The Kaepernick Conundrum Part Two: How to screw up an interview!
A little over a year ago I wrote about whether a team should sign Colin Kaepernick to its roster. Well, a year has passed and not much has changed. He’s still theoretically looking for an opportunity to play and theoretically, teams are still looking into signing him. (But really, they aren’t)
Last week the NFL set up a tryout for Kaepernick and invited all 32 teams to come to watch him. Setting aside injury waiver discussions and benevolent intentions or not, Kaepernick was supposed to be a potential employee and seemingly decided to alienate his potential employers! Let’s see what we can learn as potential employees about his behavior.
1. “Please be at our office for a 4:00 P.M. interview.” Interviewee, “I don’t like where your office is located. How about you meet me at my local Starbucks?!” Unless you are considered a top expert in your field, when you’re on the job hunt, the ball (pun intended) is in the court of the employer. You don’t get to dictate where and when an interview should be held. If you’re looking for a job, do your best to make yourself available. If a prospective employee has way too many time constraints it raises a red flag. When Kaepernick suddenly changed the venue for his workout he basically sent the message to a lot of people who had come to see him, "I don't value your time" Also, many of them had flights home and couldn't simply adjust their schedule for his.
2. Interviewee: “To be honest I think your company values aren’t exemplified in the best way possible and your strategy really needs a lot of help. Also, I don’t love the décor here.” During an interview, you may be asked questions about the company you are interested in. While it’s ok to give polite critique don’t take them to school about every issue as you’ll come off as an arrogant ass. Kaepernick ended his “tryout” going on a tirade about how all NFL teams are scared of him and are running from him. He’s right on that account. If you blast a potential employer there’s an excellent chance, they will most likely run from you!
3. Dress to impress! Kaepernick showed up to his workout wearing a Kunta Kinte t-shirt. It spoke volumes. “I am here to throw a ball around, but I stand for something greater than that. I will not shelve my activist aspirations while I pursue this dream”. And you know what every scout heard, “I am going to continue to be a distraction in the locker room while I pursue my activism. I will be a PR nightmare for any team that signs me.” Part of an interview is our initial impression, which, like it or not stems from what we wear. (it also stems from our body language, smiles, slouching etc) Know the company you are interviewing at. Is it casual, business casual, formal? Check out the pictures on their website. Ask around for advice. I like to say generally, be dressed at least as formal as the person interviewing will likely be. You want your professional expertise to be the topic of discussion after an interview, not your wardrobe choice.
Colin Kaepernick still hasn’t signed with an NFL team and to be honest after his behavior on Saturday, I doubt he ever will. Some people will say it’s because teams don’t like activists. I think it’s just that teams, like corporations, want people who take their interviews seriously.