By: Savannah Nolen
If you are like the rest of the working world, most people don’t particularly enjoy the interview process of achieving a new job. Interviews for athletes can be especially stressful because while others have devoted much of their spare time to jobs related to their future career, athletes have spent their free time preparing for their next athletic competition. The good news is you can take the standard interview questions and use your athletic experience to set you apart from other potential candidates for the job.
1. Tell me about yourself.
This is usually the first question asked during an initial interview and is your opportunity to create an immediate impact on why you would be perfect for the job. While you should have a solid idea of what you are going to answer to this question, it’s important to not sound rehearsed when responding. An employer may already know that athletics have played a large part of your life, so this is a good opportunity to show them who you are outside of athletics. It is important to acknowledge the amount of time you have put into sports, as well as the amount of time you have developed yourself as a person away from athletics. Think of this question as a way to highlight all of your education, career, and current life activities.
2. Are you a team player?
This is a great question for athletes because you can use your successes and experiences in sports as an example of how you truly are a team player. Any person who has been involved in athletics has had to be a part of a team (even if it’s an individual sport), and this is what will set you apart from a non-athlete. You can use your experience as an athlete to talk about how being a member of a team creates better results but that you have a firm understanding of how each team member has their own responsibilities to achieve those results. Being an athlete has given you real life experience of learning to be a team player so you can use that experience to your advantage in an interview. This is also a good question to show that you can be a natural leader of a team as well, and that you enjoy playing both roles.
3. Tell us your greatest weakness?
This is always a tricky question to answer and if you give the most common response, “I am too committed to my work,” or something related to that nature, employers may know that you are being “politically correct” when responding. That being said, an interviewer probably doesn’t expect you to be entirely honest when answering this question. Suggestion: Find a weakness that you have, that you are working to overcome. For example you could say, “I have had to remind myself to be patient when learning new things because I get frustrated when I can’t pick up new skills as easily as others.” You could continue to correlate it back to your athletic career by explaining that while your athletic abilities may have come natural at first, you learned to work hard to develop to skills to enhance your career. This being said, your answer should correlate with the job you are interviewing for and your weakness should be flipped into a strength that reflects the job.