4 Ways to Score a Job Interview at Some of the Top Tech Companies

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Tyler Emerick sat alone in a small conference room at Instagram headquarters. In no mood for a selfie, he was feeling pre-interview nerves.

It didn’t help that Emerick had just toured the company’s offering of restaurants, ice cream shops, pop-up stores, barber shops, and even a massage therapist.

“That picture everyone has in their head about working for a tech giant isn’t far off from reality,” he said. “I didn’t see any nap pods on campus, but they had just about every other amenity you could imagine.”

Emerick is proof that scoring an interview at a top tech company doesn’t have to be a pipe dream.

4 ways to get an interview at a top tech company

Finding a job, let alone an interview, at a place like Facebook or Google can seem like being invited to an exclusive club. Not everyone is allowed in. Even Steve Bannon, the onetime White House chief strategist, sought to infiltrate Facebook’s hiring, reported BuzzFeed.

There are easier ways, however. If you’re looking to get your foot in the door at one of these tech giants, here’s how to approach it.

1. Make your application into a project

Cleaning up your Google search results might help you pass the culture fit phase of Google’s interview process. But to secure an interview at all, Dave Seidman said you should seek to impress beyond writing a rockstar resume.

Seidman, an interaction developer applicant, said he got an interview based on his portfolio website. It’s a highly interactive presentation of everything he’d accomplished in his career to date.

“I felt like it did a good job demonstrating my skills and at the same time showed off what a ‘prototype artist’ like myself can do when left alone for a couple months,” he said.

“I’m not sure if Google actually opened up the codebase,” he continued. “My guess is that they just saw a new, shiny site that was popping up on a lot of design blogs and figured I was at least worth talking to.”

You don’t have to know how to code to show off your ability. If you want to work in human resources at Snapchat, for example, you might create a 20-slide PowerPoint about who the company should be hiring. That also gives you another opportunity to explain why you fit the bill.

Taking on an unassigned project and including it with your application can show initiative. But if it’s any good, it could also show your readiness to excel in the role you’re seeking.

Google suggested on its careers website that recent graduates, specifically, should include “school-related projects or coursework that demonstrate relevant skills and knowledge.” There’s no reason mid-career professionals shouldn’t take the same cue.

2. Try different roles on for size

Seidman soon found himself emailing with three Google recruitment coordinators.

“On my own, I’d found a different role on their job boards that seemed like a better fit, so we chatted about that as well,” he said.

Applying to different roles shows a tech company that you’re genuinely interested in the company itself. It might also show you have a versatile skill set that would fit different capacities.

With Google, you can set up alerts for newly added roles that fit your interests. The career pages of top tech companies typically list at least a few roles that are similar to each other. See these careers pages as examples:

Be sure to visit every page of your top company’s careers site. You might find helpful resources that can inform your next application.

Google hiring process

Image credit: Google

3. Network like crazy

In seeking work at Instagram, Emerick filled out a job application on the careers website of its parent company, Facebook. Although that got him in the door — and a seat at the table — Emerick advises doing more legwork before you apply.

“Find someone who works within the company that can refer you,” he said. “Otherwise, you’re rolling the dice that a recruiter likes your resume out of the thousands that come in for any particular job.”

Four of the six Facebook, Google, and Uber employees and applicants I spoke to for this story said they weren’t recruited for their interviews. Three just applied on their own whim, and one was a contractor through Facebook’s program for temporary workers before getting the full-time nod.

Although it’s possible to earn your way into the company alone, it’s more probable you’ll need some help. At Facebook, for example, 65 percent of interviewees are either recruited or referred by an employee, according to Glassdoor.

Facebook hiring stats

Image credit: Glassdoor

More generally, 85 percent of company hires get the job by networking, according to a 2016 survey performed by The Adler Group. It beats submitting an online application, as big job boards offer very little help.

Connect yourself to the company

There’s no shortage of strategies to network successfully. You can search through your existing LinkedIn connections or make friends with influencers at your preferred companies. Keep in mind that they’re likely to have a referral program.

The companies also have ways of reaching out. Although they make a habit out of visiting college campuses and professional conferences, don’t wait for them to come to you. Every startup-turned-corporation has opportunities like these:

If you’re still in school, check with your careers services department. If they don’t have your preferred company visiting at your next job fair, nudge the school to make a call.

4. Find and fill the gaps of your experience

If you have applied to a sought-after company without hearing back, your assignment is a different one. Find out why you didn’t receive at least an email or phone call.

Hounding a human resources rep for an explanation might not get you very far. So do the hard work yourself. Wade through the job descriptions of your favorite roles and ask yourself what you’re missing, where you might not be measuring up.

It might be too late to change the university you attended. But as John L. Miller, a veteran employee of Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon, and Google, wrote for Quora, you could always go back to school. If you already hold a bachelor’s degree, Miller said, consider seeking a master’s degree from a program that your top choice companies recruit from.

You might not have to resort to more formal education or even top continuing education programs to find the job you want. Liz Welzbacher, who was recruited to be a UX researcher at Facebook, said you should try to benefit from your current job in ways you’ve previously overlooked.

“Focus on honing your skills and building relationships,” Welzbacher said. “Determine what you can and can’t get out of your current company [or] position and set personal development goals with those constraints in mind.

“For example,” she continued, “maybe you’re not getting a lot of exposure to new and different research methods, but you work with an excellent product leader. Do everything you can to learn about the ‘soft’ side of product development from this person.”

Keeping busy is especially important if you have to wait an extended period before reapplying to your dream company. If you aspire to be an engineer at Google, for example, you’ll be asked to wait 12 months before resubmitting a rejected application. So use that time to review Google’s guide on technical development.

The interview is just the beginning

Emerick interviewed with six Instagram employees during his one-day visit. He was one of three finalists but didn’t end up with a job offer.

As hard as it might seem to snag an interview at a top tech company, expect the interviews themselves to be harder. They’re infamous for putting you through the ringer. One former Facebook employee even revealed his 17-round interview process.

In general, you can expect a remote interview to start. Your skills will be tested. The culture fit can wait until you arrive onsite.

There will be difficult questions posed in person, too. It’s not in Google’s guide to job interviews, but you might be asked a thinker like, “Pick a product that needs to be improved and explain how you’d improve it.”

According to Business Insider, Facebook interviewers are known to ask, “On your very best day at work — the day you come home and think you have the best job in the world — what did you do that day?”

If you hear that question, you might focus your answer on scoring an interview for the very job you’re applying for. Just make sure to explain to your interviewer how you accomplished the feat.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

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LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.45% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.99% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.89% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of November 21, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 11/21/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at hello@earnest.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.46% APR (with AutoPay) to 7.61% APR (without AutoPay). Variable rates currently from 2.31% APR (with AutoPay) to 7.61% (without AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.31% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.31% plus 0.75% margin minus 0.25% for AutoPay. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your credit history and the term of the loan and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

3 Important Disclosures for Figure.

Figure Disclosures

Figure’s Student Refinance Loan is a private loan. If you refinance federal loans, you forfeit certain flexible repayment options associated with those loans. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would impact your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation alternatives.


4 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (“APR”)
This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

FEE INFORMATION

There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.

LOAN AMOUNT

For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
For eligible Associates degrees in the healthcare field (see Eligibility & Eligible Loans section below), Lender will refinance up to $50,000 in loans for non-ParentPlus refinance loans. Note, parents who are refinancing loans taken out on behalf of a child who has obtained an associates degrees in an eligible healthcare field are not subject to the $50,000 loan maximum, refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for more information about refinancing ParentPlus loans.

ELIGIBILITY & ELIGIBLE LOANS

Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).

Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.

All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.

For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.

INTEREST RATES

The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.

DISBURSEMENT OPTIONS

The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.

POSTPONING OR REDUCING PAYMENTS

After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.

If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of November 8, 2019 and is subject to change.


5 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers.


6 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 1.9299999999999997% effective October 10, 2019.


7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 11/07/2019 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% to 8.65% Variable APR with AutoPay and 3.49% to 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.

 


8 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

College Ave Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.

2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.

4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 12/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

1.99% – 6.89%1Undergrad
& Graduate

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2.31% – 7.36%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.21% – 6.21%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Figure

1.99% – 6.65%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.43% – 7.60%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

2.02% – 6.30%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

1.90% – 8.65%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.37% – 5.87%8Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit College Ave

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

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