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Golf at the on-site computer job interview

Golf Tips by Burleson Consulting


This is an excerpt from the upcoming book, "Win your Computer Dream Job", by Rampant Techpress.



If you are interviewing for a high-level staff position (DBA, Architect, Systems Administrator, Network Administrator) there is a chance that you will be asked to join them for a round of golf.  Depending on the size of the IT shop, Vice Presidents enjoy a free country club membership, and some computer shops (e.g.. SAS in Cary, NC) have their own on-site country club.


Many of the world's largest systems have been designed on the golf course.  Senior computer managers are expected to participate in management meetings on the golf course.  During the course of a typical on-site interview you will meet and greet the staff in the mornings and participate in a social activity in the afternoon, usually a long lunch or a golf outing.


Lower-level IT professionals are not expected to be proficient golfers although mid-level and top level managerial candidates are expected to have a USGA handicap, but it's not about golf at all, it's about evaluating your personality and demeanor.  Any golfer will tell you that you can learn volumes about someone during a round of golf, and during these four hours you will be evaluated along several dimensions:

  • Temperament - Golf can bring-out the worst in people and it's a great way for management to see how well you function under stress.  Because golf can never be played perfectly, it's a great opportunity to see if you curse or throw tantrums.

  • Professional demeanor - You will be evaluated for your manners and etiquette.  Management will see if you treat the golf course attendants in a proper manner (treat them with respect and tip them appropriately, but don't become overly friendly nor fraternize with them).   

  • Morality - Corporations use many unobtrusive measures to evaluate the honestly of any professional candidate, and a golf interview is a great way to measure "cash register" vs. true honesty.  Many golf job interviewed are staged to allow management to see whether you are honest.  In some cases you will be given an opportunity to cheat, and some managers will deliberately let you watch them cheat, and then ask you to sign their score card!  For more details, see evaluating the honesty of the IT professional.

  • Attention to detail - Are your golf shoes clean and polished?  Do you keep your clubs clean?  Do you replace your divots and repair your ball marks?  In addition, at some point during your play you will likely be asked to help a fellow player remember the score on the last hole.

For more details, see my business professional golf etiquette tips.  Remember, it's not about how well you play the game, it's about how you behave in a social setting.  For more details, see my notes on professional manners & etiquette for the job interview.








Note: The opinions expressed on these pages are the sole opinion of Donald K. Burleson and do not reflect the opinions of Burleson Enterprises Inc. or any of its subsidiaries.

Suggestions?  We are always seeking new tips for the professional at leisure, and any suggestions would be most welcome.  If you find an error or have a suggestion for improving our content, we would appreciate your feedback. 

Copyright 1996 -  2010 by Donald K Burleson. All rights reserved.