by Jack Warren, AthleticOps.com editor and host of the Ops Nation podcast
In an interview with Rhonda Revelle of Nebraska softball for the Top Coach podcast, she pointed out that in her first interview for a head coaching position, she put together a list of 107 questions, sorted into categories, to ask during the interview. She admits that she doesn’t remember if she asked all 107, but the fact was that she was prepared.
I have often, in my various careers, been in the seat of the interviewer. What is flat out amazing is how unprepared the typical candidate is. Most job seekers go into an interview with the frame of mind that it’s a game show and if they answer the questions correctly, then they win the prize! As someone who still occasionally interviews people for positions, I can tell you that there’s little that sticks out much as an interviewee who asks no (or few) questions. As my own kids entered the work force and encountered those first few interviews, I was always quick to remind them that interviewing is a conversation – it’s a two way street. There’s as much that the interviewee needs to learn about their prospective employer as the employer needs to learn about them.
When Rhonda Revelle went into her interview at the University of Nebraska, she somehow understood what was important and what she needed to find out to see if the destination was a good fit. Not only were the answers to those questions important, but the mere process of formulating those questions helped her to identify and prioritize those things that were most important in making a life changing decision.
I’m guessing you might not need 107 questions to get all of the information you need, but let this lesson be taken from Rhonda Revelle’s experience: Be prepared. Do research. Going to interview at a school in Birmingham, Alabama or a business in Toledo, Ohio? Getting critical information about that school or business has never been easier. The internet brings all of that information to your fingertips. First of all, find out the most basic information about your prospective employer. Then, working with what you deem to be your own priorities, find out as much information as you can about those areas – budget, administration, staffing, housing, facilities, compensation, resources, etc. You can easily see how 107 questions could quickly appear. Then categorize and prioritize your questions.
There’s no reason to go into an interview unprepared again. If you don’t land a job, don’t let it be said that it was because you were unprepared. Remember – the person interviewing you has probably done their homework. They’re making a large investment in bringing in their next director of operations, coach, editor, administrator, or other employee. You are also making a large investment in your future. Take time to prepare.