Way OT: Job Interview with college football ties

Submitted by bronxblue on December 3rd, 2010 at 2:46 PM

I figured with all of the bust/Dee Hart stories the past couple of days nobody would really care, but I recently had an interview for a job here in New York that reminded me how ingrained sports can be in one's life.

It was a pretty typicl interview -  a couple of technical questions along with the usual get-to-now-you stuff.  Toward the end, the interviewer asked me the most important question of all:  Should RR be given another year at UM.  My point was given the youth of the program and the school's patience with guys like Amaker and Ellerbe, RR needed at least one more year as well as a strong vote of confidence by the administration.  There was a moment of silence, and then the guy said he agreed though he hadn't followed the situation that closely because...he was an Auburn grad and was dealing with his own media circus.  We then commiserated for a couple of minutes about the vagaries of media coverage, fandom, and how hard it is to be a fan so far away from your school, and the interview seemed to end on a high note.

So that got me thinking, has anyone else in the MGoCommunity had a similar experience?  Has your college sport allegiance ever enhanced or hindered a job prospect or relationship?  I'm just really curious.


Sandler For 3

December 3rd, 2010 at 2:51 PM ^

In my experience it's always helped. Sports as a whole give you something to talk about and give the interviewer a comfortable feeling with you as a person which is probably the most important aspect of an interview. Most people are very qualified, what seperates them is whether or not the would be good to work with.

I've seen some people respond to a good natured Michigan ribbing in a bad way, getting very defensive and upset. The key is to handle it and smile at the end.


December 3rd, 2010 at 2:54 PM ^

I now recruit almost exclusively Michigan grads. 

Unfortunately the other day my boss sent me a link to a Freep article titled "Rodriguez or Harbaugh? the answer is obvious" with "I guess this guy sums up how I feel" 

Needless to say I deleted the email...

In terms of sports in general, I've definitely used it in interviews. I'm a hockey goalie and I was once asked how I can evaluate my own performance in regards to a team performance and the goalie aspect of it was a great answer. The best game I've ever played was a 3-0 loss. I've played terribly and the team won. I grew up evaluating my own success and team success separately, so it's something I can easily apply to my career in engineering.

Boom - answered


December 3rd, 2010 at 2:53 PM ^

My mother is a supervisor at her work, and is a huge part of the hiring process.  Whenever she recieves a resume from an Ohio State grad, she immediately tosses it aside.  Out of some 500 interviews she's been a part of, she's never interviewed any OSU grads.


December 3rd, 2010 at 2:56 PM ^

I think I told this story already but I had a fun conversation with a lady in the OSU law school admissions department.  We were talking about my application and she asked where I was attended college (not sure why, since she had my application in front of her).  I told her "the University of Michigan" and she said "oh."  You know, the kind of "oh" that is followed by a look of disgust.  Needless to say, I didn't get into OSU.  However, I wouldn't have gone there even if I had (I don't think) and I ended up getting into a better law school on a 50% scholorship.  So . . . How do you like them apples, OSU admissions lady!?


December 3rd, 2010 at 3:16 PM ^

That is an awesome story, and I hope you get the job.

To answer your questions....No, never during an interview and Yes...

My current department went through a complete reorganization in the beginning of the year and I now report to a guy based out of SoCal (I'm in the midwest).  Come to find out after talking to him at a face-to-face meeting last February that he's a Michigan grad and a big football fan!  Needless to say that's enhanced our working relationship big time.


December 3rd, 2010 at 3:22 PM ^

Truth be told I work for a for a consulting firm, and my foot in the door was an ND alumnus.  I've told this story before but long story short, my stepdad, an ND alum, made me go through both Michigan and ND alumni databases (btw, Regis' phone # is in it.)

Anyway, this was Jan 2007 ish.  I got a hold of one ND alum, left him a voicemail about wanting to talk for a few minutes about consulting, what it's like, how does someone with a liberal arts degree get a foot in the door.  He calls me back, and I tell him that although I'd gotten his contact # from the alumni database, I'm actually a rival, but my step dad was class of '88 at ND.  He asks what school, I said Michigan.... and he immediately replies "Man you guys got screwed this year!  I'm so sorry about that..."  He got me an interview out of the NY office, and I've been working at the same company ever since.  (The reason behind my ND sympathy has been revealed.)


December 3rd, 2010 at 3:40 PM ^

For my first job out of college I was interviewed by an intimidating dude who was about 6'4 and built like a house.  He saw what college I went to on my resume and told me he played basketball for a rival team.  It put me at ease and we spent most of the interview talking about the MAAC conference and basketball in general and I got the job.

A couple years later I interviewed for another job with someone who actually went to my school but we didn't discuss sports and I didn't get the job.

My conclusion is that the shared experience of being a sports fan is powerful in the business world even if you come from different places and root for different teams.


December 3rd, 2010 at 4:35 PM ^

I had a very similar experience about three weeks ago.  It was the Tuesday after the Illinois game, and I was interviewing with a regional bank in New York state.  The guy I interviewed with played football in college and coached for a while before pursuing other careers, and was an OSU fan.  Out of the 40 minute interview, we spent five minutes talking about the company and the job and the rest of the time talking about Big Ten football, Bo, Woody, Tressel, and The Game.  My first interview question (pretty much verbatim) was:

"Assuming Michigan finishes 7-5, you're David Brandon and you're making a decision on the coaching staff.  What do you do?"

I gave him my opinion that I'd bring him back and replace the defensive staff.  He followed up with:

"Jim Harbaugh calls you on the phone and says he is available, but this season only.  Does your decision change?"

While the talk was about football, he was also checking to see if I'm able to make decisions for the long term and stick with them.  It definitely gives you a little bit of an "in" to be able to talk Michigan football (or sports in general), and situations like that in interviews aren't uncommon.


December 3rd, 2010 at 9:51 PM ^

This may be the best thread I've ever read on this site.  I'm not an older timer on the site(though my point belie how long I lurked), so I may have missed some good ones.

I'm the undergrad recruiting lead for my company at my dear UofM.  I hire BBAs, ENG and LSA students.  It's a treat to be on my side of the table.  Every chance I get, I try to set students at ease by talking about campus and sharing a little about me.  Given the time of year, football is always a hot topic.  The students often light up talking about their run-ins and friends among the team - and I get to share mine too.

My life is full and rich now (family, career, etc.) and what makes it so is vastly different from life then - so comparisons aren't fair - but those 4 years will always be among the greatest 4 of my life.

Go Blue.


December 3rd, 2010 at 9:55 PM ^

I recruit for the small engineering firm where I work, and as I mentioned above, we look primarily at U of M grads. I graduated in 2009, so that connection is there, but even with older alums, you've always got Ann Arbor to talk about