NFL Draft

Silly season is in full gear for NFL fans, as the 2017 NFL Draft is just around the corner. Fans around the globe are currently studying up on their favorite draft prospects, and getting in massive arguments on social media in regard to the ones they do not like.

For the collegiate athletes about to take the first step toward their dream of playing in the NFL, this time of year is a much different experience.

With the visibility level of the NFL Draft being at an all-time high, the poking and prodding into every aspect of a draft prospect’s life is also at an all-time high. Many athletes are dealing with higher levels of scrutiny than they could have ever imagined, and how they respond to it is being monitored by their future employers.

Take Ohio State Buckeyes Safety Malik Hooker, for example.

Yesterday, Louis Riddick from ESPN put out a tweet that caught Hooker’s attention. He stated, “J. Adams could do everything M. Hooker can do IF asked to play that role. The same could not be said the other way around. #context.”

Riddick was referencing another safety prospect in the NFL Draft, Jamal Adams from LSU, and how he can do everything Hooker can do and more. Hooker, not pleased by the tweet, simply retweeted it with a response of “Oh Okay” with two crying emojis after it.

Was Hooker’s response good or bad? Honestly, it will all come down to how his future employers in the NFL Draft see it. More than likely, they will tell him the same thing one of his fellow draft-mates, Budda Baker, was alluding to—do not respond to “haters.”

Regardless of how the NFL views Hooker’s response, there is a lesson job seekers can learn from the NFL Draft. Arguably, every little thing an athlete does leading up to the draft could end up costing them millions of dollars—just like any negative action a job seeker performs in the process could cost them a chance at the job of their dreams with the company of their dreams.

Last year after the 2016 NFL Draft, we talked about how social media in particular could cost them in the long run. It was on the heels of a picture of top offensive line prospect Laremy Tunsil smoking marijuana out of a gas mask caused him to lose $7 million dollars by falling from No. 6 to No. 13 in the draft.

In that article, we focused on three items (making your social account private, thinking before you hit submit and deleting any questionable posts) for job seekers last year. This year, we are going to take a slightly different approach. After speaking to a few NFL players about their NFL Draft Experience over on the VIKTRE Career Network, there were two things that really stood out from their process that job seekers should pay attention to.

No. 1: Answer every question truthfully

One of the things that always stands out in the interviewing process is the number of questions a job seeker will be asked. From serious questions to the most random, off-the-wall questions, hiring managers (at the NFL level or business level) seem to think up anything to make a job seeker sweat.

At times, however, a job seeker may seem backed into a corner by a question and try to talk their way through it without actually knowing the answer. This can work if you arrive at the answer quickly, however, most of the time a hiring manager can tell when you are trying to “B.S.” them, and it will not grade out positively in your favor.

One athlete we interviewed recently told us that anyone being interviewed should just, “Answer every question truthfully” and not try to lie or pretend they know. He continued, “Honestly, I think admitting you do not know but would be willing to work to find out and learn really showed something.” This player was eventually drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft and played in the league for nine seasons, so he may know a thing or two.

No. 2: Never stop working

When talking to former NFL All-Pro Kicker, Nick Lowery, he offered up some excellent advice for job seekers. “After going undrafted, I was cut by team after team looking for a chance to be a starting kicker in the league. But I never stopped working.”

Lowery went from being undrafted to one of the best kickers in NFL history. He kept learning and working both on and off the field, and carved out an excellent career playing and an even more impressive one off the field when it was all said and done.

When job seekers finally get hired, some seem to think just showing up and doing their job is enough to carve out a long career. But like in football, there is always someone who is waiting in the wings trying to prove themselves worthy of a promotion—so you need to keep working and learning to make yourself more valuable to both your company and any other company you may look to work for in the future.

Final Word

Many people do not pay attention to the NFL Draft or sports in general because of the millions of dollars they make playing a “kid’s game.” However, there are many lessons job seekers can take away from reading the stories of players and how they make it to the game and how they make it to the top of the sport.

The two pieces of advice given in this article are just a start for job seekers, so stay tuned to NexGoal as we come out with another NFL Draft related article here in the days leading up to the draft!

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