If you’ve ever been to “Interviewer Skills” training, or been briefed by a recruiter prior to conducting an interview, you will no doubt have been told that “past performance is the best gauge to future potential.” Makes sense – a person with a good track record in previous jobs stands a better chance of replicating that success than someone with more average results, right?
I actually think that it’s a fair statement, but one that doesn’t always get you deeper – into the discipline of the individual, their spirit, their dedication, and frankly their heart. For interviewees, this can be bad news – the so-called ‘soft stuff’ (actually, it’s not soft at all, we’re talking about the ‘real you’ here) is what can make the difference between offer and rejection, and you have to find ways of bringing these qualities to to the table. This is where running can help.
One of the great things about marathon running (and I think it must apply equally to other individual endurance sports like triathlon, swimming, cycling etc) is that it takes many of those qualities – spirit, heart, dedication, to which you can add organization, courage, goal orientation, competitiveness and sheer bloody-mindedness (and I could go on) and demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that you have the right stuff. That you not only have potential, but you have the ability to unlock that potential over a consistent period of time and get it done.
To me, this is unequivocal, because for most of us, it is simply not possible to wake up one morning and go out and run 26.2 miles without first having put the pre-requisite amount of effort in preparation. You cannot phone-in your marathon training, especially if, like me, you’re in the chubby (OK – not so chubby any more), and middle-aged (has to be true, my three year old said I was really old the other day) brigade. As Olivier Blanchard says in his must read blog post (one of my favorite blog posts of all time by the way) on why runners usually make great employees, ”there’s no room for bullshit out there on the pavement.” And so it goes with runners in the workplace.
(Image: Getty Images)
Not convinced? Think of it on another, more basic level. Imagine that you are one of two candidates with excellent and equivalent technical skills and comparable past experience and professional achievements. But you have the running card. It is a hell of a tiebreaker – who wouldn’t want the competitive lion-heart of a long distance runner on their squad?
Still not enough? Looking for a job is arduous – you need stamina, endurance, organization….sound familiar? I know something that can help you with that.
More? I got more. Next time you have an interview, go for a run beforehand. Just see if you don’t go in feeling bright, upbeat, energetic, and ready to crush it.
Un poquito mas? Isn’t it great to have something like a passion for running to talk about with a potential employer, something to get you animated, enthusiastic and put that sparkle into your eye? All these things translate well into the workplace and they do get noticed.
I myself have just completed the process of finding a new job, and was the subject of some pretty fair scrutiny across the 14 interviews that it took to close out the process. I can’t say for sure that being runner helped me get the job, but l can say that no one could question my credentials when it came to the spirit, heart, passion, dedication and enthusiasm that I bring to the table – because I have the miles to prove it.