Why You Should Recruit Student-Athletes

Doug Horn on December 4, 2014 10:28:00 AM EST


Many of us look up to professional athletes as personal heroes and living testaments to the benefits of hard work. And while it would be a dream come true to have Michael Jordan filing TPS reports at your company or Derek Jeter presenting sales decks, neither of those things is going to happen. I mean, maybe you can get Adam Morrison, but do you really want him? Definitely not if you're in the defense industry--he's about as effective as a rusty barn door at keeping guards from driving the lane.

The thing about college athletes is that not all will play professionally. In fact, with 82% of colleges categorized outside of Division 1, the vast majority will “go pro in something other than sports,” as the commercial states. For example, only 1.7% of college football players go on to play professionally, but even then the average NFL career is 3.3 years. This leaves many former “student-athletes” searching for gainful employment in other industries.

With that in mind, it is worth examining the multiple reasons why recruiting and hiring student-athletes should be an easy decision for organizations looking to grow their business.


Incredible Work Ethic

I don’t know how many of you reading this played sports in college, but the amount of time that student-athletes invest in perfecting their craft, whether it be a curveball, a button hook, or the 100 meter dash, is staggering. Many times, these individuals put in over 40 hours of work in a week devoted to their respective team. Only 1% of high school athletes receive full-ride scholarships for athletics, however. The vast majority of student-athletes are either on partial scholarships or no scholarships at all, and they are required to maintain a minimum GPA to stay eligible. That is a significant amount of schoolwork and sports that needs to be balanced, and four years of perfecting that balancing act inculcates strong work ethics and good time management in many student-athletes.

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Great Teammates

At RecruitiFi, some of our best employees participated in college athletics. The reason for this is that they know how to be team players. They worked with their teammates and coaches to help their respective units deliver the best possible outcomes. Great student-athletes will put the team before individual statistics because they know that they are stronger when working in conjunction with others. Considering that 95% of people who have ever worked on a team believe that teamwork serves a critical function in the workplace, finding people who function well in teams, not just individually, should be central to recruiting.


Confident and Competitive

Depending on their sport, student-athletes compete multiple times per week. They are driven by that competition, and know how to rise to the occasion when it matters. This translates to the workplace in a variety of ways. For one, student-athletes will compete for leadership positions within your company. They will work hard and compete to work their way up the corporate ladder, no matter if the odds are against them or not. Additionally, if they’re on the sales team, they’ll compete to make sales and be resilient enough to bounce back when something does not go their way. Student-athletes will also be confident enough to make presentations or pitch investors when the time comes. Anyone confident enough to want that final shot down 1 or be up to bat with bases loaded and two outs will likely be confident enough to thrive in the office.


Athletics may seem like something used to pad a resume, but the implications of participating in them are meaningful. The skills that people learn and the experiences that they gain can go a long way towards excelling in an office, and you’ll most likely find that some of the most team-oriented employees were once student-athletes.  Plus, it never hurts to have another ringer on the company softball team.  Going 0-11 every year can't be good for company morale.