At the end of the day, sports club is an organization like any other one. It has some budget allocated for all activities and club members, and needs to keep books. Someone has to schedule practice times for the athletes, answer phone calls and emails, organize fundraising events or tournaments, and basically be there in an office–to address the requests of potential visitors, club members, donors, and business partners.

Though often overlooked by outsiders, sports administrator plays an indispensable role in each and every sports club, on local, national, or international level. Let’s have a look at some questions you may face while interviewing for this interesting position.

 

Why do you want to work as a sports administrator?

Passion for the world of sports goes without saying. Because you would earn better working like an office rat in a big corporation, but there you would deal with matters that are of no interest to you–at least you can say so in this interview.

You can type quickly, have excellent communication skills, and do not mind working on your own, without constant supervision.  You can organize stuff, and have a decent knowledge of their sport, from both playing and administrative point of view. To sum it up, with your education, skills, and passion for sports, you see this job as a perfect match, at least at this stage of your professional career.

 

Why do you want to work in our sports club?

Good answer to this question demonstrates your passion for what they do, and try to achieve as a club. That’s why it is important to do your research, and learn as much as you can about them–history of the club, biggest successes, values they try to promote, players in the team, whether they focus more on youth athletes or senior teams, etc.

Of course, it is important to show some affinity for their colors. Maybe they aren’t your most favorite club in the world–but can become one, and you’ve been following them for a long time. You can also talk about the perspective you see. Maybe they are playing in the fifth division right now, but with the young players and good coaches onboard, sky is the limit really. Everything takes time, of course, but an excellent administrator onboard can only help them achieve their ambitious goals…

 

How do you imagine a typical day in work as our sports administrator?

What you should aim for is showing proactive approach to work. Speaking honestly, unless you work for a bigger club you won’t be as busy as you’d be having an office job in a corporate world. The phones won’t be ringing non-stop, and you won’t have several superiors asking you to do this or that for them. Stress levels are also much lower in this environment.

Nevertheless, you should ensure them that you do not plan to drink coffee and play with your smartphone all day long, unless someone demands your attention. On the contrary, you will always try to have something to do. Be it working on your fundraising efforts, preparing newsletters and promotional materials for the club members, sending reminders, cleaning the office, or simply trying to come up with some bright ideas that can help the club.

One way or another, they should get an impression that you are there to work, for eight hours a day, and won’t just hang around. Of course the job description can also help you to understand what exactly they expect from you…

Imagine that two teams reserved the pitch for the same time. How will you proceed?

The best course of action is probably calling the coaches, or team captains (if it is a smaller club and there are no coaches in the teams). You may give the priority to the more senior team, or the one playing in a higher league.

In any case, you should not wait until both teams meet on the pitch at exactly the same time. Ensure the interviewers that you will take action, and after communication with both captains/coaches find a decent solution, something that will work for everyone. Rescheduling one of the trainings or finding an alternative pitch for them is the most obvious solution…

You can also add that under your administration, such things are unlikely to happen. Having a clear schedule for everything and being highly organized in work, it basically won’t be possible for two teams to reserve the pitch (playing ground, tennis court, golf course, whatever) for the same hour, as long as you run the schedule.

 

What will you do to try to minimize the club expenses from the position of an administrator?

The best administrators help the club to allocate the resources effectively, and avoid wasting money. You can start by saying that you will try to run small budgets for each team, role, or even activity in the club, recording expenses, and looking for possibilities to save money.

What’s more, you will try to introduce some control mechanisms in the club, some form of an internal audit, just to ensure that people do not throw money left and right, but that each dollar is spent in a meaningful way, benefiting the club and it’s members.

As with many other interview questions, your attitude matters the most for your interviewers, not the exact answer you give them. As long as they see that you are not a money waster and will try to keep the club finances in check, they will be satisfied with your answer.

 

Imagine that you are supposed to organize a small tournament on our grounds. How will you proceed?

The key is to demonstrate that you have some system in your work. The first step will be deciding about the schedule for the tournament. Perhaps you should consult the coaches, to find out an ideal schedule for the team, a fitting date in terms of their preparation for the upcoming season or other commitments they have already confirmed.

Once you have a schedule (in an ideal case two alternatives), you will start contacting the administrators of other sports clubs. Discussing with them the schedule, the format of the tournament, and everything else (such as prize money, who covers the expenses, etc), you will try to arrange the arrival of the at least one or two other high quality clubs.

Then you will invite other participants. If you expect high interest in the tournament, you can simply post an announcement on social media channels of the club or on some website other administrators visit, and wait for them to sign up.

Of course your job does not end here. You will be responsible for the entire logistics, keeping the participants informed, answer any questions they may have, ensure that everything is prepared for the tournament, and so on. As long as you show some system and logic in your answer, the hiring managers will be satisfied with your words.

 

Other questions you may face in your sports administrator job interview

  • Imagine that the club needs a new coach for one of the junior teams. In your opinion, what role will you play as sports administrator, in the process of hiring the new coach?
  • What will motivate you the most in this job?
  • If we hire you for this position, what goals will you set for yourself for the first year in the job?
  • The club is experiencing a bad streak, teams are losing, and the atmosphere in the club is rather dull. What can you do as a sports administrator in this case? Can you help the club in an way from your position?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
  • What sports do you enjoy doing in your free time?
  • What are your salary expectations?

* You can also download the list of questions in a one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

sports administrator interview questions, PDF

Conclusion, next steps

Interview for a job of a sports administrator belongs to interviews with average difficulty. They won’t typically ask you any superbly difficult behavioral or technical questions. On the other hand, these job openings are rare, and many people like sports, and may compete with you for the position. That obviously makes your situation more difficult…

Personal preferences also play a big role in a typical hiring process in a sports club. Try to learn as much as you can about your future place of work, the payers, coaches, their successes and challenges they face. It will help you to connect with your interviewers, and also to answer some questions that relate to their club and your role in it. I hope you will succeed and wish you good luck!

May also interest you:

  • How to overcome interview nerves – Feeling anxious before the meeting with the sports club manager, or owner? Learn how to get rid of stress and show your very best in the interviews.
  • Salary negotiation tips – Get the best possible offer at the end of your interview.
  • Zoom interview tips – Interview for the job in one of the virtual rooms? Learn how to avoid common mistakes and ace your Zoom interview.
Matthew Chulaw
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