How to Get a Job at ESPN
In 1978, a father-and-son team of entrepreneurs founded ESPN, the nation's first 24-hour sports network. Today, the network and its broadcast affiliates reach more than 90 million households, and its digital properties average 80 million unique users.
employs 8,000 people around the globe, from its headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, to satellite offices in Hong Kong.
You don't need to be a sports fanatic to get a job at ESPN, explains Kristen McKenna, senior director of talent acquisition. But it doesn't hurt.
What qualities make candidates stand out for an interview with ESPN?
What makes a candidate stand out is their ability to contribute in a team environment. Collaboration is extremely important.
How often are you hiring new people?
We have approximately 8,000 employees across the globe, [with] 4,000 in the U.S. Our corporate office is in Bristol, and we have U.S. offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Charlotte, North Carolina; Coral Gables, Florida; Austin, Texas; Los Angeles; and Seattle. We have international offices in the U.K., India, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. We hire approximately 700 new employees every year.
What areas of the company are growing fastest right now?
Our digital media, technology, and data analytics areas are growing to keep up with how quickly technology is changing. We are specifically looking to use data to understand how we can predict the success of ad campaigns. These areas of growth translate into recruitment for software engineers, data engineers, web designers, product development experts, and data scientists.
What do you expect candidates to know about ESPN before an interview?
We expect candidates to have done their homework on the role they have applied to and have intelligent questions during the interview process. For example, if a candidate is interviewing in production for a role on
Outside the Lines
, at the very least, we'd expect that they've watched the show, know the hosts, and can speak intelligently about the content.
Is it required that candidates be well-versed in sports to work at ESPN?
It helps to hire individuals who are sports fans and consumers of ESPN, but it's not always a requirement. For example, it's less important for candidates applying for roles in finance or HR to be well-versed in sports; however, if we are hiring for a technology team that is working on fantasy games, yes, that candidate will need to understand sports.
Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images
What digital tools do you use to recruit candidates?
For sourcing, we mostly use LinkedIn, but we are always looking at new technologies. For example, two years ago, we started using Piazza, which is a collaboration tool for computer science students and companies looking to access some of the best and brightest engineers in academia. We use tools like Twitter to advertise our job opportunities and will often go to the business [unit] to ask them to tweet a job. For example, if we are looking for Spanish fluency for one of our roles, we may ask [Spanish-language sports network] Deportes to tweet the job description on our behalf.
Do you attend trade shows, networking conferences, or college career events where candidates might have a chance to network with you?
We've been a sponsor at the National Association of Black Journalists for many years, which has proven to be a success in hiring. And we're strengthening our relationship with Grace Hopper, which is an organization for women in computing. We can also be found on many campuses across the country [at career fairs and recruiting events] where we partner with our peers at Disney.
How can candidates interact with you on social media to stand out?
Several of our recruiters are active on various social media platforms. Candidates can join the conversation as our recruiters share information on open positions, what it's like to work at ESPN, and offer tips on navigating the job search process.
What types of jobs are available for recent graduates in various departments?
We have many entry-level roles across the organization with all of our opportunities being posted on
. The majority of our entry-level roles will be found in production, sales and marketing, and technology.
ESPN'S Armory office
Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images
How can college students apply for an internship?
Students can view all of our ESPN internship postings and apply online at
. We recruit students for fall, spring, and summer internships, and students are typically most competitive when they are within one year of graduation.
Do you require previous, relevant internship experience?
It's not a requirement but the most competitive candidates for our internships do have some related experience from a previous internship, coursework, or through a student organization. We want to see that you've been seeking out opportunities to develop the necessary skills for the role.
What do interns achieve by the end of the program?
Our interns have the opportunity to produce work that touches millions of sports fans around the globe. Whether they are cutting sports highlights that may run on SportsCenter, operating a studio camera, or working with our digital media team on features for an app, they will be doing hands-on work. They also participate in events and speaker series throughout the program designed to facilitate networking and development.
Do you regularly hire interns into full-time roles?
Yes, we often hire successful interns into full-time roles at ESPN. There is never a guarantee but our internships are an incredible opportunity to showcase your skills, learn about the corporate culture, and network with leaders throughout the company.
Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images
Do most full-time positions require a specific degree relevant to the job to which they are applying?
Yes, depending on the position, a specific degree may be required or preferred, but we also consider relevant work experience.
Do you have a management-training program or tend to frequently promote from within?
Fifty percent of our posted positions are filled by our internal employees. We have multiple training programs, which are geared toward career development, business acumen, and leadership skills. We also offer a mentoring program where employees can learn about another area of the organization or gain leadership skills. There are several departments that also have entry-level training programs where new hires rotate through multiple areas of the business and, if successful, will get placed in a specific area of that business.
What specific initiatives does your company have to address diversity in the workplace?
Employee training is specifically focused on inclusion and promoting unconscious bias, and we have employee resource groups that represent a broad range of diverse employees in our organizations, such as veterans, Hispanics, young professionals, and individuals with disabilities. And we ensure that our content across all platforms speaks to our diverse fan base.
What types of questions do you like to ask in an interview?
We are looking for specific examples of past situations so we can use those answers to predict future success. Our questions will always be centered around the job and are meant to elicit information pertaining to a candidate's skills. We are not trying to trick anyone, and we don't believe in nebulous questions like, "What is your favorite color?"
Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images
What questions should candidates always ask you in an interview?
Candidates should always ask questions that highlight their enthusiasm for the opportunity and show an interest in learning more about the role and/or the company. Candidates who have no questions demonstrate their lack of interest.
What questions should they never ask?
Use common sense and don't ask any questions that call out biases. While I don't think questions about salary, benefits, or perks offered should be the first questions you ask, you need to ask at some point to ensure the job being offered meets your expectations.
What's a mistake people make in interviews all the time and don't know it?
A couple of things come to mind here. First, candidates want to tell us how much of a fan they are and how they have loved sports their whole life. A passion for sports can be important depending on the job, but that is not the lead competency we are looking for. Tell us why you are the best person for the job that we have advertised and what skills separate you from the competition. Second, don't tell us you just want to get a foot in the door because you love ESPN. We would rather have candidates tell us that they are passionate for the work.
Is there an interview dress code?
There is not a specific interview dress code, however, first impression is key. Candidates should be mindful of that when selecting interview attire.
Do thank-you cards or emails matter to you? Is not sending a thank-you a deal breaker?
A well-written thank-you note can help to distinguish you from the competition; however, a poorly written thank-you note can cause more harm than good. A handwritten note is more authentic, but it won't necessarily get you the job.
is weekly series offering tips for getting a job at some of your favorite companies. Check back every Thursday for the latest interview.
Follow Heather on
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io