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What do great athletes and great candidates have in common?

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What do great athletes and great candidates have in common?

​Recently a friend of the family was looking for some help in finding a job after being made redundant. He also happened to be a gifted athlete who had the opportunity to compete at the highest level, yet unfortunately fell short.

Being an avid sports participant, I believe the behaviours of a high performing athlete are similar to the behaviours of a high performing candidate, and I don’t think it is an unfair comparison.

Many see great athletes as having it all, but we often don’t see the dedication required to become elite. Actions such as:

  • A meticulous approach to preparation and paying attention to detail

  • The ability to follow expert advice

  • Being humble and accepting support when needed

  • Demonstrating enthusiasm and passion to succeed, which in turn drives their support network to go the extra mile for them

  • The ability to bounce back after rejection or failure – time and time again, not with a defeatist attitude or an attitude that everyone is against them, but a genuine attitude that they will overcome setbacks

After a few months, this person also seemed to fall short when tackling the job market. I noticed that he didn’t tick the boxes of the above behaviours I mentioned, which I firmly believe are essential ingredients in the preparation of a high performing athlete.  With experience in the recruitment industry, I know they are also ingredients for a high performing candidate as I have witnessed plenty of successful and unsuccessful behaviours in the past and I’m confident of what works for the candidate.

Which lead me to think whether the reasons were similar as to why the person I had in mind fell short in his chosen sport as he seems to be falling short as a candidate?