These Are the Most Important Traits Companies Look For in Millennials

Millennials have earned the nickname of the “job-hopping generation,” and for good reason.

A recent Gallup poll indicates that 21 per cent of millennial respondents have changed jobs within the last year, and 60 per cent say they’re open to different job opportunities.

Changing jobs often can take a toll on your career prospects. For starters, it can hinder you from developing your skillset, relegating you to entry level positions when you start to apply for new jobs. It can also become tough to find new work when a potential employer sees a record of job-hopping on your resumé.

A better solution is for millennials to find a job they love, and become the kind of employee who learns and prospers. As a result, when you eventually move on to your next opportunity, you’ll be savvier, more experienced and more likely to excel in your career.

Vice President of Capital One Canada Leah Napier says the easiest way for young workers to become valuable employees and move up in an organization is by embodying the following three traits.

Entrepreneurial thinking

Type “think like an entrepreneur” into Google and you’ll find tons of articles about how important it is to have an entrepreneurial mindset. But you don’t have to own a company to think like an entrepreneur. You just have to be able to tackle issues head on, offer innovative solutions and constantly strive for improvement and expansion.

Sounds valuable, doesn’t it? Napier and Capital One Canada think so, too.

“When employees treat their workplace as their own business, great solutions are the output,” Napier explained.

“The financial services industry is changing at an extremely rapid pace, with technology, regulation and consumer attitudes evolving. Thinking outside the box and taking steps to challenge the status quo is seen as a highly-valued trait among recruiters.”


When hiring young talent, Napier looks for candidates with a track record of success in their academic careers, but who have also pursued their passions in other areas. This often indicates that candidates are capable of setting goals, motivating themselves and evaluating results. Taking ownership of an initiative can be something as simple as writing a blog, getting involved in a student group or coaching a sports team.

“From a campus recruitment perspective, candidates who demonstrate a sense of ownership for their work and commitments definitely stand out,” said Napier. “This is often showcased through student involvement in associations, clubs, competitions, sports teams and part-time jobs.”

Community involvement

Giving back to the community and thinking about how to make a real difference is of tremendous value to employers. “When prospective candidates involve themselves in the communities where they work, employees can have a deeper sense of belonging and commitment to their place of work,” Napier said.

Workers who show dedication above and beyond, whether it’s to their academic commitments or to their community initiatives, tend to continue this trend throughout their careers, she explained.

Building the right employer-employee partnership is a two-way street, of course. Professional development opportunities are critical for young workers, so millennials should look for an employer that can help them grow. Otherwise, joining the job-hopping generation is inevitable.

Napier advises young workers to look for companies that support their involvement in initiatives at work, outside of their departments and even outside of their companies.

“Developing an inclusive organization supports the growth and development of all employees,” Napier explains. “For example, Capital One Canada has a mentoring program designed to help all our associates reach their personal and professional goals by connecting them with other associates that they can learn from.”

When an employee commits themselves to a company, the company invests in them in return, and those are both outcomes worth celebrating.