January 23, 2023

The Hirewell Hot Corner: Why Do People Love Hiring Athletes?


Episode Highlights

Athletic Success Translating to Professional Success


Show Your Results


Highlighting Drive and Work Ethic as a Non-Athlete


Resume Tips for Highlighting the Intangibles


How Do Hiring Managers Find and Hire People With These Traits?


You Can’t Train These Intangibles


Two-Minute Drill: What Can You Control?


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In this week’s episode, Dan and Louie dive into the topic of “Why do people love hiring athletes?”. This topic brings both sports and recruiting as close as we have gotten before and we bring to the forefront the attributes most athletes possess and why those attributes are a telling factor of success and desirable to potential employers. We also highlight that NOT ONLY athletes have these traits, but how folks without an athletic background can demonstrate them as well.

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to the Hirewell Hot Corner, where sports and recruitment meet. Been a little while since we’ve done this back again after the new year, but as always, I am your host, Dan Spittel, joined as always by my co-host Louie Morici. Louie, great to see you again. Hope you had a great holiday season and new year.

Let’s jump right in. What’s going on in your world, and in the world of sports today? My world? Yeah, since the last time we spoke, celebrated Christmas, New Year’s, got engaged, bought a house. So it’s been a busy last couple month and a half or so, if you want to put it that way. I love celebrating the Louis wins at the beginning of every episode.

It’s a good way to do it. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, not much from a Chicago sports standpoint, so I got to celebrate the personal wins, right? From a Pittsburgh-er, I can agree with you right now. It’s a weird thing not having the Steelers in the playoffs. The Pirates just resigned Andrew McCutchen That’s fun.

But in the world of actual sports, you know, the NFL playoffs are going on and you and I do not have much stake in it at all. So, kind of fun to watch from an outside perspective. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I mean, I haven’t had any Playoff aspirations pretty much since week three of this year, maybe week four.

But with you, I know that the Steelers made a big push. But yeah, I mean, we saw Tom Brady unfortunately get knocked out. I like watching greatness. I know that’s probably not something that you’re too fond of, being a Steelers fan, but yeah. I mean, just kind of uncertainty around that.

But we got the Bills and we got the Chiefs and the Bengals who are going to be duking it out, in that regard. So we’ll see how that plays out. That’ll be entertaining. Some disrespect to Trevor Lawrence with that statement, but that amazing comeback was, quite impressive last week by them. Tom Brady, yeah he plagued us for a number of years, in New England. Don’t mind him as much in Tampa. Kind of a different Tom Brady, if you will. But what’s he going to do next? We really don’t know. Brady could retire after this season. Focus on his personal life, move on to something new.

Who knows what Brady’s going to do next. He could get into coaching, maybe. Obviously there’s a lot of talk that he could become an analyst, a broadcaster .But I mean, who in their right mind wouldn’t want to hire Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of all time in NFL history? Yeah. Yeah. I’m sure he’s qualified for a lot of roles that are about football analysts. I think he signed like a 10 million a year contract with Fox already or something. And that starts whenever he decides to retire, which I don’t know if that’s going to happen just yet, but I actually think this is a perfect way to kind of segue into to this week’s topic. And it’s really about skill sets that people find desirable in a lot of different roles.

And why athletes tend to possess those. Not to say they’re the only ones that do, and not to say that all athletes possess them, but just kind of dive in a little bit further about some of those skill sets that really transfer well into more of the professional business environment outside of athletics. Sure.

In a hypothetical world where TB 12 puts his resume out on LinkedIn to go find another job, I’m thinking there are thousands of companies who are reaching out to him. Many people, probably half of our company would be on his LinkedIn messages, but I think it comes down to his work ethic.

His training regimen, you talk about it all the time. He was a sixth round pick of college. He was no physical specimen. He didn’t have a crazy, great arm. Wasn’t a great runner. Wasn’t this big, strong, durable guy. At the end of the day, he is going to go down as probably the greatest of all time.

And I imagine he’ll hold on to a lot of those records for a long time. So a true testament to his routine, his work ethic and his determination. All things that hiring managers, companies are really looking for in terms of people to bring into their company. And I think that’s why as recruiters, we hear a lot about, when you talk about the ideal candidate, a lot of people tend to look at college athletes, high school athletes, professional athletes for roles in their company.

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I mean, we’ve seen deliberate pushes by some pretty big companies like Enterprise Rent-A-Car. I know that they’ve put commercials out that specifically mentioned targeting college athletes. There’s a certain assumption, granted it’s a generality, but hardworking team player, driven, like these are all the attributes that you would think someone who has had to manage a school load mixed with a team and a sport load. That’s not easy to juggle and you would most likely have to possess those traits in order to be successful in those. So I understand their initiative. And they talk about this is a great way to build a career, to management, you can lead people.

It’s pretty clear why that, that assumption and that segue is made because I think it finds itself to be true more times than it doesn’t. And I think you specifically see it a lot given your role in sales recruiting, more than any other specific industry. That’s probably because of the goal setting, the hardworking, the 5 AMs, the two-a-days, just that goal of success and constant drive in order to hit those goals and be successful in their craft.

If you want to speak to anything different than that. Yeah, I think sales, it’s probably more present. Those skill traits are needed. Overcoming adversity, that’s something that most athletes have gone through, whether it’s getting cut from a team or a tough loss, like how you bounce back. In sales, one day you could make 50, 60 calls a day, not speak to a person. But if you let that affect you the next day, then you’re not going to produce, you got to come back. It’s how you approach it. It’s the homework that you’re going to do on maybe why you didn’t talk to anyone or why you didn’t sell anything.

And it’s being relentless. And again, just kind of stemming back to a lot of traits that athletes have. I was a college athlete myself. I can speak from personal experience that a lot of those traits, the work management, the load management, and how to thrive in an environment that is uncertain. Your work ethic dictates how much you make in sales.

Absolutely. Even in our types of recruiting. So I think it has definitely a lot of segue and again, can speak to it personally. Sure. Not everyone in the world is an athlete. We know that there’s a very small portion of people who do get to play a college sport at a D one, D two, D three level.

Obviously even fewer make it to a professional setting for their sport. So this is not us saying you need to be an athlete to have these traits. What are other ways that people can show off that they have this work ethic, that they have these levels of determination and focus to meet similar goals?

I think, I mean, a lot of it is kind of proof is in the pudding. Like if you are already in a sales role and you’re not an athlete, like how do you show these types of traits? Track record is success. If your quota is 1.2 million, you’re hitting 1.5, you know that doesn’t come easy. That’s not luck.

Like that takes determination, work, and not being satisfied. You close one deal, you don’t just sit back and wait. And maybe in a couple weeks to get back to work, to close another, you’re back out there right away. So that relentlessness, that drive. In most jobs if you have a quota or a goal and you’re exceeding it, will probably give folks the notion that you are a person with drive with plans for your future and how to grow.

And so showing the results. The end work comes with that though. For sure. I love how you tied it into your type of work, the people that you’re working with on a daily basis and your background as a college athlete. Me, on the other hand, I was not an athlete in college. My sports days ended outside of intramurals in high school.

But there are things that I was able to do and I did in my time in college and beyond that, I would say kind of mirror the same and similar traits that you get from those college athletes. I have two degrees. I got a bachelor’s degree. I went and got a master’s degree after the fact.

That in itself, which a testament to college athletes as well, that they can balance being an athlete and getting their degree is, you know, I think a lot of times we take education for granted. And these degrees are not easy to attain. If they were, everyone would have them. Now we’re getting to a point where more people have bachelor’s degrees, but the percentage is still low enough that it’s a real accomplishment.

Past that, you got to look at other things that people were doing in high school, in college. You know, community involvement is big. Extracurricular organizations, community service. Just different ways that you got involved and made a name for yourself. And this sounds a lot like resume building, but really what we’re trying to talk about is, if you’re an athlete that shows up on your resume.

When people are looking at your resume for jobs, they see that. They know what that means. So then, how do we, if we’re not a college athlete or if we’re not a professional athlete, how do we convey our resume that these similar traits and I think these other additional pieces, extracurriculars, that people can do, really highlight in similar, in same ways.

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Like the education, community involvement, shows that you don’t just go to work, collect a paycheck, go home and don’t do anything else. Like you want to be involved, you’re active, given back to the community. All these things show that drive to not only be a better employee, but just overall a more well-rounded person.

I think that kind of tends to the point to that. It’s a way to build your resume out, show that you have those traits. If you’ve gone to college, if you’ve been an athlete, one or the other, like you’ve been in group projects, that’s teamwork. That’s delegation.

You’ve been able to highlight a lot of these. Granted, you’re probably not going to be like “Hey, I did a four person team project in my one course.” Probably not going to put that on your resume, but those types of skills. Maybe talk about a professional project you worked on, or what it took to overcome maybe a client that was an issue.

I think a lot of it does come back to if you get the chance to meet with a person who’s looking to hire someone, or if you’re interviewing, being able to tell that story. I think that will go a long way. It’s not always easy to put a story on a resume. Sure. I like how we always wrap around different themes of previous episodes.

I know one was very focused on telling your story and painting that picture. I like what you’re doing with the resume. I want to stay there for a second because we talk about how you can feature yourself on your resume before even having a chance to meet with people. But as you mentioned, you’re not going to put every little project in detail on your resume.

No one’s going to look at any 10 page resume with no information on it, but at the same time, you got to go past, “I have a degree in this. I was an athlete on this team.” Inherently there’s some idea of what that looks like, but it’s important to find the right ways to convey those on a resume. From your experience as a sales recruiter, what type of results based information or successes do you usually steer your candidates towards inputting on their resume? Numbers. First and foremost, I mean, quota, sales cycle, percentage to quota, average deal size. Those really tend to align. If you’re talking millions of dollars when it comes to a deal, normally that’s six to 12 months. If you’re a hundred percent plus to quota, that shows not only can you close, can you get the job done, are you driven, but from an individual deal standpoint, that’s a lot of diligence to handle over a six to 12 month period to close one deal.

So these are the underlying connotations that come with those numbers. It’s not just like, yes, they can write numbers on their resume. Yes, they can work in this space, but this is what recruiters, and this is what clients and employers look at. And they kind of assume a lot of this stuff based on those numbers.

So that is why they’re super important, especially in the sales side of things. Absolutely. Outside of the sales end, I would say there are ways to construe success and these results without having set numbers. So from a project based standpoint, Talk about a key project that you were involved in, that you led that saw major results. If you were a part in expanding teams, improving or changing processes within a company.

With consultants in the current firm that I’m working with. Talk about the clients, the projects you’ve been on previously, the experiences you bring to the table outside of just years of experience and key words in your resume that fit the system or that you’re looking to get into. Exactly.

Awesome. Now we’ve talked about candidates. Let’s look at it more on the employer side. You mentioned the enterprises of the world who are looking at college athletes. I know I’ve heard it, I know you’ve heard it, that hiring managers have this ideal candidate picture in their mind.

From a hiring manager’s standpoint we talked about what someone can do on their resume. What can a hiring manager do? What can a company do to improve their chances of matching up somebody who has these traits or results? Maybe they’re an athlete, maybe they’re not. I think it really comes down to the job itself.

If you understand a job that there’s rejection, that there’s going to be pushback, there’s going to be a lot of obstacles. And a lot of things that are almost out of their control. I think these traits make up a person who can overcome that. Where if it’s a clean cut process, maybe finance and accounting type role where crunching numbers, there’s no pushback from other people.

It’s really just doing the work. There’s the role itself. And I think that’s kind of what I’m getting back to is it really is about understanding the traits of the person who can have success in this role, and if it fits that mold well, maybe athletes or maybe not athletes, but these are the skillsets that I think would fit that role best.

Absolutely. In certain times there are jobs where there’s a very strict requirement of things they need, which you can’t go past that and avoid that, if you need those things. But a lot of times, especially, again, I like to reference the company I’m working with currently, they have this strong mentality that it’s all about the person sometimes. We talk about a candidate or we talk about a position that they’re opening. And past the main requirements. They say, well, I really need a doer. I need someone with this mentality. The growth mentality, the learning mentality, whatever it is. And, you know, it’s hard to construe that on resume.

And a lot of the times that is where we as the recruiters, as the people who are pitching these candidates, have to kind of pull that out of them and then turn around and paint that picture for the employer to better understand. But there’s, I think more and more every day. More of an emphasis on the mentality, those intangibles, rather than set experience and set systems.

Couldn’t agree with you more. There’s a few thoughts on this. So the market itself, unfortunately there’s been a lot of layoffs. I think it’s a lot of the employers that are hiring to be a little bit more picky, knowing that the candidate pool is so wide.

Could be a pipe dream, but I wish that it was more based on the personality. And maybe, having a phone conversation with someone before they just look at a resume and say, no, they’re not a fit. Like, I wish that someone who has just that drive, that charismatic personality.

Those are the types of folks that could possess a lot of quality traits. And it would be up to the employer to train them on the product regardless of what their background is. But again, I know that’s not always the case, but I think these are the types of attributes that predict a higher probability of success compared to maybe folks that don’t possess these hardworking traits and having those from getting a degree, maybe being an athlete and getting a degree. I wish people would take more of a chance other than sometimes if their resume doesn’t align up with the role.

All depends on the risk reward ratio, I suppose. Yeah. Yeah. All right, Louie two minute drill. Take us home. I think it comes down to, you know what Tom Brady calls his TB 12 method. It’s what can you control? You can control what you put in every day, your attitude, how hard you work. It’s not always going to be about your past, but let some of that shine through.

If you were an athlete, I think it’s going to say, “Hey, I possess these qualities.” And if you can show a track record of using those qualities to complete your job and do it well. I think that says a lot and it can take you quite far because those are attributes that I would like to think most employers are looking for.

I would have to agree with you from a candidate perspective. I would say our advice for today is get creative. If someone’s looking at 10 resumes for the same job, what can you put on there that shines through, like you said, but also sets you apart from other people. If you’re an employer, like you said, don’t be afraid to take a chance on somebody that could really pay off for you in the long run if they don’t check every single box. But they could fit the mentality, they could fit the company culture, just different things like that. A thousand percent. There’s so much good talent out there. Some of it is going to be maybe a perfect fit, others might not.

The fact of the matter is, it’s about the culture and it’s about are they going to come in and work hard. I’m a firm believer is if someone wants to come to work and work their ass off every day. I will take that over someone who is qualified, if you will. That just goes through the motions.

Absolutely. Perfect. Well, on behalf of Louie and myself, thank you again for tuning into the Hirewell Hot Corner. Now that we’re back for 2023, we will be back on a regular schedule. So join us again in two weeks for our next episode. And as always, stay classy LinkedIn. Have a good one.

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