Finding sports jobs is a long, exhausting process. From resume writing and networking to building your online presence through a sports blog, even landing an interview feels like you won the championship already.
But, not just yet. It’s the bottom of the ninth, and you’re the closer. You still need to get three outs to win.
Our job search expert, Champ the Pug, offers some insights on how to ace every kind of interview you might encounter.
This is what he had to say about each interview type:
This is the most common type of interview. After you apply to sports jobs and employers asses you for fit, you often meet with an HR professional or hiring manager in a one-on-one setting.
There are several mistakes that can cost you the job from the start. If you’re late to the interview or show up in unprofessional attire, you already blew the first impression. Common mistakes candidates make during the interview include zoning out and speaking negatively about others or blaming past employers.
Champ offers a simple tip — prepare! Before the interview, research the company, the role, and run through practice questions. Also, write out a few questions for the employer before you go.
When you’re conversing with the interviewer, keep your responses focused and stay on track. Also, practice active listening. Don’t drift off and lose track of what the hiring manager is saying.
Panels are intimidating. You might face an HR professional, senior-level executives, and mid-level employees. Employers enjoy these because people from multiple levels can assess you.
Expect to be asked a wide variety of questions, including ones that are specific to your technical knowledge. Provide an in-depth answer so you showcase what you know. Many candidates feel like generic answers are better to avoid boring other interviewers. But vagueness will make it seem like you have a shallow understanding of a complex topic.
However, you also don’t want to ignore others throughout the interview. Look for ways to tie your answers into larger ideas that are relevant to others in the room.
A big thing to note — the pace is quick. Don’t let that control you. Instead, take a deep breath and answer thoroughly, without rushing. Also, focus on positive body language. Maintain eye contact and proper posture.
You’re obviously aware that you’re competing with others for sports jobs, but the pressure really kicks in when you take part in an interview alongside other candidates. These are typically earlier on in the hiring process and lead to one-on-one interviews if you’re a finalist.
Group interviews are really a balancing act. You don’t want to hog the spotlight, but don’t be too passive either, which is hard if you have an introverted personality.
Champ suggests the best way to avoid being forgotten in the group interview is by making friends with your competition. Instead of waiting in silence, shake their hands, get their names, and make conversation. This shows you like networking, you’re confident, and you facilitate conversations well.
You can even address others’ responses throughout. Employers will notice that you’re engaging the other candidates and took the time to learn their names beforehand.
This is a growing trend because they’re easier and more convenient for both candidates and employers. You will either record video responses that employers later review or have a live video chat.
Regardless of the situation, you don’t want to dress inappropriately, have a messy background, or do the video interview in a loud public area.
Instead, treat it like you’re having someone come into your home. Clean up your surroundings to look organized and professional. Dress well, and, most importantly, test your tech to avoid issues. If you can’t connect to a live chat or have bad audio in your recorded responses, employers will remember you as the one who didn’t prepare well.
Similar to video, you want to do this in a quiet place in your home. Pay attention to your verbal habits when you’re practicing responses to interview questions. Champ says that apps like Ummo are great for identifying bad verbal habits, like using filler words such as ‘um’ and ‘uh.’
Also, believe it or not, your body language still matters over the phone. Maintain a confident posture and smile! When you smile, you exude positivity.
Because phone interviews are often early in the hiring process, you’re likely to face the ‘tell me about yourself’ question. Use this as an opportunity to highlight your qualifications you have that match the job requirements, and also share why you’re passionate about sports.
This has a lot of potential for being the most awkward interview of your life. While you may be worrying about spilling your drink or having food in your teeth, don’t let that psych you out.
As Champ says, dedicate your time to prepare. For example, look at the menu ahead of time. This way, you spend less time looking for your choice and more time conversing with the hiring manager. Avoid ordering messy food, even if you see your favorite burger on the menu. You want something you can eat in a clean, easy way.
Also, arrive early before the reservation and wait outside the restaurant. During the lunch, be mindful of your etiquette and manners with the wait staff. As the interview winds down, thank the employer as they pay, and, of course, follow up with a thank you note when you get home.
When it comes to landing sports jobs, interviews are where you can make or break your chances. Preparation is a must, so start practicing right now.
What do you do to develop confidence before going to an interview? Share in the comments!