People like the feeling of belonging somewhere. Be it a private club, an elite society, a religious cult, or even an informal group of people who meet twice a week, such an anonymous alcoholics or anonymous gamblers. Clubs represent a more institutional form of belonging somewhere. We know sports clubs, fitness clubs, academic clubs, political clubs, and many other formal groups of people. Most of them have a membership fee–you have to pay to play, as they say, and almost every bigger club has at least one manager.
This person is responsible for communication with the members, for collecting membership fees, distributing newsletters, and, if they work in a fitness club or in a sports center, making sure that all equipment and facilities are functioning optimally. Club managers may also participate on promotional activities of the club, hiring of new employees and volunteers, and sometimes they simply oversee the daily operations of the club, with everything that belongs to it–including cleaning duties. The exact scope of your duties depends on your exact place of work, and you should read the job description carefully to understand what you will be responsible for. Let’s have a look at some questions you may face while interviewing for this job.
Why do you want to work as a club manager?
Try to explain both your expectations on the job, and things you want to bring onboard. You can say them that you have excellent time-management and communication skills, and are a born leader, hence you find the job a good match for your strengths and personality.
If you’ve overseen an operation or any club or business before, you should definitely mention it at this point. Explain them that with things you’ve been through in your life, and in your professional career, you feel ready to manage their club and even help them increase the member base.
Now the second part–what you want to get from the job, why you decided to apply with them, and not with a restaurant, a retail store, or some other place you could possibly manage. Here you can refer to their core activity. For example, if it is a fitness club, you can say that you really enjoy the environment of the fitness centers, interactions with the type of people who visit these places, and so on. You can also refer to shift patterns, great salary offer, and anything else that caught your eye on their job description.
How do you imagine a typical day at work in our club?
This really depends on the facilities, size of the club, number of employees, and everything. The most important thing in an interview is to show realistic expectations, and proactive approach to work. In order to show realistic expectations, you should learn something about the club. Perhaps even visit the place in advance (or send someone there) to see the daily operation, interactions of members with staff, and so on.
And if you are not sure, it is always better saying that you imagine taking care of all sorts of duties, including cleaning the premises of the club, interacting with members, taking payments, taking care of any problems and issues that may happen on any day, and similar things. You can always add that you also expect to work with other team members–employees or volunteers, especially if it is a bigger club. That’s the proactive approach I’ve been talking about. They should get an impression that you do not imagine sitting in some comfy office, just answering phone calls and drinking coffee… You want to be out there, making sure that the members are happy with the facilities and that everything functions as it should.
Imagine that one of the club members complains about the service they received. How will you react?
Ensure the hiring managers that your goal is to provide an outstanding customer service, to each and every club member. You can say that you will try to address each complaint individually, understanding what went wrong, remedying the situation, and making sure it won’t repeat again.
You can emphasize that maintaining the highest level of satisfaction of paying club members will be one of your main priorities while managing the club. Everyone can make a mistake–including you, and therefor you plan to take each feedback seriously, and act on it.
How do you feel about working on weekends, and in the evenings?
Unless you manage some club for VIPs and business tycoons with millions on their accounts, people who do not follow the regular schedule like we mortals do, you will work mostly in the afternoons, evenings, and on weekends. Simply when club members aren’t working, and can enjoy the benefits of their membership.
It is important to ensure the hiring managers that you understand how things work in the field, that you are aware of the opening hours of the club, and the busy hours, and that you’ve thought about these things in advance and see no issue with the working hours. The key is to show some flexibility, and willingness to sacrifice something for your new job. For sure you won’t work every Sunday or every night, but you are ready to work on some, because you understand the club needs you there at the time.
How do you plan to motivate your subordinates, employees working in the club?
This isn’t so easy as motivating someone in a corporation. First of all, most other club employees will earn a minimum wage, or slightly better. And you typically won’t have an authorization to pay them any extras or bonuses. Hence you cannot rely on the most basic and beloved form of motivation in the ranks of employees–the financial motivation. Money isn’t the only thing people care about, however.
You can talk about trying to build a great atmosphere in the club. Employees should feel like belonging somewhere, and they should enjoy the time spent with their coworkers. Letting them use the facilities outside of peak hours, either for free or for some symbolic fee, is another form of motivation. Last but not least, you can say that you want to go by an example, and be attentive to the needs and feelings of other employees in the club. In this way you hope to keep the morale high in the workplace, and make sure that people try their best every day for the club and the members.
If you could improve something about our club, what would it be?
As a rule of a thumb, you should mention at least one area for improvement. Maybe the facilities are a bit old and need some renovation, or you think that their marketing campaigns aren’t really reaching their target group of prospects. Needless to say, if you have an idea how to improve something, you should share it with the interviewers.
If you cannot come up with any specific idea, however, you can always say that you believe such a great club deserves more members, and that you hope to help them improve on it from a position of a club manager. I suggest you to check the club reviews online–not on their website (it will show only good reviews of course), but on Google maps or on TripAdvisor, and see what their customers complain about. Then you should point it out as an area for improvement…
Other questions you may face in your club manager interview
- What caught your eye on our club? Why do you want to manage exactly this place?
- Tell us about a situation when you had to meet a tight deadline.
- Describe a conflict you had with one of your colleagues in your former job. What did you do to solve the conflict?
- Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
- How would you describe your management style?
- Tell us more about your passion for golf (tennis, fitness, theater, etc, depending on the core activity of the club).
- What are your salary expectations?
Conclusion, next steps
Interview for a job of a club manager belongs to tricky interviews, mostly because you cannot really tell what exactly will happen. The exact questions they will ask you depend on the type of club, size of the members base, scope of your duties, and also on the interviewing skills of the club owner/director (the person who will lead the interview with you).
Try to prepare for at least what you can prepare for in advance. The first thing is to think about at least a short answer to each question from my list. Secondly, you should do a good research about the club, trying to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and what they likely expect from their new manager. This will help you to show realistic expectations, and also demonstrate your honest interest for the job–we always prepare when we care…
May also interest you:
- How to overcome interview nerves – If you battle with nerves in the interviews, and often answer questions of the interviewers with silence, you should check this one out.
- Practice manager interview questions.
- Operations manager interview questions.