Why hire an athlete? Because they know how to score!


Everyone wants to hire the best person for the job. I do, too.

Here’s a concept: Hire an athlete. It may help you as an employer to make the right choice, or at least a better choice. And it’s a reality check if you’re an individual striving for a career win.

If you’re a salesperson looking for a job, ask yourself:

Are you fit to be hired?

Are you fit to succeed?

Are you as physically fit as you are mentally fit?

Is physical fitness tied to mental fitness?

Do you think of yourself as a winner?

And why am I asking all these questions?

I went around my office and asked each person if they ever had played sports on a team or competitively. Many said yes. Many had played competitive team sports in college, and most spoke about it enthusiastically and with fond memories.

What I found most interesting was the people who had played sports were among my best employees. And this was not based solely on their job experience. It was equally based on their athletic experience, their team experience, their competitive experience, their coaching experience and their winning experience.

If you’re an employer, you may want to look past job experience and read deeper into athletic experience. It will give you greater insight as to the person, not just their job skills.

If you were a competitive athlete, you have qualities and a wealth of experience most people don’t. You have the self-discipline and dedication to get in shape and stay in shape. Your desire to win is high, and you’re willing to give it everything you’ve got.

Think about that. Employers are always looking for “experience” when they hire. What kind of experience?

I look for smart, self-starting, happy people who know how to win. I’d rather have an eager athlete I can train (or should I say, who is willing to learn) than a know-it-all with 10 years of experience who already thinks he knows everything before he walks in the door.

An athlete knows he or she has to warm up before playing the game and is therefore more likely to be prepared for the job, the customer and the sale.

Athletes love to compete. Athletes know there are skills that must be learned and mastered in order to win. And athletes have the drive, determination and self-discipline to master them.

There are other great but subtle qualities athletes have:

1. They have made friends with many of their teammates, but even the ones they have not made friends with, they still know how to get along, cooperate and play as a team.

2. They have made victory a habit. They know what winning feels like and how to repeat it.

3. They have stamina, based on practice and desire.

4. They have superior hand-eye coordination and are more observant of their surroundings.

5. They have the ability, interest and desire to learn “the game,” not just “the job.”

6. They play by the rules and have learned there’s a penalty or a price for not playing by the rules.

6.5. They visit their old coach. There’s a pride in going back and telling your coach who and what you have become, often from the foundation the coach helped create.

And they bring this set of skills they have learned during their early years to the job. It’s part of their physical and mental make-up. They bring winning and a winning attitude to the workplace.

One final personal note: If you don’t feel you fit into this category, please don’t send me emails defending your status or gender. This is a concept, not a postulate.

Think about this: All athletes play to win. All athletes want to succeed. They have the internal drive not only to play the competition and beat them but also to compete against themselves — always bettering themselves. Athletes are always raising their personal standards — always aiming to achieve their personal best.

One final success note: Here’s an axiom that fits everyone: You can’t win every game, but you can always give your personal best.

I want to be associated with people who are always willing to give their personal best. Play ball!

Editor’s note: Jeffrey Gitomer is on sabbatical. This column originally appeared in the Oct. 19, 2015, Business Journal.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 bestselling books. His real-world ideas also are available as online courses at gitomerlearningacademy.com. For information about training and seminars, visit gitomer.com or gitomercertifiedadvisors.com, or email Jeffrey at salesman@gitomer.com.

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