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.
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.
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:
- Amazon has a job portal for students and recent grads and a separate section for military and their families.
- Google offers scholarships that come with access to its headquarters.
- College sophomores can score business or engineering experience via Facebook University.
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?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
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 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% 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 Month/Day/Year, 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 08/21/18. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent 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 Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
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.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|