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I'm the Head of Talent at Deloitte U.S. Here Are the Top 3 Things I Look for in a Job Candidate and My Favorite Interview Question. His team gets more than two million applications a year.

By Robin Madell

Key Takeaways

  • David Rizzo is the national managing principal of talent strategy and operations at Deloitte US.
  • Deloitte receives more than 2 million job applications a year, and his team sorts through them.
  • He recommends being able to show results from your efforts and knowing the effect you want to have.
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Deloitte via Business Insider
David Rizzo

This story originally appeared on Business Insider.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with David Rizzo, the national managing principal of talent strategy and operations at Deloitte US in Charlotte, North Carolina, about how to get a job at Deloitte. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

My interest in talent strategy goes back 25 years, to when I was a graduate student studying labor and industrial relations at Cornell. I was fascinated by how talent and culture drove business performance and how people found meaning in their work.

I started my career in the automotive industry as a human resources professional working on the manufacturing floor, and I went on to join Deloitte Consulting LLP's Human Capital practice more than 20 years ago. I pursued Deloitte because I wanted to be challenged on a high-performing team, and I was attracted to the company's reputation for integrity and results.

Fifteen years into my time at Deloitte, the consulting business asked me to work on talent strategy and, ultimately, to become the chief talent and purpose officer and lead a team that provides talent strategy; talent experience; rewards, recognition, and well-being support; learning and development; talent technology and operations; and talent business-advisory support to our organization.

I'm incredibly energized by the pace of change and the opportunities that I see coming for Deloitte. We're entering new markets, transforming the way we work, and adapting to evolving workforce and societal expectations. This confluence of changes means my team of talent professionals is able to have a greater influence than ever before.

Deloitte receives more than 2 million job applications a year across our US organization. It's up to my team to decide who's the right fit.

Here's what I look for in a job candidate

The first thing I look for is the right technical and behavioral skills. I'm keenly interested in what you do and how you work.

We provide a wide variety of services to our clients, which means we source talent across specialties, including business-tax professionals, certified public accountants, clinicians, and software engineers. Other roles that people may not know about at Deloitte are climate scientists, brand marketers, writers, graphic designers, forensics lawyers, user-experience and user-interface designers, and product developers.

Second, I hope to see a set of experiences that demonstrate your ability to adapt to a changing environment, solve complex challenges, and deliver results.

Third, I look for a fit within our organization. Are you curious, team-focused, and purpose-driven? These are qualities I believe can complement Deloitte's shared values of leadership, integrity, care, inclusion, and collaboration. This company places a high premium on trust — how has your own compass guided your decision-making in challenging situations?

Here's how to stand out in your application

It's important to demonstrate the high-impact contributions you've made. You should be able to show measurable results from your efforts, whether in achieving certain business outcomes or providing insights that are valuable to future progress on projects or programs.

We look for applicants who are mindful about the influence they can have on their colleagues and their community, and who can show clear connections between their actions and changes made.

We're very interested in people who have a clear and compelling interest in their own learning and development. We also want applicants to show us how they've worked effectively with leaders, peers, and team members to achieve high-quality outcomes.

We seek to be trusted business advisors, and that trust is earned by developing a long-lasting and evolving bond with our clients. I look for applicants who can work effectively with our leaders and team members to exceed clients' expectations and even anticipate needs clients have yet to articulate.

Here's how to prepare for your interview

The most important question I want candidates to reflect on before their interview is what impact do you want to make, and how can Deloitte help you make it? Think about showing how you can bring your experiences and skills to add value to Deloitte, our clients, and society.

My favorite interview question is: If you can highlight only one bullet, accomplishment, or activity on your résumé, what is it and why?

This question tells us a lot about what's important to the candidate. What's your passion and why? What's an accomplishment that reflects your strengths? What's something that reveals your purpose and values? I like this as an opening question because it allows the candidate to signal how they want to be known and remembered.

We recently interviewed a candidate with relevant work experiences, a high GPA in business school, and tons of extracurriculars — all the kinds of things you'd think they'd highlight with that opening question. Instead, they selected an item from the very bottom of their résumé: They completed a marathon.

They selected a charity to run for in honor of a close family member who died a few years earlier. They developed a "business plan" that had a lot of detail on their approach, including how they overcame setbacks during training. This one response touched on the variety of questions we often ask campus candidates, like ones about goal setting, navigating unanticipated situations, recognition for service excellence, and selling ideas or concepts.

Their story left a lasting impression of who they are, and this is what your goal should be during your interview.

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