Career Waistlines: Finding the Right Fit

by Brian Dobak
May 17, 2010

I don't know about you, but I am very particular about my pants and belts. I can't stand a belt that doesn't fit just right and I can't tolerate an ill-fitting pair of pants much less. The same should go for the decisions we make along our career paths.

Interview processes and other aspects of employment at golf clubs can potentially be one-sided if you allow them to be. If you do allow them to be one-sided, you may get yourself in a bit of a hole. Whether you’re searching for an assistant professional gig or you’re on the hunt for your first head professional gig, it’s of utmost importance to find a position that is a good fit for you professionally and personally. How do you find out if the position or facility is a good fit? ASK QUESTIONS?

If the interviewer asks, “Why do you think you would be a good fit for this club?” they’re well within their right to ask that and they deserve someone that is a good fit. But there is nothing wrong with flipping the script when the time is right in the interview and asking, “Why is this club a good fit for me?” or “What makes this a club that can push my career forward?” or “What experiences can I expect at this club that will improve my skills as a golf professional?”

If the success of the club is on the line and they want to ask you why you’re a good fit, then you deserve to ask why the club is a good fit for you because your career is on the line as well. Not only should assistant professionals be selling themselves to the club, but the club should be selling itself as well. The clubs name shouldn’t speak for itself. Winged Foot is not the right fit for everyone. Baltusrol is not the right fit for everyone. I know of aspects at a place like Augusta National that don’t make it the right fit for everyone, however we would all probably still go there anyway! There in lies the next point...

...If you choose to go somewhere where you know it’s not the right fit, then you will have to sacrifice things in your soon-to-be work environment and possibly career and life. However, when you get into a club that is the right fit for you, sacrifices don’t really feel like sacrifices. Difficult situations don’t really feel like difficult situations. The rough road doesn’t seem to be so rough because you’re in a place that is just the right fit for you. In an interview, ask questions. You need to be clear going into an opportunity just as much as a club needs to be clear in who they are hiring.

Some good questions to ask the HP/hiring committee interviewing you:

- What priority do you place on family life?
- What makes this an operation that can push my career forward?
- How many assistants have you moved into HP jobs?
- Where have past assistants moved onto other assistant positions?
- What is your management style or leadership style?

To sum it all up, believe it or not but there are head professionals out there that don’t feel like they have a vested interest in their assistants careers. And there are many head professionals that do take great care in molding and pushing their assistants forward. By asking questions, it can be easier for you to decipher one from the other. Just keep in mind, it’s not all about the golf professional being the right fit for the operation. It’s also about the operation being the right fit for the golf professional. Both sides should be reciprocating each other. Ask questions and be open about what you want to know about the work environment and overall operation and you’ll both be doing favors for each other.