As we look to the future and a time when class sizes aren’t limited and we’re able to share aerial apparatus again, allowing TWO classes in an aerial studio at a time, I know I need more instructors. It is super important for the company to always have more trained and qualified instructors than we “need” so our staff can take off when they want and don’t have to work at the studio (their second job!) more than they feel they can and still have life balance. So time to hire.

I hate hiring. Our students are so incredible. So many of them offer wonderful skills that could be part of the team and narrowing it down is HARD. We used to do open interviews where anyone who was interested could apply. That was a MESS. The last time we did that we had 40+ apply and a lot of hurt feelings when they weren’t selected. For the sisterhood that is the studio, that isn’t a good thing. It creates animosity and division. So after that learning experience we now hire based on invitation. So what gets you an invitation?

Being kind, always. That is the hallmark of an Aerial Dance instructor. We need instructors who are kind, even when a situation is challenging. We need that kindness and positivity to radiate when they are in a room. And a big part of that kindness is other focused. We don’t do ego here. Plain and simple, we can’t have an instructor that is self focused since what we do as instructors is guide and lead others. So how a student behaves in a class with kindness and ego is part of the selection. We see our students on good and bad days during their time so we factor in how they behave differently on those days to have a good idea if they will be able to consistently be kind and egoless if they join the instruction staff.

Attending. Consistent attendance. Not being late to classes. Showing respect for the room by coming prepared and ready for class on time. Coming often enough that it is obvious the time it takes to be on staff is feasible in your life and schedule as you’re already spending the time at Aerial Dance! Taking classes at the times when we actually need instructors; right now we are looking for evening instructors so if you never attend in the evening currently than you wouldn’t be considered in this round of hiring. It is easier to keep doing what you’re doing than change your life; if you have to change your life to add then the likelihood of not completing the change goes up. That is why when a student attends is factored into hiring needs and if they are a good fit at this time.

Loyalty. I run a business that is based on Sisterhood and community. Being loyal to the studio, company and community is extremely important. It is for this reason we don’t hire anyone who isn’t already a member. If you haven’t committed to our upper level of membership, then you don’t have the level of commitment we look for in our staff. We want you to already KNOW the feel of each type of class because you’ve taken them and the general support of the community before we bring you on staff. I won’t hire someone from the outside of our membership because they need to want to be part of the sisterhood before they try to lead it.

Loyalty is big with me; I want staff who are loyal because that means they stick around and the longer an instructor is with Aerial Dance, the better of an instructor they are. Institutional knowledge is a HUGE asset in this sport; for example, Instructor Leah has been with me over 9 years, she has forgotten more about pole than an instructor in her first year even knows. Leah has seen our students grow and found a million and six new ways to explain something. Our students know they can count on her being around and that makes them feel safe and secure. That makes her a huge asset to our students and the company. For this reason, if a student talks about wanting to start her own studio or wants to work at another studio in the future, she isn’t in consideration to be an Instructor here. I train staff for the long term; every person I hire I am hoping will be with me as long as Leah. But life changes, so then be like a Niki, who once she’s off maternity leave will drive three hours one way to teach once a month because she believes so much in the community and sisterhood. This loyalty and dedication is highly prized and a big factor in hiring.

Skills are actually that last thing considered. We can teach you skills. We do take into account how quickly a new trick is learned and general body awareness, but the baseline is really just about having some experience in most of our classes. The training process if 200+ hours and 6 months so everything else can be taught.

Every time we announce new hires, there are hurt feelings. I hate it. But trust that there are specific reasons those that enter the instructor training program have at this time. And also know that if you exemplify the qualities above, in time, there may be a time where it is right for you to take that journey.