How Skills From Competition Can Help An Athlete When In The Interview Process

Athletes Go Pro is a staffing firm that is dedicated to introducing well-rounded athletes to desirable employers across a wide range of industries. From our screening process to final interview prep, our team strives to find ideal employment matches for our candidates in their career search and clients seeking talent.

The typical young athlete aspires to make is to the Division I college athletic level.  Athletes spend years training, working, and dreaming about being an NCAA athlete. The life of a college athlete couldn’t be more different than the life of a normal student. The time commitment an NCAA athlete sacrifices for their sport, let alone their education, translates similarly to that of a nine-to-five job.

Film study, lifts, individual skill development sessions, practices and team mandated events are only a portion of a collegiate athlete’s schedule. They still have to fulfill a rigorous academic course load and credit requirements as their non-athlete counterpart. When an athlete completes their time at university, how are they meant to translate their athletic skills to securing a job? Was the commitment to their team a disservice to their education and career development? To most companies, the limited work experience and repertoire of a student-athlete actually helps them in the hiring process.

In interviewing scenarios, it is vital for an athlete to respond to interview questions in a way that reflects the qualities and attributes gained from their athletic experiences.  The situation should exemplify characteristics about themselves that they are trying to present to the hiring manager in the most transparent possible manner. Once that situation has been discussed, expanding about the experience should be broken down into three separate parts:

Firstly, an athlete should start off by presenting the situation in an easy-to-understand manner that is concise and to the point. Secondly, it is important that you expand of this discussion in a way that highlights personal qualities that make you the most qualified candidate for the job. Lastly, the result of the action should then be talked about, making sure that the result is relevant and answers the question being asked.

When preparing for competition, a coach isn’t going to allow his or her team to go into battle without a complete understanding of what the opponent is going to do. Scouting, watching film and running through plays all go into intense preparation for a sporting event. Should an interview be viewed as something different?

Interviews typically cultivate fear and anxiety.  It is normal to be afraid of failure, or fearful of the potential questions an interviewer may ask. An athlete, however, should feel more confident in an interview than the typical candidate. The time spent scouting and preparing in their sport has set the stage for the same dedication and careful precision and research when preparing for an interview. 

An athlete prepares for a game by watching film, examining and studying their potential matchup.  This can similarly translate to how an athlete would prepare for an interview: studying potential questions, prospective answers and doing sufficient research to help foster the most successful outcome. Expertise in breaking down film and examining subtle nuances of a team’s offense or defense provides an athlete understanding in the job force: increased comprehension in a company’s culture and how that is lived out through it’s employees. An athlete has the ability to use their practice of preparation for competition to enact those same strategies advantageously to stand out from other candidates.

Becoming an elite athlete does not happen overnight. Athletes need humility; one of the hardest things about life is a person’s understanding this necessity in order to succeed. This humbling revelation can surmise in several different ways.  One may be in the form of a low paying job in which the employee is not receiving the desired monetary compensation. Another may come in the form of working multiple jobs in order to make enough money to stay financially afloat, gaining the skills necessary to help them later in life. The most valuable part about being about high-level athletics is the value that is placed in their sacrifice to achieve the greater goal.

The dream of a six-figure paying job the first year out of college is not feasible for every student-athlete. The same goes for when that same student-athlete first started their sport.  They were not nearly ready to compete at the highest level. Finding ways to win in the midst of a trying scenario is the irreplaceable component that is at the heart of every athlete. They know how to win, no matter what the costs.

In transitioning to life after college, it is important to ask for help from others. On the playing field, when an athlete is doing something wrong or a new skill is not sinking in, they ask a coach or teammate for help. The same should apply to leveraging resources available when leaving school.

Instead of asking a coach to teach a new spin-move in basketball or how to block someone in football, a player should do the same when asking about connections in a specific occupational field or career path. Leveraging resources does not have to be solely based upon personal connections in one’s life. Universities have access to alumni networks, athletic advisors, and university career services that are put in place to make the initial connection for their athletes.

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