GSI Executive Search Blog

Recruiting for Private Club Executives is Different Than Other Executives. Here’s Why.

By Scott McNett, Senior Principal

As an executive search professional who specializes in private club placements, I’m often asked to explain specifically how private clubs benefit from using a search professional with club experience over a general executive recruiter. “Club professionals possess many of the same characteristics as corporate professionals,” they say. “If a general business recruiter makes great corporate placements, why can’t they just do the same thing for private clubs? What’s the value you bring?”

Actually, there are several reasons why it benefits private clubs of all types – from country clubs, golf clubs, yacht clubs and business clubs to resort properties, community associations and more – to utilize an executive search professional who specializes in this area. Before I even address those, let me first say that any private club with an executive-level staffing need should utilize a qualified search firm, rather than undertaking a search on its own. On average, recruiters save private clubs an average of 300-plus hours of time over the course of a thorough search. Even if recruitment professionals serve on your board or search committee, their time is valuable, and they may not be able to devote the necessary resources to conducting a thorough and successful search. Whatever the position is you’re trying to fill, and there’s just too much at stake to leave the search process to chance. You owe it to your club to get the job done right.

That said, private club executive search professionals have several advantages over general business recruiters when it comes to private club recruitment:

  1. Deep industry contacts and know-how: Recruiters who are immersed in the private club industry have a built-in industry network of sources and prospects. We know the top active candidates; through proactive outreach, we find candidates who would not otherwise be aware of your opportunity. Through our network, we also know professionals who aren’t currently looking for jobs, but might be intrigued by your opportunity.
  2. Quality over quantity—and pre-qualified candidates from day-one: Private club executive search professionals have enhanced access to superior, pre-qualified candidates. We live and breathe private club recruiting every day; we know club professionals in all positions throughout the country. Simply put, we’re the best resource available for identifying and placing great professionals in this highly specialized industry.
  3. Club industry expertise: Private clubs are our niche and our passion. All GSI Executive Search partners possess deep club experience in all functions, and we maintain the broadest network of professional contacts and resources available.
  4. Your geography is our geography: Top private club recruitment firms like GSI Executive Search possesses unsurpassed local knowledge in the private club placement industry. For example, our team of search partners across the U.S. has lived and worked in their various geographies for an average of 25 years.
  5. Adherence to a club-specific process from start to finish: A strong process is a difference-maker in executive search—yet one size doesn’t fit all. The search process for a corporate placement can differ considerably from a private club placement search. At GSI, Our process is geared exclusively for private club searches. We handle private club requirements of all sizes and scopes and utilize proven methods at all phases of each search. 
  6. An honest commitment to serving your club over the long term: You may have one placement need now, but professionals move around in their careers, so it’s likely your club will have additional search requirements in the future. It’s to your club’s benefit, therefore, to build and maintain an effective and rewarding relationship with a private club search firm who can serve your needs today and tomorrow. Think about it: If you have a repair need at your home, would you be more comfortable calling a professional contractor you’ve never used before, or one you’ve used for years who delivers excellent service at a good value? Private club searches are no different. At GSI Executive Search, we’re committed to building a lasting relationship with private clubs and working within established budgetary parameters.

I hope this blog helps you understand the differences between private club search professionals and general business search professionals. Each serves a vital purpose; but for private clubs, the greatest value is delivered by highly qualified search firms that specialize in the private club realm.

About the Author

Scott McNett is the Senior Principal with GSI Executive Search and is based in the firm’s Midwest office in St. Louis. He has executed roughly 400 successful placements of senior and mid-level management with two club- and hospitality-specific search firms. His 30 years of professional experience spans executive search, professional sports, sports marketing and management, health and tennis club operations and community service. You can reach Scott by email or at 314-854-1321.