Why Hire Student-Athletes

We constantly read about employers struggling to find “right-fit” candidates. Those with the skills they need while also complaining that new hires aren’t “up to the job.” Most of that is an issue with the ancient “post-and-pray” hiring process still used by many employers, resulting in an overwhelming number applications from unfit candidates. Many entry-level hires do possess the soft skills employers want and need. Employers just need the tools to proactively recruit students from the right talent pools.

College athletic programs are one of the best places to recruit more diverse candidates for entry-level roles. Here are ten transferable skills that separate student-athletes from the competition:

Leadership: One of the most obvious reasons to hire student-athletes is that they immediately help build your leadership talent pipeline with future managers who already have experience as team captains. While not all student-athletes have been captains for their college teams, they likely were in high school.

Teamwork: Similarly, student-athletes have invaluable experience working on teams with people from various backgrounds, personalities and skillsets. Again, yes, not all student-athletes are members of team sports, but most still practice, train, and learn from peers in one way or another.

Coachability: Even solo sport athletes have coaches. To excel at their sport and compete at the collegiate level, they had to be coachable. This is a skill that’s hard to teach a 20-something if they didn’t start at a younger age, but it’s critical to building your own team of talented individuals that can grow along with your business.

Mental Toughness: You can’t succeed in sports without being mentally tough and learning how to get back up after you fall/fail. Nobody’s perfect. The best employees learn from their mistakes and improve as a result. It’s an important trait for any role, but being able to deal with a “No” is a characteristic that’s critically important for sales and business development positions.

Ability to Handle Pressure: There’s nothing like standing on a free throw line with zeroes on the clock, putting for the win on the 18th hole, or kicking a potential game-winning field goal with seconds left on the clock. Each sport has it’s pressure-packed moments, and it’s an experience you can’t teach in a classroom.

Goal Oriented: Whether it’s OKRs, KPIs, 4DX, or some other business 101 book, everyone agrees that goals are critical to achieving access. Creating goals is a totally different exercise than simply tracking and achieving them. Student-athletes are continuously defining goals and putting in the necessary work to exceed them.

Work Ethic: Especially in our virtual world today, you need employees who have the ability to work remotely while also meeting performance expectations. Student-athletes are driven to succeed, and many have a natural drive to identify problems and work towards the solution.

Adaptability: Things don’t always go as planned. If the last year-and-a-half taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared to pivot and think differently. Student-athletes practice this daily and therefor already have the critical thinking skills and mindset to be able to do this in real-world situations.

Time Management: Being a student-athlete isn’t easy. Balancing their school, sport, and social life requires great structure and discipline.  Student-athletes are taught through experience the importance of managing their time and energy.

Effective Communicators: Regardless of sport or career, communication is essential for success.  Student-athletes, whether on the field or off, are constantly developing their ability to communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.

Need help finding right-fit talent for your open jobs and internships? Contact us or register for our next GradLeaders Athletics Virtual Career Fair today!