Today, Billionaire Eric Schmidt is the executive chairman of Alphabet (Google's parent company), which has a market cap nearly $675 billion. He was also CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011, a decade when the tech behemoth both went public (2004) and saw meteoric growth.
In those years when Google was rapidly expanding its workforce, Schmidt expected every hire to be top notch.
When Schmidt was at Google, the sales team's favorite hires were former Olympians and football players who had played in the Super Bowl, because high level athletes necessarily have a well-refined sense of discipline.
"The discipline that they had in their lives as young people, men and women, to get to that point, indicated an extra set of discipline," says Schmidt.
Schmidt liked to hire rocket scientists, too, because they are inherently interesting, he says.
But if what if you're not a world class athlete or the next Elon Musk — then what makes you a great hire? In Schmidt's experience, the are two specific qualities that best predict success, he says in a conversation with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman on the podcast "Masters of Scale."