Careers Advice

Adam Keable, Director of Colt Mackenzie McNair, on the challenges of identifying talent in your interview process.

How do you identify talent? When it comes to interviewing, it’s far too easy to reach for those standard interview questions and a give a generic interview.

Whereas candidates will spend time prepping for the interview, the failure to adequately prepare will most typically come from the person asking the questions.

Often the temptation is to speak about the club, the members and the vision, not giving enough time to assess the candidate fully.

The basis of an interview is to set up a discussion that allows you identify patterns in their behaviour and predict how they will perform in the future. A great interview is always a conversation — it’s never one-sided. Look at the quantity and quality of questions they ask you. Remember, hiring is always a risk but if you trust your instinct, check references and prepare the right questions, you will be well on the way to hiring talented staff.


In any of your previous roles, did you receive a promotion?
Talents are good at what they do and good managers will recognise this, giving them more responsibility and a more challenging role.

How did you go about researching the club?
This question immediately gives you insight into their processes. If they have taken time to research and have shown initiative then they are a serious challenger.

Are you I or We?
Not matter how strong a candidate is, success is built though teams, managers and mentors. Do they answer with ‘I this, I that’ or ‘We this, We that’?

Are you committed to continual education and learning?
Talents love learning new skills. Probe to see what they have done in the last year and plan to do in the next 12 months.

What is your greatest fear about the position?
You can check their honesty – anyone who claims not to have a fear is lying. Talented candidates are honest about shortcomings.

This article was first published in The Golf Club Manager – the official journal of the GCMA. If you would like to receive the journal, either join the GCMA today, or subscribe to the magazine.


Interview Skills Supplemental:
kindly provided by Bob Thompson, formerly of Fairhaven GC

The use 5WH (Who, What, When, Where, Why and How) is a well-established interview technique used by the police and many other interview-based roles. It can be said any interaction with a fellow human being is a form of conversation, which is the basis of any successful interview, appraisal, grievance and or discipline proceedings.
The 5WH is a way of asking open questions, making it impossible for the interviewee to answer with a closed answer of ‘yes’ or ‘no’, therefore opening them up to providing more information, so that 5WH technique can be applied again and again.
The use of closed questions, as with many other Interview skills, supported by the use of effective Listening skills will greatly improve the information gathered from the interview, as well as protecting the interviewer from being accused of leading an interview and putting words/suggestions into the interviewees mouth.


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