Golf Course Management

JAN 2014

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Carol D. Rau, PHR (Career) Winning interview strategies Be prepared for open-ended questions. If you are given an opportunity to direct your answer toward a topic of your choice, you need to hit a home run. 40 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.14 You just received the phone call you have been anticipating: You made it to the interview phase for a job you are seeking. Now what? Are you prepared? Are you equipped to set yourself apart in the interview and get hired? In this month's column, I will offer proven strategies and tools to help you prepare and succeed in your next interview. Experience is not enoug . All the other candidates interviewing are qualifed and have experience, education and qualifcations that are similar, if not better, than yours. Let me repeat this: Everyone interviewing is qualifed. So from this stage forward in the hiring process, the focus should be on those points that make you stand out. Do not rely on your experience in the interview; rather, focus on qualities and achievements that will help differentiate you from the other candidates. Focus on t e audience. All of your preparation and message should come from the perspective of meeting the needs of the target golf course and its customers/members. This requires research well beyond just looking at the course's website. Who is their target customer? What are their future plans and how can you be valuable in getting their priorities accomplished? What unique experience and skills do you have that particularly address those needs? You must be able to articulate a well-reasoned answer as to why you want to work at that particular facility. Demonstrate your insight into what a special place their facility is currently and what it will become if you are trusted to lead their golf course management. Tour t e facility before your interview. Even if they don't offer a tour as part of the interviewing process, be proactive and ask to see the buildings and grounds. This will provide additional insight into the facility that you can utilize in the interview, particularly regarding agronomics and course conditioning. Use tangible examples in your interview answers. Choose achievements from your experience that pertain directly to your audience. If you are asked to describe your experience with bentgrass greens, don't just reference that you have been managing bentgrass greens for 10 years. All the other candidates will probably have that experience too. Answer with examples depicting your performance, results, and why you are the best candidate to trust with their top-quality greens. Be prepared for toug uestions. What if you are asked to describe a weakness? You need to give this topic thoughtful consideration. The key is to present any challenges in a way that conveys your awareness, steps you are taking to correct it and your ability to not let it adversely impact the results you will provide for your employer. Another diffcult question can be related to past supervisors with whom you perhaps didn't agree. Again, this answer must be carefully considered and framed in a positive tone with a focus on attaining the overall facility goals, not meeting your individual needs. Be prepared for open-ended questions. If you are given an opportunity to direct your answer toward a topic of your choice, you need to hit a home run. This is your opening to convey some of the key points that set you apart and make you the best candidate to lead their golf course management. Don't miss your chance! Ask questions at t e end. In my experience as a recruiter, it is a red fag when interviewees have no questions at the end of the interview. To me, that conveys their desire for just a job and a paycheck. I want to hire managers who desire a career and to be a valued part of a facility leadership team. Based upon your research of the facility, what aspects are important to you in considering the possibility of accepting a new job? Be honest with yourself and your loved ones and consider the factors that will weigh on your decision if you are offered the job. Finally, send a t ank you. This is another way to demonstrate your professionalism and follow-through skills. Ideally, a handwritten or digitally printed note is a distinctive touch in our fast-paced digital culture. Need additional information about interviewing? Carol D. Rau, PHR, and her team will gladly help you learn interviewing skills to set you apart and win. Rau is a career consultant with GCSAA and is the owner of Career Advantage, a career consulting frm in Lawrence, Kan., specializing in golf and turf industry careers. GCSAA members receive complimentary résumé critiques by Rau and her team, résumé and cover letter creation for a reduced member rate, along with interview preparation and portfolio consultation.

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