Staying in Touch With Hiring Managers - 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…

Alright so let’s talk about the sports industry!

If you missed it I posted an episode on Friday on how the sports industry will function during high unemployment -- we are headed towards a period of high unemployment, many of you have never lived through that, so I brought up some strategies and expectations you should all have for this new scenario we’ll all be facing.

I suggest you listen, and be prepared for what is to come. 

Coming up on Wednesday is my interview with Dan Kaufmann, Director of Corporate Partnerships with the New York Jets - it’s a great interview, and the LAST of my pre-corona interviews!

I interviewed Dan prior to the breakout, he’s an incredible interview, but we speak nothing of corona, so you’ll need to take a break from corona talk for 40 minutes on Wednesday, I think you can hack it. 

Dan and I did talk last week, and for the NFL, business is still moving forward, he is still meeting with clients virtually and talking on the phone -- he, like Greg Hylton a few weeks back, said many teams in the NFL are still hiring that is a place to look if you are in the market. 

Of course, it can all be found on our site, the #1 job board for the sports industry. 

Just being completely transparent… prior to the corona outbreak, we had about 25,000 active sports jobs on our site. 

Now, we’re down to 10,776 -- it is a smaller pool, but that’s still a lot of opportunities. Our friends at Open Sponsorship -- former podcast guest Ishveen Anand’s company - they are hiring. I’m seeing jobs from Red Bull, Turner Sports, NBC Sports, CAA, Bismarck Larks baseball team -- and a bunch of other orgs, some of which you have heard of, others you may not have known existed. 

That’s what WorkInSports is here for -- we find all the jobs, thousands you may never have even heard of, and put them in one convenient spot for you. ASM global, Sommer Sports, Hurrah, Altitude sports… there are so many sports employers out there and these are just some of the employers on the first page of our site, posted fresh!

Alright, today’s question comes from Jasmine T…Jasmine is a member of our private Facebook group where she posed this question. YOu can join the group too, search Facebook for Work In Sports podcast, then answers a few quick questions and I let you in. Don’t answer the questions, I don’t let you in. It’s pretty simple. 

Ok, Jasmine’s questions: 

“For those of us that were in the interview process before all of this happened and the company is now under a hiring freeze, what would you recommend doing? What is the best way to keep in touch with the hiring manager? 

I'm trying to stay relevant so that I'm remembered when the hiring freeze is over!”

Jasmine great question and I’m going to try and take it in multiple directions to help various people out in a similar scenario.

This is a very real scenario, many people were in the process, and then the lights got turned off in areas around the globe, and people were told to stay inside, and we all adjusted to a new reality...with a hiring freeze. 

The most important part of hiring, as explained to me countless times by hiring managers across the sports world, is that the candidate is qualified and interested. Two parts there -- qualified for the job, and INTERESTED. 

I remember interviewing Mailyhn Vu, Talent Acquisition Manager for the Cleveland Indians and even she said - if I don’t hear from someone within a week of interviewing them, I assume they are no longer interested in our job offering. And this is the Cleveland Indians! 

Don’t assume the hiring manager knows you are still interested in the role. 

It is your job now to maintain connection and let it be known you are interested. So how do you do this?

Rule #1 -- don’t start with a phone call. Right now people are working at home, they aren’t in their office, their schedule is all off-kilter, many are taking care of kids and working at odd hours. They are waiting on calls from family members to make sure they are safe.

Just avoid the phone right now. 

Start with an email. Let it be known you understand and appreciate how things have changed over the last month, but you wanted to make sure they know you are excited about the role and interesting in being part of the team whenever things get back to normal. You know there is a hiring freeze, you know the timeline is unknown right now… but, you want this role, and want to stay top of mind to them. 

Keep it short, keep it understanding, make it clear you are interested. 

Now, don’t expect a response, you may not get one. That’s ok. 

The following week, or maybe a week or two… I want you to follow up with a new email. 

Something like this -- 

Hi Hiring manager, 

One thing I learned during our interview process was that photoshop was an important part of the role, and while I am comfortable with photoshop, I’ve decided to take some online courses over quarantine to increase my skill set. 

I know things are crazy right now, but I hope you know how much I want this role and am continuing to improve my skill set over this crazy time. 

Hope you are well, if you have any questions or anything else you suggest I work on, don’t hesitate to call!

Couple weeks later -- 

Hey ___

I just earned my certificate in salesforce! I know from our interview that salesforce was an important part of the role the Indians are offering, so I’ve dedicated myself to increasing my knowledge over this time. 

When the world gets back to normal I just want you to know I’m still very interested in your position, and wanted to keep you updated on my progress and determination! This is the level of learning 

Every message you are trying to send is that you are continuing to learn in a specific way -- one that is relevant to the job itself. 

I’d also like to add, if you were deep in the process and had started to build a rapport with the person in charge of hiring, I’d even go as far as to say -- offer up a zoom call. 

Say hey, if know things are crazy, and I know things are very different at your organization right now… but I’m still really interested in your role and know that I’d be a good match for your culture and future. If you have the time at some point and want to jump on a Zoom call, I’d love to chat and keep learning about the organization. 

They likely won’t take you up on it, but this is a way to show you are fearless, you have soft skills in communicating, you are interested in the role and so much more. It shows some strength of character.

If they do take you up on it, have a plan. Don’t wing it.  Have a couple of relevant things you want to talk about or ask about. 

You took a class, you are learning final cut pro, you listened to a leadership webinar. Whatever! Ask about them, how the org is adjusting, what it’s like for them to work from home. 

Just have a real conversation -- they start to think of you as a member of their team, and that;’s a good thing.

Again, may not happen. YOu may never get a response to your emails or a zoom call… but it’s worth a shot, and shows you in the proper light.

You just want to remain visible, you can’t just disappear this whole time. 

One last note -- take your time with your subject lines for these emails. Think about how you’d want to be spoken to should you be in their shoes. 

If they are HR, they are dealing with their own staff asking questions about their job, salary, benefits-- they are under a lot of pressure. So don’t have a subject line with “Status of job opening” or something like that. 

It needs to be softer -- “just checking in” - or “I know there is a hiring freeze but…” or “Still interested when we get back to normal!” 

Acknowledge how their situation right now is unique and don’t be a burden, be light, no demanding, just reminding hey I’m still interested. 

All communication needs to be positive… don’t drop any drama on them, like “I can’t pay my rent are you hiring soon!? What is the update!

Don’t do that.

Jasmine, I know you won’t do that… and I hope some of these ideas help you in your plight. We are in this together, and while it sucks to be where we are, it’s where we are so we have to make the most of it.

As Sun Tzu says, legit I’m about to quote Sun Tzu so listen up -- the ancient Chinese general/military strategist/philosopher always used to say “whoa, someone ate a bat and started this shit?”

No, I’m kidding, he used to say 

“In the midst of chaos, there is opportunity”

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn, network, and present yourself in the right light. Also, outside of this discussion, look for opportunities that match your skillset that you may not have considered before. 

You may have it in your head that you want to work in marketing… but the data and research knowledge you’ve learned could make you great for other openings right now, that are still hiring. 

Be open during this time.

Alright, that’s it for today tune in for dan Kaufmann on Wednesday!


By Brian Clapp | April 13, 2020
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