at Hong Kong Disneyland need to move fast. They will be facing stiff competition for coveted roles that can lead to full-time positions and long-term careers with the company.
However, prospective "cast members" - the phrase used to describe all employees, whether they are in on-stage shows, park operations, catering, merchandising or any branch of management - should know from the outset that attitude is everything.
"We are looking for applicants with a passion for working with people," says Greg Morley, director of human resources of Hong Kong Disneyland, who oversees the recruitment programme. "They must have a service mentality and want to make sure that every guest gets individual attention."
Often, he notes, it takes no more than a few seconds to identify suitable candidates. Arriving for interview, they show energy, enthusiasm, and self-confidence. They are also well groomed, neatly dressed and have a big smile. Those qualities are all reliable indicators that someone will quickly fit in and have the right personality to deliver the expected level of guest experience.
"You can tell almost as soon as someone walks in," Morley says. "We can train people in the skills to offer great service, but it is difficult to teach a happy, positive attitude if it doesn't [come naturally]."
The roles on offer will last 12 to 15 weeks from June to late August. Recruits will have to work full-time hours five to six days a week, with exact requirements to some extent determined by visitor numbers. Training consists of a two-day orientation programme, held where possible before June, and then three to five days of on-the-job instruction and familiarisation.
The majority of positions are likely to be as service assistants, kitchen helpers in food and beverage outlets, or as entry-level staff in areas such as entertainment, merchandise and hotels. Remuneration is based on an hourly rate of from HK$38 to HK$46 or a monthly salary starting from HK$9,000. In addition, there are discounts for transportation and concessionary tickets to the park for friends and family members.
With online applications now being accepted, Morley expects most interest from students looking for practical experience during the summer break. He makes it clear, though, that anyone is welcome to apply, perhaps including people keen for a change of career direction.
Based on past precedent, about one-third of the positions will probably go to "returning" cast members and, as far as possible, the company tries to meet requests to work in a particular area.
"We typically ask applicants to prioritise their needs," Morley says. "For example, if someone is studying a culinary programme, they will want F&B [food and beverage] experience, so we try to match their requirements with the needs of the organisation." He adds that seasonal jobs like this are often a key step for breaking into the field of hospitality management.
"In a way it is a pre-screening for people who want a career with the company," Morley says.