3 Things I learned from an HP Interview Process

by Brian Dobak
January 25, 2010

I’ve just wrapped up the interview process for a HP position at an upscale, 36-hole, multi-clubhouse facility. The club is one of the best facilities in its respective region, and the members have primary or secondary homes at many of the top clubs in the country. I was one of two that reached the final interview, however I did not get the job. As interview processes usually are, it was a fantastic experience.

The clubs staffing model I thought was interesting. They have a Director of Golf, and then one Head Professional at each clubhouse. Additionally, each clubhouse has two or three assistants staffed and an outside services team. There model is such that they hire seasoned assistant professionals to fill those Head Professional positions, train them, and move them on to more ideal Head Professional positions in three or four years.

Ideally, we would all like to be in a position in which we own our golf shop. However the reality of the situation is that those jobs have become few and far between. We would also probably prefer to be in a Head Professional position where there is no Director of Golf above us. All things considered I thought it was a good opportunity to pursue for the networking capabilities within its membership, as well as its learning opportunities in an environment it exists under. They have a highly regarded in-house training program for the golf professionals. Additionally, the management staff there are highly regarded, not to mention down-to-earth and very humble.  The facility would also have looked great on the ol' resume.

I learned a few things during this interview experience, and hopefully I can give you some perspective into the process:

1.) This business is all about who you know. This is not a new concept to me and probably not to you as well. If you’ve ever seen the movie "Oceans 13", towards the end, Al Pacino’s character tells George Clooney’s character that he “knows people who can do bad things to him”. Clooney responds by saying he “knows people that know your people and they like me more”. Well the golf businesses situation isn’t exactly like that, but you get my point. I knew people that were very kind to help me get my foot in the door in this interview process. But the gentlemen that got the job knew more people than I did and he knew select constituents in the hiring process more than I did.

2.) Don’t give up. Was it discouraging at first? Absolutely. But it didn’t last long. If you’re passionate about this profession, the response should quickly turn into acceptance. Accept the process as a great experience and move past it. Look ahead and stay focused on your present situation – where you still are. You still have a job to go back to that needs your full effort.

3.) Sometimes you're not going to get a job even when you couldn't have done anything better. I asked the Director of Golf for any feedback on how I could improve for future interviews. He honestly said I could not have done anything better. I believed him because I know him to be a man of high character and he would have shared with me any negative feedback. It sounds good to know that I did that well, but it can also be a little discouraging. He said they went with the other gentlemen because of a gut-feeling they had in him. In this business, that's the way it goes sometimes. The bottom-line is, you take it as a learning experience and you move on.

As assistant professionals passionate about our craft, our time will come, we just have to have a little bit of patience and just keep working hard and trucking forward.