Preparing for a recruiting interview

Preparing for interviews with recruiting university coaches is an important step in the college recruitment process, especially for student-athletes. It’s your chance to put your best foot forward with the coach, but to also answer any questions you’ve had and feel more comfortable about joining the program.

Here are some guidelines to help students prepare effectively:

[Important tip] as you do your research take notes and prepare thoughtful questions. Use those notes during the call, being prepared always looks good!

 

  • Research the University:
    • The first step is to research the university.
    • Take a look through their website, do they offer programs or majors/minors that interest you?
    • Learn about their philosophy, values and mission statement – do these resonate with you?
    • Social media is an amazing tool – look at both the schools page and any informal pages students may have created
    • Degrees, majors and minors – very important is to look through these. Do they offer a program that excites or interests you?
      • Remember: while coaches will want to talk about their team, showing you’ve researched the university with well thought out questions is a huge bonus!

 

  • Research the Coach and Program:
    • Go to the universities athletics page and research the program. You can do this by looking at the facilities (often found through the ‘Inside Athletics’ tab) and the individual sports page
    • Understand the program’s history, recent performance and overall reputation (look at their roster, schedule, past stats)
    • Look at their home page – do they have any upcoming games that will be broadcast, or any archived footage
    • Read up on the coach – both on the teams page and Google – can you learn about their coaching style, philosophy and track record? Do they have a history that interests you?

 

  • Know yourself and your own game:
    • Be able to articulate –
      • Your strengths and areas for improvement as a player
      • Your playing style, achievements and statistics
      • Why you’d be an asset to the team
      • Your academics – whether it be highlighting your academic achievements or talking through your commitment to improving your marks while at the school
    • Know what your goals are. Going pro is a goal for many athletes, and something a coach will hear on repeat. To stand out you need to be able to articulate more short to medium term goals. Why do you want to joint their team? Why do you want to study and compete internationally? (Google is a great resource)

 

  • Demonstrate enthusiasm, be respectful:
    • Show genuine enthusiasm for the program and the opportunity to play for the university, your passion for the sport should come across as well as your commitment to both academics and athletics
    • Be appreciative and respectful of the coaches time – say as much on the call and ALWAYS follow up with a message of thanks (via email or WhatsApp)
    • Remain engaged throughout the call – ensure you’re in an environment free of distractions. If you’re not able to do this, make the coach aware at the beginning of the call that there might be an interruption

 

  • Be prepared:
    • Have thoughtful questions prepared. Remember people like talking about themselves. While the coach will ask you questions they like to see you’ve prepared. Some questions could include:
      • Their expectations
      • Your potential role on the team
      • Training and game schedules
      • Academic support for students
      • Their coaching style and philosophy
      • Their goals for the team and the upcoming season
      • The team culture
    • Have an Elevator Pitch prepared:
      • This is a brief summary of your skills, achievements and aspirations as a student athlete.┬áThis is in preparation for the question “Tell me about yourself”
      • Write this down, say it out load, practice in front of your parents/coaches/BRUSA – get feedback
    • Prepare for behavioural questions:
      • Be ready to answer questions about your character, leadership qualities, how you handle adversity or setbacks
      • Have a few examples of specific times you did this in your mind

 

  • Follow up:
    • After the call send a thank you email of WhatsApp message expressing your appreciation for their time and reiterate your interest
    • Mention any key points during the discussion that particularly jumped out at you – showing the coach you took the conversation seriously

Remember that interviews with recruiting coaches are not just about your athletic ability but also about your character, dedication, and potential as a student-athlete. Use these guidelines to make a strong impression and increase your chances of securing a spot on the team.