A tour of the Stanford Tour Guide industry

Feb. 26, 2019, 1:00 a.m.

For many of us, these individuals were some of the first Stanford students we ever met. With godly calves and beaming smiles across their faces, Stanford tour guides play a large role in representing the university to the outside world. With the opening of the Stanford Tour Guide application, I knew I had to at least apply and see how far I could get.

Apparently, I was not the only one with this idea. The Stanford Tour Guide industry is actually very competitive. I mean – who wouldn’t want to get paid to get their daily steps in? Thus, in order to select the best candidates for the job, the tour guide hiring committee breaks up the process into three steps. This process consists of filling out an application, completing a group interview and if you’re lucky enough, acing your individual interview. As a part of my personal goal for this year, I applied knowing that rejection was not going to deter me from applying to this coveted job on campus.

Filling out the application

For many, this part of the hiring process should be the easiest. With simple questions like “What are you involved on campus with?” and case scenarios involving how you’d deal with problematic visitors, the application form itself asks a moderate amount of information from its filer.

However, when you’re as indecisive as me, choosing to fill out the application may take longer than filling out the application itself. Do you know what makes it even harder? I chose to fill out the application in between two commitments so while my classmates took notes during math 51, I was contemplating why I wanted this job. I also learned that the bike ride to the Stanford Visitor Center is quite short if you’re able to maneuver quickly between dozens of tourists.

“Thank you for applying to be a tour guide! Please sign up for a 1st round interview.”

Congratulations! You’ve managed to successfully fill out paperwork. Now, click this link to SignUp Genius. To be honest, this part of the application process was the most fulfilling. A group of six candidates were thrown into a room with current tour guides and immediately bonded. We were tasked with quickly getting to know each other and then introducing one another to the panel. I felt especially content with my description as “the snack that smiles back.” We were then asked frequently asked questions that come up on tours. From questions like “What do you love most about Stanford?” to questions about Stanford’s drug policy, each individual was randomly asked questions as we were judged on our ability to appear conversational.

One of the questions that struck me most was “Please share with us a story that you would tell your younger self to get them excited about Stanford.” The reason it struck me wasn’t that we were supposed to prepare an answer beforehand (and I was caught off-guard) but because it got me reflecting on my fall quarter. As a freshman, it got me contemplating the friendships I’d made, but more specifically the highlights of my year. It also highlighted the lack of highlights – and dartys! As the upperclassmen talked about some of their favorite Stanford traditions, it got me looking forward to more new memories and made me realize that I still had a lot of Stanford to tour.

“Thank you for applying to be a Stanford tour guide”

Yes, I was rejected. No, I don’t feel bad about it, because touring the tour guide hiring process reminded me that the people I am surrounded with on a daily basis each have their own Stanford story and have lived different experiences than me. While I ultimately did not get the job, it got me looking forward to making more memories with friends. Maybe next year, after a few more experiences, I’ll make it to the third round of the hiring process.


Contact Richard Coca at richcoca ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Richard Coca '22 has previously served as editor of The Grind for volume 258, managing editor of Satire in vol. 257, and CLIP Co-chair in vol. 255. He is majoring in Human Biology and minoring in Anthropology. Contact him at rcoca 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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