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Referee… Promotion Interviews & Advice
Andrew Castiglione
Founder of Ken Aston Referee Society

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" The harder you train, the harder it is to quit!!! "

Please find below some advice to Referees attending promotion interviews.
Members of AYSO, FA, FIFA, and USSF compiled this advice.


We may feel nervous even thinking about interviews. They are neither easy nor natural. We have to meet new people in unfamiliar surroundings to sell ourselves in what may be a competitive situation. However with good preparation and practice it is possible to perform well and do justice to our skills and experience.


‘Interviews can be lost or won in the very first moments of meeting. It is not only your words that count, but your whole sense of confidence, interest and enthusiasm.’

‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’

‘Any interviewer will tell you that the most common reason people fail interviews is that they haven’t prepared thoroughly.


You have overcome the first hurdle, being selected for interview – this is now your chance to convince the Interview Panel that you are the best applicant. A few things to consider are:

Get Organized

You will normally have a few days before the interview to get organized. Use the time profitably to inform and prepare yourself. It will help to reduce your nerves and prevent you from becoming tongue-tied. A candidate who looks and feels the part is more likely to impress the panel, as will a business-like and positive manner. Interviews can be a very nerve-wracking experience, but the panel expects candidates to be nervous and will make allowances for it.

Make certain you know:

- Where the interview will take place, the room and building.
- Where can you park or the location of nearest station
- How will you get there and how long will it take to travel
- The time of the interview and how long it will last

Get Ready

First impressions count. You do not have to wear new or expensive clothes, but make sure you have something smart, clean and simple which enables you to look clean and tidy. Smartness shows you have taken the trouble – second nature by now. Looking good will make you feel good, and that will boost your confidence in yourself.


You would be wise to carefully prepare and rehearse:

- A 60 second version of your career
- A 4 (one sheet of standard paper) to 5 minute version
- Why you should be accepted rather than the other candidates (what do you have to offer?).
- Relevant questions that you would wish to ask the board. It is considered that candidates show disinterest when they say No when asked if you have any questions. E.g. further training, what happens next


Do not be late or too early for interview, about 10 minutes early is acceptable for the Assessor and for you to settle your nerves. Do not go into the interview with Train departure times, parking meter (20 mins to go) on your mind, give yourself no worries. RELAX!!!

- Try to relax and be yourself. Breathing slowly and deeply before you go in can help.
- Listen carefully to the questions - don’t latch on to one word and assume you know what the Assessor is looking for. Remember to answer the question that is asked, you are reminded that there will normally be clues in the question.
- If you think they have asked that before, then they probably have and you did not answer it correctly.
- It is very important to give specific examples - do not waffle.
- Don’t be afraid to admit to mistakes but ensure you can show that you learned from the experience or managed to turn it around to your advantage.
- Don’t be afraid of silence. Sometimes you will need a few seconds to think through your answer before replying.
- Finally, remember that this is not the time to be modest – you must sell yourself and highlight your achievements.

Use the interview to SELL yourself, do not exaggerate, but make sure the Assessor is aware of your strengths and enthusiasm, above all be natural.

- When you enter, smile and shake hands positively – wait until you have been told to sit down, before taking up a comfortable sitting position, not hunched forward. Hold hands together on lap and do not tap or strum fingers/feet or fold arms. Do not be afraid to use your hands to amplify points but do not be a conductor.
- Do not be boisterous or laugh nervously – aim for quiet dignity, this is not a time for humor/jokes. Smile, look interested and maintain eye contact with all members of the panel, not just the one asking questions (80/20%).
- Do not be a ‘doormat’, but do not try and dominate.
- Be friendly but not familiar.
- Speech – avoid yes or no or one word answers. Watch the body language of the Assessor, this can often tell you whether you need to expand or shut up.
- Be prepared to state your opinion – it will be needed.

When coping with questions, make sure you answer them.

- Give as much relevant information as you can to each question – though do not be excessive, or too shallow.
- Be honest. Lies and exaggerations often come to light eventually. However, do not be so honest that you do yourself out of a job.
- If you are not asked about something that seems relevant and important to you, make sure you find the opportunity to say what you want you.
- What if they ask you a? You cannot answer? This should not arise; you confidence and research should ensure this would not happen. Doubt can cause you problems, be positive, on the field you give decisions – give the panel a decision.


Demonstrate some excitement or emotion; if you are really keen to be selected, too many candidates leave saying the same thing ‘ thank you for seeing me - I look forward to hearing from you’. The Assessor may have heard it several times already. Why not try

" I’ve really enjoyed the interview today and this role has real appeal for me" or

‘Selection represents a challenge that I have been waiting for, if you offer me the opportunity you will have my total commitment and enthusiasm’

However you must choose your own words. In other words ask for the promotion – a great technique and so few people use it. Most are keen to leave and escape with the minimum of words, poor body language leaving a BAD IMPRESSION.

After the interview

- Afterwards take some time to think about your performance – what went well/not so well.
- If you were not successful take note of the panels comments and consider how you can do better next time. You could also ask to discuss your performance with the Chairperson, but this should be done quickly as interviewers cannot be expected to remember your performance weeks afterwards.

Possible Areas for Discussion


Here you will be asked questions about your availability.

Remember the Assessor will probably know how many dates you have closed during the past couple of seasons. Don't try and make excuses - better to say that you have discussed the situation with your Family/Employer and that there won't be a problem in the future. This shows that you have given the matter some thought and that you are committed to furthering your career within Refereeing. What about your availability for midweek afternoon games? – You do not see a problem, your firm/employers have been involved and are aware of your new commitments and are very much on my side.


Here you will be asked questions about your communication

Remember that the Assessor will probably know details of games you have turned back, failed to close dates for, dealt with Correspondence correctly and within the prescribed time. They will also know how long it takes for you to answer correspondence. Again don't make excuses, be honest and say that you have learned from the experience and offer an example of how you aim to improve.

What you do if your car breaks down 10 mins into journey? When do you contact the Ref/Assistant Referee’s prior to the game, what information do you exchange?

Knowledge of the Laws of the Game

Here you will be asked questions to check your understanding of the Laws of the Game.

The members of the Panel will know the Laws of the Game inside out. Be careful not to waffle - Read your LOAF before you go. You may also be asked your opinion on a particular Law - be honest - if you have a strong opinion about a Law - voice that opinion, but be prepared to support your opinion with a reason why and possibly a well thought through alternative.

You may be asked about how you would deal with a situation - this is to check that you understand the Law. Make sure that you give a complete answer, not just say e.g. "I would give an indirect free kick" - give the reason why - would you consider taking any additional action, and if so, why? E.g. What do you understand about "Simulation" - it is not enough to say that it is "Diving" in order to gain a free kick. Explain what you understand about the Law, how you would deal with it. Can it be improved? What would you do if a player SO, gets changed and returns to the Technical Area? Would you be aware? Did you brief your Assistant Referees/4th Official?

Competition Rules

Here your knowledge of the Competition rules will be examined.

Do you know what is required at the next Level?

What are the reporting times? Are they’re any special rules concerning Safety etc.?? Do you have to lease with Security/Safety Officers etc. If so, when. What are you hoping to achieve by speaking to them? What questions do you think you need to ask to ensure that your Safety/that of the players is ensured? What do you need to include in your pre-match briefing? Is there any additional preparation for games required? If so, what do you think that might be? What things might you have to report to the Competition - when, and how?

Where do misconduct reports go? In the case of an Assistant Referee - what would you do if the Referee asked you to do something, which you know, were Contrary to Law? How would you approach this? As a Referee what would you do in this situation? How would you deal with it? Do you read all correspondence relating to Competition rules? Do you/have you attended any Training seminars? What did you learn? Has this helped you with your match control?


Here you will be asked questions about how you look after your Fitness

Do you know what is required by the Competition? How do you go about preparing yourself for a) match b) fitness tests etc.? What do you do to control your diet? What do you think about the Fitness tests? Do you have a Training plan?

Knowledge of and Opinions of Senior Officials - Planning, Preparation

Which Senior Match Officials do you know? What is your opinion of their performance?

What do you think their Strengths/Weaknesses are? What do you think their preparation for matches consists of? Do you think that they develop a match Strategy? What do you know about the strategies used? Have you heard about 10 minute Refereeing? What do you think that this means? What are your opinions of this type of Refereeing? Do you know of any other methods used by Senior Officials? What do you think are the main qualities that Senior Officials have?

AYSO, FA, FIFA, USSF Initiatives

I would be extremely surprised if the Assessor asked you questions relating to AYSO, FA, FIFA, USSF Initiatives, however, it is a remote possibility and you should be aware of them. Increased Training (In Service Training), Appointment of Regional Managers - do you know who your Regional Manager is? What is your opinion about the introduction of the Regional Managers? Do you understand their role? FAMOA - what do you know? Do you think it's a good idea? Introduction of Mentoring Schemes. Do you have a Mentor? Has this helped you? If so, how? Equality of Opportunity for all.


The above notes are an example of the areas that you may be asked questions about. It is intended to be a guide to, and not, an exhaustive list of the areas that you may face questioning in. You may well be confronted with questions relating to other areas!

Remember the Assessor should already know that you have the ability on the field. What they are looking for is for a Confident, well prepared, Organized official who is able to tackle any problem in a confident, calm manner. They will be looking for you to be proactive and to be able to back up decisions/answers with well thought out reasons.

Good luck to you all...................... 

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Page updated on... Monday, August 25, 2014 @ 22:49:39 -0700 PM-GMT
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