Why You Should Hire Athletes

June 14


A recent survey has revealed that 95% of Fortune 500 CEO’s had high achieving sporting backgrounds. This statistic shines a light on the fact that people who have a background in sports, bring something extra to the workplace. A candidate with a background in sports is equipped with valuable skills that can’t be easily quantified or listed on a CV. The hours of commitment to training and competition. The heartache of loss. The ambition required to excel. These lessons learned the hard way in sports, are exactly what make the difference between a workplace contributor and a superstar.

Here are three reasons why athletes make the best hires:

Know How to Prioritise

Sports professionals have to lead highly structured lives to reach the high levels of success. Whether they are working towards completing a marathon or winning a competition, their success depends on prioritising time each day to accommodate demanding training requirements. Prioritising is essential in the workplace and managers working towards a goal must be masters at perceiving what needs to accomplished first. Athletes are goal-oriented by nature, which means they’re constantly assessing and reassessing where they stand in relation to their objectives and fine-tuning the strategy they need to get there. Like a football midfielder reading the defense to decide whether to shoot or pass, the best employees constantly reprioritise to focus on the goals that matter most to their team.


Goal Oriented

Whether it is to beat a new record or reclaim a Championship title, all athletes are well versed in setting goals, creating a plan and putting it into action. They have the ability to put their vision, into sub-goals and execute them efficiently. Reaching goals is a priority for every business and this type of mindset is essential to an organisation that looks to reach ambitious growth targets. Successful sports people understand that if one avenue is blocked, they have to find another path to success. If their physical strength has given out, they adapt to learn to work smarter, not harder.



In all sports, the best plans can be implemented but competition losses or an injury setback can make an athlete’s goal more difficult to achieve. This experience gives athletes the ability to strategise to overcome challenges and adjust their attitude and expectations so they are still on track to achieve their goals. Being adaptable in the workplace is essential. In the work environment, every day can uncover new challenges, there may be an influx of new work or changed deadlines and employees who possess adaptability can bring a balanced approach to overcoming these obstacles.



If you want a business with a collaborative ethos, adding athletes to your resource mix is essential. Sportspeople understand teamwork is more than just sharing the workload and supporting your teammates, but understanding a group’s dynamics and adjusting their role to better aid the organisation as a whole. From years of being part of a team or solo performance, athletes are aware of the ever-changing role which is invaluable for creating effective teams in the workplace. Great teamwork requires people who understand group dynamics and know how to adjust their behavior and role to fit an organisations changing needs.


Have Experience of Winning & Losing

Winning and losing occurs as much in the workplace as it does in sport. Athletes are humble winners and steadfast losers. Scoring a top client or assisting one’s team in reaching a goal is a win for the entire organisation. Sportspeople in the workforce can humbly accept a win and disperse acclamation to the whole team for their efforts. But, just as winning is inevitable, so too is losing. Losing is something every athlete has experienced throughout their sporting career and they have experience in how to deal with it. In other words, in the face of adversity athletes are capable of turning defeat into a learning experience. Translating this into the workplace, undoubtedly businesses will meet failure at some point and having an experienced team member that knows how to bounce back and persistently try again is invaluable.


It’s no surprise former athletes, make up the largest percentage of leadership roles in today’s top companies. Sportspeople have learned and developed leadership traits from an early age and it comes naturally to them to try and pass these on to their co-workers either through direct teaching or through the examples they set. So the next time you sit down to interview a potential candidate for your business, ask which sport they played. It may be the best question you can ask a potential hire. How are you finding, fostering, and training the athletes in your workforce?

At Lincoln, we understand the value athletes bring to a workplace. Our Talent Referral Scheme aims to connect talented professionals active in sporting clubs and communities across Ireland with exciting career opportunities across various business sectors. Successful referrals of club-mates and/or members will receive rewards for themselves and their club. To learn more click here or contact us on +353 1 661 0444. 

About the Author

Orla Doyle

Orla Doyle

Head of Marketing & Communications

odoyle@lincoln.ie+ 353 ( 1 ) 661 0444

Orla Doyle is the Group Marketing Manager at Lincoln Recruitment Group. Orla is an experienced and award-winning branding and recruitment marketing professional with over 6 years’ experience in creating valued and valuable brands. With a passion for employer branding and recruitment marketing, Orla has experience scaling organisations from the inside out designing strategies for organisations ensuring they’re attracting, investing in and retaining the right talent. Orla holds a Bachelor of Business and a Master’s of Science in Financial Services from the University of Limerick. She also holds a Diploma in Strategic Digital Marketing from the Marketing Institute of Ireland.


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