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Focus Ahead – Not Behind – When Interviewing

Jim McLoughlin


Possibly, the two most consistent patterns I have noted through the years when participating in candidate interviews as a consultant to employing clubs have been:

  1. Candidates devote roughly 80% of their submitted documents and interview presentation times to focusing on their past job performances.
  1. Unfortunately, this leaves these same candidates only 20% of their interview time to effectively advise what they would do if selected for the vacant job; i.e.- the most vital information a search committee wants to hear from candidates, but too often gets shortchanged.

Not surprisingly, the consequence of the above presentation imbalance is . . .


Too often the best candidates are not identified through the search process and, as a result, do not get hired.


Personal Web Sites Remedy The Problem

Rarely in life do we find the perfect solution to a serious challenge, but in this case there is one readily available to address the above problem scenario: the personal career web site.


Think about what happens when electronically submitted job applications include the URL of a personal web site: (See July 10th blog on this subject.)


First, Search Committee members have the opportunity to become thoroughly acquainted with the past job performance of candidates well before interview time.


This relieves the candidates of the time-consuming burden of having to educate Search Committees about their past job performance during the interview.


This also frees the candidates to devote their primary interview focus on commenting about and supporting their previously (electronically) submitted plans of action.


This web site-based approach automatically reverses the failing "looking back" 80%-20% interview ratio to a winning "looking ahead" 20%-80% interview ratio.


This "looking ahead" winning ratio is the fundamental reason why up to 75% of job applicants who reference quality personal web sites within their cover letters consistently get interviewed and are put on the short lists to be hired.


The problem is that I believe to this day that the vast majority of first time job applicants do not know this until it is too late. The second time around they get smart.


Golf course superintendents/assistants who delay developing personal web sites today are minimizing their career advancement opportunities - until they get smart.


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Mr. McLoughlin:


How would you address the "not so good" spots in ones career to a potential employer or the jobs that "didn't work out" and you where let go from.


Unfortunately this has been the case for me. I look at every job I've had and no matter how long I was there or if I was let go, I've either learned or taken away good things from them. What do you advise in the future

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A good way to cover unemployed gaps in a career is to

start up your own business (i.e.- counseling other superintendents, etc.); you don't even have to charge a fee to clients. Build a client list thru superintendent friends, etc.


Then put all this is a resume and simply say when asked by a search committee - "I needed a change of pace within my career. Most potential employers will not even ask about it. As time passes this approach works every time. Good luck. JMcL

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