Now hiring at Geneva: RAs and RDs

Lately the Residence Life department has been busier than usual with the process of hiring new resident assistants (RAs) for the 2017- 2018 school year.

“It’s a full week, but it’s a fun week,” said Young East resident director (RD), Alex Sanjari. “It can be stressful at times, but it’s really exciting.”

RA applicants are required to complete a multi-component process to apply for the job, including an application featuring Strengths-Finder test results and essay questions.

“What we want to do is give every candidate an opportunity to present their best self,” said director of Residence Life, Neil Best. Best is in his sixth year as director at Geneva, and is finishing his PhD in Higher Education.

Lauren Kachnycz, an RA applicant, described the application process: once an online application is filled out, the applicants participate in a two-hour group interview of six or seven people. Each applicant then takes part in two half-hour individual interviews, both conducted by a current RD and outgoing RA.

“There were a lot of opportunities to show who you are, and it gives you multiple chances to mess up and try again,” said Kachnycz.

In addition, Best said, “We have multiple ways to evaluate who the person is. We also have references from faculty or other RAs … We want students who are going to represent the mission of Geneva College.”

Sanjari agreed, saying, “We look for people who really love Geneva and want to be a part of building community.”

Sanjari’s desire to be a RD began with his RA experience during his undergraduate years at North Central University in Minneapolis, MN, where he received inspiration from his RD; this RD also happened to be Sanjari’s initial connection to Geneva.

When reflecting on Geneva’s past and current RDs, Best said, “We’ve been blessed at Geneva to have RDs come from a wide variety of diverse schools. They’re able to bring different perspectives and their experience with various campus traditions.”

Unlike the process for new hires, the RA rehiring process doesn’t require applicants to “go through the group process and the individual interview process,” Sanjari said. “They go in front of all the RDs. They give a presentation answering some questions we prompt them with.”

The presentation is mainly focused on an RA’s growth during the year, connection with residents, and vision for the future.

“It’s nice seeing what they’ve reflected on and how they’ve grown from the year,” Sanjari continued when describing the presentations.

Following the formal, prepared presentation, the panel of RDs ask pertinent questions of the RAs, specifically in regards to their strengths, weaknesses, and potential living situations for the coming year.

Though the presentations are an important part of summing up an RA’s experience, a good deal of the rehiring decision depends on an RA’s performance and relationship with both residents and their RD during their year of service.

On the rehiring process, Best stated, “I think for our RAs there is a high level of independence and responsibility that we give them, but we still need them to be subject to the authority of God and subject to the authority of what their job description says.”

“I really enjoy the RA hiring experience,” said Sanjari. “It’s exciting to meet people who have a heart for serving students on campus [and] being an RA is an excellent opportunity.”

Hiring decision letters were available for pick-up this past Thursday, with next year’s staffs being pieced together as those offered position choose whether to accept or not within the next week. Following this process, Residence Life’s hiring process begins anew, this time in the search to replace their three outgoing RDs: Chris Lee, Lyss Gorman, and Eric McLeland.

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