Imagine interviewing for 32 potential employers at one time. All 32 companies in one room at one time.
Next, imagine that every other top candidate for this job has been invited to interview at the same time. Every single one, in the same room with you, vying for the same position.
Next, imagine 250 spectators in the same room, watching, for fun.
You’re up first. You get ready to tackle your first task with all 32 potential employers watching you, with all the other candidates watching you as well. You complete the first of many tasks and then you have to watch all the other candidates complete the same task, while you wait for your next assignment.
Oh yes, these employers know your name. This isn’t the first time they’ve seen you in action. In fact, they’ve been watching you prep for this exact moment your entire college career. Shoot, probably even longer than that. But this is probably your last chance to prove you are the best person for the job.
Sounds stressful, doesn’t it? Almost unfair, if you ask me. If you answer a question wrong, you don’t have another chance to think about it after the interview and change your answer for a different potential employer. You are on the spot. In front of your whole future.
What a burden.
Well this is what I experienced at the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday morning. The Combine is an invitation-only camp that puts college football players through medical examinations, a variety of psychological and physical tests, as well as formal and informal interviews with top executives, coaches and scouts from all 32 NFL teams. The combine “is the ultimate four day job interview for the top college football players eligible for the upcoming NFL Draft” according to the Combine’s website.
Historically, the Combine was closed to the public. Only NFL execs and media were allowed to attend. Until this year. For the first time ever, the NFL decided to open its doors to 250 guests to trial this type of “insider experience.” We were selected to receive free tickets to the event through 1iota.com, which was also the company from which we received free tickets to the NFL Honors Awards ceremony during the Super Bowl festivities here in Indy.
We had to arrive at Lucas Oil Stadium at 6:15 on Sunday morning. We were ushered into the stadium and given t-shirts, portable radios and binoculars and then fed a wonderful breakfast. Company execs from 1iota and the NFL spoke to us about the importance of this experiment and therefore our behavior. No cell phones, cameras or recording devices were allowed. We were instructed to behave as if in a library, no loud noises, whispering, etc. We were there to watch young men in the most important interview of their lives. And if we screwed that up, the execs’ jobs might be on the line. Serious stuff.
We were then led into the stadium, where we were sat on the 40-yard line in the 400-level seating. Before we walked in, we were thinking it would be too high to really enjoy watching the activities, but seriously, the seats were great and the risk of us not “behaving” was too great to seat us any lower.
We proceeded to watch the top quarterbacks and wide receivers compete for a job for the next 3 hours. We were able to watch them run the 40 yard sprint, complete throwing and receiving drills and other activities as well. We saw RG3 and Andrew Luck run the 40, but they didn’t do any throwing, so we were disappointed at that. I guess when you’re that good, you get to choose what you do during interviews. Must be nice.
I was most impressed by RG3 and Mike Floyd (a WR from Notre Dame). RG3 is an athlete, through and through. He ran the 40 in 4.38 seconds, faster than the majority of wide receivers. It was amazing. (On a side note, I sure wish the Colts would entertain the idea of drafting him over Luck. He would be so fun to watch.)
Floyd came to win. He was fast, only dropped one pass the entire receiving drill set and worked his butt off the entire morning we were there. He was so impressive. Must have been because he played at ND. 🙂
At noon, we were taken back to the lounge area to eat (an amazing) lunch. They also did a bunch of raffle prizes (none of which we won). And we didn’t pay a dime for these tickets. The NFL treated us like definite insiders. Like people they needed to impress.
And impressed we were. To be able to watch these young men prove their talents; to be treated like important people who were supposed to be there rather than fans who were a burden; truly, it was a wonderful experience.
One I’ll never forget. And one I hope to have again next year.