Preparing for the New Reality: Video Interviews - Work In Sports Podcast

Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of content and engaged learning at and this is the Work In Sports podcast.

Well, we all have a lot of questions… and a lot of time to listen to podcasts!

I’ve been trying to think about my tone in the next few weeks of podcasts -- to be honest, I don’t want to be all dour and dramatic. I don’t want any fake enthusiasm either -- so I’m just going to do my best to be myself. 

The goal over the next few weeks -- give you all lots of content, and make it especially relevant right now. 

With that said, I conducted about 8 expert interviews with incredible guests… BEFORE the coronavirus outbreak. So, when I publish my interviews with Ryan Crelin Commissioner of the ECHL, or Lisa Woodward the manager of sports sponsorships at Anheuser Busch, you may think to yourself… how did he not ask about how this will affect the ECHL or Budweiser?! 

Well, it didn’t exist when I did the interview!

I still think they are incredibly valuable so we will still air them on Wednesdays. I’m going to attempt to sprinkle in some extra fresh episodes on Fridays that are timely. 

For instance, on Friday I interviewed Kenneth Shropshire CEO of the Global Sports institute to discuss the economic ramifications on the sports industry - we talked about layoffs and changes in the hiring process moving forward. 

It’s a great interview and you should go back and listen -- I’ll try to do more of these in the coming weeks so we can stay on top of how this will affect all of us into the future. 

Obviously revenue is being impacted, and there will be some contraction… how much, we don’t know, but I’ll be staying on top of our job listings, talking to employers and relaying whatever I find out back to you. 

Now is a good time to subscribe to the podcast and tell your sports interested friends the same. 

OK, so what about right now. I this episode I’m going to do a brief overview of things we can expect, and also hone in on tips for video interviews since that is the direction we are headed for the time being. 

Let’s start with a broad overview.

In the major sports leagues, a vast majority of their revenue comes from long-term media rights deals and sponsorships. These have insurance built into them, so they will continue to generate revenue. Yes, they will be affected by the loss of ticket sales, concessions and merchandise, but they’ll survive this. 

The big hit will come to the smaller leagues and organizations. Those with razor-thin margins, who exist barely as it is. I worry about those leagues. 

I’m not being flippant at all when I say this -- but just prior to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s there was a company that launched an appetite suppressing candy bar, meant to help people on their diet, called AYDS. They couldn’t have had worse luck. 

You kind of feel that way for the XFL -- they launch, they’re off to a pretty good start - and then this. All momentum lost. That is some awful luck. 

You also worry about the Professional Lacrosse League, minor league hockey, YMCA’s fitness clubs…

Now, to put it all in perspective -- this hurts right now, especially for those of you working directly for teams and not having a job now. That is awful and I hurt for you. I mean that

But let’s have a forward-looking perspective because sports will return. 

  • Sales jobs.
  • Revenue generating roles

If I were you, college seniors, or recent graduates, I would take a class on sports sales --  

  • SMWW, ISBI 360 

The demand is going to be huge, and the appetite for fans to return will be huge. There is a great opportunity… eventually... so get ready now. 

As for hiring right now, I think you’ll see timelines pushed back. If someone was expecting to hire in the next 30 days, expect it to be 60-90 days. Thisng will slow down for a bit, but then it will likely spring back. 

We’ll be exploring other opportunities in the coming weeks -- like how to stay organized when you work at home, resources for online learning and more. 

Today though, I also want to talk about video interviews

I asked Ken Shropshire on Friday if he believed we were headed for a new way of going to games and events. After 9/11 security changed...after corona, will the processing and handling of fans change?

I’ll let you listen in to that episode to hear his perspective, but I also wonder if it will change the way we do interviews moving forward.

At least for a while, there is going to be a higher dependence on video interviews.

So let’s share some tips on nailing a video interview:

It’s true video interviews are the present and future. They are a much more efficient system for employers, because they can schedule easier and back-to-back, they can talk to people outside their region without having to fly them in and pay for boarding, the can conduct 20 phone or video interviews and whittle their number down to 3-4 finalists with ease.

Consider that a majority of the 500 human resources managers who were asked in a survey how often they used video interviews decided to check the box beside “very often.”

Video works…for the employer.

For the interview subject, it’s a little harder to show your best. When you are in the room face-to-face you can feed off the environment and body language and get into the flow of a conversation, but on video, it can be harder to get a feel for the person asking the questions and the timing of when to speak or when to wait.

That said – this is the reality of our life, so I want to share how to be the absolute best at it.

Consider a technical upgrade.

Look no one wants to spend money if they don’t have to, but the reality is the webcam that comes built into your computer is crap. And a really really good webcam is under $100.

I do a lot of speaking engagements with colleges and universities, and so I upgraded at a Logitech HD webcam for like $80 and it has made a huge difference. The picture is clear and the built-in microphone is better than the one on my computer.

You’ll buy yourself a nice suit or outfit for an interview to make the right impression – consider this move even more important. And just to be clear for all you non-tech savvy people – it’s plug and play. Meaning, you plug it in and it works.

I’ll link to the one I have in the show notes – but just to be clear I don’t get any commission, I’m not pitching products here, just trying to help.

Also, buy a cable so you can plug in directly to your internet router -- rather than be in WiFi - stronger more consistent connections really matter.

Test everything before.

A day or two before your interview, do a fake interview segment with a friend. Test your connection, your audio levels, your new webcam and make sure everything is smooth. This is just common sense, but I guarantee many of you don’t do this and then end up panicking 10 minutes before your interview because you can’t get the audio to work.

The goal days in advance of any interview is to remove as much panic as possible. Things, like testing your equipment and researching the company all, go to helping you feel more comfortable on game day.

When it comes to the actual interview, you’ll want to be mindful of the following:

  • Maintain good posture
  • Establish eye contact with the person interviewing you
  • Keep some notes close to you that you can refer to — but ensure that they’re out of the range of the screen
  • Dress professionally
  • Be sure to smile
  • Light in your face
  • No clutter behind you
By Brian Clapp | March 16, 2020
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