This Forbes Magazine about the favorable attributes of athletes as candidates was shared by a fellow cyclist/runner.
We can’t deny an athlete’s desirable characteristics, including being goal oriented, tenacious, and team oriented.
However, I would suspect there many other professionals with similar descriptions who make excellent candidates. The head of a university’s student council may also demonstrate goal orientation and team work, ALONG with people skills, political sensibility, and communications skills. The editor or head of sales at a college newspaper may be exceptional at working under pressure. A more experienced professional who also dedicates her evenings and weekends to running a charity, girl scout troop, conversation committee, etc.., is demonstrating organization and communication skills, energy, and passion. There are countless other examples.
What if a candidate has a physical ailment that prevents them (or prevented them) from participating in athletics? He or she may allocate their energy to other worthwhile endeavors and excel in the process.
As a father of athletes involved in team sports, and an avid cyclist (who occasionally competes), my initial reaction to this article was “Absolutely, dead on!”, particularly because Xtra Effort as a recruiting firm does see many high quality candidates who are (or had been) athletes. BUT, we have also seen outstanding athletes who ultimately make lousy candidates/employees because their energy and passion are consumed by their current sport and work becomes a necessary evil.
Employers may not want a team with half its members high fiving each other and achieving, while the other half is nodding off and drooling at 2 PM, checking their Strava results all day, or reviewing their 2002 highlight films.
Xtra Effort would suggest employers consider a candidate’s athletic interest to be positive, but to focus on finding candidates with core attributes: team work, passion, goal orientations, etc., however and wherever they manifest. The result will be an expanded pool of candidates with diverse backgrounds and sensibilities, and the achievement of critical business objectives.