Phone with LinkedIn

Why Candidates and Clubs Are Leaving Industry Job Boards For Indeed, LinkedIn and More Direct Avenues

by Ed Shanaphy, CMAA, USPTA
President of

It’s that time of year – when jobs for 2023 and into next summer’s season are being advertised as opportunities for a career change. Opportunities appear to be slowing down in our industry according to recent government statistics, and because of that, it how you recruit needs to be efficient in finding the appropriate candidate and efficient in your own time management.

Numbers released just this past Friday December note that although there are 770,000 workers in our hospitality and leisure industry looking for work, almost 200,000 fewer than a year ago, there are fewer employees in our industry in comparison to last year. We are adding less than half the number of new jobs in 2022 than we did in 2021 and we are far from the employment levels we saw pre-pandemic, down approximately 6 percent from February 2020. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2, 2022)

In fact, if we drill down to just the country club and golf course industry, there are just over 300,000 (Ibis World Stats) jobs in total available, less than half of all the jobs in leisure and food. These small, and literally poor, numbers affect our country club industry across food and beverage in a major way, but also across department head opportunities and supervising management roles. With a congested job search and conglomerates bellowing into the marketplace, we are finding that the search for suitable candidates is leaving the confused and monetized industry job boards at CMAA, USPTA and PTR and at the PGA.

With this apparent shortage and small candidate pool, both clubs and candidates appear to be moving to Indeed, Zip Recruiter, Linked-In and off-shoots of these various job boards, such as and others not linked directly to an industry member or governing body.

We too, in our own searches, are finding a strategy through the “open” job boards more effective than posting on the industry sites. Below is some of the reasons we we believe this to be the case and some of the thoughts of candidates that have either applied or been given the position.

Direct Dealings With The Decision Makers

Many candidates, even when an ad writes “No phone calls please” attempt a phone call. This desire of the candidate to speak with those decision makers, whether a club search committee, general manager or department head, holds true in terms of all communications. Throughout the recruitment process, communication with the decision makers rather than a search firm is paramount to the candidate.

It stands to reason, they want to bypass search firms when employed to conduct an executive search and deal directly with the decision makers. This same sentiment can be held in a smaller way with the industry job boards. These job boards are time consuming for both parties, the applicant and the employer. But more to the point, the industry job boards are far removed from the decision makers in almost every case. The industry job boards are now run mainly by these same search firms, putting even more distance between the candidate and the decision makers.

Instead of finding candidates for a particular job, the industry job boards are investing in data. The industry job boards have become a fertile ground for information gathering in truth. Gaining incredible amounts of information each time a candidate applies, allows managers or owners of industry job boards to gain information on each and every “employee” in the industry, creating a database and consolidating the entire job market within the industry.

This information is not always used for the particular job in questions, but for other jobs in which the industry job board’s “owner” might have access to. Examples of such are the USPTA job board which is managed by Mark McMahon and his firm McMahon Tennis Search and the PTR job board, which is managed by the search firm Kopplin, Kuebler and Wallace. Similar relationships can be seen with the Club Management Association of America, in alliance again with Kopplin, Kuebler and Wallace and the National Club Association, which allies itself with GCI Search. Such a consolidation has begged for other avenues within the job market.

But it works the other way too as these sites become “hunters and gatherers” of information on possible employers, and employers are being backed into a corner to some degree. The time it takes to create a profile on the USPT A tennis jobs site for an employer is farcical. But, of course, one cannot recruit through the site without giving that highly detailed operational information, just as is the case with the candidate and his or her application process, which gleans information for other non-USPTA jobs or, better yet, candidates for online marketing courses set up by the “owners” of these industry job boards.

In our podcast this month, Nathalie Wilson, head of food and beverage at the esteemed Nassau Club in Princeton, NJ, admits that after a half dozen searches, she’s realized the search firms are deep in the bed with the employers and clubs. After leaving one of the biggest clubs in New England at The Stanwich Club, in Greenwich, CT, she has since been through three or four searches in the past 24 months. Through the process, she has come to realize that search firms are advertising their own wares while “saving” the club and employer money on the salaries of the candidates.

The Search Firm Is In Bed With The Employer

We are seeing this all too often within a confused and contained club and hospitality industry. As major search firms hunt and gather for possible new clubs and opportunities, they appear to be possible short-changing the applicant in both time, through the inordinate amount of data collection, but also as well in terms of a value to the job and compensation. Search firms, in order to bolster their own relationships with the clubs as the industry is being consolidated, are keeping compensation packages lower than the market value.

This consolidation is injuring market compensation values and workers are leaving the industry as proven by the statistics first noted above.

New Recruitment and Application Processes Are Gaining Traction

We see more and more of the “Hiring” tag on the photo of managers and decision makers on LinkedIn. The curved tag may look a little funny, but there’s nothing to laugh at when LinkedIn brings over $8 billion in revenues to its parent company, Microsoft.

Just recently, as we monitor the job market, we are finding that we see jobs directly posted on LinkedIn through profiles, and then shared through comments and repostings. We saw the First Assistant Golf job at Essex County Club on LinkedIn this past November far before it was posted on the PGA site. Whether it takes time for the PGA job board to approve the employer and the advertisement, or whether the club in Manchester By The Sea in Massachusetts first published the opportunity on LinkedIn, we are unaware.

Our Own Results Speak To The Progression In Recruitment

Through our own executive searches we have covered opportunities within food and beverage, architectural review, club management, tennis and hospitality services over the past 18 months. By far our best resource has been Indeed, followed quickly by LinkedIn. Pertinent applications and easy-to-use communications without much of the red tape levied by the industry job boards on our side, has led us to find a plethora of extremely viable candidates through non-industry job boards. Not far behind are ZipRecruiter, and SimplyHired through both paid and organic recruitment. As the industry consolidates in a harmful way, we are looking to push boundaries beyond and find candidates from outside the industry to create better compensation packages and bring valued talent to the shrinking labor market.

Ed Shanaphy, President of SBW Associates, Inc and, is an industry leader having served as a club president at the famed Blackheath Rugby and Lawn Tennis Club, known as just The Club. During his 19 years in London. he served also as managing director of a global advertising and marketing firm Haysbridge (UK). He returned to his native America in 2007 and is presently Director of Club Operations at The Boulevard in Vero Beach, FL and conducts searches extensively for the private members club and boutique hotel and hospitality industry.

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