Emphasize These Skills in Your Remote Interviews - Work In Sports podcast

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Alright, let’s start the countdown…

Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning for WorkInSports.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast…

Happy Monday everyone -- struggling a little getting things rolling this morning… but I’m ready to bring the energy now. 

Last week we published episode 2 of our four-part Moving Forward series highlighting 10 young, diverse, aspiring sports professionals on their journey to employment and facing the challenges of social justice. 

I am very proud of our conversations thus far if you haven’t listened yet, please do so, the discussions are eye-opening. This week we publish part 3 - on using your voice from inside an organization. I’m joined by Miguel Garcia Espinoza, Caitlen Wallen, and Devin Walker for a great conversation -- please tune in and download!

Alright -- time for the Stat Line

What in the world … I must have hit the wrong button.   Randy Just our director of customer service just have gotten into my music playlist. 

Let’s try this again… time for the stat line..

Ah much better… it’s Monday morning, I’m not ready for EDM, dubstep, trap beats yet… man, do I sound old. 

Ok into the data we go…

The total number of jobs on WorkInSports.com the #1 job board for the sports industry… has 17,124 jobs - we’ve crossed 17k, which is awesome. I was just looking at one of our competitors… they have 689 jobs, total. You tell me where the best chance is for you to find a job.

In the last week, we’ve added 2,236 jobs to our job board - an average of 319 jobs posted each day of the week. 

That is opportunity. 

Ok, our most popular category right now is retail/lifestyle with just over 7,000 job opportunities -- but i want to better explain this category by highlighting a few really cool jobs. “Lifestyle” are all the brands and products that enhance your sports and active life…

So let’s check out a few jobs here:


Environmental Sustainability Program Mgr - now this as just one gig that stood out to me, because I’m way into the environment and sustainability, but fitbit is one of the sports adjacent companies that is in the lifestyle category. They also have a product manager for audience engagement, and program manager for wearables -- pretty cool stuff.

Alright, another brand in the lifestyle category -- 

Patagonia -- one of my personal favs - is hiring an Equity and Performance Lead, you will be responsible for instilling a mindset and culture of equity & inclusion, ongoing learning, and professional development by designing and implementing organizational and culture change efforts, performance management processes, training, and tools across the company.

Another big one -  have you heard of XOS Digital? When you hear of coaches directly after a game jumping on their iPad and watching cut-ups of game video… or sitting in a dark room watching video and scouting -- they are using XOS digital, they are the leader in sports performance analytics? 

Amazing company - they are hiring a senior product manager. If you want to work in coaching, scouting, the video department of a team, analytics etc -- this would be a great gig. Learn this skill to 100 and you’ll be in demand.

Those are all examples from our Reatil/Lifestyle category -- not just being a sales associate at Dick’s Sporting Goods. 

And that is the Stat LINE for this week…

Nope wrong music… try that again… 


Time for today’s question from Paul in New Hampshire…

“Hey Brian, I’m about to finish up college and I’m just starting my job search. I’m pretty fired up, but also kind of scared about the job prospects. WorkInSports.com has been an invaluable asset, I’ve been exposed to companies, roles and opportunities that I never knew existed. And don’t get me started on the podcast - you have literally changed my life and approach. I love the new segment highlighting the job data it really gives me hope. Question for you, with so many jobs being remote, and interviews being remote, and everything being remote, are there certain traits or skills I should be emphasizing to stand out?”



Paul, I love this question --  the questions you all send in spark great conversations so thank you. 

I‘ve been thinking a lot about this lately because you are right,  if I was hiring someone right now, and I knew they would be working remote for the foreseeable future, I may be looking for different traits or aptitudes than I would be if I was hiring someone who would come into our office each day and could be monitored, trained, and motivated.

So Paul, your question is great, because you’ve hit on something that can really help this group stand out. 

Let’s lean into this - I always talk about soft skills and their importance, things like passion, work ethic, leadership. 

In this zoom/remote world, there are a few other soft skills you want to weave into your cover letter and your interview process - here are 5:  

  1. Maturity/reliability - in working remotely, the organization has to trust you will get the job done and work effectively, pointing out how mature or reliable you are can help you go the distance. Military veterans. 
  2. Communication - can you establish trust and rapport via slack, zoom, and email?
  3. Independence - working and achieving without constant supervision
  4. Initiative - do you wait to be instructed, or get right after it.
  5. Cross-functional collaboration - can you work in a team in a remote world, advise, consult, get things done as a group. That’s how this world is working now!

Now, remember the key to expressing your soft skills isn’t to write a cover letter that says I am mature, reliable, communicative, independent, have great initiative, and work collaboratively. 

Tell me a story, shine a light on your personal achievements or accomplishments that will show you have these skills, rather than just telling someone you do. 

If I was hiring right now these are literally the top 5 soft skills I would be demanding from anyone I hire. I don’t want to bring in a new staffer, that sits and waits to be instructed every step of the way, take initiative! I don’t want to have someone who I don’t trust is working a full schedule -- and instead is just going through the motions or doing the bare minimum. YOu want someone who is mature, communicates well and works with pride. 

Show this off in your process!

Now, as for questions that might come up in the interview process that you should be prepared for:

They’ll be the basics -- have you ever worked remote before, what tools and software do you use to communicate effectively?

But also expect bigger questions like:

  • How do you manage your time and stay organized?
  • How do you stay motivated and engaged when working from home?
  • How will you handle workplace conflict or disagreements?
  • How do you get team projects done in a remote world?
  • How do you stay maintain an active voice on your team in a remote world? 

Let’s break these down just a little - you’ll notice a theme of transparency and honesty.

Manage your time and stay organized -- transparency is key here, emphasize tools you use that will let everyone see what you are up to. Your calendar, google docs, slack, Trello, asana, Hubspot -- emphasize the tools you use the stay focused and organized, that are also transparent. 

When you aren’t afraid for people to see what you are doing, they feel less inclined to have to track you. 

Motivated and engaged --  be really honest in the way you like to work. If you are the type that sets yourself on a schedule, has a closed quiet room -- say so. If you like to constantly be on slack and keep in touch with everyone and chat all day while working - say so. If you like to have a day broken up by walks around the neighborhood to break out of your office from time to time - say so. This is a question about how you stay motivated and engaged -- the only thing they are looking for is honesty and knowing yourself and what you need.

Work conflict/disagreements - Conflicts happen in the workplace, that much is a given. But in a remote workplace, there is a greater propensity for the problem to be unresolved and swept under the rug. Unresolved problems fester and cause bigger problems. Your goal here is to make it clear you handle problems as they come and as directly as you can so that they don’t fester and cause bigger problems. 

Remote projects to completion-- in-person collaboration isn’t an option. You don’t get to flop down on the comfy couches, or bean bag chairs and talk through your project in front of a wipe board. So how will you work? Communication is huge in this conversation -- make it clear to complete projects requires a lot of upfront communication, planning, and organizing to make sure everyone is on the same page, understands the goals and the timelines. Leadership and overcommunicating are essential. 

You should see from these answers, it’s not that much different from remote jobs or interviews, but themes like transparency, honesty and communication are huge. You can’t be on an island, be comfortable with expressing your desire to communicate actively, be visible with your schedule, the more transparent you are the more trust it breeds, and be honest with what you need -- no suffering in silence. 

Paint a picture you can be the connective tissue of your new team, bringing the group together, sparking conversation, sharing through online tools.

That should do it, Paul - thanks for your great question.

Make sure to tune in Wednesday for part three of our Moving Forward series - and as always, make a plan to vote, and please please please wear a mask - we are NOT out of the woods yet. 

By Brian Clapp | October 19, 2020
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