Employers want to hire former athletes, athletes understand teamwork, leadership, and posses certain qualities that non athletes might not. A survey of CEOs found that 100 percent of employees would be more likely to hire a student athlete than a non student athlete. and 60% would hire a student athlete with a lower grade point average than a non student athlete with an A average.
The excerpt from Athletes Wanted below talks more about this
“Athletes have to possess a certain level of competitiveness or they would not advance to a collegiate level,” said Howie Jacobson who, along with his partner Ross Lerner, founded Athletes to Business, an organization that connects student-athletes with employers in the business sector. “Employers want competitiveness. They also want organizational skills, and athletes would not get through college if they could not manage classes, games, homework, and practice schedules.” Jacobson said that his corporate clients are attracted to the idea of hiring student-athletes because they are results-oriented. “Athletes always walk onto the field with a result in mind, whether it be winning the game, season, conference, or championship,” agreed Lerner. “And almost all athletes have bounced back from some sort of adversity or defeat, so they are considered a resilient bunch, and employers like that.” “I learned a lot more on basketball courts than in classrooms,” said Duncan, a Harvard graduate who was co-captain of his basketball team. “I learned so many life lessons and values that transferred later in life: hard work, loyalty, teamwork, and all of those things that have been instrumental in my work outside the athletic field.” The networks Duncan has built have stayed with him, and Strasman, Wellhoefer, Carroll, Petranek, and everyone else interviewed, echoed this sentiment. Michel Balasis, the head of visual communications at Loyola University and a former kicker from Michigan State University, said the notoriety of being an athlete, and the subsequent client base he was able to secure, allowed him to start a business as a graphic designer before he even graduated. Bridget Venturi-Veenema, the 1990 American Gladiator champion, traveled to Holland, Belgium, France, Japan, Canada, and Taiwan, building a network of amazing people along the way. Strasman was recently a bridesmaid for a woman she first met through sports when she was twelve years old. “My network of friends includes a lot of former collegiate athletes,” confirmed Duncan. “We have a bond and a camaraderie that would be hard to form in a chemistry lab or math class.” “You can take all the English classes in the world, and you are never going to learn the social skills or build the networks that an athlete builds,” agreed Bob Chmiel, former football coach at Notre Dame, Michigan, and Northwestern, who added that athletes fly together, eat together practice, together, and socialize together. “From an employer’s perspective, the ability to get along with just about anyone is a very attractive trait,” Chmiel said. Duncan agreed, saying that a candidate’s athletic experience is “absolutely a factor” when it comes to hiring. “I know that former student-athletes often have leadership skills that others do not have. They have the ability to get along with folks who are different from them, and they have a work ethic that is pretty remarkable,”said Duncan.A fifty-hour work-week is a piece of cake for a student-athlete accustomed to spending seventy hours a week training, attending classes,studying, and competing in games. Larry Wert, president of NBC Local Media, Central and Western Regions, echoed this sentiment. A high school and collegiate swimmer and diver, Wert said that goal-setting and discipline are themes that have spilled into his personal and professional life. All the training and competitions contributed to his identity and self-confidence, giving him a healthy paradigm to live inside during his formative years. And before Wert’s résumé expanded to include titles such as sales manager, general manager, senior vice president, and president, his background gave potential employers two bits of information they could assume from his involvement in sports: He was competitive, and he was disciplined. These job skills landed him a job in advertising sales, a rung on the ladder to his eventual job as president of NBC Local Media, Central and Western Regions.“If you want to be successful in sports, you have to be committed. Youhave to be committed to nutrition, to educational studies, and to everything else that goes into the sport. You have to be committed to having successful life habits,” said Augie Maurelli, the director of strength and conditioning at Georgetown University.
The idea of athletes being more desirable employees wasn’t invented by NCSA, there have been several articles written throughout the years about athletics translating well in the work place and the life lessons of sports instilling characteristics that employers want to see from their employees. Check out Forbes most recent article on this topic below
Why You Should Fill Your Company With Athletes
At our company, we work to fill our roster with “athletes.” I don’t mean this necessarily in the physical sense, although it turns out that quite a few of our members are literal athletes – we have a national-class triathlete, I have a personal interest in competitive and recreational bodybuilding, and there are multiple marathoners, bikers, soccer, and basketball players, CrossFit enthusiasts, etc. on staff. We also have a companywide interest in health and fitness, which we call “Fishbowl FIT.” But when I advise people to seek and hire athletes, what I am really referring to is the athlete traits (akin to leadership traits) that make any individual an exceptional hire.
The traits of athletes we desire are as follows:
1. They have the drive to practice a task rigorously, relentlessly, and even in the midst of failure until they succeed. Athletes are tenacious—they seldom or never give up. They also have a strong work ethic and the ability to respect and deal with the inevitable issues of temporary pain (along with the intuition to know when the cause of the pain is an issue too serious to safely ignore.)
2. Athletes achieve their goals. If one avenue is blocked, they find another path to success. If their physical strength has given out, they learn to work smarter, not harder. As they learn to become more effective they become more efficient.
3. Athletes develop new skills. Even though an athlete is highly specialized at certain skills, such as speed, blocking, or hand-eye coordination, they are also good at adapting to scenarios that call for cross-functional skills.
4. Athletes are exceptional entrepreneurs. As you consider new hires, you will likely discover that business athletes are often former (or current) entrepreneurs. Whereas people from large corporate environments may tend to be specialized in their skills and single-minded in their objectives, a business athlete is equipped to see the bigger vision of all that goes into making a company thrive. They can think strategically and are tuned in to the “big picture” and the long-term goals. They also know how to put the strategy into action.
5. Athletes strive for balance. Too much junk food and too little sleep will not contribute to a healthy company or a winning performance. Their bodies must be strong and in good condition, so athletes understand that they can’t cheat the system for long and expect positive results. A true business athlete will respect the laws of balance in energy, health, sleep, and nutrition (as well as the business corollaries) that will allow them to succeed and to do so not only in the present but for the long term as well.
6. Athletes work well with partners and in teams. Athletes know how to leverage the unique and complementary strengths of each member of their team. They know that cutting down a teammate or disrespecting a partner will only contribute to an organization’s demise. In fact, an athlete will typically put the needs of the team or a partner on equal par or even ahead of their own needs. How do you find and hire these athletes? Consider the questions you ask in interviews about outside projects, other interests, community service, the ability to focus on pet tasks, and the concepts of teamwork. And, as always, be keen to the ways you can recognize and hire for propensity instead of for current demonstrable traits. Many of my own strongest players have never previously excelled at a physical sport. They never knew they were athletes. That’s an important aspect of hiring athletes: The world’s best athletes are not necessarily discovered; they are trained.
How are you finding, fostering, and training the champion athletes on your own business team? Everyone deserves the opportunity to discover the “athlete” within themselves.