How to Practice for Your Next Job Interview

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

A couple of quick shout-outs to my people before we get into things, if you are watching on our YouTube Channel -- and you should -- you can see that I am representing a very cool Bismarck Larks t-shirt sent in by friend of the show Joe Zollo.

Joe recently landed a job with the Larks as a fan engagement coordinator - I am now a fan of the Larks, and you have engaged me, Joe, so you are off to a really good start.

Since I’m a t-shirt guy -- this will be in heavy rotation -- thank you Joe!  

 


 

And a second shout out to my guy Scott McDonald. I’ve gotten to know Scott through this show over the last couple of years, an incredible dude working with the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL, and he sent me this amazing bobblehead. For those of you not watching on our YouTube channel it is a Gladiators goalie, but with a Dia De Los Muertos style skull as the bobblehead. 

I love this style of artwork, and Scott sent me one which was super cool -- this will live next to Lebron’s bobblehead which is from his first game ever. If NBA top shot highlights are worth something...how about a bobblehead from Lebron’s first career game?! 

Anyway thank you Scott and Joe -- I don’t like to ask for gifts, but if you want me to rep your team on a show -- I won’t say no to a t-shirt -- men’s large, thanks. 

Ok let’s hit the stat line…

Three stats for this week to get an idea of where we sit as a sport industry

#1: 21,269 the total number of jobs on WorkInSports.com -- the leading job board for the sports industry --  up 2.8% from last week and approaching our ALL-TIME high.

#2: 2,669 jobs added since last week - that’s up 11% from last week --

#3 and that is an average of 381 jobs added each day of the week on average.

I have a theme for this week’s three jobs…

In September 2020 when you conducted a search on WorkInSports.com for the keyword sales, you know how many jobs came up? 630. Makes sense based on market conditions, but this is way way way below normal. 

Guess where we are in March 2021 - 5 months later -- when you enter the keyword sales and conduct a search that way, meaning sales are in the job title or job description the total on WorkInSports.com - the leading job board for the sports industry ---- drum roll ---- 8,762.

We’re back baby. Sales jobs are so important to sports. This feels like we have really rounded a huge corner in our industry so let’s focus on three cool jobs...in sports sales:

#1: Texas Motor Speedway -- Ticket Sales Account Executive

https://www.workinsports.com/search-jobs/view/texas-motor-speedway?id=522363

Texas Motor Speedway is seeking a positive and motivated individual to produce revenue for the company through a variety of inbound and outbound sales efforts. 

Damn right they are. 

Knowledge Skills and Abilities:

#2 Cincinnatti Bengals Digital Sales and Marketing Coordinator

https://www.workinsports.com/search-jobs/view/cincinnati-bengals?id=522975

The primary focus of this position will be to oversee all aspects of the online ticket purchase experience for the Cincinnati Bengals. This individual will be responsible for building and optimizing a customer journey that maximizes page views, clicks and conversions across our website and app. Driving incremental revenue, lead generation and increasing fan engagement are all key metrics to success in this role.

#3 TopGolf Sales Account manager

https://www.workinsports.com/search-jobs/view/topgolf?id=494233

The sales Account Manager (AM) is responsible for selling the exciting experience of Topgolf primarily through contracted events. The primary event market of focus for AM will be corporate clients which the AM will work directly with to build their perfect event. The AM will also assist with social market bookings as demand dictates in accordance with the company's guest-centric lead response Standards. AM is responsible for delivering outstanding guest service throughout all stages of the sales process including ongoing post-event follow-up to ensure repeat business and referrals. The AM is also expected to foster new client opportunities via outbound efforts and networking in the community to drive sales.

And that is the statline…

Alright, let’s get into today’s question which comes in from Mandy in Bellevue Washington -- mandy! I used to live in Bellevue - 10 years -- NE 6th Place -- the hood!

Mandy’s question -- 

Hey Brian, two areas I am really struggling with despite your awesome sports career-focused advice - Cover Letters and preparing for interviews. I’ve heard you talk about telling stories the let the reader know more about you on your cover letter, but, like, what kind of stories? I’m so stuck in my own head that my stories are stupid. And then furthermore I know you have talked about the research you conduct before every interview, which is great and I do that… but how do I actually prepare for the interview? Like, how do I know what they will ask and how do I prepare for that? 

Thank you, and you can probably tell I’m frustrated and I feel you are the only one who can properly guide me and settle me down -- my mom telling me everything will be alright just isn’t doing it for me. 

First off, your mom is right, everything will be OK, so settle down. Real quick before we get into it -- I’m not a big quotes guy, but I love Ernest Hemingway. There is one quote that I live by -- 

“Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry: Worry never fixes anything”

Hemingway was a man of action. He did things. He conquered his challenges. He didn’t spend his time worrying, because that does noting. Take action.

Godo news Mandy - you are taking action by talking to me about it. So rest easy I’m here to help. BUT in the end, this will all be dependent on you taking action, so put these concepts to work.

First off, I’d like to take you back to the job description for the Ticket Sales Account Executive at Texas Motor Speedway. 

They have a section titled, Knowledge, Skills and Abilities. This is their wishlist, and this is not some unique job description, this is pretty standard execution:

In it they present six bullet points:

  • You understand the importance of finding solutions for your clients
  • You can clearly determine and communicate value to individuals
  • Strong organizational, time management, problem-solving, and communication skills 
  • Patience to handle inbound calls that are not revenue related 
  • Ability to multi-task 
  • Skilled in communicating over the phone, email, text messaging, and in-person

Now, you’ve all heard me talk before about understanding the market for the job you want, and knowing what is in demand, this is imperative to your success!

But don’t stop there. Job descriptions are your best friend in this process -- follow the trail they leave you to guide you through the process of application, interview, and world domination.

Every one of the bullet points listed above are things you need to incorporate into your interview prep and your materials. Instead of guessing what you think they may like to hear, follow the breadcrumbs they left out for you.

So you are wondering what to make your cover letter about? Look to the job description. The second bullet point -- you can clearly determine and communicate value to individuals. Can you? Tell me about a time you did. 

Not sure about that?

Ok, bullet point 5 - ability to multi-task - have a story you can tell there? An example you can share with the hiring managers? 

What about bullet point three - strong organizational time management, problem solving and communication skills -- have an experience you can share in any of those areas?

They are telling you what they want -- so give it to them!

Now, let’s translation to job interview prep -- 

I’ve listed out before the research you should conduct to prepare yourself for the interview, but let’s dig a little deeper here. 

Every one of the bullet points I mentioned earlier you should be practicing how to articulate this skill, this trait, this ability,  from your experience. How? Add the phrase “tell me about a time you…” to the bullet point.

Tell me about a time you demonstrated an ability to find solutions for your clients

Tell me about a time you communicated value to individuals

Tell me about a time you exemplified strong organizational, time management, problem-solving, and communication skills 

Tell me about a time you handled inbound calls that were not revenue related 

Tell me about a time you showed an ability to multi-task on the job

Tell me about a time you had to be skilled in communicating over the phone, email, text messaging, and in-person

Practice these questions -- this organization is telling you this is what they want from their next hire, stand to reason these questions may come up during your interview. 

Have examples ready, practice these questions. This doesn’t need to be hard. 

I’m not saying you’ll get all these questions, or any of them. But the more you rehearse these, the more they will be mentally available when the time comes and you can pull from you experiences to demonstrate who you are and why you will bring value to this organization.

That’s the master plan -- prove to them you bring extreme value to their organization and you hitt their mark!

That’s how you practice effectively. 

Eric Stark coming up on Wednesday!

 

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By Brian Clapp | March 01, 2021
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