Club Insider

Effective Hiring

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Herb LipsmanHerb Lipsman

After decades of leading teams in the health club and country club industries, I keep being reminded of how important it is to hire well. Nothing contributes to the success of the organization more than a good or great hire. Conversely, nothing can be more damaging to the enterprise than a bad hire. Why, then, do so many of us mess up this critical leadership responsibility? How do we keep allowing ourselves to make rushed or desperate decisions that come back to haunt us?

If you are like most leaders facing various hiring decisions in your organization, here is a quick recipe for success that will result in a better batting average than your prior hiring results...


  • Can you trust that the candidate has the knowledge, skill and expertise to do the job? Are they competent to perform the required duties?
  • Do you believe the candidate can be trusted with the company's assets and intellectual property? Does the candidate possess the character, with attributes such as honesty and integrity, to be trusted?
  • Can you trust that the candidate will be dependable and give you their best thinking and best effort day-in and day-out while employed by your organization?

Aside from hiring someone you know, personally, you must rely on references for insight into who the candidate really is and whether they can be trusted. Failure to properly vet a candidate is a ticket to regret.

Work Ethic:

  • Does the candidate possess a work ethic that mirrors that of existing top performers? Hiring a candidate who is smart, knowledgeable and experienced but who is lazy will result in regret.
  • Have you explored with the candidate the work schedules they maintained with prior employers and how they responded when there was a need to go above and beyond?

Again, be sure to check references on this subject.

Culture Fit:

  • Will the candidate fit in with co-workers on the team and within the organization?
  • Do the candidate's personal and professional values align with those of the company? During multiple interviews, does the candidate consistently respond in ways giving you confidence they will be a good fit?
  • Is the candidate likeable and do those involved in the interview process all have a good feeling about the person?
  • Qualified candidates who are not good culture fits are like introducing a virus into the work environment.

The best way to ensure a good culture fit is to have the candidate meet and visit with as many of their future co-workers as possible, then huddle to gather feedback from the team.

Geographic Fit:

  • Will the candidate be happy living and working in this location? How long can you expect the candidate to remain content living and working here? Do you need a long-term commitment or is this a short-term assignment?

In the club business, nearly all employees form relationships and friendships with the members. A long-term employee can be invaluable to a club, while having high turnover can have the opposite effect.

Benefits of a Great Hire:

  • Raises the performance and morale of those around them.
  • Contributes new ideas for products, services, systems and procedures.
  • Contributes to increased sales.
  • Contributes to cost savings.
  • Intangible benefits like strengthening the company's culture.

Regrets of a Poor Hire:

  • Injecting cancer into a positive work environment.
  • Creating a "time-sucking" distraction to the leader who hired the person.
  • Causing distrust among existing team members.
  • Causing other team members to question/doubt the wisdom and leadership of the leader who hired them.
  • Harming morale and energy level of other team members.

• • •

Yes, it takes more time to properly screen, interview and vet candidates for a particular job, but there is no better use of a leader's time than to ensure the highest possible batting average of good/great hires. Hiring right moves the enterprise forward while hiring errors take the company backwards.

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