Preparing For Your Interview

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Being organized and prepared for your interview is one of the main keys to securing a job.  As you prepare for your interview you need to know information such as who is the hiring manager, who is on the search committee, and who can influence the hiring process.  This type of information is important so you can be strategic in your approach.

Interviewing is both an art and a science.  It is a science in that there are techniques you can use that will give you an advantage in the job search process.  It is an art, however, in how you utilize these techniques.  Together, the use of these techniques and how you execute them will determine how successful you are in the interview process.

To help you with your job search preparations, I have created a worksheet that is entitled “The Pre-Interview Research Form.”  This worksheet is designed to help you research and uncover important information about the position you are interviewing for, about the organization, and about the search committee.  It includes having you answer questions such as:

  • Who is the hiring manager and what is his/her title?
  • Who is on the search committee and what are their titles?
  • Who has influence with the hiring manager?
  • What are the major issues facing the organization?
  • What are the strengths of the organization?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • Who will make the hiring decision?
  • What are the concerns of the search committee members about you as a candidate?
  • Do you know anyone who knows people on the committee?
  • Who else are they interviewing?

As you complete the worksheet, you will begin to identify crucial pieces of information such as who the hiring manager is and also their contact information. Then you will continue by identifying the members of the search committee and their association with the athletic department.  Once this information is gathered, you will attempt to connect any dots between the search committee members and your contacts.

The information you uncover is vitally important in helping you to prepare the answers to various questions you will be asked during your interview.  Your findings will help you to form a connection with members of the search committee and help you to be able to ask probing questions during your interview.  The information you gather from these probing questions can then be used during the follow-up phase in an attempt to influence the committee’s hiring decision.

Once you gather the information you need, you will be prepared to ace your interview.  You will know exactly what they were looking for in a candidate, and how you should answer the interview questions in a way that shows you understand the challenges that face the organization.  You will also know when the other candidates are interviewing and be able to adjust your follow-up correspondence so your follow-up has the maximum impact and influence.

Like most endeavors, preparation is a major determinant to having a great interview and securing the job.  Ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is best prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job search process.  This includes being organized and prepared for your interview.  In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books.  Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com, or his new book, Execute for Success at http://www.execute4success.com.

 

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Be Prepared When The Right Job Opens

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Be prepared when the right job opens up.  Give yourself the book that provides you with the top job search skills and techniques.  It’s a competitive industry, so be prepared!

Click Here To PurchaseOnly $23.95

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“I have recommended this book to many aspiring sports administrators. A must read for anyone whom has a goal of working in athletic administration”
-Bill Fusco
Director of Athletics
Sonoma State University


The Importance of Creating Your Personal Sales Pitch

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Mitch was on the 16th floor when he stepped on to the elevator and headed to the lobby.  The elevator stopped at the 14th floor and Rob Stewart entered.  Rob is the athletic director at the state university in the same midwestern state that Mitch is from.  Mitch, being an intern at a small college, had hoped he’d run into Mr. Stewart at this convention so he could introduce himself.  Now is his chance.

Mitch was prepared for this moment.  He attended a Life Skills seminar earlier in the year that featured a career development specialist.  As the doors of the elevator closed, Mitch reached out his hand and said, “Hello Mr. Stewart, my name is Mitch Caldwell.”  This begun a 20 second conversation where Mitch was able to introduce himself and Rob Stewart suggested that Mitch call him.

This kind of introduction happens at every convention.  The majority of these encounters, however, aren’t as smooth.  Most times the intern bumbles around for something to say, and says nothing.  But, Mitch had practiced his sales pitch and was prepared for this moment.

The Life Skills program that Mitch attended introduced him to all aspects of the job search process, including how to develop a strong personal sales pitch.  The seminar leader shared that a quality sales pitch needs to be developed so that the pitch can be shared in a moment‘s notice.  It might be in a chance encounter such as this conversation in the elevator or it might be in an interview when a member of the search committee asks “so tell me about yourself”.  In either case, you need to be prepared to sell yourself.

Mitch followed up and contacted Mr. Stewart.  This was one of his first networking encounters that truly helped Mitch to further his career.  Mitch goes on to share that a personal sales pitch needs to have three sections.  These sections include:

  1. An overview of your education, experience, and achievements; or basically a summary of your resume
  2. A list of your skills, abilities and traits
  3. A description of your current situation

With these three sections, depending upon the question you are being asked in a job interview, you could answer it using the entire pitch, or just one of the three subsections.  For example, if you are asked the question “What is your experience in working in this industry”, you would answer this by reciting your first section, the summary of your resume.  If you were asked the questions “What are your strengths” or “How would your colleagues describe you”, you would answer this by using your second section, a listing of your skills, abilities and traits.  If you are asked the question “Why are you looking to leave your current position”, you would answer this by reciting your third section, your current situation.  However, if you are asked the question, “So tell me about yourself”, you’d answer using the entire pitch – all three sections.

The personal sales pitch is one of the most important elements of the job search process.  It is every bit as important as your resume or your interactions during an interview.  In fact, you will use your sales pitch in all of your sales messages including your cover letter, your interview, and your follow-up after the interview.  Take the time to create a strong and effective sales pitch.  Remember that the job will go to the candidate who is best prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process.  In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS! 

 

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books.  Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInsitute.com or his newest book Execute for Success at www.Execute4Success.com.

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Be Prepared When The Right Job Opens

2nd edition Image

 

Be prepared when the right job opens up.  Give yourself the book that provides you with the top job search skills and techniques.  It’s a competitive industry, so be prepared!

Click Here To PurchaseOnly $23.95

.

“I have recommended this book to many aspiring sports administrators. A must read for anyone whom has a goal of working in athletic administration”
-Bill Fusco
Director of Athletics
Sonoma State University


Six Elements That Form a Quality Cover Letter

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

A quality cover letter is a key marketing tool that helps to sell you in the application process.  Each cover letter you write will need to be specific to the organization where you are applying for a job. The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce you and your resume to the search committee (or hiring manager).  It should tell them who you are, how you meet the qualifications of the job, any applicable accomplishments you have, and why you are a good fit for the position.

The format of the cover letter should consist of the following six elements:

  • Heading – The format of the cover letter will begin with you typing your address at least one inch down from the top of the page.  This is followed by the current date.  Space four times and type the name of the person whom you are sending the letter to (include their title: Dr., Ms., Mr.), the title of their position, the name of the employer, and the address of the employer.  This is the heading of your letter and it will be followed by the salutation.
  • Salutation – The salutation is the proper introduction to the letter.  It should include “Dear” and then the person’s title and their last name.  Always attempt to address the letter to the appropriate person and not “To Whom it May Concern”.   Also, always address the person with their proper title (Mr., Ms., Dr.) and their last name. 
  • Opening Paragraph – The letter itself will be a minimum of three paragraphs and a maximum of five.  The first paragraph is an introduction, and it tells the search committee which job you are applying for (e.g. “I am applying for the position of . . .”), and what actions you are taking to make application (e.g. “Enclosed are my resume and a list of references”). 
  • Body – The body of the letter follows the introduction and it needs to sell you. The body will range between one and three paragraphs.  It is designed to show how you meet the qualifications of the position (education and experience); what strengths, abilities, and traits you would bring to the organization; and what accomplishments you have achieved in a similar type position.  The body is followed by the closing paragraph.
  • Closing Paragraph – The closing paragraph is a summary of your interest in the job and it explains why you are a good fit for the position.  This is followed by the complimentary close.
  • The Complimentary Close – After the closing paragraph, double space and type your complimentary close (e.g. Sincerely) followed by a comma.  Space four times and type your name.  The space between the close and your name is where you are to sign the letter.  Always remember to sign the letter with a black or navy ballpoint pen.  Too many times people are eliminated because they forget to sign the letter.  If you are sending your materials via e-mail, type your name in the signature space, change the font to a handwriting style (e.g. Handwriting – Dakota), and increase the font size to make it look as if you signed your name.

A well-crafted cover letter is necessary in selling you as an applicant.  It will prompt the reader to want to take a closer look at you and your resume.  However, a poorly written letter can eliminate you from consideration.  If you are going to take the time to apply for a job, do it right by writing an outstanding cover letter that really sells you.

Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is best prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job search process.  This includes writing a quality cover letter that really sells you.  In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!

 

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books.  Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInsitute.com or his newest book Execute for Success at www.Execute4Success.com.

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Be Prepared When The Right Job Opens

2nd edition Image

 

Be prepared when the right job opens up.  Give yourself the book that provides you with the top job search skills and techniques.  It’s a competitive industry, so be prepared!

Click Here To PurchaseOnly $23.95

.

“I have recommended this book to many aspiring sports administrators. A must read for anyone whom has a goal of working in athletic administration”
-Bill Fusco
Director of Athletics
Sonoma State University


Effectively Executing The Job Search Process

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

According to the book “Execute for Success”, execution is the process of effectively using skills, techniques and strategies to successfully perform your activities.  In the job search process, this means that you need to know, and be able to perform, the basic fundamental skills, strategies, and techniques of the job search process.

The job search process is composed of five segments that include: (a) the self-assessment stage, (b) preparation stage, (c) connection stage, (d) interview stage, and (e) the follow-up stage.  Mastering each of these components will help you to excel in the job search process and will help you to be competitive for the job you want.  More specifically, these five stages encompass:

 

  • Self-Assessment Stage – In the self-assessment stage you will identify your strengths, weaknesses, skills and abilities.  You will also understand what you like and dislike in a job, and what are your top personal traits.  You will then create a plan that will lead you to achieving your dream job.  Finally, you will systematically figure out which organizations you will want to contact in your job search.
  • Preparation Stage – During the preparation stage you will want to establish a target market contact list for the jobs you are seeking.  You will also want to construct a professional resume, write a cover letter that can sell you, create a personal sales pitch, be strategic in which references you use, develop answers to the interview questions you are most likely to be asked, know how to research the organizations within your target market, and understand how to prepare for an interview.
  • Connection Stage – In the connection stage you will want to develop a job search campaign, understand how to network within the industry, and know how to promote yourself.  You will also need to understand which promotional techniques you should use, how to create your brand, how to create a strategic marketing plan for yourself, and know how to control your job search.
  • Interview Stage – In the interview stage you will need to understand the proper approach for interviewing, the basic techniques you should use during an interview, and how to conduct yourself in a group interview.  You will also want to understand what type of questions you should ask in the interview, what mistakes people make, and how to successfully close the interview.
  • Follow-up Stage – During this stage you will want to conduct a follow-up mini-campaign that includes thanking the members of the search committee and addressing any issues or concerns they may have about you as a candidate.  You will also want to have an organized method for keeping track of each job you’ve applied for and the status of each of these searches.

These five stages are the major elements of the job search process.  To land a job, you will need to know, and be able to perform, the strategies and techniques that are within each of these five stages.  To assist you in your job search, the book “Getting Hired in College Sports” is available as a resource.  It identifies the techniques and strategies that are the best practices for all aspects of the job search process.  By performing these best practices you will be able to effectively execute the job search process.

Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!

 

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books.  Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at http://www.SportsCareersInsitute.com or his newest book Execute for Success at www.Execute4Success.com.

*******

Be Prepared When The Right Job Opens

2nd edition Image

 

Be prepared when the right job opens up.  Give yourself the book that provides you with the top job search skills and techniques.  It’s a competitive industry, so be prepared!

Click Here To PurchaseOnly $23.95

.

This book is fantastic – it is very practical for people who want to get into (or advance) in the sports industry.”

 -Greg McDermott 
  Head Basketball Coach 
  Creighton University