Interviewing for Sports Internships – Ask Questions
Before you schedule your interview, you should solidify a list of questions to ask the person. Make sure you cover all the things you’re interested in, while keeping things to a reasonable length. Leave room for follow up questions, and topics that may arise on the fly. Try to balance formality with candidness; keep it light! Thirty to forty minutes in length is a good rule of thumb for the conversation.
While most things are considered fair game, there are a few things you’ll want to avoid discussing during your interview. These include:
- Any questions that could easily be answered using available resources. For example, when speaking to a collegiate basketball coach, don’t ask how the team fared in the past season. Such information is easily found online.
- Direct questions about salary. Asking general questions about starting salaries or internship wages is fine, but avoid specific inquiries.
- Questions about athletes, celebrities or other “perks.” Athlete and celebrity meet-and-greets are common in some sports jobs. Asking about them, however, will lead the interviewee to question your motives.
The following is a list of questions, broken out by subject, you may find useful. Of course, you will want to tailor them to make them relevant to the position.
- What education, past employment, and experiences prepared you for a job in this field?
- Is an advanced degree necessary or recommended?
- What kind of courses or training did you not receive in your education that you wish you had?
- What special qualities or skills do you see as important for success in your job?
- What publications or websites do you read on a regular basis to keep up with current trends in the industry?
- What is your working environment like?
- What is a typical day like for you?
- What do you like most and least about your job?
- How many hours a week do you work? How much overtime is expected?
- What is the typical dress like? Is there an expected level of formality?
- How did you select your organization/company?
- Who do you work with on a day-to-day basis, both inside and outside your company?
- How often do you receive feedback from your supervisor? Do you give him/her feedback as well?
- What kind of organizational challenges have you encountered? Are there management strategies you would change if you could?
- What kinds of preparation should I be doing as someone pursuing an internship or career in this field?
- Can you suggest anyone else you know who might be willing to talk to me?
- What common intern mistakes should I avoid?
- What separates average interns from those that get noticed? How can I give myself an edge?
- What web sites or additional resources can you suggest to help me in my search?
While lengthy, this is not an exhaustive list. You are certainly free to ask any questions you choose, but be sure you are maximizing your interview time. Once the interview is over, follow up with a thank you letter, phone call, or email. Handwritten notes are often the most well received, as they are most personal and require more effort than a simple email. Add the person to your address book or online professional network and don’t be afraid to give him or her a friendly hello from time to time. You’ll be amazed at how many future opportunities fall in front of you simply because you maintained your network and kept yourself at top-of-mind.
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