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If an Olympic Athlete Applies to Your Small Business, Hire Them

So far the 2014 Sochi Olympics have been incredible to watch.  The victorious wins, the heart breaking falls, and just knowing millions of others are sharing in the experience is pretty incredible.

While I am no Human Resource expert, I truly believe athleticism produces so much more than strong muscles and Olympic medals.

If your team is expanding in the coming months, look out for those applicants who have a past in sports.  In fact, here are 3 reasons small businesses should hire an Olympic athlete, (if they are ever so lucky) or anyone who has trained in sports:


1. They Know How to Take Risks

If anyone saw me watching the 2014 Winter Olympics they would think I was watching a horror movie, but in fact I’m clutching a couch cushion and gritting my teeth because I’m watching athletes whip down ice tunnels at over a hundred miles an hour.  Don’t get me wrong - I will take on the scariest of roller coasters if presented with the opportunity, but I salute those athletes brave enough to take on a sport like the Skeleton.

Knowing when and how to take intelligent risks is an attribute I always associate with small business owners and those who work for them, especially in the early years. So if you own a small business and someone like U.S SIlver medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace wants to join your team, I suggest you shake her hand in acknowledgement of her bravery (and her recent silver!) and then ask when she can start.


2. They Have Impeccable Work Ethic 

So, Kaitlyn Farrington shows up at your small business with her resume (and her gold for Half Pipe Snowboarding) but she doesn’t have the same level of experience in customer service as the next applicant - do you give her a shot?

When you consider the long-term benefit of work ethic and intelligence in comparison to experience, it might be worth giving the Olympian a place on your team.  Sure, the other candidate will have a shorter learning curve in the the beginning, but if the role is not technically based (e.g. computer programming) I would bank on the ROI in hiring someone with a proven record of initiation, discipline, and a world-class work ethic.

In fact, in the article 5 Attributes to Look for in High-Performing Employees, Ryan Caldbeck (founder of CircleUp) makes the comparison between the benefit of intelligence over experience:

“An intelligent candidate can quickly learn a job and frequently ends up doing it better than someone (less intelligent) who has been doing a similar job elsewhere. Experience is certainly valuable, but brains are the horsepower that drives the business.” 


3. They Have Endurance and Persevere

There’s no question - the best sports to watch during the Winter Olympics are the speedier sports.  But what about those athletes who train in sports that rely on endurance?  They may not be the most thrilling spectator sport to observe, but anyone who trains for a sport like the Biathlon sure knows what it means to keep on trekking even when you feel like you’ve been running uphill for days.  

The world of small business is not always glamorous, so there’s value in hiring those who will stick it out with you through the rough times as they’re able to visualize the end goal. Take sales roles for example: as more industries move away from the cold-calling tactic, salespeople are now required to do more research, investigate the needs of their leads, and - well, persevere!


I hope you enjoy the watching the rest of the 2014 Winter Olympics and if you are indeed hiring this winter, I hope these tips help you score high on new hires.


Until next time,

Lynda, Method Content & Community Coordinator


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About Lynda Byrne

Lynda is Method's Loyalty Marketing Manager. Having grown up in an entrepreneurial household, Lynda has a keen interest in the strategies and stories of small businesses. When she isn’t connecting Method users with solution based content, she can be found spending an unhealthy amount of time curating her Pinterest boards.