Your next hire could be a game-changer for your company, especially if they’re a former student-athlete.
Former student-athletes have developed skill-sets that fit perfectly into business. They’ve put their lives into their sports, and though they didn’t go on to be a professional player, they’re ready to become a young professional. If you’re a small startup or a large corporation, hiring ex-athletes can drastically help your team.
Let’s look at the numbers. There are approximately 460,000 NCAA student-athletes, boasting a graduation rate of 86 percent. Assuming half of all freshmen redshirt (don’t compete, and gain another year of eligibility), that leaves you with around 90,000 graduating student-athletes every year.
This is a serious talent pool of people who are ready to be molded into your next superstar team member. Here are seven reasons student-athletes make the best hires:
1. They can be leaders and team players.
The word that comes to mind is “versatility.” Athletes are comfortable working as a team player, working together towards a common goal.
With that being said, they’re also ready for their number to be called and step into a leadership role. Their unit/pod at work will be their new teammates and management will become their new coaches.
2. They are extremely coachable.
Athletes don’t make it through four or five grueling years of a collegiate sport without the ability to take coaching to heart. They’re continual learners, analyzing their past performances for points of improvement and they welcome criticism from their coaches.
This is no different in the professional setting; they will take coaching and seek constant improvement on their performance.
3. They are masters of time management.
Student-athletes spend 25-40 hours per week dedicated to their sport, and take on a full class load. It’s not uncommon for their days to start at 5:00 am and end at 9:00 pm, meaning they need to maximize their breaks between class/workouts to get as much study in as possible.
These skills will shine through in the office as an ex-athlete will know how to prioritize and squeeze the most out of the standard office day.
4. They perform under pressure.
Athletes are ready for the big moments. Chances are they’ve been in high-pressure situations multiple times throughout their lives and know how to act. If there’s a deadline coming up, guaranteed you’ll want an athlete on your team.
5. They know how to push themselves.
Athletes understand what it takes to achieve great results.
In 2013 I trained with Olympian hurdler, Sarah Wells. After the workout finished, I was feeling nauseous. I said to her, “I don’t feel so good, I think I may throw up. Do you ever throw up from working out?” She laughed and quickly replied to me, “I throw up regularly from workouts.”
Anyone who’s been close to this understands how hard you need to push yourself to come to physically throwing up from training. This epitomizes the mental strength and ability to push themselves that athletes possess. They’ll go above and beyond, time and time again.
6. They understand small improvements make huge differences.
You don’t get a six-pack after one sit up and you don’t become a successful company after one good work day. Athletes understand that by instilling great work habits and by making incremental improvements that things will improve over the long run.
This is the mentality you need to look for your hires, people who understand the long-term nature of business and also the urgency behind daily tasks.
7. They know how to bounce back from losses.
Athletes have serious grit. Their willingness to persevere through what others would deem insane is a great reason to have them on your team. If you have lost a key account, athletes will bounce back quickly and attack the next opportunity.
It’s coached into athletes from a young age to have short-term memories, not allowing wins or losses affect the way they approach preparation moving forward. This composure is something you should look for in all hires.