At Cleary Zimmermann, we’ve been busy hiring. In fact, we hired 13 people last year and we’ve already brought 6 new people on board this year. As we’re intently focused on only inviting true “rock stars” to join the team who fit their job descriptions as well as our firm culture, we’ve interviewed a ton of people and looked at even more resumes in order to get to this point. Last year alone, we received close to 200 resumes. Of those, we conducted a first interview with 78 candidates. With statistics like these, you can see that you need to bring your “A” game to earn an offer letter from us.
If you are currently conducting a job search, let’s assume your resume helped you to stand out enough to get that first interview. Especially in a more rigorous interview process like ours, there are some “do’s” and, more importantly, some “don’ts” that you should keep in mind if you want to make it to the second round of interviews and beyond:
Arrive early, but not too early.
Plan to arrive at the office 20 or 30 minutes in advance of the interview. This will allow you a buffer for the unexpected train or traffic jam. Wait in the parking lot and brush up on your notes. Make your way into the office about 5 minutes before your appointment.
Dress to impress.
A conservative suit is preferred. If you don’t own a suit, wear a tie and a clean freshly pressed shirt. Throw on a sport coat if possible. As you might imagine, I’ve seen it all. I’ve had people show up with untucked shirts and tattered jeans and I’ve had others come in looking like they were headed out to a night club—neither leaves a positive impression.
Conduct yourself with an air of confidence.
Offer a firm handshake. Look the person your meeting in the eye. Be enthused about being there.
Do your homework.
Research the company and go one step further by researching the person you’ll be meeting with. This will help you to ask intelligent questions and it will show that you care enough about the position and your career to spend a little time preparing. In my experience, it’s a huge turn off when someone doesn’t even know what we do, especially when it’s so easy to check us out.
Be prepared to ask meaningful questions.
I’m not talking about the canned ones that you looked up on the internet. What do you really want to know? If firm culture is important to you, ask. If you want to know about that firm’s approach to mentoring and training, ask. However, don’t ask about the holiday schedule and if you’ll be able to work from home…at least not at the first interview!
Thank you note.
Follow up with a hand written thank you note. Not an e-mail or typed version of something you pulled off the internet, but a thoughtful handwritten note. Reference something specific from your conversation; it’ll show that you were listening and that you put some thought into the response.
In your job search, you may run into a variety of hiring processes, some more casual and some more demanding, but these tips should help you stand out in most any interview style you run into. And, as I mentioned before, CZ is busy hiring. Got what it takes? Send us your rock star resume here.
By Wade Cleary, PE