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MAR 16, 2020 • 5 min read
Recently, one of the world’s leading progressive business media brands, Fast Company, published a series of articles on the college campus recruitment practices of top international companies. The articles, which outlined the competitive process of top-end recruitment, found an interesting pattern in the ‘drafting’ process - that the students they were really looking for, were nowhere to be found.
Spread out over the campus during these high-powered recruitment drives are the student athletes; doing laps in the pool, running miles on the cross country track, rowing on the river or executing basketball drills in the gym. These students were so busy that many of them failed to attend the recruitment events - understanding the commitment they had made as student athletes, was one to be honoured and preserved.
It is these soon-to-be graduates that have become the cream of the crop for progressive companies looking for young people with skill sets crafted both in the classroom and on the sporting field. In an increasingly competitive business world, smart companies are recognising the value of the hard-earned personality traits these athletes have developed over the course of their dedication to performance.
So why exactly are student athletes attracting corporate attention and what are the transferable traits that are setting them above their singularly academic peers? Here’s are some of the reasons why athletes are being identified as ideal company employees:
Failure is not the end of the world to student athletes - in fact many of them realise it is just another stepping stone to success. This kind of resilience sets them aside as businesses seek employees who can ride out the tough times and use failure as motivation to improve.
More and more corporate recruiters are looking for young people who understand how to both take control and be effective followers. Athletes understand the importance of being part of a team. They know how to work towards a common goal and take individual initiative with an eye to supporting the ‘group’.
Simply put, they know how to win. Most successful college athlete recruits have been working at their sport since childhood and have developed a strong inherent understanding of - not just the physical - but the psychological mindset of ‘achievement’. This kind of focus is what companies are looking for - employees who can ‘ignore the noise’ and see a clear path to success.
Years of juggling class, study and exams with training, competitions and travel have seen athletes develop strong time management and organisational skills. For corporate recruiters, this translates to employees who use their time wisely, who perform well under stress and meet all required deadlines.
Years of communicating effectively with coaches has seen athletes appreciate the benefits of constructive criticism. They understand the importance of effective communication and thrive on clear expectations.
Since childhood athletes have had to ‘work around’ their sporting obligations - they have done homework in between races and studied all weekend to compensate for after-school training. Businesses are forever seeking employees who face problems rather than avoiding them - workers with a no-fuss attitude who get things done.
Being a part of a team - often made up of different personality types - athletes are skilled in the art of diplomacy. They have great experience in negotiating group dynamics with an eye to that common objective.
An athlete understands the value of different backgrounds, talents and skills and how the combination of such assets results in positive outcomes for all. They learn from an early age that success is not a ‘me’ thing, but a ‘we’ thing.
Athletes grow up appreciating the talents and dedication of other athletes who have gone before them. They have respect for those who excelled at their chosen sport and ‘paved’ the way for younger athletes to follow. Corporations want employees who value experience and authority - workers who want to learn from senior employees and appreciate the wisdom of experience.
As team members who bring their own set of skills to the whole, athletes are aware of their own contribution and how it compliments the contributions of others. For corporate recruiters, this form of self-awareness doesn’t equate to ego, but rather an understanding of how you ‘fit’ into the overall company culture. Companies want employees who are aware of their own individual strengths and weakness - and how they can adapt to a broader workplace to make the greatest contribution possible.
This blog was written by Kim Scott, a parent of a Crimson Education student who has recieved offers to schools such as Stanford and Princeton.