GSI Executive Search Blog

Working With a Private Club Recruiter – 5 Best Practices to Help Them Help You Land Your Next Job

By Scott McNett
Senior Partner, GSI Executive Search

The private club industry is ripe with opportunity. Well-paying, challenging and rewarding jobs are available at all ends of the private club continuum—from General Manager/CEOs and COOs to Directors of Golf and Tennis, CFOs/Controllers, Food and Beverage Directors, Executive Chefs, Membership and Marketing Directors and more.

Perhaps you’re an experienced professional currently working at a private club and considering your next move. Or, maybe you’re working in an industry outside the club realm, you believe your skill set transfers well to the private club industry and you seek to transition to a private club position. You may also be at the front end of your career and seek exciting opportunities with a vibrant and growing club.

In any case, executive search firms that specialize in the private club industry are an excellent resource for you—provided that you understand how they work; who they serve; and how you as a candidate fit into that picture.

Understanding the relationship between private club recruiters and private clubs

In most but not all cases – and certainly as it pertains to our firm, GSI Executive Search – private club recruiters are hired by private clubs to conduct searches for specific positions. Simply put, our clients are clubs, not candidates. We are paid a set fee for providing services to our client clubs, of which those services include:

  1. Visiting clubs, understanding the full scope of their needs, interviewing selected staff and developing a candidate profile based on the criteria of the position to be filled;
  2. Evaluating viable candidates within our extensive database of candidates and through outreach to our network of industry contacts;
  3. Scheduling and facilitating interviews;
  4. Conducting additional in-depth interviews and background checks on finalist candidates prior to final interviews;
  5. Developing and negotiating an offer of employment to the finalist candidate of choice;
  6. Assisting with relocation and transition; and
  7. Facilitating post-hire support services as needed

Read all about our GSI Executive Search Process.

Job candidates, on the other hand, do not pay a fee to GSI Executive Search. Again, that is because we work for private clubs, not candidates. Often, we have found that some confusion exists on the part of candidates as to our role, and their expectations of us. Rest assured: If we have your information in hand, your background and skill set matches with one of our current searches, and we believe you would be a fine candidate for the client club to consider, then we will be in touch to apprise you of the position, gauge your interest and discuss possible next steps.

Therefore, in the spirit of helping candidates optimize relationships with recruiters and executive search firms like GSI Executive Search, we always encourage candidates to follow these five best practices:

Best practice #1: Do your research, and target your communication with us. To make it easier for the search professionals at GSI Executive Search to remember you when evaluating candidates for job opportunities, we encourage you to visit our website, review our searches and respond accordingly, rather than just calling or emailing us with general inquiries.

Best practice #2: Make your resume shines as brightly as it possibly can. A-plus resumes help us do our jobs more effectively, so it’s in your best interest as a candidate to send us a resume that’s 100 percent accurate, comprehensive and distinctive.

At GSI Executive Search, we don’t believe in the merits of a one-page resume; your resume can be two or more pages as needed. We also like to see a chronological resume from your earliest work experience to the most current—and we don’t mind seeing your entire work history.

Some specific information that’s particularly useful to include:

  • The size and type of operation(s) with which you’ve been involved;
  • Locations of your work assignments;
  • Your specific accomplishments; include facts and figures when relevant;
  • Complete educational background, including continuing education;
  • Relevant personal information—i.e., anything you’ve done that’s interesting and/or different; and
  • Extracurricular activities. This may seem secondary, but the private club industry is first and foremost a service and people-oriented industry. It’s our responsibility to represent all professional and personal facets of qualified candidates to our client clubs. From your perspective, some activities may also help you stand out in a crowded field of potential candidates.

Also, it should go without saying, but your resume must be free of typos, misprints and grammatical errors. Proof it yourself, then send it to a trusted colleague and make sure it’s locked down.

Best Practice #3: A cover letter is a very nice touch—and really effective. If you’ve visited our website, checked out our current searches, and none of them is of interest to you, or if they don’t apply to your background and skill set, and you still would like to be considered for future opportunities, then please be as specific as you can about the type of opportunity you seek. Some variables include the type of club (e.g., country club, business club, yacht club, tennis club); club size; desired geography; position type (e.g., General Manager, Food and Beverage Director, Director of Golf); and compensation requirements. Include this information in a cover letter or email, and you’ll boost your chances for being considered when appropriate opportunities arise.

A great cover letter should also explain why you have interest – in a specific opportunity, or in opportunities in general – and why you’re considering leaving your current job. The search professionals at GSI Executive Search keep the vital information you provide in your cover letter on file. You’re welcome to check back with us from time to time, and we’ll absolutely reach out if we have an opportunity that’s appropriate.

Best Practice #4: Be responsive if or when contacted. In the event we reach out to you as a candidate for any reason, be it a potential opportunity or something else, we ask that you return our call or respond to emails in as timely a manner as possible. That enables us to be responsive to our clients; and if you’re a suitable candidate for an opportunity, it keeps you in the mix.

Best Practice #5: Keep us apprised of relevant personal and career developments. If we’ve included you as a candidate for a potential opportunity, and something in your life, career or job search has changed or is evolving, please let us know. For example, if you’re a GSI Executive Search candidate on an active search, and you’re being considered for opportunities beyond GSI Executive Search, we do need to know that and be aware of where those opportunities stand. Are you a finalist for a position? Are you considering that position? In our efforts to serve our client clubs, we absolutely need to know this information. Keeping us informed is a common courtesy; it helps us serve our clients better; and it helps us maintain positive, long-term relationships with you should future opportunities arise.

Do you have questions about working with private club recruiters? Or, does your private club need an experienced executive search firm for its next hiring challenge? Contact Scott McNett, Senior Partner, GSI Executive Search, at 314-854-1321 or email Scott.