Town Talk Features

Parent Trap: Millennials for Hire

I have spoken with CEOs from top companies  throughout the world, and they all have the same qualities in mind when looking to employ millennials. Unfortunately, it’s not grades, test scores or the college you attended that make executives swoon. I say unfortunately because these are the holy grail myths kids have been striving for since kindergarten. The following four qualities are what most inspire a hire.

1. People skills: CEOs get quickly turned off by college grads who have an amazing résumé but can’t look them in the eye and carry on a conversation, a frequent occurrence these days. They want to hire people who have good social skills, including the ability to advocate for themselves, speak coherently, articulate ideas effectively, resolve differences and relate to a diverse mix of people. So put down your phones as you walk through campus or as you ride the train to work and start meeting new people. Get over any fears or awkwardness that holds you back socially.

2. Engagement: Your prospective employer wants to see if you have been passionate about something and fully engaged in pursuing it. It could have been playing in a band, building your own website, traveling to interesting places (especially on your own dime) or creating a service project for a cause you were drawn to.

3. Self-motivated: Executives also want people who can take initiative and make things happen versus employees who require hand holding and need constant direction from a supervisor. Bosses look for employees who can motivate themselves instead of needing continual acknowledgement.

4. Interesting stories: They aren’t looking for cookie-cutter robots with 4.0 GPAs. Business owners love to hire people who have remarkable stories of overcoming obstacles, traveling to exotic places on gap years or unique work experiences. Many entrepreneurs weren’t great students and took unconventional routes on their paths to success, so they like connecting with kindred spirits.

If you don’t believe me, ask business owners you know about what they look for when hiring young employees. I guarantee the four points above will fit the profile of who they end up placing in the position.

Tim Jordan, M.D., is a behavioral pediatrician who specializes in counseling girls ages 6 through college. He recently launched an online video parenting course, Taking Flight: Everyday Parenting Wisdom to Help Girls Soar. For more information, visit