"The HP Interview Process" with Eric Schultz from Sunnybrook Golf Club

February 19, 2012

These days, Head Professional jobs are few and far between, and just when one opens up, many assistants and Head Professionals will be in pursuit of it. Between the low quantity of jobs available and the high quantity of golf professionals striving to advance, it all amounts to one tough task. Eric Schultz is the Head Professional at Sunnybrook Golf Club outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 2011 was his first season in the new head role. He arrived at Sunnybrook after most recently spending time at Pine Valley Golf Club as an assistant professional. Eric gives us great perspective on the interview process and what we need to do make the difficult jump.

Leading up to finding out about the job opening at Sunnybrook, what were your feelings about your preparedness for a HP job? Did you think you were ready? Did you get encouragement from peers and mentors/co-workers?

Leading up to my interview at Sunnybrook I new I was ready. I had the opportunity to interview for Head Professional positions at a number of other clubs. I had done a lot of “role playing” with co-workers and the guys that I worked for. They were all very eager to help me prepare and move on. I had videotaped myself so that I could watch my own mannerisms. I had a notebook full of possible questions and topics. I basically had an outline in my head for any question that you could think of. My goal was to be the most prepared applicant that the committee would talk to.

In a nutshell, can you describe the interview process and what you had to go through?

The interview process consisted of two interviews. The first was in a board room with about 8 members. They asked the type of questions that I had prepared for. The final interview consisted of lessons and a presentation. I gave two lessons and about an hour presentation on three of the clubs “hot topics”. This ended with a lunch with the selection committee as well as some other members. My wife was invited which I thought was very nice.

So far as you can tell, what separated you from the other candidates?

I can’t tell you what the other applicants did. I can tell you that this was a job that I really wanted. I did everything I could to learn as much as I could and be as prepared as I could be. I think more than anything my personality and experiences were a really good fit for what the club was looking for.

How did you utilize your network of peers, current and past employers, and members during the process?

I reached out to my peers who had been successful in recent interviews. I picked their brains and tried to take something from everyone while still being myself. I wanted to make sure that I had done what I was talking about rather than just trying to play the part. I had a number of former members write letters to the committee on my behalf.

How did you tailor your resume to match the job responsibilities and qualifications for your position?

I never changed my resume to match specific jobs that I interviewed for. You can’t change your experiences. I made a point as an assistant to work at different types of clubs and made sure that each position I held would allow me to become more well rounded.

What materials did you use during the interview process?

I had prepared a portfolio specifically for the club before my first interview. I gave mini portfolios to each member of the committee. For my final presentation I had booklets for each of the committee members. I always tried to use pictures and pull on heart strings rather than use words. I thought I would have a much better chance if I could make emotional connections with members of the committee.

What advice would you give to assistant professionals preparing to earn their first HP position?

Be prepared and confident in your abilities. Make connections with the committee members. Know what the club is looking for and why you can give them what they need. Know what separates you from other candidates and why they will be missing out if they pass on you!

In your opinion, how much of a role did the name of your previous club have in earning your HP job?

Every club that I worked at prepared me for my next job. Having worked at Pine Valley, I got a lot of looks from clubs I applied to. The more I interviewed the more I realized I was working to overcome what were perceived as Pine Valley negatives. With the club having no women or junior members I had to prove that I had other experience in those areas. Assistants need to make sure that all of their “buckets” are full. I was well aware of this and did as much as I could at my winter club to be the “go to” person for our women’s and junior programs.

Hopefully you have learned a thing or two from Eric. Attaining a Head Professional position is a daunting task these day and being able to soak in knowledge like this will help us tremendously on our road towards reaching our goals.