By Sarah Johnston
A job search can feel daunting. A job search with the goal of ending up at top tech company like Facebook, Amazon and Google can feel even more overwhelming. Companies like Google get over 2 million applications a year. With only one in 130 applications getting a final offer at the company, you have a better shot at getting into Harvard University than the top-ranked company to work for in America.
Millennials and Gen Z want to work for companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook
Here at the Briefcase Coach, we get no less than 10 emails a week from job seekers who have the goal at working for one of these three tech giants. Millennials and Gen-Z job seekers want to work for growing brands doing innovative work alongside other talented and motivated individuals.
LinkedIn’s list of the top U.S companies based on the rates of applications and job openings, the number of people asking for connections within a company, and how long staff are sticking around confirms–everyone wants to work for Alphabet (Google), Amazon and Facebook!
What is the secret to landing a job at Google, Amazon and Facebook?
We sent over 50 emails to employees at Amazon, Google and Facebook with the simple question “What you did you stand out and land a job at <insert company name>.
Unfortunately, because of strict corporate privacy policies, we got very few responses. However, we were able to gain some major insights into their hiring processes from thorough online research, a few internal candidates, former employees and executives who turned down jobs at these companies.
Secret #1: Know yourself.
Self Evaluation: Companies like Google want to hire employees with passion and drive.
You might find yourself applying to one of these top companies because you love their brands or have heard their culture is outstanding. However, before you enter the application process, make sure that your passions and values align with the companies you are applying to. Top companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google only want to hire people who truly believe in what they do, according to a 2019 CNBC article.
Google, Amazon and Facebook are known for their lengthy and thoughtful interview process. They are looking for candidates who have strong values, an intraprenuial spirit, and an ability to deal with a wide range of different situations, from criticism to how you would work with people (Google has even coined this “Googlieness“). They also want you to be honest and genuine about yourself. Being clear on who you are, the value that you can bring to an organization and WHY you want to work for one of the big tech companies will help you better position for opportunities. When you are able to thoughtfully communicate your unique value proposition and how you can contribute to the team/organization’s goals, you will stand out as a candidate.
According to someone who recently went through the Google application process, most Google people know a lot about their personality types. If you don’t have a good sense of your strengths, consider taking the Gallup Strengths Finder assessment or meeting with a YouMap coach. Interpret your results and understand what type of environment works for you and how you operate in a group setting.
Facebook, Amazon and Google are very culture driven and hire people who are self-aware and understand their personality types. Read your results and understand what type of work environment is best for you and how you operate in a group setting.
Secret #2: Network to land a job at Google, Facebook or Amazon.
Networking is key to landing a job at one of these companies. Where do you start?
- Bessy Tam, a Global Product Lead at Google, shared that “it’s important to know that more than 50% of hires in tech are through referrals. I got into Google through a previous employee in the team that was hiring. He was able to advocate for me amongst hundred of applicants. Take a look at your LinkedIn connections or reach out to people in the company to learn more about what they do.”
- Use Linkedin. Search the position you are aiming for and look for employees who have a connecting point. For example, the same university, hometown, or similar involvements.
If you are going to send a message to someone that you do not know, make sure that you are targeted in your approach. Spend some time reading about the other person before you reach out and personalize the message. In your opening sentence, consider mentioned a common connection or something you learned from some content that they recently shared online. People are more likely to respond if the message feels personalized.
Once people respond, ask if they are willing to speak for a few minutes about their position. You may be surprised, but most people are very willing to speak about themselves and what they do, especially if they are secure and happy in their role. Set up a time to conduct an informational interview.
Secret #3: Leverage Informational Interviews to land a job at Google, Amazon or Facebook
Informational Interviews: What do I ask?
Informational interviews go by many names including–quite simply– “coffee chats.” They are an opportunity to gather insightful career recommendations and job search advice from a networking contact. Unlike a job interview where a company asks the questions, informational interviews allow you the opportunity to focus the conversation on YOUR needs.
- Ask about the culture. It seems amazing from the outside, but how do you know it will be that amazing for you?
- Bessy Tam, (who is still at Google in a management role but now with a side hustle as a career coach at BessyTam.com) suggests asking about their current business challenges. After you understand them, you can create a strategy to help solve them and explain that in your interview.
- Try to find connections that will help build a relationship and ultimately help you get a referral.
Secret #4: Secure a referral to land a job at Facebook, Google or Amazon
US News & World Report reports that when an employee refers someone, that candidate is hired about two-thirds of the time. If you know someone who already works at one of these companies or have built a connection with someone through networking, then be sure to reach out no matter what level they are. Tam shared that roughly 50% of hires in tech at Google are referrals
Secret #5: Thoughtfully Prepare for Interviews at Amazon, Google and Facebook
Do some independent research. Networking and understanding the position you are applying for is crucial, but you also need to take some time and research the company itself.
- Look at the company’s career pages. If you are applying to Google, try to find its Work Rules.
- Search for certifications you can get that relate to the company and position. For example, Google Ads.
- Use GoogleNews and see what is going on in the company currently.
- Research the specific position you are interviewing for and see if people have reviewed it
Prepare interview stories
You have secured the interview, but now it is time to really show them your strengths and portray how you will add to their organization. Parth Detroja, a Product Manager at Facebook and former Growth Marketer at Amazon said that “you should expect behavioral interview questions.” Instead of preparing answers to specific behavioral questions, think about specific stories that you can tell to show your previous impacts and strengths. (Side note: in this article, we break down why stories are important and how to prepare.)
Focus in on these topics
- Organization thinking/groupthink
- Prioritization Collaboration
- A time you worked outside of your comfort zone
- Conflict resolution
- Innovation Time management
- Diversity and Inclusion
Keep in mind the job description for the position to which you are applying, and align your stories accordingly. Demonstrate that you not only did your research but also can fit the need of the description. Read this this for more preparation tactics.
In addition to behavioral interview questions, it’s also very common to get curveball interview questions. The key to answering off-the-wall questions like “How many pieces of Wriggly’s gum can wrap the Earth” is not necessarily having the *right* answer, but showing the interviewer how you process information, think strategically and solve problems. It’s a great idea to process aloud and share how you would approach the difficult situation.
Mentally Prepare for a Long Interview Process
We spoke with someone who went through the application process at Google and learned that they endured a 4 stage process with the on site interview consisting of 4 back to back interviews with different people in the department and the final stage being a more relaxed conversation / Skype call with the department head. This isn’t always the case at Google (Sarah had an interview coaching client in 2019 whose Google interview lasted 5 months from the first video interview to the offer with multiple rounds of virtual and on-site interviews).
Amazon, Facebook and Google are notorious for longer hiring processes. Below are the results of Comparably’s survey of 6463 current employees at Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.
Comparably surveyed 6,463 current employees at Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft to gain insight into their interviews. 49% of Google employees said their interview was “very difficult” or “difficult” compared with 30% ranking Amazon as “very easy” or “easy.”
Secret #6: Continue Engaging with the Recruiter and Hiring Manager After the Interview
Send a thank-you note. This will allow your interviewer, who probably had a number of other interviews that day, to remember you. It also shows continued interest in and excitement for the position .
Sarah helped 16 people prepare for interviews at Google, Amazon and Facebook in 2019. Out of the 16, 11 people were hired. Those who were not initially selected have remained in contact with their interviewers (interestingly, 2 of the 11 successful candidates were initially turned down for roles and because of their strong relationships with their recruiter, they were invited to apply again).
It is a long process, but with the right strategy, you can land your dream job.
This article was named a Top Job Search Blog Post for 2020 by JobMob.co.il. The original article can be found here.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1700 episodes and “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com is also a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.
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