Thursday, February 19, 2009

Interview Tips

Over the past couple of weeks I have been very fortunate to have been entrusted by the Braves to do some initial screening interviews for the job I held last summer, the Braves Around Town external marketing street team. I have heard some unreal responses to the questions I was asking and I figured that I would pass along some of the insight that this experience has given to me.

First, the way to express that you want a job in baseball is to explain that you wish to make a career in the field. I am guilty of saying that I am a fan of the game or that I am passionate about the sport, because that is true, but that response is truly a dime a dozen. Everyone applying for a job in baseball is a fan of the sport or knows something about it. Those who specifically state that they wish to make a career are absolutely making it know that they are serious about working in sports and immediately show a more professional side. From the interviewee's that I spoke with that shared this desire to make a career in sports, I believe that all were offered the position. The way that you state your purpose is certainly important and I have already changed the way I speak about my career aspirations. This may be one of the most important lessons that I learned through my first month at work.

Next, I have realized through these interviews and in discussions with full-time staff that baseball is entertainment for many, but it is more importantly a business. Having experienced nothing but the entertainment side of the industry up until the past three weeks, I was easily distracted from the fact that inside the office, the baseball industry is not unlike that of any other industry, with our product being ticket sales. Everything returns to ticket sales and realizing this is incredibly important. Part of interviewing for a position that I feel is necessary is to have a working knowledge of what you are applying for. When I had to take five minutes here and there to explain that this job has no player interaction or limited game day responsibilities when a clear description has been posted online, I have to think that the only reason why there is a resume on my desk is because the job seeker is dreaming of hanging out with players or watching the games for free. Knowing that even entry level positions such as these all relate back to the business functions of the team is necessary. Applicants that did not understand the position prior to the interview or that baseball is a business struggled in this process.

Finally, my last piece of advice would be to go through these interviews and have a positive and friendly attitude. Those who realized what the position required often maintained this attitude. Being able to demonstrate that you are a fun and friendly person is fairly easy to do in 10 minutes, but it is even more easy to show a negative and non-excitable personality. Even though baseball is a business, it is in the business of making people happy. Maintaining this upbeat and positive attitude is important in any industry, but particularly so in sports. It is absolutely necessary to be able to have fun while being a professional. It is called the entertainment industry and its employees need to demonstrate that they can entertain.

The purpose of this message is to pass on some of the best advice I have received and can give at this very early stage in my career to the hiring process for professional sports teams. You will rise to the top if you can demonstrate a positive attitude, a dedication towards a career in sports and knowledge of the business and the goals of the franchise or league that you desire to work in.

The best part about this first real full-time job in sports is that I learn something new with each passing day, perhaps each passing hour. I am very excited to commit those thoughts to writing and then to share with others. I hope this helps.

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