Palmer Luckey is a millennial on the verge of changing the video game industry, forever, by creating a virtual reality headset called the Oculus Rift. Watch this interview with 21-year old Luckey:
Luckey’s invention is considered the coolest gadget at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas (even better than an Internet-connected toothbrush and heat-sensing iPhone). He – not the products on display at CES – was the hottest commodity in Las Vegas.
The Millennial started the project in high school, kept chipping away and now has the tech industry’s full attention.
Of course, employers would love to hire team members like Luckey; his potential – driven by initiative – is obvious. So News To Live By recently asked 100 employers, business leaders and career coaches:
How do you identify potential in new hires and, specifically, Millennials?
Here are several answers from the insightful survey:
Dedication, Motivation and Passion
“An employer can teach a smart person the skills they need them to accomplish, but they can’t teach them dedication, motivation or passion. Skills can be learned, attitude cannot.”
Elle Kaplan | CEO and Founding Partner, Lexion Capital Management LLC
Think Outside the Task
“Think outside your task and look for the big picture, rather than thinking about a ‘to-do list.’”
Bill Balderaz | President, Fathom Healthcare
Contribute to the Conversation
“There are a few signs I look for in the ‘superstars.’ For example, some young pre-professionals are already writing blogs or contributing to them. This is one less thing I need to teach them and sets up an interview stage that is usually more advanced than average.”
Flore Dorcely-Mohr | Assistant Director of Internships, Drew University
Tenacity Trumps Experience
“One particular guy who is with us now in our London Office (and we intend to fast-track him to the top as we grow) has stood out because of his tenacity… Of-course he lacks experience in many aspects, but his willingness and eagerness to learn is what makes him stand out.”
Andrew Crump | CEO, Bluefields
Ask to Participate Above Your Pay Grade
“If [new hires] are always looking to further their knowledge about the industry by asking to attend trade shows or go to local networking events. Then, I can see they want to make a career out of our business.”
Bob Bentz | Mobile Marketing Professional
Ask Questions, Take Answer and Follow Up
“Most of all to me it’s the feeling of being able to hold a conversation, ask questions, take their action items away from the conversation and follow-up. Although those things sound basic, it’s what sets good new employees apart from those who won’t last long in the company.”
Betsy A. Watson | Public Relations Director, i2 Marketing
“I have a young employee who was given the responsibility of maintaining a complex database. She proceeded to attend every webinar and a free class on her own time in addition to reading technical manuals. She developed her skill set and is now in the position of teaching those seniors to her how to use the database.”
Put in the Time
“A young friend of mine was recently tapped, after less than a year on the job, to fill the role of a higher level employee who was leaving the company. Why was he chosen? Because he was seen as putting in extra time and thought at the lower level, and therefore having the potential to grow into the higher level position.”
Show World-Class Initiative
“In twenty years as an executive manager I can count on one hand the number of employees that showed initiative like Palmer Luckey. Each one was promoted multiple times and they are still being promoted. One became a CEO.”
Kathleen Brush | Kathleenbrush.com
Fire in the Belly
“They have a fire in their bellies, are go-getters, seek to learn from those around them, and give discretionary effort by volunteering for projects beyond their role.”
Heidi Ferolito| HR Director, World Travel Holdings
No Self-imposed Barriers
“They are quick studies and look at ‘I don’t know how to do that’ as an invitation to learn, instead of a daunting barrier.”
Leigh Steere | Co-founder, Managing People Better
All About the Attitude
“We have a young employee who has been with us for about two years and we hired her right out of school. She has learned everything about our industry and she excelled in many client projects with difficult timelines and challenging client requests. All through these sometimes difficult times, she kept a positive, “can do” attitude and never gave up. She is now able to manage a small team and is quickly rising through the ranks.”
Erin Cushing | Account Manager, inSegment
“I want new employees who over-deliver on the small projects first. Once they’ve hit a homerun on a small project, I’m eager to give them a bigger one.”
Aaron Basko | Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management, Salisbury University
Accommodating and Flexible
“Here are comments from interactions with young people demonstrating potential (who are rising) heard in the halls, conference rooms and offices of some clients:
- ‘Yes, I can change my schedule to accommodate that meeting.’
- ‘I would be happy to stay late and finish this report.’
- ‘I appreciate your constructive feedback and I’ll do better next time.’”
Brian Baudis | President, The Baudis Group Consultants
Do Whatever it Takes
“They are extremely hard working, doing whatever needs to be done to get the job not JUST done but WELL DONE.”
Patrick Adams | Adelphi University Alumni Mentoring Program
Perhaps not-so-surprisingly, almost every answer had a familiar tune: “we value young people with inner drive and those who take it upon themselves to go the extra mile — even when no one asks.”
In other words: we hire and promote those who take initiative.
Whether you push yourself to learn extra skills, ask if you can do more or just plain work hard… bosses want to see that we have that “special something”.
What is your special something?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at News to Live By!
About the Author: Danny Rubin is the creator and writer of News To Live By, a blog for Millennials that highlights the career advice and leadership lessons in the day’s top stories. His columns are regularly featured on The Huffington Post, Business Insider and Parade Magazine. Follow the blog on Twitter!