Brandon Simister was a shy kid. Awkward with girls and intimidated by the spotlight, the skinny kid from St. George, Utah, had one big thing going his way—he was good at basketball. Around athletics his whole life, Simister was a self-professed “gym rat” who was more comfortable with a basketball in his hand than just about anything else.
As he grew from a high school kid starting varsity as a sophomore into an adult and star of his college team, something happened along the way: Simister learned to be personable. He learned to work hard. He learned to set and reach goals. He learned how to work with a team. And he learned how to bounce back from failure.
In short, he learned how to be successful. And that is what most employers want.
Finding an employee who can contribute in a significant and meaningful way has become a crucial part of operating a successful business in the modern workplace. How can employers expect to find these types of potential workers, and what makes a former athlete such an attractive candidate? Cody Ferraro and Max Wessell of InXAthlete know and want to share their knowledge.
Employees are Financial Investments
Companies spend money to train employees, teach them proper work standards, and integrate them into their inner workings. A company that sells software, for example, needs to invest time in familiarizing a new worker with the products, the pricing, and the sales techniques. “Every employee for a company is an investment,” says Ferraro, a former lacrosse player from Lehigh University. “The skills and qualities that student athletes garner through their careers translate perfectly into any professional organization.” Having an employee that already possesses these skills saves money and gives employers peace of mind.
Hiring Athletes Eliminates Risk
Hiring fresh recruits from college can be a risky business. Prospective employees may have good grades and decent references, but none of those things ensure they will be good workers, reliable employees, or the kind of people a company needs to help it grow and succeed. But companies have learned that they can rely on former athletes.
Hiring a former athlete, whether it be a football player, tennis star, or any other organized athletic pursuit, takes some of that risk away. After all, who wouldn’t want an employee who is used to studying ways to succeed, setting realistic but difficult goals, and working hard to make those ideals come to fruition? “Hiring out of college can seem a daunting task for an employer,” says Wessell, a former NCAA All-American wrestler who started InXAthlete with Ferraro. “Hiring a student athlete ensures you are getting a college grad who is able to balance athletics and academics, is driven to succeed, and can solve problems. Student athletes take the risk out of first-year hires and InXAthlete is the platform to find them.”
Former Athletes Come with Determination
In today’s competitive environment, an employee that comes determined and ready to work is invaluable. Chris Valletta, former NFL player and co-founder of the sports apparel and accessories brand Mission, believes that hiring athletes is a no-brainer for employers. “It is their persistence and determination which gives them an edge over other competitors,” Valletta says. “They have a strong work ethic. They value commitment and are aware of the importance of their time and other’s time. In this sense, they are highly disciplined and organized.” And ready to be productive.
“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,” says David K. Williams, chairman of Restore Cryotherapy Mountain West. Traits born of determination—including tenacity, a focus on goals, entrepreneurial spirit, and balance—are common among former athletes.
Competitive Spirit Is Key
The drive to win in sports translates directly to the desire to succeed in business. “It’s hard to deny the competitive spirit of college athletes,” says John Forknell, VP and general manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc. “They’re in the game to win. . . . Most have tasted loss and don’t like it’s [sic] bitter flavor. Whether it’s a basketball player who missed a last-minute game winning shot in the Sweet 16 or a college football quarterback who got sacked one too many times in a rivalry game, these players fight hard to not repeat failure by working relentlessly toward their goal.” The spirit of competition is the key to hard work.
Employers need an edge in the modern marketplace, just like coaches need an edge to build winning teams. As Brandon Simister closes out his college career, the possibilities for a career for the young man are plentiful. And smart employers will be lined up to pull athletes like Simister aboard their teams.