Ask A Recruiter - The Golden State Warriors
Career Services: What is your title and what you do with the with the Warriors?
Sergio Martinez: I'm the director of talent acquisition, so I work within the Human Resources department. Within talent acquisition it's about four or five of us, so a small team. We’re responsible for hiring all team members, whether they be part-time team members, full-time team members, or interns. And then on the full time team member side we're about 400 or so - that touches Golden State Warriors, Chase Center, Santa Cruz Warriors, and all our Esports teams. And so it's exciting because you know we're literally dealing from ball boys to executives.
Career Services: How would you recommend that someone gets their foot in the door with an organization like the Warriors?
Sergio Martinez: First is probably understanding that the Golden State Warriors are an employer, like any other organization - were a little bit different because of the brand recognition, where we're a household name and international household name with our partnerships like with Rakuten of Japan, but we are a business and we need accountants, sales people, marketing professionals, HR professionals. So to get your foot in the door there are actually lots of opportunities. We have a summer internship program that we hold nearly every summer across all departments. So whether you're interested in arena operations or finance, there's an opportunity for you. There's even a better chance of joining our organization through the part time team member avenue. We hire a lot more of those positions than we do for internships and that's a great way to see the front line of what it's like to work, literally, inside the arena, to work face to face with our guests and clients. A lot of full-time team members started on a part time basis or internship basis- all throughout the organization, we are very focused on promoting from within and giving opportunities whenever available. So, yeah, that's exciting. I would say if you're trying to get in look at internship updates, but also just throughout the year pick up a part-time job, because that is a great way to learn about the industry and work your way up.
Career Services: So what would you say is the most surprising or unexpected thing you've encountered with working for a major sports organization.
Sergio Martinez: I think that some frequent questions, regardless of organization and industry, that our recruiters are likely to ask, which seemed rather low level or kind of easy questions to answer are actually very telling. Regardless of whether it's a ball boy interview or an executive level interview, I think that a job seeker really has to be able to articulate why they're interested in this position. Why this company and why this industry. And, you know, it seems like everyone should have the answers to those questions, but it's surprising how frequently people actually blow their phone or on-site interview because they don't have a strong answer to that question. Because I guess the easy answer is “well it's the warriors like of course I’m interested” or “I like Steph Curry-Who wouldn't want to work for a championship organization?” It's okay for that to be part of the answer but if your answer stops there I feel like you've really blown an opportunity because it's your chance to, again, explain why this company makes sense for you. Why this position makes sense for you and why the industry. And I think for students that can be more difficult because maybe you don't have as much work experience, internships or relevant skills or stories to reference during your interviews, but yet still, you should be able to explain why this field or position. Why this company and why this industry.
Career Services: What would you say is the first thing that you notice when reviewing resumes, and how could applicants make their resumes better?
Sergio Martinez: Simple things like keep your resume as a PDF file because PDFs never change whatever software you're using. But if you're using text or a Word doc things can be altered where it looks like the formatting is altered or messed up when the truth is the program is not showing it accurately. But beyond that, you want to be clean, concise and, you know, don't get too creative or or fun. I think it’s important to kind of show your personality, but unless you are looking to go into a creative field, keep your resume clean and legible. You don't really need an avatar of your face, unless maybe you're creative like a graphic designer or something. There'll be other opportunities to show your personality once you work for a company. The one point that I try to stress to people is that your first resume does not have to be one page, but if you don't have a lot of work experience, you should consider whether you really need that second page or not. But you've got an 8.5x11” piece of paper and this is prime real estate for selling yourself so you want to provide just the right amount of information. You don't want to clog up every square inch with an image or words - just want to be concise and keep in mind that every word should be selling your experience.
Career Services: So if students don't have a lot of work experience to put on their resume what would be some suggestions that you would have for how they can gain additional experience in order to have their resume be competitive when they're applying for a job.
Sergio Martinez: I think when you have less experience you're trying to find out ways to fill up one page because you don't have too much to work with. But I think the first step is thinking about the experiences that you have to work with. We're looking for interns at the moment and this morning I was in a meeting regarding candidates for the HR internship and, you know, I guess, ideally, we could hire somebody who has lots of great HR experience because they either have a current job or internship in HR and that's great. You know, it means that they've already done the work or similar work. So they had an HR internship elsewhere, then they could be a good fit for the Warriors, too. But for interns and for entry level positions. you're not always hiring because somebody's already done it. Maybe the job you're hiring for is their first opportunity to do this type of work. So how do we make hiring decisions on that? You could mention coursework. You could mention the other jobs that you have. Maybe you haven't had HR work experience but you mentioned that job that you've had in customer service at a box chain store or at a cafe and maybe that doesn't appear to be related to HR, but it's an opportunity to show that you've maintained a job. You've had some success there, you're used to dealing with people and working with the public, which is a great skill that's not only important for HR, but for a lot of roles. And so I think it's knowing how to present the work experience that you do have to make it appealing for the company and role that you're applying to. But even beyond employment, what kind of social organizations are you part of: a community organization, a religious organization, a volunteer organization. How much time have you spent doing that? What's the time commitment? What have you learned there? What have you accomplished? Those things are also important, so I think for companies that are hiring entry level positions is not just what relevant work have they done or work that's you can easily tell is relevant, but the personality of the candidate, like what what they do outside of work outside of class that makes them like a more enriching person because you want to hire employees that also, are people that don't just go to work and go home. But they have other goals that they're working towards.
Career Services: If you were able to give yourself advice when you were starting your own career what's some advice that you wish you had received?
Sergio Martinez: I get the impression that a lot of students these days have a lot more resources and a lot and are a lot better prepared than I was. There were resources, but I wasn't aware of them. I didn't take advantage of them. And this is about these simple things about a resume: knowing how to put a resume together or knowing the importance of a cover letter and cover letters can be very important, but at the same time I like to keep it short and concise. It's important to tailor it to the job and company that you're applying to. For the type of work that I've been in cover letters are most important for people that are earlier on in their career. So just knowing that a cover letter should be short and concise and knowing that when you go into an interview using the experience that you have and really gearing it towards the job that you're applying for. HR recruiting is hot on my mind because this is the work that I do and I had a meeting this morning regarding interview candidates and the best answers that we got from those intern candidates were ones that were making reference to the work experience they had, whether it be in customer service education or in a few instances HR. Just thinking back on all the tons of jobs that I applied to when I was younger and how I didn't really tailor it and really have a direction. I just wanted a job. I wanted to learn anything. And a lot of students are like that. Well, I'm gonna get my foot in the door and I want to learn anything. It can be marketing, it can be finance and I get that, but your answer really needs to be this is the position for me because this is what I'm interested in. And this is the work experience that I have, you know, just being honest and open up like I just want to learn. That's true. But WHY DO YOU WANT TO LEARN FINANCE versus HR. Be more specific, and if you can do that you're going to stand out more because especially at that age there's a lot of people that are just like, I don't know I'm open.
Career Services: Any final advice for our students?
Sergio Martinez: Working in sports is not only for diehard sports fans. I mentioned that in many ways it is a business like any other. We are in need of smart, creative professionals from all walks of life and who study all different types of fields. I think that having a passion for sports or basketball can help in terms of an employee's own personal engagement. I admittedly am not the biggest sports fan. In fact soccer is my favorite sport, not basketball. But what drew me to the Warriors was there were two sides of it. There was the professional side of being able to recruit for such a wide variety of positions at all different levels and the huge task of opening Chase Center and everything that was involved in the preparation and execution of that overall recruiting strategy - that was appealing. But what I was drawn to about the company was the company culture of giving back. So aside from having a popular and successful basketball team, what's really appealing to me is all the great stuff that we do off the court as well in the community. We have a lot of programs throughout the Bay Area focused on early childhood education and health. And so, as an employee we’re highly encouraged and expected to partake in these volunteer opportunities that happen several times throughout the month with our corporate partners. So I think that it's important to find a role or a company that not only has the type of job that you're looking for, but also one that has values that align with your own personal values because you're just going to find your work experience more enriching when you have that commonality. It's all fun to go to a game and share tickets with friends and family, but also knowing that it's more than basketball and that we're doing. We're trying to make the communities where our fans live better places to live. That's what is really appealing to me.