British Tennis Ace, Oliver Golding, Redefines Employers’ Quest for Talent

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Golding’s Journey Details How His Soft-Skills & Sporting Experiences Were Crucial in his Transition from Tennis Triumph to Finance Flair

Sights on New Horizons
Sights on New Horizons

Who is Oliver Golding?

During Oliver Golding’s formative years he was never short of sporting success; swinging his first racket at the age of four, tennis soon became a prominent feature in his life. After charging through the age-group tournaments and topping the British junior rankings he soon recognised his undeniable gift for tennis. This talent drove him to victory at the Junior US Open, a feat previously achieved by Britain’s leading player Andy Murray, a player Oliver was often compared to and who many felt had established the trajectory for him to follow.

Whilst Golding’s potential was never in question, he reached a point in which his heart was not entirely in it, stating he needed “a break from tennis” in order to recharge his batteries and “weigh up his options” as he evaluated his future in the sport. What ultimately came of his decision to move away from the tennis circuit was an interest in the finance industry and the desire to start a career there within. He felt that sport and finance had a great deal in common; they both function on a basis of meritocracy, both encourage a certain ‘winner mindset’, and require the ability to perform in highly pressurised situations.

His Unique Journey to Finance

Certainly, it is the case where many athletes exit sport and find a home in finance, but what sets Oliver’s journey apart from the rest is the absence of a formal higher-education degree. Although he is unquestionably intelligent and is currently enrolled in a Politics, Philosophy, and Economics degree, at the time he approached add-victor he was otherwise missing a fundamental component in the hiring procedure. This, however, never deterred him from his overarching goal of entering the finance industry and add-victor never saw it as a disqualifying factor.

Instead, Steve, the founder of add-victor sat down and spoke to Golding, recognising his range of soft-skills and the value his sporting experiences could add to any bank’s team. It was understood, therefore, that his tireless work-ethic, sharp communication skills, noticeable personability, and knowledge, albeit elementary, of financial structures would make him a strong candidate. Through years of competing at an elite level he has learnt and developed a number of intangible skills and characteristics that would clearly enable him to thrive in a finance role.

A New Direction in Talent Analysis

In the past, talent has been evaluated by degrees undertaken and industry-specific internships, which, by all means, are valuable measures of suitability, but can present flaws when, if stacked against a candidate’s so-called ‘intangibles’, are overly-prioritised. When speaking to Oliver about how sport has helped his new environment he notes “for me, when faced with the path ahead, I returned to the notion that you get out what you put in; if you work hard and go that extra mile, you’ll eventually see the results…that was always true for tennis, so I just focused on that.”

These characteristics are not singular to athletes, but financial institutions have certainly indicated that they are more accessible to people from elite sporting backgrounds; claiming that over time, the traits reinforced by their athletic experiences are what set them apart, what catapult them to success, and what make them more adaptable to the fluidity of financial markets.

Ollie Golding balck tee sitting
Ollie Golding black tee forehand

Elements like these are what add-victor remarks as the strength of their talent pool. Golding also mentioned the importance of communication within a new setting; to learn, to establish relations, to gauge what key stakeholders are listening to, and tennis had provided a solid basis for this already, “I felt comfortable adjusting my communication to different individuals within the company; being able to effectively talk to coaches, governing bodies, and the media helped me understand the nuances in my various day-to-day interactions.”

His Relationship with add-victor

Subsequently, he went through the add-victor framework: his CV was tailored to highlight his widespread capabilities and their applicability to finance; he was redirected to pertinent internal presentations and external links, that offered critical insights into the structure and principles of banking; he was invited to networking events so he could showcase these soft skills, skills much more effectively illustrated in person than on paper. All of which culminated in his sitting before a large European Bank and their Housing team. After moving through the application process which included two separate interviews, he was offered a role within their Corporate & Commercial Banking team. This was, as could be imagined, fantastic news, for both Oliver and add-victor alike, but left Steve contemplating the traditional rubric for assessing talent, and just how effectual it is. Golding’s case begged the question: “are employers looking at talent in the right way”? Or better yet, are company’s rigidity around conventional prerequisites stifling their ability to bring in unique talent?

Lastly, and what could be the most important discerning factor in add-victor’s talent search, is the candidates’ proclivity for self-reflection and self-criticism. “The ability to analyse my errors and critically evaluate my contribution to tasks and projects was crucial to my initial on-boarding and development”, reveals Golding. This is something add-victor has recognised as a recurring feature amongst their athletes; they are much more at ease receiving feedback, especially if negative, as they see it as an essential part of their progression. In his case, he knew he was entering an unfamiliar setting and had a great deal to learn, so was eager to receive as much information and advice as possible.

Although they aren’t always at the forefront of employer’s conventional talent-acquisition blueprint, these soft-skills have been proven to set add-victor alumni apart from their contemporaries; pairing a particularly dynamic approach to the job’s vigours with consistent longevity within their respective companies. Oliver is one of many examples of just how critical an elite sporting résumé is in acclimatising to and, in due course, excelling in the ever-changing world of finance.

Golding on track for glory at the Junior US Open Championship
Golding on track for glory at the Junior US Open Championship

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