Interviewing tips

GCSAA has compiled tips and proven strategies to help you get prepared to succeed in interviewing. The more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be.

Preparation, research, and planning

  • Keep a record of details of your upcoming interviews, including the time, location, the name of the interviewer, and how to pronounce the name of the company and the person who will be interviewing you correctly.
  • If the interview is in another city, note any travel expenses that will be met by the prospective employer. Never cancel an interview appointment unless you have a personal emergency.
  • Research the facility you plan to visit. Try to find out about its history and philosophy, as well as names and titles of decision-makers you should meet.
  • If possible, arrange to arrive early enough to walk the course before the interview. This allows you to give relevant examples and demonstrate your interest in the course.
  • Practice, practice, practice…become confident in articulating your responsibilities and achievements at your previous jobs. Write out your answers when practicing to assure your communication is logical and orderly.
  • Dress professionally. Men should at least wear a sports coat, tie and slacks. Women should wear a conservative dress or jacket/skirt combination.
  • Arrive a few minutes early and double-check your appearance to make sure you are neat and well-groomed. Note the names of receptionists, secretaries and assistants for your follow-up activities. Review company materials such as brochures and newsletters, and pay attention to the appearance and behavior of the people who work there. These observations will give you a sense of the organization's "culture" and important clues as you discern if this is the right career move for you.
  • Take a few deep breaths to help ease your nervousness. Many top athletes and successful business people say affirmation and visualization techniques work for them. Remind yourself that you are capable and qualified for the position, and picture yourself answering questions calmly, intelligently and confidently.
  • Be sure to prepare a list of questions to ask about the company, the golf course and the job itself. Interviews serve a dual purpose: While the employer learns about you, you gather information to help you decide whether this is the right job for you.

Overall interview mindset

The key is to stand out from the crowd. All candidates selected for interviewing will meet the qualifications, so don’t focus on the functions and duties that all superintendents perform. Instead, focus on how you perform those duties better, and provide better results.

  • Be specific when possible – use examples to demonstrate how you improved your current and past employer facilities, management, purchasing, course conditioning, golfer relations etc.
  • Experience is not enough; remember all candidates will also have similar experience
  • Be prepared to demonstrate your VALUE and how you will contribute to the overall success of the facility

Behavioral interview preparation

Behavioral Interviewing is a method of asking for specific examples and asking scenario questions, theorizing that the best indicator for how you will respond in the future is to learn how you responded to similar situations in the past. To succeed with behavioral questions, you must prepare mini-stories to detail your job performance. Here is how:

C.A.R. Stories

  • Challenge: problem you faced
  • Action: what you did to resolve the problem
  • Result: achievements for the company

Each of your mini-stories should include one to two sentences for each stage for a total of about six sentences or one minute. Be detailed and use measurable outcomes. Emphasize your initiative and willingness to take on duties above and beyond your typical tasks. Describe how you set your goal and found a way to meet it. Explain any duties that you delegated or supervised to reach the result. Finally, try to quantify tangible benefits that were realized for the company. Again, the interviewer is looking for ways your past performance indicates that their company will benefit by hiring you. Give your interviewer reasons to justify hiring you! You should have at least three C.A.R. stories prepared and practiced before you start interviewing.

Examples of behavioral questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you went the extra mile for your employer.
  • Tell me about a project that didn’t go as planned, what did you learn from that experience?
  • Your resume states that you have excellent communication skills, give us a specific example to demonstrate that skill.
  • You stated _______ as one of your strengths, describe an example to display this strength.
  • Let’s say an angry golfer confronts you about a large dead spot in the fairway demanding an explanation. How do you respond and handle the situation?
  • Tell us about a time when you worked with the PGA Pro to complete a major project together.
  • Tell us about a time when you disagreed with your supervisor on a significant point, how did you handle it?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to cut the maintenance budget while still providing the same results in course conditioning and customer service.