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Stress-Free Job Interviews... Guaranteed!

Jim McLoughlin


The interview process between a job-seeking candidate and a search committee can be one of the most inefficient communication exchanges known to man.


The reality is that qualified but interview-inexperienced candidates often do not present themselves well in this typically tense and highly structured sit-around-the-table interview format. Is there a better interview format that would benefit candidates? Fortunately, there is; for example:


A candidate would request a more informal (stress free) interview setting such as an interactive tour of the golf course with two to three members of the search committee before the traditional meeting room interview (where the search committee controls the process).


This is a win-win situation for both parties because:


1. The candidate is presenting his knowledge and demonstrating his skill sets in an

    on-the-course environment where his knowledge is king and where he can use

    course settings to point out problems and to suggest remedies - a true teaching

    environment that every candidate would kill to have.


2. The search committee members will learn far more about their golf course, the

    candidate's body of knowledge and personality than ever before possible.


In summary, the rationale for these collaborative 'on course' exchanges is that

the search committee will learn more than via routine sit-down interviews - primarily

because search committees find it difficult to develop a meaningful line of questioning when dealing with standard technical issues that permeate the sit-down interview process.


How To Schedule An On-Course Interview? Preferably via a request within the cover letter, candidates would ask that a search committee member, or two, tour the golf course and maintenance facilities with each candidate for the purpose of mutually identifying and discussing core golf course issues. All parties would benefit from this innovative course interview scenario as follows:

  • The tight time pressure (+/- 45 minutes) normally associated with sit-down interviews would be postponed until after the +/- two-hour course tour ensuring that the eventual sit-down interview would have true meaning to all parties.
  • Rather than having to ask difficult to formulate technical questions for the traditional interview process, while on the course tour lay search committee members would simply point out on-course issues and ask candidates to identify causes and recommend solutions. This is the most comfortable opportunity candidates could have to demonstrate their know-how, communication skills and personal command of golf course maintenance issues.
  • Following the course interview, the candidate would be able to prepare and deliver a meaningful 'plan of action' to the search committee well before the traditional sit-down interview. Routinely, plans of action are presented at the start of the formal interview - too late to be a factor during the sit-down interview process.

To 'sell' the concept of the on-course interview, candidates would advise search committee members initially via their cover letters that the on-course interview would not replace the traditional sit-down interview - only precede it. There can be no better time spent with candidates.


After an initial on-course 'interview', all parties would come to the traditional interview table relaxed and able to comfortably confirm or challenge comments and conversations previously discussed on the golf course tour; i.e.- further evidence of stress reduction.


The 'on course' stress-free interview format virtually guarantees that applicants will present themselves in their best possible light during this two-stage interview process.


I have not known of a candidate who followed the above interview procedure and did well with it not to get a job offer.



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CAUTION: Because the on-course interview tour is a relatively new concept - make sure to educate (briefly) search committees in your cover letter to the mutual benefits to be derived as stated within above blog.


Otherwise, search committees will simply refer you to the outgoing superintendent for a course tour and an opportunity to ask questions about the golf course, etc. Remember, you want to display your expertise to the members of the search committee, not the outgoing superintendent.

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