By: Megan Meisse, Prodigy Sports
For a week in early March, college football players come from across the country to perform several physical and mental tests for their chance at a life-changing opportunity with the NFL. Showcasing their skills in front of NFL coaches, general managers, and scouts from across the league, the NFL Scouting Combine has grown significance not only for the prospects but also for fans and media alike. With more than 300 prospects competing for their chance in the NFL, these prospects go through several tests and drills, from vertical jumps to offensive and defensive drills. These prospects also go through several rounds of interviews to test their mental strength, which could even be more important than their performance on the field or in the weight room.
As recruiters, we look at potential job candidates just as the NFL coaches and staff look at these combine prospects. To use some key NFL phrases throughout the week-long event, the prospects must show their value with their statistics and their measurables after their college playing career has ended. Similarly, the job candidate must show their value with their resume to highlight revenue generating, their experience, hard skills and soft skills. Blatantly showcase hard skills on a resume – technological, languages spoken; weave soft skills throughout. Prospects highlight their statistics including their numbers of sacks or games played so do not be afraid to also highlight your individual numbers. For sales, be confident in your comfort level with high-dollar amounts and explain your deep “rolodex” with examples. For more marketing/digital roles, promote your creativity and establish your own brand. Tell your story, use detail and examples.
Like NFL Combine prospects, interviews take place when seeking a new job opportunity and they can be just as important, and nerve-racking, as those that the athletes go through. Just like the active job seeker, athletes prepare for any question that can be asked of them but for some questions, there is just not enough preparation to answer the tough ones. Showcase your ability to think quick on your feet.
Aside from the skills behind a potential NFL prospect or a job candidate, one of the most important aspects of a person is their personality, which is highlighted in their interview. There have been several articles throughout the media coming straight from the Combine listing some of these unique questions. In a job search, be prepared for the tough questions. Aside from explaining your background, be prepared for questions like: Tell me about your greatest accomplishment? What do you know about our company/this role? What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome? The biggest mistake any candidate can make is not being prepared for their interview, simply because you are selling one of the most important brands – yourself.
A key phase in the NFL world is also viewing tape/film, which is seen any place from the NFL Combine to the locker room to the Super Bowl. It is critical for teams to review certain players and plays to see what they are truly made of or what to improve on. Hours are spent reviewing film for prospects and players and the same goes for the active job seeker in a similar fashion. Think of having good tape or film as your professional references. Of course, it is easy to pick the references who will say all the general “fluff” that you are a great person and hard worker but think outside the box when submitting references for a job. Think of clients you went above and beyond for. Think of a former co-worker you may have had to overcome something with.
With the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine nearing an end, think of yourself as one of these young college students who is about to fight for potentially the biggest moment in their life. Never give up on that fight, no matter the difficult interview question or the other candidates interviewing in the process or the resume you submitted. Be your best self and be able to sell it. To the 2018 Combine Prospects, the best of luck to achieving your NFL dream.
As Senior Recruiting Associate, Megan Meisse works across Prodigy Sports’ executive search division, handling various clients across the sports and entertainment industries. Aside from her executive search role at Prodigy, Meisse also handles digital initiatives and content creation for Prodigy Sports.