Ridgeline staff writers asked Bria Elly, our University Relations recruiter, to explain how she goes about finding and validating a “good fit” at Ridgeline. Read below for tips on how to show your best self in a Ridgeline application and interview.
Q: Let’s talk resumes for a minute. If you were given 25 resumes to review, and you HAD to give a job offer to at least one of them — without an interview — what would you look at to select your winning candidate?
First, I would take a step back and look at the resume as a whole. Is there a lot of blank space? Resumes communicate experience, so blank space doesn’t work in a candidate’s favor. Second, I’d look at qualifications. Do they meet the minimum bar of the job description — major, relevant experience, previous internships or roles? Third, I’d dig in. I actually read descriptions of the experiences and projects that candidates list. Is the experience relevant to the role? Does their resume accurately depict completion of key objectives during their time at a company or on a project?
Q: Another scenario: If you were put in a room with 25 people, and you HAD to pick one to interview for a job at Ridgeline, how would you go about selecting that person?
This is a great question because I go through this every year during career fairs and on-campus events. We meet with about 100 or so students at any given career fair, and we narrow down all those students to about 10–20 to move forward with an interview. First, we make sure they meet the minimum requirements of the job. The next decision falls on the conversation. We look for a lot of soft skills such as communication, humility, or perseverance, to assess cultural fit. Is this person interrupting me? Can this person speak to their experiences clearly? Does this person seem interested in Ridgeline?
Q: Say your sister-in-law applied for a job at Ridgeline. How would you tell her to prepare for an interview?
I’d honestly tell her to be herself and to come with good questions. We gauge a lot of the “interest” factor on whether the candidate’s questions are unique to him or her.
I’d also tell her to talk about her experience in its truest form rather than trying to say things she’d think a recruiter would want to hear. In other words, tell us what you think and feel.
Additionally, say her personality is different than that of other team members. That’s a good thing at Ridgeline. We strive to be a diverse employer, and we look for people who have different perspectives and backgrounds.
Q: You manage Ridgeline’s University Recruiting program. How can students interested in Ridgeline rise above the crowd?
Come to our events! We host a lot of on-campus events at a handful of core target schools. The people I meet at them stand out because they’ve taken time out of their day to meet us — rather than just submitting an application and nothing else.
Q: How can you tell if a candidate is a good listener?
This character trait can come out in a couple different ways. I think the most basic answer is that they don’t interrupt. Surprisingly, it’s quite common for a candidate to cut me off while I’m asking a question or finishing a thought. Again, we view the interview process as a two-way street, and we can quickly tell if a candidate is someone we think would work well in our team-first environment with just a 15-minute conversation.
Q: What does a typical interview cycle look like at Ridgeline?
First, we do a recruiter screen. Second, a manager or director usually completes another behavioral screen. For engineering candidates, our third stage is a technical screen with two members of the engineering org.
The next stage is an onsite interview. In pre-COVID times, candidates visited our HQ in Lake Tahoe and spent time getting to know the people, exploring the town, and seeing our office. This step is important because it creates a two-way street between us and the candidate to help gauge mutual interest and commitment.
Next, we have candidates speak to one of our leaders in the area they’re interviewing for. Lastly, we either make an offer or let the candidate know we are not moving forward at this time. Our interview process can be quite lengthy, but we’re thorough. The people we bring on are as committed to us as we are to them.
Q: When a candidate asks you what is unique about Ridgeline, what do you tell them?
Let me paint a picture: Imagine you’re 20 years old at a career fair walking around to all the employers on your list. You have some extra time at the end and you see a banner with the phrase “Work in Tech, Live in Tahoe” on it. Intriguing, right? So you see what it’s all about. You end up liking the folks at the booth, you interview, and then you get an offer. Now you’re comparing more established San Francisco Bay Area companies and this startup in Incline Village, Nevada. Those Bay Area companies probably have all the perks — the never ending food, the big company outings, onsite gyms. Why would you ever choose Ridgeline?
But then you see the bigger picture: You’re 20 years old at a startup in Tahoe with a little over 200 employees and growing rapidly. You see the workings of a village where everyone works together toward common goals. Your work has a direct impact on the product. After your first year, the company will likely be at 400 employees; the year after that, probably 600. And you imagine being at the start of a company that is in its prime, and you can say you were one of the first.
I can guarantee there won’t be a dull moment, and I can guarantee that as we grow, you’ll grow too.
Q: Have you ever been in an interview where, when it ended, you said to yourself, “What the heck just happened?” Do tell.
Sadly, yes. The call started with a candidate thinking Ridgeline was a construction contracting company. To be fair, I’m sure there’s a company with our name that does that. But this clearly showed me that they didn’t do their research. It went further downhill with questions that could have been answered on our website. It became more of an informational call at that point and left a bad taste in my mouth. So do your research before hopping on a call with us!