I was lucky enough to attend and speak at the NSCA coaches conference this year. After the conference, the NSCA sends you your score from those who reviewed you. The scale is from one to five, with five being the best. My average score was a 3.5. I believe this is good. I'm assuming that it's impossible to get a five and that even a 4.5 would be very unlikely. A four would probably be about the best you could do in a setting like this because someone won't like you. Knowing all of this, I was content with a 3.5 and thought I could do better next time.

At the bottom of this sheet, you get to see the written remarks that the viewers made. I had 13, and each of these remarks absolutely blasted me. Some of the highlights were: "Biggest wasted hour of my life," "Low point of the conference," and, my favorite, "This guy told 25 minutes of stories and then maybe had 25 minutes of information." For the last one, I thought, "Yes! I nailed it!" People will remember stories, so tell more.

RECENT: 6 Lessons of a Fired Strength Coach

For this month's article, I want to write about something that I've been doing a lot of recently with some success: interviewing. Interviewing and presenting are very similar. They're both just different forms of communication. I believe that it was Pat Ivey who said, "Every day is a job interview." I hope that my articles come across as informative and entertaining. Informative is the more important thing, but we can't remove the entertaining factor from writing, and even presenting for that matter.

Photo credit:  Dzianis Apolka  ©

Photo credit:  Dzianis Apolka  ©

Here are the rules by which I live when I interview:

1. Be you!

I know that this sounds simple and that everyone says it, but it's true, and so many fail at it. I had an interview today and was asked, "How would you deal with our student body (non-athletes) if they happened to walk into your area?"

My answer was, "Be as unwelcoming as possible. Then, I would make sure that my body language was as negative as I could make it, and I'd tell them to get out." The committee laughed, and I went on to explain my approach to dealing with people of all walks of life. I like humor and I use it often, so loosen up and be you!

2. Listen for clues about what they expect.

I once took a job (I was young and dumb) that may have been the worst strength and conditioning job in the country. Yes, I said the worst. I wasn't clearly informed that I was also the full-time student rec guy. Now, there were clues, and I should've read them, but I wanted to be a head strength coach so much that I didn't care or I was blind to the truth of the position.

During the interview, the athletic director was swearing at drivers as we drove to dinner together. This, too, should've been a big clue that this wasn't the place for me. Look for clues and remember that you applied but that they asked to interview you. It's a two-way street.

3. Tell stories.

This takes us back to where I began this article. Be specific about situations that you have dealt with in the past. If you haven't dealt with certain situations, say that and move on. There is a time and a place to stretch the truth, but if you try it during an interview, you may find yourself doing a job you don't want to be doing.

4. Know when to stretch the truth.

I know that I just said don't do this, but all rules need to be broken. If you’re asked if you have done something that you haven't done but you've been exposed to it and you can learn it in under a day, stretch away. Do you know Teambuildr? Say yes. You can learn the basics in under an hour and it isn't a lie. You just don't know it yet.

5. Be clear about your expectations of them.

I've had a lot of fun doing all this interviewing, and it has taught me that I need to know who I'm working for. I turned down a job a few weeks ago that was a great job. I was honestly surprised at how good of a job it was. It just wasn't the right job for my family and me. When I explained to the athletic director that this was a family decision, he was very supportive, and when I explained to him that my family came first, he understood. I may not be working at that school right now, but I would be proud to work for them one day in the future.

6. Do your homework.

Know who you're meeting with. Where did they go to school? Who do they know? Know who knows who. It's important to know who is going to help you and maybe even hurt you. I have many friends in this industry, and there are some people who don't like me. (I know! I, too, don't believe it.) So, if someone on the committee is friends with your old boss, are you on good terms with your old boss? I speak to most of my old bosses regularly so that I know that I'm good with them. Thank you, Handy and Kontos, for allowing me to be a dumb, young know-it-all and not killing or firing me.

7. Interview them.

As I stated earlier, they called you, so you have every right to ask them the right questions. This doesn't give you a green light to "go at" someone who wants to hire you. This does give you the responsibility to make sure that you ask the right questions. This is where it can get tricky. Phone interviews aren't the time to haggle over salary, benefits, or responsibilities. If you move to a second round of interviews, that's your chance to ask more poignant questions.

8. Learn about chances for advancement.

A former intern and an assistant of mine (Rick Canter) at the time took a job that I thought was the worse move he could have made professionally. I remember telling him not to take the job. Here we are six years later, and Rick is an associate athletic director, whereas I'm unemployed. What Rick may or may not have known is that his boss was willing to allow him to advance and to help him to succeed. I'm sure part of this was that Rick is smart and part was Rick was lucky with his boss. It doesn't matter because Rick is doing great things for our industry.

9. Know that you aren't perfect.

I have used this saying more times than I can count, and here I go again: "America isn't perfect, but I will hold her hand until she gets there." Find someone who is going to help you to grow and will allow you to make mistakes. This quote is from a Tuskegee Airman war memorial.

10. Reach out post-interview whether you move forward with the job or not.

Always leave the situation on a positive note. You have a long career ahead of you, and just because the company didn’t hire you or you didn’t take the job doesn't mean that you won't work together in the future. Make sure that they know you're a professional who is going places in this field.

11. Just because you didn't get the job doesn't mean that someone else is better than you, and if you got the job, that doesn't mean you're better than someone else.

Getting a job just means that you're the right fit at the right time. I was passed over on a job that many said was mine last year. When asked how I felt about not getting the position, I replied that the company made the right hire. Some people may never understand this, but I truly believe that the school in question hired the person it was looking for, and that is the right hire. Ironically, a week after not getting that job, I bumped into the athletic director at an event, and we shared a libation.