Sweat the Details, Land the Job

In the past few months, I have become very involved in the hiring process here at Atomic’s Ann Arbor office. We’re still relatively small compared to our Grand Rapids counterpart, and we’re actively looking to add people to our team. (Apply here!)

Our hiring process involves a number of steps that help us get to know candidates’ technical and communication abilities. We receive a lot of impressive applications from very talented designers and developers and have to make difficult decisions on whether to move candidates forward in the hiring process. Clearly, we can’t hire everyone who applies—so what makes the great candidates stand out from the good?

Aside from the obvious technical skill required to build software, the thing that consistently strikes me is the difference that attention to detail can make in a candidate’s application.

Those who invest time and energy in answering our questionnaire fully, use proper spelling and grammar, and respond to emails promptly are the candidates that catch our eye. Good candidates view each step in the process as a chance to further impress us.

For those of you applying to Atomic (or elsewhere), here are a few small things that make a big difference:

  • Check spelling and grammar! It’s amazing the difference proofreading can make. Questionnaires and emails riddled with spelling and grammatical errors make it seem like you don’t care. It’s a small effort that can make a big difference.
  • Be prompt. Responding promptly to emails and turning in materials on time demonstrates your interest in the job and your ability to communicate effectively. Remember, during the hiring process, we’re all trying to get a feel of what it will be like to work with you. Would communicating with you on the job be easy or challenging?
  • Follow directions. This is especially true of our questionnaire. Candidates who skip questions or don’t provide what is asked show a lack of interest in the job or inability to follow instructions.
  • Follow up. When starting my career, I was taught to always send a thank you note after an interview. It’s a simple step that can be very beneficial–it emphasizes your interest in the job, and it gives you a way to address anything that didn’t go as well as you would have liked in the interview.

While none of these things will get you hired on their own, they’re all important. These details inform the overall impression of you as a job candidate. If done well, they can make a good candidate seem great. If done poorly, they can be deal breakers.

Think you’re a good fit for Atomic?

We’re hiring developers in Ann Arbor. Contact us to get the process started, and remember to sweat the details!