There’s a series at Coreperformance.com that goes through some NFL “Combine Secrets”, and one of the “secrets” really caught my eye.
It’s NFL Combine Secret #3: Ace the Interview, which gives some advice to help Combine attendees make a good impression in their interviews.
I really trust the source of the advice, Mr. Pete Williams, for a couple reasons. First and foremost, he has experience. Pete prepared Athletes’ Performance’s clients for the NFL interview process for a couple years.
The other reason is because he wrote a book that I like a whole lot, by the name of The Draft: A Year inside the NFL’s Search for Talent. It’s kinda long, but I learned a LOT reading that book about the ins-and-outs of the NFL Draft.
Anyways, he gave some great tips in this article on the Combine interviews.
And as I always do, today I’ll be sharing the big lessons we can get from it
Make sure you give his article a read for yourself, in case you see something that I missed.
Lesson #1: Your Interview Could be the Tie Breaker Between You and Another Player
Just like Combine and Pro Day results, how you interview with a team could be the one thing that makes a team select you over another player at your position that they rate equally.
Lesson #2: How You Dress Matters
As Pete pointed out, when it comes to the 15 minute, rapid-fire interviews at the Combine, most players just wear the sweats they’re issued.
But if you want to stand out from the rest of the pack, consider wearing a suit to these sessions.
Yes, the coaches will know that you’re trying to stand out. But they still won’t be able to deny the aura of professionalism they’ll get from talking to a man in a suit, instead of a sweatsuit.
Lesson #3: Do Your Homework
Now this was a powerful point Pete brought up.
Even in the corporate world, when you’re getting interviewed, and you show that potential employer that you know something about the company, it “always” makes a great impression.
The NFL is no different.
The biggest difference, in my opinion, is that instead of just having to learn two or three things about a single company (for a traditional interview), you’d have to research “all 32 teams.”
But in the end, you have to ask yourself just how much playing in the NFL means to you.
Besides, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And one that most people never get, so it just might be worth going the extra mile.
If you’re a defensive player, for example, consider learning about the defensive schemes of each of the 32 teams. Then be prepared to talk about how you, and your style of play, can fit in and contribute to their scheme.
Also, as Pete mentioned, be prepared to ask questions, don’t just answer questions. Interviewers eat that stuff up. Plus the more questions you ask, the more time you eat up, which means you might have to answer fewer questions yourself (I’m just sayin’).
Remember, the interview sessions are only 15 minutes per team.
Lesson #4: The Fortune’s in the Follow-Up
“The fortune’s in the follow-up,” is a phrase we used to use back when I did sales, but it applies in all aspects of life, when you think about it.
Consider sending hand-written thank you notes to the people that interview you at the Combine.
As Pete mentioned, you should at least send emails, but emails don’t make anywhere near the impression a hand-written letter does.
Unfortunately, some prospects think that these interviews should be handled or approached just like a traditional job interview.
In all honesty, given how rare of an opportunity it is to be invited to the Combine, let alone potentially play in the NFL, I’d be trying to find ways to do more than I would with a traditional job interview.
Check out the video clip from Sportscenter below, where they did a feature on Matt Stafford getting prepared for the NFL Combine Interviews:
Do you have any additional tips that you’d like to add? Leave a comment below!
Follow me on Twitter. @alvingrier