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A COVID Friendly Interview Process

It’s almost been a year of COVID-19, which has seen job interviews turn from in-person to virtual real quick. How to succeed in a virtual interview is hard enough; doing so in the sports industry is even harder.

With lockdowns continually being extended, it looks like this is going to be the way interviews are run for quite a while.

With sports organizations still running, phone and video interviews are the new method of getting to know applicants. In this article, you will find out the best ways to prepare for your virtual interview and stand out from your competitors.

What is a Virtual Interview?

A virtual interview is a form of an interview that takes place away from an in-person setting. This can be through a phone call or video conference through many different platforms.

With non-essential businesses still running remotely, these interviews are now commonplace, and as such, require the same attention and preparation that a normal face-to-face interview would.

In fact, they just might need a little more attention. With technology being as unpredictable as it is, along with not being able to properly read each other’s expressions, you’ll need to know just how to get around these obstacles.

How To Succeed In A Virtual Interview

1. Test Your Technology Days & Hours Before Your Interview

For a virtual interview, you will need a device with a camera and microphone.

At least 24 hours before your virtual interview, test all the equipment you intend to use to ensure it works properly. Make absolutely sure your connection is strong enough for a video conference and both your camera and microphone are working.

With 15 minutes before your interview, check your internet connection and sign in to the session your interviewer has given you.

The sports industry can change very quickly, so be prepared for any sudden changes your interviewer could throw at you. Including technology not working on their end.

 You should also secure your internet connection. Nothing stifles conversation quite like a call dropped mid-persuasion point.

 You should also secure your internet connection. Nothing stifles conversation quite like a call dropped mid-persuasion point.

Ashley DiFranza – Northeastern University

2. Dress Professionally

A virtual interview is no excuse, you NEED to still dress like you would in a face to face interview.

By doing so, you look professional and like you are taking this as seriously as you should be.

The sport industry isn’t always just jerseys and team merch, so be prepared to look the part. If you’re unsure, a professional look we suggest for both men and women is a button-down shirt and blazer with slacks.

In a virtual interview, you should dress the same as you would in a face-to-face interview. Doing so not only makes you appear professional and excited about the opportunity, but it will also make you feel more prepared and confident. 

Indeed Career Guide

3. Emphasize Any Relevant Sports Experience

If you are applying for a job that relates to sport, and you have previous experience of playing or coaching in that sport, remember and mention this. Showing that you have a passion for the sport that you are going to work in, and that you have knowledge of this sport, can only help your chances of success.

4. Stay Prepared

Just like in a face-to-face interview, prepare!

Just because you have access to search answers or read from a script, doesn’t mean you should. You want to sound like you know what you’re talking about.

Like most interviews, you will be asked to give answers to questions you don’t know are coming. So make sure to prepare the same way you would for an in-person interview and doing your research on the company, reviewing the job description and ready to prove your experience.

Make a list of any volunteer work you’ve done in sport. Runs/walks, other events or even game-day operations. And be ready to provide any feedback if you’re asked to. Pick which events wisely so that you remember how they actually went.

Pro Tip: Write your talking points on Post-it notes. You can then place those notes on your computer screen to avoid shuffling papers or clicking around during the call”. yourself on the current events in the market you are interviewing for.

Ashley DiFranza – Northeastern University

5. Keep Distractions Away

Find a nice quiet space with not too many visual distractions. Make sure you’re somewhere clean and don’t have clutter around that could distract someone who is interviewing you.

Sports memorabilia is nice but if there’s a mess of it, it will be distracting. And even though you’re applying for a job in sports, keep it to a minimum.

If you live with family, friends or roommates, be sure they know about your interview and ask that they respect your space at the given time. With any pets, it might be a good idea to leave them somewhere where they won’t distract you or make any noise.

If there’s a high chance of you being interrupted by something outside of your control, mentioning it at the start can prepare your interviewer and show them you’re proactive. It can also help settle your nerves about the situation.

Regina Borsellino – TheMuse

6. Practice Proper Body Language

Make sure to sit up straight and keep your face in the centre of the screen with not too much space left above or below your head.

In face-to-face interviews, you shake hands. Obviously, that isn’t possible in a virtual interview.

In this case, a smile, greeting and wave will do. As a sports reporter, you would look into the camera while talking. You should do this for your interview too.

Looking at the screen makes your eyes look down. So while you want to make sure your head is centre-screen, keep your eyes on the camera.

7. Be Yourself

With a virtual interview, you’re likely at the comfort of your own home, or at least somewhere you know that is comforting to you.

Use your body language and facial expressions to show that comfort. It shows confidence and your interviewer will take note of that.

Given that you’re applying for the sports industry, the topic of sports, in general, may come up. Let them know your favourite team or talk about the game last night but don’t go into too much detail that takes up a lot of time.

Remember, you’re here to get a job, so stay focused!

It’s more difficult for the interviewer to understand your enthusiasm through the screen, so make sure you’re expressive when answering questions.

Lauren Landry – Harvard Business School

8. Thank Your Interviewer

Like with any interview, prepare to follow-up post-interview.

After 24hrs, reach out and thank your interviewer for their time and let them know you can answer any questions they have remaining. If possible, also reach out a few days after to see if they’ve made any decisions.

Remember, the sports industry is one where many want to apply so you need to stand the best you can. This little gesture can show that you’re interested and it’s that extra initiative that can really boost your chances of being considered.

When we spoke to Ian Duffy, sports anchor for Global News Regina, he gave some advice on the topic of virtual interviews. Coming from the industry, it may come in useful to read. Here’s what he had to say:

  • Don’t be a robot. Be yourself. These jobs are about personality.
  • Even if you are at home in your kitchen look presentable and professional. Show that you care.
  • Educate yourself on the current events in the market you are interviewing for.
  • Treat it like an in-person interview. But don’t take yourself too seriously. Relax. It’s ok to laugh at the awkward pauses or time delays etc. that can happen during a Zoom interview.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, there is plenty that you can do to make sure you are ready for that virtual interview in the sports industry. These steps and the advice from Ian Duffy, as well as the other great advice listed above, are sure to get you started on the right path to success.

These are different times we are living in and even though we must quarantine to avoid the spread of COVID-19, the sports industry is still running. With so many positions being cut down because of this, and sport still being extremely competitive, it is very important for you to stick out and do well in these interviews.

Although the layout of the interview has changed, the goal is still the same. TO GET THAT JOB! So, it’s important that we adapt to the current situations we are put in and make the most of it. Hopefully, these simple steps help you better prepare for your next virtual interview.

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