It has become increasingly difficult for golf course superintendents to advance vertically within the job market because 1) the somewhat infrequent better job openings routinely attract from 75 to 100+ qualified applicants, 2) as few as five interviews are generally scheduled per job opening, and 3) the better candidates are often not identified through the search process.
Discouraging? Absolutely. We are left to conclude that the same “glass ceiling” that women have fought for years when attempting to climb the corporate job ladder exists today within the golf course superintendent job market. Unfortunately, too many superintendents accept this circumstance and, accordingly, risk job boredom and ultimate job loss. The following four-step action plan is designed to help you address this problem:
Step # 1: Develop an effective personal career web site. Statistics show that while only 15% (a growing percentage) of job applicants reference a personal career web site – roughly 50% of invitations to interview go to candidates with web sites. (See good examples at www.stevenrenzetti.com and www.tavishorton.com
Step # 2: Add golf course construction jobs to your job seeking radar screen. While standard superintendent job openings constantly attract upwards of 100 applications, construction superintendent job openings routinely attract less than five applicants. (More on this subject in coming weeks.)
Step # 3: Whether an assistant or a superintendent, consistently aim high (i.e., at higher status golf courses than your present job) when seeking a job. A strategically-orchestrated career path commands the respect of search committees and at the same time imparts the weight and credibility of the higher profile club/course to your resume once hired. Job pedigree will always be a primary determinant of whether you will be interviewed or not.
Job pedigree will always be a primary determinant of whether you will be interviewed or not…
Step #4: Out-prepare the competition when applying for a job. Experience indicates that 95% of candidates are less than 50% prepared to effectively compete for jobs. (More on this issue in the coming months.)
While not guaranteeing a job, the above four-step program will virtually assure you of a thorough time “at bat” when applying for the better jobs.
Comments welcome.Superintendents, want to help your assistant(s) on their career path? Print out these Career Corner posts and responses on an ongoing basis and assemble them in a hard copy binder for your assistants and crew.
The interview process between a job-seeking candidate and a search committee can be one of the most inefficient communication exchanges known to man. Otherwise qualified but interview-inexperienced candidates often do not present themselves well in this typically tense and highly-structured sit-around-the-table interview format, and search committees often lack the in-depth knowledge to ask the discerning questions needed to identify the better candidates.
Is there a better way? Fortunately, there is. Switch the initial interview session from the traditional meeting room (where the search committee has all the leverage) outside to the golf course — on “your turf”, where your knowledge reigns supreme and can’t be encumbered by well-intentioned but misdirected laymen’s questioning.
Switch the initial interview session from the traditional meeting room (where the search committee has all the leverage) outside to the golf course…
Once invited to interview, you can accomplish this change in venue by requesting that search committee members tour the golf course and maintenance facilities with you for the purpose of mutually identifying and discussing core issues. The benefits of this interview scenario are:
1. The tight time pressure normally associated with sit-down interviews is eliminated – ensuring a deeper exchange of ideas.
2. Rather than having to formulate theoretical technical questions ahead of time, the lay search committee members would simply have to point out on-course issues and ask you to identify causes and recommend solutions. This is the best opportunity you could have to demonstrate know-how, communication skills and personal command.
Granted, you may have to “sell” the concept of the initial on-course interview to search committees because of the relative novelty of the concept. Some search committees will no doubt counter that having you tour the course with the outgoing superintendent should suffice.
You should respectfully counter this suggestion while keeping it alive because while a tour with the exiting superintendent is always helpful, it does not set the stage for a formal interview as effectively as an on-course tour with committee members would. After an on-course initial “interview”, all parties come to the interview table relaxed, knowing each other’s personality traits, able to confirm or challenge comments and conversations previously discussed on the golf course tour, and free to explore new horizons beyond that which the traditional interview venue allows — to the benefit of the search committee and particularly to you, the candidate.
Comments are invited.