To Get An Interview, You Must Meet The Minimum Qualifications

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Tom recently graduated with his master’s degree in sports administration. He has been struggling to find a job in intercollegiate athletics but now he is hopeful.  As Tom was looking through the various sports job that were listed on a Sports Careers website, he noticed that his alma mater was advertising for a marketing assistant. He thought he would apply.

As Tom was reviewing the job announcement, he read through the minimum qualifications. He noticed that he didn’t meet all of the minimum requirements, but he also exceeded them in other areas. A bachelor’s degree was required and a master’s degree was preferred. He clearly surpassed this requirement. The school also wanted, at a minimum, someone with two years of experience in athletics marketing. The preferred level of experience was 3-5 years. The problem was that Tom only had a 6-month internship in an athletic department’s marketing office. The final requirement was that the applicants needed to submit three letters of recommendation.

Tom printed out his resume and wrote a good cover letter. He planned to send them to the Human Resources Office tomorrow. He then called two of his sports management professors and also his supervisor from his internship, to see if they would write letters of recommendation for him.  As he was visiting with one of his former professors, Dr. Hess, he asked Tom if he met the minimum qualifications.  His response was “I don’t have the amount of experience they want, but I make up for it by having a master’s degree.”

Dr. Hess was careful with his words as he thoughtfully responded to Tom.  Encouragingly he said, “You know Tom, you certainly won’t get the job if you don’t apply.”  “However, without meeting the minimum qualifications, you probably won’t get the job.”  Dr. Hess went on to coach Tom in how to approach the job.  He shared with him that most people get jobs through networking.  And since he knew some of the people within the athletics department he has a “leg-up” on his competition.  However, very seldom will someone get hired into a position when they don’t meet the minimum qualifications.  In fact, in some universities, the Human Resources Department screens the application files to make sure the applicants meet the minimum qualifications.  They will only forward to the search committee the application files from the applicants who meet the minimum qualifications. 

This is a pretty standard practice – meet the minimum qualifications and your application will be forwarded for consideration by the search committee; don’t meet the minimum qualifications and your resume won’t make it to the committee.  I’m not saying don’t apply for the job, I’m just saying – know that the chances of getting an interview are extremely slim if you don’t meet the minimum qualifications. But again, you definitely won’t get the job if you don’t apply.

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 or his new book Execute for Success at


The #1 Careers Book in Sports

2nd edition Image

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

Only $23.95 Click Here To Purchase 

“I have recommended this book to many aspiring sports administrators.  This is a must read for anyone who has a goal of working in athletic administration”

-Bill Fusco
Director of Athletics
Sonoma State University




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