Skip to main content

Ashley Macey

SFU Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Publishing, Arts + Social Sciences › English

empty
Bunch of work people running
Overall, mentioning sports in an interview is a great way to answer some of the tough interview questions that stump us all at one point or another.

Learn how those years of recreational sports can help you land the job of your dreams! 

Ever since I was four years old and could toddle with a soccer ball, sports have been a huge part of my life. As a life-long athlete, I know first-hand of the amazing benefits of joining a sports team-everything from keeping fit despite a hectic workweek to making great friendships that last long after you leave the field. However, there may be one benefit of playing sports that just might surprise you: it can actually help you get the job of your dreams.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, there are a few things you have to do before that corner office overlooking the Pacific is yours. Send off your resume? Check. Get your references in order? Check. Get yourself a killer interview outfit? Check. There’s only one more piece to the puzzle: in order to land your dream job you have to get through the interview process in one piece.

As a self-proclaimed hater of interviews, I’ve tried almost every method under the sun to calm my nerves before a big interview (yes, I’m that person in the women’s bathroom doing the ‘power stance’ and listening to Amy Cuddy’s TED talk). The best advice I ever received for dealing with interview stress is to come prepared with a few experiences or situations that you could use for a multitude of questions. Thus, without further ado, here are the top 5 reasons why having sports in your back pocket will help you wow your interviewer.

1. Show You Work Well in a Team

“Name an instance where you proved you could work well in a team environment.”

You can quit your long pause filled with ‘umm-ing’- mentioning playing sports is a great way to answer this question. Most sports are played in teams (even individual sports like figure skating and wrestling have coaches and other teammates who compete individually but work in a team). Victories often require a team effort and that short Rudy-esque story of leading your team to victory is guaranteed to impress your interviewer.
 

2. Show You Can Perform Under Pressure

“Our office is very fast-paced and there is a lot of pressure to get things done on time. Can you name an instance where you worked well under pressure?”

Well, yes, yes I can. There’s no shortage of pressure when it comes to playing sports- everything from that 0-0 championship game with 2 minutes left to having to take an overtime penalty shot to save your team from being eliminated in a tournament. You probably don’t have to think too hard to find your stressful sports memory because they tend to be the ones that stay with you years later. And after a line of people answering the question with “I once had a lot of exams,” this is sure to excite (and possibly wake up) your interviewers.

3. Demonstrate Long-Term Commitment

“We are looking for a new member of the company family, not just a short-term employee. Can you describe a time where you showed long-term commitment?”

A lot of people were put into sports as kids (my parents, being the over-achieving type, put their twin daughters in four different sports at once). When I answer this question by saying that I have played soccer on a recreational team since I was 4 years-old, despite managing a university schedule and working part-time, interviewers are all-smiles.

4. Prove That You Are a Well-Rounded Person

“Tell me about yourself.”

On the interviewer’s side, this question is probably one of the most telling. If the only thing you want to tell me (the interviewer) about yourself is where you go to school, you might not come across as the person I want to sit beside for 8 plus hours a day, 5 days a week. Mentioning sports (as well as other leisurely activities or hobbies) can make you seem like a well-rounded human, instead of an interview-going machine.

5. Give the Interviewer Something to Talk About

There’s a certain interview sweet-spot that most of us know well- that moment when an interviewer doesn’t seem like they are just reading questions off a sheet but instead are having a real conversation with you, laughing at your stories, and asking questions that don’t particularly matter in their interview process. In short, they’re engaged. In my own experiences, mentioning sports has been a way of connecting with interviewers on a personal level. After mentioning sports as an answer for one of the interview questions, more often than not, an interviewer will tell me that either they, their son, or the great uncle’s nephew’s cousin plays that sport and we begin taking about shared experiences and may, in fact, enter that coveted sweet-spot.

Overall, mentioning sports in an interview is a great way to answer some of the tough interview questions that stump us all at one point or another. Who knows, it just might be the tool in your interview arsenal that makes you stand out in amongst the dozens of other applicants. Now go out, play a sport, and claim that corner office! 

About the Author

Ashley Macey

SFU Student
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Publishing, Arts + Social Sciences › English
Ashley Macey is a fourth year student at Simon Fraser University pursuing a major in Communications and minors in English and Publishing. Writing is her passion and during her time at SFU she has written for various blogs including the Communication Student Union and Raising the Village. Follow her on twitter at @TheAshleyMacey

You Might Like These... Interviews, Professional Development

Handshaking
To Shake or Not to Shake? “Sick Handshake” Etiquette

Going to an interview used to be so simple. What could be easier? Well, maybe a lot of things, but at least steps 1 through 4 were pretty straightforward. Right? I mean, what could possibly go wrong with introducing yourself and shaking hands?

Helen shaking hands with another person
Find Out About Informational Interviews

There was a time when I didn’t know what informational interviews were. Little did I know that I could contact people who had positions that sounded interesting and ask about what they did! Can you imagine how shocked I was when I found out, I wondered why would anyone want to help me?

David
Working For the Feds: An Interview with CIDA’s Executive Vice President, David Moloney

Read about David Moloney, the Executive Vice President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and someone who "“…can’t decide what he wants to do when he grows up,” as he shares with us his experience working in government.  

Bunch of work people running
library_books
Blog
5 Reasons Why You Should Mention Playing Sports in an Interview
Interviews

Learn how those years of recreational sports can help you land the job of your dreams! 

Bunch of work people running
library_books
Blog
5 Reasons Why You Should Mention Playing Sports in an Interview
Interviews

Learn how those years of recreational sports can help you land the job of your dreams! 

You Might Like These... Professional Development

a long dark hallway
The Waiting Room

"'I'm here for an interview with, ah... Mr. Jenson." He felt more than saw her purposeful scan of his appearance. In his mind, the just-noticeable wrinkles in his only white collared shirt became words scrawled in thick, black permanent marker. I'm not good enough. A days' stubble. Hastily tied necktie. What am I even doing here?

sun peaking through the trees
10 Tips on How to Navigate the Hiring Process: An Insider's Perspective

Nisha’s second work term as a curriculum and programming assistant on a hiring committee for Career and Volunteer Services made her realize that with so many qualified candidates, decisions are sometimes based on the tiniest details. Here are Nisha’s 10 tips for how to stand out from other candidates and the reasons why employer’s value them.

a computer screen showcasing a man holding binoculars with Facebook icons as the lens
Interview with a Recruiter

Ever wondered what it would be like to be interviewed by Facebook?  Bradley Sutherland, a recent graduate from SFU’s Interactive Arts and Technology and a specialist in interactive design, was selected to be interviewed by the social media giant.  Bradley shared this 3 part interview experience with the OLC.