Five Smart Questions to ask at the End of Your Job Interview - Work in Sports Podcast e051

By Brian Clapp | February 16, 2018

Smart questions you should ask at the end of your job interview

Hi everybody, I’m Brian Clapp Director of Content for and this is the Work in Sports Podcast – it’s a Friday QA session!

It’s almost the weekend, it’s 64 degrees here in Pennsylvania, I’m feeling good and I hope you are too.

Today’s questions comes in from Ashton from North Carolina, Ashton connected with me on LinkedIn and asked her question there, but she could have emailed me at, or joined our private facebook group by searching “the work in sports podcast” on facebook and answering a few questions.Your Sports Career Questions Answered

Before I get on to her question – two quick things.

1: I don’t understand why people request access to our private group but don’t answer the questions provided. The way this works is, you request permission to join, and all you have to do is answer three very simple questions – what is your favorite episode, who would you like to see as a guest, and have you given the show a rating on iTunes.

Now, I ask these questions just to prove you aren’t a robot or troll. And because your answers help me make the show better. Guest suggestions and telling me what episode you liked best help me direct the content in the future.

So far 128 people have requested entry, but didn’t answer the questions – either they are all robots and trolls… or they are just being anti-establishment. Don’t be anti-establishment, I am your friend, I’m not here to oppress you or steal your data and sell if off to some Nigerian war lord looking for your social security number – I’m just trying to learn a bit, and verify you actually breathe air, so stop fighting against my questions, play ball a little.

#2 – Ashton will get a free month at and if I haven’t made this clear yet, we’ve been the number one job board for the sports industry for like, 20 years, so we’re good at this, and we know lots of employers, and they like us. They really really like us. And, they really really like you. We’ve been told many many times by employers that they love our members because they are serious about their careers and qualified…they aren’t just someone playing around thinking it would be cool to work for a sports team. Our members are the elite, and employers know it.

Alright, on to our question from Ashton:

Hi Brian, this is Ashton from North Carolina, I’ve read your content on the WorkinSports blog and now I am so excited that you are doing a podcast. I’ve read before where you’ve written about preparing to ask questions back to you interviewer, the dreaded “do you have any questions for me?” at the end of every interview. Generally speaking, I’m mentally exhausted and the end of interviews and mess up this part, with a feeble, nope I’m good. Can you help me craft a simple strategy for smart questions I can ask at the end of an interview?

I love these questions Ashton because everyone needs this help – this isn’t just a you problem, it’s a we problem. I have messed this up before myself.

I remember interviewing with New England Sports Network about 5-6 years ago for a VP of Production job there. Am I allowed to say this? Oh well too late. Anyway, I’m meeting with the CEO, big wig, powerful guy on the sports broadcasting landscape, and we talk for about an hour. You know me, I’m bringing it, I have ideas on leading a team, pushing our content to the next level, philosophies on hiring. I feel like we are becoming bro’s, like we’re going to go grab a beer and talk about our mutual love affair with Gronk.

We’re wrapping up and he asks – “so what questions do you have for me?” and I went blank. I had said so much I didn’t want to repeat myself and ask something stupid, so I just paused. It felt like a lifetime and his demeanor totally changed.

I tensed up at the wrong moment and that was my lasting impression. It was almost like nothing I said before mattered, I tripped at the finish line.

So, Ashton, I went back to the drawing board after that and came up with a simple plan of questions that work no matter what:

1: “In your opinion, what does success look like in this role – how will you quantify my performance”

This is great, we’re talking about success and you are telling the employer I plan on hitting whatever goal you set for me, so let’s do it, let’s talk about goals and success metrics right now.

This question will also force the interviewer to think really hard about what they want out of this role. That’s a good thing, making them think is way better than saying “how many off days will I get?

2: “In what ways did the person in the role previously succeed and how did they fail?”

You’re telling the employer, I want to do this job better than the last person, so help me out, let’s set some expectations here. If that last person was a pain tell me why, so I can do better. If that last person was great, tell me how so I can live up to it.

3: “How much of an emphasis do you put on the overall culture of the business”

Let’s be honest, you aren’t just trying to make yourself look good with your questions, you also want to find out if this is a place you want to work. Ask about culture, how do they foster a positive work environment, how do they monitor the overall health of the organization’s culture…all these questions help you determine if you want to sign up!

4: “What’s the most important thing that can be accomplished in the first 90 days in this role?”

Most employers see the first three months as an indicator of someone’s long term impact. They get a bit of a free month to start and get settled in, but after that it’s time to start making hay. This question makes it clear you get that and are ready to take on the biggest challenge facing the organization.

That’s boss.

5: If you are speaking one level up from who will be your boss – like you are talking to your bosses boss, ask “How can I make things easier on my boss, so they can better help you?”

That’s game set match people.

Now you’re thinking of the greater good of the business…and what boss doesn’t like to think hiring you is going to in the end, help make their job easier.

It’s important to have a game plan like this so you can stay focused and ask smart questions at the end of the interview. This is your chance to steal the show, don’t mess it up.

That’s it for today, Ashton gets a free month to - yeah for Ashton!

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