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.

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    In my view - sport should probably have trained your soft skills like team work and discipline. Please take this comment just as an opinion it really depends on the interviewer, position and many other factors. But I think you may need to explain how in your view basketball have helped you for the position you are applying (team play, discipline and so on). Still - make sure not to stress too much on it as you are applying for an IT job. Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 7:14
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    Maybe if the company has a basketball team in their social club, otherwise who cares?
    – Kilisi
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 13:40

4 Answers 4


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'm applying as a fresher so kind of tensed about every cross question. Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 7:22
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    Just be yourself, stay calm and know that playing at a state level is something to be proud of. I hope everything works out in your favour.
    – Moose
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 7:24

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.

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    This is a great answer. I could also add that, as an interviewer, when asking about strengths for the job, and receiving an answer about sports, my outer response would be "Ok, interesting, tell me how that applies to IT." But my inner response would be, "That's all you could come up with?" Unless elsewhere in the interview you can show me you're qualified for the job, the sports mention, with nothing else, would actually hurt your chances.
    – Kent A.
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 13:50

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.

  • Basketball - you wouldn't want your face to connect with a jumper's flying elbow as they are going back down to Earth. Basketball has its (small) share of fatalities. Martial arts is safer - just don't engage in professional boxing. Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 10:49
  • Pro boxing/mma, I agree, but I'm an amateur boxer and in competition we don't use head guards either. Gloves are larger than in pro boxing, thus safer, but black eyes and cuts from head clashes is fairly normal
    – cbll
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 11:20
  • In terms of rate of fatalities, MMA is safer than basketball, and basketball in turn is safer than pro boxing. It's all about rules and I understand that MMA has the stiffest rules of engagement of any contact sport. Plus, those who engage their MMA have conditioned their bodies to take punishment. It's possible yoga is less safe than MMA - after all, you have people who don't condition themselves launching themselves into all sorts of intricate positions :) Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 11:26
  • I get your point. Also MMA fights are usually stopped quite fast due to the smaller gloves(solid punch=you're going down), whereas boxing can go on forever. Anyhow. We're on a different track here :)
    – cbll
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 11:38
  • +1 for informing them of active involvement and the potential to clash with work expectations. In my case it was the chance of short-notice unavailability for a week, but I took almost zero other time off, so they were okay to accommodate.
    – user53718
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 20:24

"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.

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