This morning, MMQB released a column written by Jenny Vrentas that takes a fascinating look behind the closed doors of NFL head coaching interviews.
The piece is full of great advice for whether you're interviewing for a high school head coaching job, a college assistant job, an NFL head coaching position or anything in between. It covers everything from questions that were asked, to advice from former general managers on what to expect during a head coaching interview with an NFL franchise.
One of the more interesting nuggets in the piece was some of the first questions that organizations asked their head coaching candidates, which included:
- How would you change the culture of our team?
- Why do you think you should be the head coach of the [insert team name here]?
- Do we have a chance to win at [insert team city here]?
Just in case you find yourself in an interview in the near future, you might want to brush up on those questions that were asked right out of the gate to make sure you start things off on the right foot.
Former Texans and Redskins general manager Charley Casserly, who now serves on an NFL career development advisory panel, reminds prospective head coaches of a phrase he heard one time that summarizes the interview process and really reveals whether someone is ready for the head coaching role or not. That phrase? "How are you going to win a game?"
According to Vrentas, this is what he means by that:
"The candidate who said his vision for the offense will be whatever the coordinator wants is not ready to be a head coach. Here’s another: If an offensive coordinator interviewing for a head-coaching job still wants to draw cards for the game, that’s a sign he hasn’t graduated to being the CEO of a team."
NFL head coaching interviews can last anywhere from an hour or two, to six hours if everything is going really well. Vrentas notes that the largest amount of time in most interviews is spent going after the candidates prospective coaching staff, where guys will list a "depth chart" of coaches three or four deep at each of the coordinators and assistant positions.
According to Casserly, the conversation about your staff is the single most important part of the interview.
“Staff is the single most important thing, because it shows judgment. Everything else in the interview can be scripted, but staff is judgment. If he has the staff wrong, I’m not going to hire him.”
Casserly also encourages coaches to finish every interview with a simple statement: "I want this job". Many guys will give the interview committee a "leave behind packet" that includes their career path, their coaching influences, and resume detailing stats, their plan for the team, practice schedules, and itineraries for road trips.