The Philosophy behind Expert Interviews

Posted: June 8, 2011 in Expert Interviews
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Besides sharing my own insights with you about how to break into sports, I thought it would be a great idea to interview as many industry experts as I could to increase our chances of a landing a sports job. I came up with a standard set of 12 questions to ask my interviewees in order to paint a clearer picture of what it takes to work in sports. In terms of selecting the sports business professionals, my plan is to gather a diverse array of people who work in different parts of the business. Some will be relatively new to sports, while others will have years of experience. Regardless of age, there is nothing like hearing real life stories from people who are working in an industry we dream to one day be a part of.

The questions I came up with for the interviews are the following:

1. What is your official job title?

This is a nice softball question that pinpoints what exactly the interviewee does for a living.

2. Where did you go to college as an undergraduate? What was your major(s)/minor(s)?

You never know if the interviewee attended the same college as you did. If so, this might be a great person to reach out to for advice, mentoring, or an informational interview. If they did not, perhaps you know someone who went to the same school as he or she did. For high school students, you might want to look into the college that the interviewee attended. Their school might have a strong sports alumni database.

I find the major/minor follow-up question to be an interesting one. It seems like people who work in sports may not necessarily have studied sports management as a college student. Perhaps they studied business or English.

3. Did you pursue an advanced degree(s) to further market yourself to the sports industry? If so, please elaborate.

Some people land a sports job right out of college and do not have to pursue an advanced degree. However, they might decide to further their education later on in their career if they want to move up the ladder. Others might decide to go for an advanced degree right out of college if they did not get the job they wanted or if they preferred to get the additional education out of the way and under their belt.

4. When did you know that you wanted to “break into sports? Was there one specific moment that you can recall when you knew you had to work in sports? Was it an industry you always saw yourself working in? Or did you just kind of fall into it?

Some sports professionals might have known since they were in high school or college that they wanted to work in sports. Others might have entered the industry by coincidence. No path is the same.

5. How many internships did you participate in before you landed your first job? Where did you intern?

Most interviewees would have participated in a variety of internships before landing their first sports job. That is just the nature of the industry. Finding out where they interned is beneficial to you since you could potentially apply there to gain more industry experience.

6. How did you land your first job in sports?

With this question, I am trying to see if the interviewee applied the traditional way or networked to get the job.

7. Can you comment on the importance of networking in the sports industry?

Like I have mentioned in my prior post about networking, building relationships is so important for your career, especially in sports. I wanted to hear the interviewee’s viewpoint on their experience with networking.

8. Can you comment on the importance of mentoring?

The same goes for mentoring as with networking. This is another cornerstone of the sports industry. Learn more about mentoring here.

9. Could you take me through a typical day at work? If no day is typical, what did you do yesterday, or what are you doing tomorrow?

This “day in the life” question brings the interviewee’s official job title to life. Knowing what a sports professional does on a daily basis might turn you on or off to their career. You will get an exclusive inside perspective about a variety of sports careers.

10. What is the most rewarding aspect about working in sports?

I am looking for something that gets the interviewee up every morning.

11. If you had to give advice to someone looking to break into the sports industry, what would it be?

This is probably the most important question for you to pay attention to. After all, these are people who have accomplished your goal of breaking into sports. They know what they are talking about and want to help.

12. What do you do for fun when you are not at the office?

This is a fun and interesting question. People who work in sports are just like you and me. They enjoy different hobbies or activities when not doing their job.

I hope these questions will sincerely aid you on your quest to break into sports. Please let me know if you have any ideas for new questions that I can add to future interviews. Comment on this post or email me at mjr89(at)georgetown.edu. Stay tuned for some great content from sports industry experts!

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