GlobalSportsJobs takes pride in working closely with some of the largest and most prestigious organisations in the international sports industry to help them source the best talent from around the world. But what is the process for qualifying and interviewing potential candidates for cross-border roles and what steps do candidates need to take once they are shortlisted?
For the next instalment in our series of insight features with candidates that have successfully driven forward their sports industry career using the GlobalSportsJobs network, we spoke with Shahin Rasti who last month embarked on a new challenge as Commercial and Marketing Manager at the International Paralympic Committee after seeing the vacancy advertised on a ‘Jobs by email’ alert.
Please tell us about your career background prior to applying for the role at the IPC
I started my career on a graduate scheme at the International Tennis Federation, which gave me a great insight and perspective on working for a leading sport’s governing body. I then accepted a role at Slingshot Sponsorship, a global sponsorship agency. This was invaluable experience in working with a host of leading rights holders, helping them engage with diverse and passionate brands. After my time at Slingshot, I spent almost two and a half years at Keith Prowse, as Head of Sales for the Aegon Championships; part of a commercial joint venture between Keith Prowse and the LTA.
How did you become aware of the IPC vacancy?
I subscribed to the daily jobs update from GlobalSportsJobs, which is really useful because it updates you via email with up-to-date and relevant vacancies.
What was your strategy for submitting a strong application?
The key I find to any application is always focussing specifically on what the employer is looking for and highlighting why you have the relevant skills and experience for the job, as well as including examples of proven results. I think another undervalued aspect of a good application is trying to get your personality across as much as possible. Nowadays employers are looking for more than just a list of previous experience, so I tried to do this as much as I could.
How did the IPC approach you and what was the interview process?
The HR Manager wrote to me personally and arranged the first round, which was a phone interview with her. The second stage was a set of assignments based on hypothetical sponsorship proposals and IPC commercial strategy. The third stage was a phone interview with the Commercial and Marketing Director and the final phase was a face-to-face interview at the IPC Head Office in Germany, presenting to the Commercial and Marketing Director.
What sort of questions did they ask at the interview and how had you prepared?
The first stage consisted of basic questions about the IPC and my career thus far and the second and third phases were based on the specific IPC assignments. The Final interview was a mixture of rigorous questions about my presentation and why I would be suited to the position. In terms of preparation, I did extensive research into the IPC and its marketing strategy for the upcoming years, as went through my own previous experience in detail.
How did they make the offer and were there any negotiations involved?
They offered me the job over Skype and then proceeded to send me a formal offer over email. I was happy with the package so there were no negotiations needed.
What are your main responsibilities as Commercial and Marketing Manager?
My main responsibilities include sourcing new commercial revenue for the IPC through strategic brand partnerships, managing the partner marketing programme, creative strategy and activation, business development, working with our dedicated agencies, account management and contract services and negotiation. Clients include Samsung, Panasonic, Visa, ATOS, Ottobock, BP and Allianz.
Are there any key character traits shown by everyone in your team?
Even though I have only been in the role for a few weeks, the three traits that really stand out within my team are passion, commitment and motivation. The Paralympic movement and the IPC as a whole is a unique and inspiring environment to work in and it is clear to see that everyone is striving to grow and develop the movement as much as they possibly can.
What key skills do you think are required to be successful in a career at the IPC?
Firstly, I think you need to have excellent people skills. The IPC is a very diverse and international organisation - we work with all types of people on a day-to-day basis and anyone looking to join the team must embrace this. Another important skill to possess is being able to take a wider perspective on your role. It is not your typical sports job. The IPC is ultimately a development organisation and even though we work very closely with the IOC, our goals and outlook are very different. It’s about more than just sport, it’s about human rights values and inspiring the global community of physically and intellectually impaired people.
What do you love about working there?
I think the best aspect of working for the IPC is the international nature of the job, whether it was spending my first week in Doha for the IPC Athletics World Championships, working and meeting with all our NPCs and partners around the world, or leaving London to work in a prospering European market like Germany. Furthermore, I take great pride in being part of an integral and leading sporting organisation. People often forget that the Paralympics is one of the biggest events in the world and that is a great pinnacle to work towards.
What did you do when you are not working? How do you relax?
Having just settled in Germany, I am trying to build a routine but in my spare time I love playing sports, from football to tennis to rugby. However living in Germany is also a great opportunity to learn a new language and to travel around Europe, so I fully intend to take advantage of this.
If you had a successful experience applying for a role via GlobalSportsJobs, we’d like to hear from you. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the team will get in touch. For further sports industry insights and tips & tricks on how you can optimise your applications, please click here to visit our Inside Track content hub.