It’s not every day you get the opportunity to hear tips from the Vice President of Human Resources of a Major League Baseball club. So it was a treat to hear from Lara Juras, VP of HR with the Atlanta Braves, as she offered great advice on what she looks for in a job candidate interviewing with the Braves.
What follows are some key takeaways from Juras’s presentation at the Business of Baseball Workshop, held December 8 at the Professional Baseball Employment Organization (PBEO) Job Fair at the Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego, CA.
– Like previous speakers, Juras emphasized the value of self-awareness for job candidates — Know your strengths and goals and reasons why you want that job and are a good fit for the job and why the organization should want you.
– When reviewing a job candidate, an important consideration for HR is how you will complement the current staff; how will you make the organization better/add value? And will you represent the organization/brand/team well (in the office, out of the office, in public, online, etc.)?
– Skills and networking go a long way, but there is no replacement for experience; organizations value experience and insight into how organizations/teams actually work.
My comment: Be proactive early, whether that means volunteering, doing a summer or seasonal or part-time internship/job, working at your school’s athletics department, self-publishing online, etc. Lack of experience is an obstacle you can overcome!
– Show personality during your interview. Culture fit is a big factor in sports for HR. You work awfully hard and spend a lot of time around coworkers, so it is important you’ll fit in with the team; be yourself and show some personality!
Culture fit is a big factor in sports job interviews
– Juras said that she, in particular, placed a good deal of importance on integrity and a sense of ethics (and will often throw in an ethical dilemma question in the interview). Be prepared to potentially answer this type of question in your next sports job (or any job) interview.
– Juras finished by noting factors becoming increasingly more critical now, in her eyes: Being able to demonstrate that one is a strong self-learner, a self-starter, and is proactive in one’s career/job.
A perfect way to inspire and end the presentation from Juras as the idea of being proactive and taking action steps to go after the career you want was repeated by several of the speakers. This goes for not just a career in sports, but any industry. There is little to nothing holding us back, these days, from realistically chasing and realizing our dream jobs. Don’t start tomorrow. Start now!