Want the top job? Start working on your fitness

Diwali is in the air. Time to savour the best sweets in town and mouth watering delicacies. On Sunday was Karva Chauth where we fasted religiously till the Moon God smiled around 8 PM. Then, when we broke the fast, the calorimeter hit the roof. Its a way of life at least in Marwari families such as mine.
India has the dubious honour of being the world’s diabetes capital and like our GDP growth rates, our fitness levels (physical/mental) have dipped to historical lows.
Now imagine the contribution companies could make it to reverse this trend if they were to include high levels of  fitness as a pre-requisite to the selection process.
Imagine the HR asking a job aspirant his/her BMI (body mass index) in the interview, the number of marathons run in the past 1 year, strategies employed to compensate the body for a sedentary lifestyle, reasons for the bulging waistline etc.
So, it would not just be filters like CA ranker/first attempt or Big 4 or FMCG background but also one’s ability to run 800 metres in 3 minutes, play a round of rugby and pass the treadmill test that will also influence hiring outcome
Case in point is the recruitment drives at one of our clients, a Euro 10 bn sports retailer. They conduct an hour long sports round before the formal interviews begin.
An increasingly large number of companies have started taking into cognizance the correlation between fitness and physical appearance with intellectual ability, ability to communicate and do good work.
There is logic to this as well. A fit body would stand you in good stead for handling long hours, intense travel and the pressure these roles tend to bring. let’s not forget the medical costs that come along with hiring an unfit employee.
So it not just enough to clear a pre employment medical checkup but also come across as a potentially fit candidate who will not get struck by major lifestyle borne disease in the near future as well.
A Sep 2014 study titled ‘Does CEO fitness matter?’ by Peter Limbach (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) and Florian Sonnenburg (University of Cologne), found that companies in America’s S&P 1500 index whose CEOs had finished a marathon through the years 2001 to 2011, were worth 5% more on average than those whose bosses had not. CEO fitness is also associated with higher firm profitability and higher M&A announcement returns.
If fitness levels and ‘executive presence’ can make the difference between landing – or missing out on — a corner office job, people will certainly start to think twice before gulping down the Kanju Katlis and Chholes-Bhature’s the next time.