Landing a Job – What Matters? Part 1 – Pay Attention

In the past three years Lieberman Technologies has added 15 people to our staff. Over the course of my career, here and elsewhere, I have hired hundreds of people. I like to think that this is one of the areas where I have excelled – finding and hiring great people. And just in case anyone might find it useful, I thought I’d share my thoughts on landing a job (whether at Lieberman Technologies or another company) with a particular focus on things to do and things to avoid.

lieberman technologies growing

Our process at Lieberman Technologies is very specific, but does include the recognizable steps of posting information about an open position, receiving resumes (usually with a cover letter), and selecting a few for an interview. In our case, the primary source of information on open positions is the Careers section of our website. Currently, we require that a candidate start the process by sending an email to a specific email address. The description at the bottom of every job posting is described as follows:

If you are interested in employment, send resume and a cover letter as an attachment to:

and place the word RESUME in the subject line. Attachments should be in PDF format. Include salary history and specify preference for full or part time position. Resumes are kept on file for consideration for a period of 6 months.

Only electronically submitted resumes will be accepted.

Follow The Instructions

We’ve used this specific wording or something very close to this for the last few years. These instructions weren’t just thrown together by one of our web developers…they were carefully considered and here’s why:

  • We want a cover letter so we can learn about the applicant’s ability to communicate. Almost everyone who works at LT will have to communicate with our customers and vendors. If you’re not thoughtful in putting together a cover letter when applying for a position, we’re not confident you’ll be thoughtful in communicating with our customers.
  • We want the cover letter and resume to be attached to the email in PDF format. In the process we learn about the applicant’s ability to follow instructions. We realize that the applicant may not know how to create a PDF and might have gotten help. Getting help is fine with us…it is a common method of solving problems. Sending in the information in a different format isn’t acceptable. I will note that we don’t specify whether the two items should be in a single PDF file or in two PDF files. Either is fine with us.
  • We want this emailed to the specific email address with the word RESUME in the subject line. This, also, is part of determining if the person is paying attention to the details and following the instructions. It also helps us to collect job seekers in a specific inbox, separate from the hundreds of other emails we receive daily.

We haven’t kept statistics over the last three years, but it is safe to say that fewer than 25% of the applicants get this part correct. In skimming back through the last 13 applicants, only 3 got it right. It is absolutely the case that applying for a position correctly is Test #1 for us. You miss that and it almost guarantees you won’t make it to the interview step.

Paying attention also means doing a little research on the company — in this case, in Lieberman Technologies. I’m still caught off guard when we interview someone only to learn that they know very little about us. I realize that Lieberman Technologies isn’t a household name, but our website has a great deal of information! Learning as much as is practical about the company you’re interviewing with is essential, especially with us. We are in the business of helping our customers (other businesses) improve their performance by the intelligent use of technology. Doing this well requires that we learn as much as possible about our customers, their business, and their pain points. If an applicant didn’t take time to learn about our business, it is likely they won’t like the idea of digging into the details of our customers’ problems.

Pay Attention to the Details

It really comes down to paying attention…paying attention to details and paying attention to the person (or business) in front of you.

People who are in the position to hire others, regardless of industry, experience a number of the same difficulties in finding the right people for their business. While I’ve found a lot of really talented individuals over the years, I’ve also seen a number of applicants miss the mark, which is unfortunate. In the interest of helping job seekers, I’ll address other aspects of landing a job – here or anywhere else – in a future post, so stay tuned.