Senior Leaders at USGA Share How to Stand Out in the Hiring Process

The United States Golf Association (USGA) will be at Hustle Summit on Thursday, June 27th, 2019 in NYC. You can learn more about them, the roles they are looking to fill and buy tickets at hustlesummit.co.


FindSpark sat down with Kamille Ramos and Amanda Weiner of USGA to share their insights into how candidates can stand out throughout the application process.

Kamille Ramos joined the USGA in 2016 as Manager of Diversity & Talent Acquisition, a newly created role that blends her three passions – bringing awareness and changing perceptions, building strong programs, and finding great talent. She focuses on the strategy, continuous growth, and recruitment of the USGA’s internship programs, as well as leading the organization’s education and efforts around inclusion; in particular, implicit bias and how it acts as a barrier across the organization and the sport.

Amanda Weiner, Senior Director of Digital Media, joined the USGA in August 2011. In her position, she is responsible for consumer facing products with primary focus is the USGA’s digital championship fan experience both on- and off-site, including the suite of U.S. Open digital products, U.S. Women’s Open app, usga.org and the organizations new digital ticketing platform. Amanda is also responsible for integrating both internal and external partners (Fox Sports and the USGA’s corporate partners) into USGA digital experiences as well as seeking new content partnerships with allied golf associations and other key stakeholders in the industry.

Amanda graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Information and Communication and has held early career positions with Golf Digest Magazine, the NBA and Modell’s Sporting Goods. Amanda resides in NJ with her husband Eric and two sons Channing and Tyson.


To kick it off, can you each share two quick DOs and DON’Ts of the application process?

Kamille:

DOs: 1. Read the entire job description beyond the job title and do your research on the company/industry.

2. Use social platforms like LinkedIn to connect with current employees.

DON’Ts: 1. Don’t disqualify yourself from the job before you apply just because you do not check off every requirement.

2. Also, don’t forget to customize your resume to the job that you are applying to.

Kamille representing USGA at a career fair

Amanda:

DO’S: 1. Research the company on sites like glassdoor.com and indeed.com that include employee reviews. While it’s important to learn about the company from its own website, hearing employee feedback provides a unique and honest perspective about the organization. 2. Check your LinkedIn network to see if you have any connections…it never hurts to have an “in” or someone who can vouch for you.

DON’T’s:

1. Don’t rush the application process as one single typo can reflect poorly on your communication skills.

2. Don’t give up if you haven’t heard back from the employer. The appropriate amount of persistence is a great quality and shows your interest level.

Amanda showcasing U.S. Open technology during Preview Day at Pebble Beach

What are the most common but non-obvious mistakes you see made on resumes and cover letters?

Kamille: 1. Not updating the objective/summary statement to reflect the role that you are actually applying for. It’s easy to search for jobs endlessly and to hit the “quick apply” button, but when a resume or cover letter is referencing a different job/industry, it immediately sticks out and not in a good way.

2. Incorrect uses of tense/words.

3. Typos in your own name and contact information (phone/email).

What are your tips for how candidates can follow up and reach out after they apply online? Is there any method you personally really like or dislike?

Kamille: I personally enjoy an email or message on LinkedIn following an application. The candidate that takes the extra step to follow up with me and maintain engagement in the opportunity stands out to me. When a candidate sends me a message, I will reply with the timeline in the recruiting process if it hasn’t already been posted.

One method that I dislike is repetitive calls, even after the timeline has been communicated. Because recruiting processes can vary by role, it is off-putting when a candidate checks in too often.

What are some particular hurdles underrepresented talent, such as people of color and women, face in the hiring process? As a recruiter, what tips can you offer?

Kamille: Not having the right “fit” that the organization desires or has historically hired is a hurdle. Perception and Experience are also other barriers at times. There are perceptions in the capabilities, expertise and ultimately the candidate’s ability to adapt to the organizations existing culture that sometimes makes it difficult for hiring teams to look beyond non-traditional career paths that led the candidate to opportunity.

My first bit of advice is to know yourself as a candidate. Know your worth, know your story, and be ready to share with an organization how you can best contribute to their bottom line. Recognize that first impressions cannot be undone, so being prepared and having your elevator pitch down is important. Create goals for yourself and begin thinking about how you want to achieve them.

Alternatively, I have seen people of color and female candidates approach interviews/jobs with an expectant attitude once they were given an opportunity and it has backfired. Remain humble, but do not diminish your voice.

What general qualities do you look for in entry-level candidates and their application materials, especially those without much “official” experience?

Amanda: First and foremost I look at the style and formatting of a candidate’s resume. I am a very visual person, so a polished and professional looking resume is almost equally as important to me as the content the resume contains. Whether you’re using a word template or designing your own, choose easy-to-read fonts, eye-catching headlines and a style that fits with your personality.

For entry-level employees where experience may be lacking, I look for highlighted skills and core competencies that align to the open position. I also strongly believe in the power of internships so while “official” experience may be tougher to secure, candidates should consider any relevant experience that helps to build a resume.

Can you share a specific example of a recent candidate who stood out to you and really made a positive impression? Were they ultimately hired?

Kamille: I recently recruited for a role for a Leadership Development Program pilot and in partnership with an external hiring team, came up with the profile of the candidate we wanted to identify. From the moment this candidate applied, he sent me a LinkedIn message and remained in my thoughts throughout the process, proactively providing updates on availability and reaching out whenever he had questions that were pertinent to the role and his own situation and experience. The way he presented himself throughout the process modeled the type of leader we wanted to identify and develop. His answers were thought out and he knew when to take a moment to think about his answer before providing a quick and generic response. We ultimately hired this candidate because of what he possessed but also for what we saw he could be.

What can talent look for within the hiring process to be sure the company is actively working on creating an inclusive work environment?

Kamille: Talent can look at the company’s website; the imagery represented, the content shared/discussed, whether or not they have an inclusion statement or have demonstrated/acknowledged their values around inclusion. Prior to my role, I would go on LinkedIn and check out the employees past and present that worked at the organization. If it was an organization that did not have much representation of people of color or women, I would ask the questions in my interviews to find out how they may be working towards change. I find more value in understanding where the company has plans to go versus where they are in the present.

Amanda, you’ve been at USGA for 7+ years, so you obviously have a sense of what makes someone successful at the company. What are some of the key qualities that make team members successful at USGA, and how can they demonstrate those qualities in their application and interview?

Amanda: Qualities I look for most in a candidate are passion and enthusiasm. A large percentage of people who interview for a position at the USGA are passionate about golf, which is amazing, but I am looking for more than that. Do you believe in our mission? Are you passionate about the role vs. just the sport of golf? Are you excited by new technologies that enhance and impact sports fans today? These are the questions I focus on when trying to determine the level of passion and enthusiasm a candidate brings to the table.

I can usually tell within a few minutes whether or not a candidate will be a good fit for the USGA. The first trigger that puts someone in the “not a good fit” category is arrogance and/or the know-it-all mentality. Employees who succeed at the USGA are bright, knowledgeable and confident but never come off as arrogant.

We’re so excited to have USGA at Hustle Summit. Can you end by sharing a tip for what makes a memorable candidate interaction and first impression at networking events?

Amanda: Small talk is OK! Don’t be scared to introduce relatable and relevant topics above and beyond business topics (like what shows are trending on Netflix, the book you are reading on your commute or the constant rain we have had in NJ!). Learning more about a person’s interests, hobbies and lifestyle are just as important as talking through resume qualifications and job specs.

Kamille: Don’t try to oversell yourself! Be genuine, know and tell your story, speak clearly and loudly and make eye contact. Being able to make a personal connection most definitely makes for a memorable interaction.


You can meet USGA at Hustle Summit in NYC on Thursday, June 27th, 2019. Get your tickets at hustlesummit.co.

To learn more about how to nail the interview after you apply, check out our other article on interviewing tips from a campus recruiter here!

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