By Dr. Howard Gauthier
The butterflies are swirling around in your stomach as you enter the interview room. The search committee looks daunting, but you are prepared, so not to worry. After the introductions and some pleasantries, the committee starts firing questions at you – “Why do you want to work for us?, What are your experiences in sports marketing (or whatever position you are interviewing for)?”, “What are your strengths?”, and “What are your weaknesses?” The questions just keep on coming.
Wait a minute! Let’s back up. What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? Sounds easy right? You better be prepared. These questions quite often trip people up. You do not want to hesitate and make the committee think you are not prepared. You also do not want to list the wrong strengths. But, you definitely do not want to blurt out the wrong weakness. This can kill the interview. If you say that you do not have any weaknesses, the committee will know you are not telling the truth. If you fib in your interview, what else will you lie about once you are working for them? This is as much a character question as it is a fit question. What skills and abilities do you bring to the company? This is an opportunity for you to really sell yourself.
During your interview you need to be prepared to share your top five skills and abilities. Maybe you are a hard worker or maybe you are extremely skilled in marketing through social media. Whatever your strengths are, be prepared to sell them when the timing is right. As for your weakness, be prepared to share a weakness that will not hurt your chances of getting the job. If you do not have a lot of experience, do not answer the weakness question by stating that you lack experience in the industry. This shows that you might not be capable of doing the job. Rather, state something a bit more benign. This should be something that will not reflect poorly on the quality of your work, or your fit within the organization. Instead, try to turn this question into a positive. Maybe you can state something like “my networking isn’t as strong as I’d like it to be. The good thing is, I’ve recognized this and about six months ago I started working hard to improve my network.“ This answer will not get you the job, but it also will not eliminate you from consideration. The committee is looking to see if you are prepared.
Knowing your strengths is important in almost everything you do related to your job search. By knowing your strengths you can better target the type of job you are suited for. In addition, you will want to include your strengths, skills, and abilities in your sales pitch so you can use it in your cover letters, to answer interview questions, and in your follow-up correspondence.
The only way to truly understand and know your strengths, weaknesses, skills, and abilities is by completing self-assessment inventories. These assessments become the foundation for everything you do in the job search process. In reality, you should not begin to apply for jobs until you have completed the assessment stage of the job search process. These assessments can be found both online and in the book “Getting Hired in College Sports.” Best of luck in your job search!
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 www.sportscareersinstitute.com or his new book Execute for Success at www.execute4success.com.
Best Selling Sports Careers Book
In Getting Hired In College Sports you will discover:
- The types of jobs that exist in college sports
- How to plan and navigate your career
- How to create an effective job search campaign
- The proper way to create an effective resume, cover letter, and sales pitch
- How to properly brand yourself
- Techniques and strategies to prepare for your interview
- How to properly prepare yourself for the five types of interview questions
- How to properly follow-up after the interview in order to influence the decision of the hiring manager
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“This book is fantastic – it is very practical for people who want to get into (or advance) in the sports industry.”
Head Men’s Basketball Coach