Insight on the journey of a successful candidate


With almost 1,000 applications submitted through the GlobalSportsJobs platforms each week, we see candidates from a variety of backgrounds, with differing approaches and specialisms. But what are the main factors that contribute to a successful application and what happens next when a leading organisation in the sports industry finds a candidate they would like to know more about through GlobalSportsJobs?

In a new feature, we’re asking candidates that were successfully placed in a role they applied for via the GlobalSportsJobs network to share their experience from first seeing the vacancy advertised to starting the role. We spoke with Rob Smyth, who became Head of Marketing for the European Games in Baku after applying for the role on who very kindly shared insight on his candidate experience:


Please tell us about your career background prior to applying for the role at Baku 2015

After graduating from university, I joined Red Bull Co Ltd, heading up their Olympic sports strategy in the UK, including an international roll out of the strategy. Following a successful three years in the role, I expanded my responsibilities and headed up marketing for London and the South of England at Red Bull. After an amazing eight and half years at the company, it was time to step into a new challenge. That new challenge came when I joined British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) as Head of Marketing and Sponsorship. This proved to be a tremendous opportunity where I was able to inject commercial revenue and bring the organisation and its appeal to students into the 21st century. After increasing commercial revenue, signing a broadcast partnership and bringing the organisation into the digital age, including the introduction of a CRM programme, a new opportunity emerged as Head of Marketing at the European Games in Baku. I didn’t have to think twice about submitting my application.

What was your strategy for submitting a strong application via

My strategy was to focus on the areas I am passionate about. I’ve always over-delivered on all areas of work that I’ve been truly interested in. The next steps taken were to relate this to the job specification. During the subsequent interview I was questioned on the areas I emphasised in the application which enabled me to talk about my strengths.


How did Baku 2015 approach you and what was the interview process?

The organisation approached me via email and set up a serious of interviews over Skype. The interviews focused on previous experiences and how I would apply these experiences to the new role. I prepared examples of how I had successfully tackled different elements of the new role and how I could apply these experiences to the new position.

How did they make the offer and were there any negotiations involved?

The offer was from the HR team. Unfortunately there was no room for negotiations, as it was a specific package rating to the band, however I still tried to negotiate. It is always worth trying.

Did you start the role straight away and where was it based?

The role started a month after the offer, which gave me just enough time to pack my bags and move my life over to Baku, where the role was based.


What were your main responsibilities in the role?

As Head of Marketing I was part of the organising committee that successfully initiated and developed a new sports concept, built a brand from scratch, raised awareness, increased credibility and delivered the first European Games. Further to this I built a team of both international and local staff, developed a strategy for activations and for owned, earned and paid media and executed the plan to raise awareness of the Games throughout Europe.

What key skills do you think were required to be successful working at Baku 2015?

A passion for sport and an ability to think innovatively were two character traits that were required to make the position successful.

What did you love about working there?

I love the experience of working oversees, working with people from different backgrounds and cultures and adapting to new ways of working. Further to this I loved the ability to see a new country embrace cultures all whilst being paid to do so.

What did you do when you're not working? How do you relax?

I thrive working in the sports industry. Sport is my passion in life, so when I’m not working I’m still involved in sport. I run every day and have represented Great Britain at athletics in various junior competitions. I have more recently taken on the challenge presented by triathlon, gaining international selection in 2012. I took part in my second IronMan in August 2015.

If you had a successful experience applying for a role via GlobalSportsJobs, we’d like to hear from you. Please contact 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.


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