"Attaining a Head Professional Position" featuring Andrew Fisher of The Kansas City Country Club

February 8, 2012

In the winter of 2010/2011, Andrew Fisher obtained his first Head Professional position at The Kansas City Country Club in Mission Hills, KS. Immediately prior to KCCC, Andrew spent valuable time at The Country Club in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. With that being said, he has some great perspective to offer us on how he finally crossed the threshold.

Often times, the process of attaining a Head Professional position is grueling. On top of that, most interview processes are different, and we never really know what to expect until they let us know what the itinerary is. Andrew provides us with some great perspective into how his interview process went at The Kansas City Country Club:

The interview process at The Kansas City Country Club was comprised of two rounds. The first round was conducted at the club. It consisted of meeting most of the department heads of the club, a complete tour of the club’s facilities (led by two members of the club) and a two-hour interview with the committee and the General Manager. The second round followed quickly (10 days later) and was a very in-depth process. It involved my wife for most of the day. My wife and I had breakfast with the GM, committee members and two additional members. We then returned to the club where I provided some golf instruction and met for a second conversation with the committee. My wife was given a tour of the city by some of the members. Later we reconvened for lunch with the President of the club, Search Committee Chairman, three additional committee members and the General Manager. We had a break and then joined the entire committee for dinner at the club. I was notified a couple of days later that the job was being offered to me.

We have all heard it before - networking, networking, networking. To get your foot in the door for the interview process, there really isn't anything more valuable than your network and utilizing it effectively. Andrew fills us in on how used his network:

Having the opportunity to work for Brendan Walsh and The Country Club was the greatest break in my career. That opportunity obviously created unique relationships that I would not have otherwise been exposed to. However, with the opportunity at The Kansas City Country Club, I was able to call on resources from all points in my career. The first General Manager I ever worked for, several former members at various clubs along with current references all played a very significant role in this process. It goes without saying that maintain and developing great relationships and networking in so important. You never know who could help you and who you could help in return.

Something that can be easily overlooked when try to get an interview for a HP position is making sure our resumes are tailored specifically for the position we are pursuing. Andrew sheds some light on how he tailored his resume to match the job responsibilities/qualifications for his position:

Typically, the job posting will list bullet points the club’s committee/ownership feels are crucial to the hiring of that position. This is the key criteria in matching your strengths to their needs. It is imperative to address these topics in your resume and supporting materials. The order and priority of my resume and interview preparation was geared to answer these specific points clearly and easily.

Once Andrew got his foot in the door, it then became a matter of preparation, particularly for the materials he would use during the interview process. How we assemble our portfolio and conduct the activities required of us during the interview process is crucial. Andrew explains:

I have been fortunate to experience the interview process at different facilities and each process has had its own unique identity. For the interview at KCCC, a personalized portfolio was prepared for each committee member. The order of the topics covered in my portfolio was based on the order of bullet points covered in the job posting. I was also asked to conduct a lesson. For this process, I created clinic materials as well as information for an individual lesson. The materials were created personally for each of the committee members and gave them the experience even if they were not receiving the lesson themselves. For the second interview, I brought an “action plan” for the first 90 days on property. The plan presentations were created using power point and prepared for each member of the committee. The committee had not asked for it, but we felt it was better to be over prepared than under prepared.

Many assistant professionals are vying for very few HP positions in today's current environment. With that said, Andrew gives us some great advice when we go through the process:

I would give three points of advice that have really helped me throughout this process. First, work hard every day. This sounds obvious, however I see so many young assistants worrying about where their next job is going to be instead of truly embracing the current opportunity they occupy. If you do a good job, take great pride in your efforts and have patience, good things will come. Second, take a moment and really get to know people. Establishing your contacts will come more easily if you truly enjoy creating them. You never know who you will meet and what that relationship could lead to down the road. Finally, when it comes to the interview process...PRACTICE! This is so important. Develop a plan and rehearse the interview over and over with someone watching. Create a little pressure on yourself to perform. Brendan instilled this idea into us at The Country Club. Being totally prepared will help you enjoy the actual interview process, help you to stay relaxed and allow you share your genuine personality with the committee.

There is a rumor that selection committees put an emphasis on where we are immediately coming from. When asked how much of a role did the name of his past club play in the process, Andrew tells it straight:

It definitely played a huge roll. We are so fortunate to be a part of The Country Club family. Working for Brendan was such a rewarding and learning experience. The benefit was not just for this interview process, but for the rest of my career.

Hopefully you have taken a few things from Andrew. It has become very difficult to attain a HP position these days, let alone get our foot in the door. Simple yet poignant pieces of information like these from Andrew can help us out tremendously in gaining perspective and knowing what to expect and how to approach the interview process.