Best Candidates? Athletes-Personalities that are Coachable and Committed

In the tech staffing and solutions industry, we face an enduring talent shortage that continues to challenge firms trying to secure specialized talent that is needed to realize their clients’ digital transformation initiatives. To fill the talent pipeline, it is also essential to have the most effective recruiters working to uncover every source that could lead to qualified candidates for successful outcomes.

While technical skill-set is critical for tech talent and demonstrable knowledge is key for great tech recruiters, more and more companies are realizing that experience, drive, and hard-working ethics are important factors to consider when cultivating top talent and the recruiters that find them. Ryan Drummond, VP of the GamePlan, reminded us that if we consider Athletes in talent pipeline, coachability, ambition and the commitment to team should be top priorities as well.

During Ryan’s IMPACT! Talk at the 2022 Techserve Alliance Executive Summit, the audience was met with a heartfelt and engaging story about the journey of a young athlete as he embarked on his collegiate athletic career on the way to navigating his life career. Riddled with fun, personal stories, Ryan reminded the audience of how an athlete has essentially been training through their love of sports their whole life to apply their work ethic, determination and winning mindset to a career they will also love. Hiring companies should take note.

From Chasing Jerry Maguire to Athlete Advocate

Ryan was clear in his journey, he shared: “I would either become an artist or an NFL player.”¬ It was in his genes after all, following in the footsteps of his parents.

His athletic career was promising in college, however it left little time to think about his future – his focus was on the team and what it takes to win. Then, with the encouragement of a 1996 cult classic movie, Jerry Maguire, and a realization that perhaps an NFL career wasn’t in the cards, Ryan decided “Sports Agent” was a great choice because he knew being part of the sports world was still his passion.

If anyone knows the ins-and-outs of working in sports marketing, you can quickly realize it might not be for you.

Ryan realized this early on, and with the help of someone who took the time to get to know him and recognize his desire to achieve and willingness to be coached – like many athletes — he landed a job as a recruiter at an IT staffing company.

And he excelled.

Why? Because the life of a successful recruiter, and many tech-related jobs, can correlate to the journey of an athlete.


  1. Coaching. The firm laid out the rules, objectives and tasks. The new tech recruiter took it in, followed the game plan, reported goals and was a good fit for the position.
  2. Team. After understanding the play book, the recruiter was soon put on an account group of recruiters, enjoyed friendly work competitions, and became a top producer in the field—all while feeling like part of a team again.
  3. Leaving It All on The Field. The mentor who made the career introduction took a chance on an unknown because of instinct. They were able to parlay the game plan and articulate the day in the life of a tech recruiter. They took an interest in someone who they felt had the drive and the toughness to work in a fast-paced, demanding industry and in exchange landed an eager, hardworking producer.
Paying it Forward and Helping Athletes Focus on the Future

The experience of a college athlete is the perfect training ground for a technology recruiter or for a recruiter of any kind.

And the potential to unearth new recruiter talent is vast. Over 250,000 athletes graduate college every year to enter into the workforce—and many of them have not been coached as to what to do next.

Ryan Drummond’s journey was so impactful that it led him to want to share it with other young athletes to help them find their life’s work through coaching and career planning. The GamePlan is an organization that trains college athletes on career skills through eLearning tools, career advice, mentoring, assessments and more, working successfully with hiring organizations looking for talented candidates.

Drummond’s parting comment was to challenge the Summit audience to find their best storytellers in their companies and put them in front of a large group of athletes. He notes:

“You will unlock a growth strategy that your culture will love. We know culture and revenue are tied together. Culture loves character, culture loves grit and culture loves energy. And athletes have all 3 of those in spades.”

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