Currently I am applying for job of an IT professional as a fresher.So I wanted to know if I can take my sports activities(I have played basketball at state level) as my strengths as I don't know how that'll be helpful for job I'm applying for. Moreover I wanted to know what are the counter questions I should be prepared for.
I do believe that mentioning your participation in basketball may be beneficial to your application, this would be dependent on the position you're applying for, the company culture and the interviewer(s)' biases.
If you're applying for a position where you'd be functioning as part of a team, having played basketball (especially at a state level) would indicate that you're able to work, co-ordinate and function as part of a team.
Playing a competitive sport also indicates that you've got a go-getter attitude, would give the impression that you're not lazy and also that you lead an active and healthy lifestyle (people tend to associate sportsmen / women with physically healthy traits).
In terms of counter questions, you can expect something along the lines of:
- How did you handle any losses?
- Which position did you play?
- Did you ever get into a physical altercation whilst playing?
- Why did you stop playing?
The list could go on, but in all likeliness the interviewer(s) may not pay too much attention further than noting down that you'd played a sport.
I wanted to know what are the counter questions I should be prepared for.
If they ask you your strengths and you say something like "I have played basketball at state level", there are some obvious questions that could come up:
- What about basketball qualifies you to be an IT professional?
- How do you see your strength in basketball being an asset as an IT fresher?
- Do you have any strengths directly related to IT?
- Basketball is very physical, where this IT position is not. How will you deal with that?
Be prepared to show a direct connection between whatever you learned playing basketball and whatever you imagine you'll need to do in IT.
Frankly, I think there is at best a very weak connection. But if you choose to go this route, make sure you can clearly articulate the connection and why it makes you more qualified for this IT position over those who didn't play basketball.
And hopefully basketball isn't the only strength you mention, nor the most important.
Most definitely, yes. I mention my sport(I do martial arts and compete at highest amateur level) in interviews for two reasons: first, competing in any sport at elite, senior level shows you are committed to goals, you are efficient with your time and you are, well, a winner. Plus, soft skills - as mentioned in a comment here - would be a positive point at least in team sports.
If you plan on competing during your potentially new job, it's also important to mention depending on the sport. I straight up asked if they had a problem with me turning up Monday morning with a black eye. Not that it'll happen every Monday morning, but as I compete on weekends, it is a possibility(albeit surprisingly small, compared to what people think about martial arts). This is to eliminate any surprises from either side. With basketball, the probability of getting hurt - i am guessing - is quite smaller, but still a higher risk than if they hired a couch potato whose physical activity is non-existent, right?
IT/Software is in my mind 80% mentality: If you aren't persistent and keep going, you are not going to do well in the IT/Software industry. Having a competitive mindset from sports would be a plus if I were to hire someone.
So TL;DR: It's good for two reasons. 1.) Showcasing your commitment and soft skills. And 2.) Managing expectations if you choose to do the sport while working.
"Being good at basketball" is highly unlikely to be perceived as a strength that they are interested in. Instead, it shows that you are a well-rounded individual, and it can provide evidence of more relevant strengths.
I work in IT, and have found that interviews often start with a question such as "Tell us about yourself". This is an ideal opportunity to mention the basketball, provided that it is not the only thing you talk about - you need to make sure that your interest in IT takes centre stage.
The relevant strengths might include team work, dealing with pressure, and determination. If you get a direct question on any of these topics, you can refer to your basketball experience as evidence. If you get asked what your strengths are, then you can pick one of these, again based on your basketball experience. Try to use a range of examples over the course of the interview though - if you only talk about basketball then you start to look a bit one-dimensional.