General Managers and Hiring a New Tennis Director or Racquet Sports Professional

TIME, MONEY AND R.O.I.

CONSIDERATIONS before listing your tennis director or RACQUET SPORTS PROFESSIONAL position on a job board

Hiring a new Department Head isn't a science, however there are critical components to consider and steps to complete, beyond sorting through the typical 100 Cover Letters and Resumes you will receive for a quality positions. Remember too, that the applications received as a result of posting your position on an industry job board will come almost exclusively from applicants who are actively looking for a new job. What about those professionals who have a reputation for excellence and success - these professionals may not be searching the job boards.  

The support of a full-time, dedicated search professional who is exclusively focused on the tennis and racquet sports in private clubs, will not only minimize the time-drain associated with hiring a new professional, it will bolster the pool of highly qualified candidates to include those who might not be pro-actively looking for a new position. A search professional will also bring an often needed, and always appreciated, objective “third perspective” to the decision-making process with your search committee. Yes, there is a cost, although typically with the expedited search timeline and flat-fee pricing model from mcmahon | 10s, clients are able to complete their search relatively quickly, often with a zero net cost to the Department P&L. Consider too, the value of your time, and the cost of not getting it right. While it could be said that you’re only hiring another Department Head, it’s also true that you’re hiring a highly skilled specialist, with on-court and off-court skills and nuances, that can only be fully appreciated by someone who has been successful in the same role.

Some of the key areas of responsibility which the manager must consider when hiring include how well the new professional will manage Adult Group Instruction; Ladies Teams & League Play; Other League Team Programming; Social Events and Tournaments; Junior Program; Administration; Pro Shop / Retail; Member Communications; Maintenance & Facilities and Human Resources / Staffing.

Defining the needs of the program and uncovering the expectations of the entire membership are first steps in any successful hire, and critical when selecting a new sports professional. It’s equally important to clearly define and prioritize those member expectations so they can be managed and measured. Completing an assessment of the existing program and defining priorities for your new hire, in advance of listing your open position, will ensure that the interview process remains objective and that the selection phase is not overly influenced by just one or a couple of powerful search committee personalities. Simply put, investing time on the front end, increases the chances for success on the back end. 

Should you invest in securing professional assistance with your search? That depends of your risk-tolerance and the value you place on finding the ‘right’ professional for your club on the first attempt. The true value of getting it right cannot be determined without also understanding the costs of getting it wrong. These costs extend well beyond the actual costs of recruitment, bringing candidates to your club for interviews and lost program revenue. The 'soft' costs of a less-than-ideal hire extends well beyond the hard costs. A mistake realized after a year or two, has an negative impact on department morale and your members, not to mention the General Manager’s and the Search Team's time - and energy. 

An experienced tennis and racquets-focused search consultant such as McMahon, brings an impartial and objective perspective to the decision-making process, a decision that must be based on more than a candidate’s personality or a committee’s ‘gut feel’. 

Recruiting top performing professionals is labor-intensive, complex, and requires a rare set of skills and expertise. An average search process can involve up to 150 man-hours.  We all know of outcomes where a new hire fails within a short period of time and studies have revealed that over 90% of new hires who fail within the first 12 months of employment, are the result of a poor evaluation of the candidate. No one wants responsibility for a hire that fails within a short period of time.

Engaging the services of a consultant such as McMahon provides your team with an objective perspective on your search that only a career of more than 30 years as a private club Director of Tennis and Search Consultant can provide. It ensures that your position is placed front of the best professionals in the private club industry, many of whom may be not actively ‘looking’ for a new position. More critically, once your position is stretgically promoted, Mark McMahon becomes a consultative partner to your team throughout your process.

McMahon also handles all of the often tedious, pre-interview tasks that are a part of a professional search including receiving, reviewing and responding to all of the submitted resumes and cover letters (which all soon begin to look and sound very similar), providing a position-specific questionnaire, and completing initial video interviews with each of the top Suitably Qualified Candidates (SQC’s). McMahon will recommend a list of 4 - 8 finalists for your approval, compile a detailed Candidate Packet for each finalist and complete background checks, reference checks and verify professional certification, employment history and education.

McMahon brings leadership, organization and clarity to a process which deserves dedicated and special attention. With any search guaranteed to put pressure on your already full schedule, our clients tell us that we not only helped them make a great decision - but that we saved the club and search team many, many hours.

McMahon Opens up on Career, the Tennis Industry, Hiring Practices and the Role of Club Professionals in Tennis Club Business Newsletter Interview

McMahon Tennis Search Founder Mark McMahon recently was interviewed by Tennis Club Business Magazine Publisher Rich Neher. McMahon addressed questions about his career, the state of the tennis industry, the growth in participation in Pickleball and the need for club professionals to reevaluate their role as racquet sports evolve.

The full text of the interview can be read here

McMahon Presents at USPTA Business Conference

Are you ready to compete for that next great job when it opens? Are you prepared to pivot if something was to change with your current position? Have you ever thought about relocating or working in a different type of club?

McMahon Tennis Search founder and president Mark McMahon, USPTA, presents at the USPTA Southern Division Business Conference on February 1st at Dunwoody Country Club on a subject that is near and dear to most Tennis Professionals - their Career Pathway! The presentation is titled The Purposeful Development of Your Career Pathway - How Are You Preparing For Your Next Opportunity.

This presentation is all about taking action and doing everything possible to manage your career pathway proactively. Whether you choose to entertain a job change, or are forced to make a move, Mark explores some steps which you can start taking starting now, that will help you prepare to compete for that next professional opportunity. Topics covered include completing a Career SWOT Assessment; aligning realistic career goals with an elastic timeline; creating and managing your personal brand to help you get invited to the interview and networking!

View the Outline for Mark’s presentation click here.

Mark joins a great team of speakers offering a rich day of content which is launched by CEO and author Joel Manby. Joel authored the book Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders and has over 25 years as a CEO of major corporations, including SeaWorld Parks & Enterprises, Saab, and Herschend Enterprises. Check out the short video that spotlighted Joel on the show click below. Other speakers include Former USPTA Presidents Tom Daglis and Chuck Gill as well as Tim Buwick, Todd Upchurch and Jeff Chandley.

The Importance of a Code of Conduct at Your Club

Read The Full Article Here

Many of us work with, around or for private clubs. Our workplaces generally elicit thoughts of a peaceful, serene and calming environment. Fortunately, most of the time this is an accurate portrayal of Private Clubs. Occasionally however, and particularly around our athletic and dining amenities, the emotions of a member can result in words or actions which not only are inconsistent with our expectations, but can also cause distress among other members. Along with some other club industry executives, I was recently asked to provide some thoughts around the importance of clubs having a clearly defined code of behavior, as well as the enforcement of a code. #CMAA CEO Jeff Morgan is quoted in the article on the importance of transparency when setting expectations and overall I think the author John Torsiello, did an excellent job. The suggestions offered are all practical and easily implemented. As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention..." The article appears in this month's Tennis Industry Magazine. I hope you enjoy the read!

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We are all in the hospitality business

F. H. Benzakour, CCM CCE is Chief Operating Officer and General Manager at Edgewood Country Club in River Vale, NJ. I recently purchased and read his new book, 12 Golden Keys To Hospitality Excellence. We all know how important traditional continuing education is, however sometimes it’s refreshing to sit peacefully and read first hand how someone else approaches the daily challenges which we all face. F.H. came to the United States from another country, as I did and I enjoyed that his perspective towards hospitality is both optimistic and practical. If interested, F.H’s book can be purchased here from Amazon. To purchase this publication on Amazon, Click Here.


Teaching Professional Trade Associations Offer Job Boards

The two major tennis and racquet sports teaching and professional trade associations, the U.S. Professional Tennis Association (www.uspta.com) and the Professional Tennis Registry (www.ptrtennis.org) have made practical and relevant enhancements to their job-posting sites in recent years. The enhancements have been driven I suspect by both a desire to improve services for their respective memberships, as well as the emergence of so many for-profit job board sites.

Both USPTA and PTR provide clubs, club managers and search committees with job-listing services at no cost, and these listings have the potential to reach a broad range of pros who are actively searching for a new position. USPTA also has some excellent articles and How To Hire resources that are designed to help with the hiring process, however neither of the groups offer specific counsel on your search process.

More critical to keep in mind with your decision to only list your open position on an association job board, is to remain mindful that your posting will only be seen by professionals who are scanning the respective job board and actively looking for a new position.

McMahon Tennis Search broadens the reach of your position posting while concurrently targeting and recruiting specific professionals who are suitably qualified and positioned in their career for you to consider.