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Craig Haldane – Recruiting on Experience/Education vs Attitude/Aptitude

We are delighted to share with you Craig Haldane’s (Director of Course Maintenance at Dubai Golf) thoughts on recruitment…


By Craig Haldane…Craig Haldane

I am fortunate to have been employed in golf since 1996 firstly as an absolute raw “knows nudda” and over the years to someone who now knows a bit more than “nudda”.

By working hard, asking a lot of question of my superiors, making mistakes and yes educating myself, I have learnt a lot about what it takes to manage. “Manage” – interesting word. By manage do we mean just getting bye, able to cope, tolerate, instruct, tell, work things out or in fact LEAD?

When you are looking for colleagues to join your team be it in my field of choice “Agronomy” or any other field for that matter, what questions are you asking the candidates? What is the bare minimum expected of them in terms of experience? Do you expect them to have worked at a facility that is similar in size or stature? Must they have worked with a particular program or software in order to get a look in the door? Is a certain level of education an absolute necessity? Obviously this is all important when it comes to replacing a key member of a team who would leave a void if there were no succession plan in place.

Creating a filter is unfortunately something that happens so that you can reduce the number of candidates to fit into a particular box created in the paragraph above. By doing so we are potentially missing out on a superstar in the making. Someone who has just “got it” and has a never give up attitude. That one person who just has likeability and presence to inspire others through natural leadership. Some guys are too early in their careers to have ticked some of the boxes initially asked but in reality would jump all over other’s who have made it through the filter simply because of education, supposed expertise or in fact where they have worked before.

Be the one who has not made it through the filters but who will get recognised anyway because of a great attitude, being known for loving what he/she does, having affected positive change within your existing role and being known for having a proactive approach to problem solving. Candidates like these have their bosses pushing them forward into opportunities that they may not be ready for on paper. Candidates like these don’t need filters to get noticed. Candidates like these are team players and add value to a team of individuals who are working towards a common goal.

As someone who is recruiting, don’t feel that you can’t pick up the phone to friends in the industry and work with them to give these candidates opportunities that they may not be exposed to simply because of a lack of expertise or education. The best education comes from practical experience. If you are a candidate searching for opportunities, find a boss who is known for investing time in teaching. It will be the best investment of your life.

And if you have gone the educational route, fantastic. Don’t come out of college expecting the big job and salary just because you have one of the boxes ticked. Invest in experience, it sometimes takes a bit longer to get to where you want to be, but when you get there, you will be ready.

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