Several advice columns in respected national news magazines have published articles from the career community on how to get hired into big name tech companies like Google, and Apple. I was literally stunned by some of the misguided advice I saw.
Much of it was from the last century just retooled with younger fresher language and jargon, but it was still the same: ask tough questions in the interview, take charge of the interview, present a work sample, send expanded thank you notes with business plans, prep your references, and be ready for the Mt Fuji impossible to answer questions.
Let's try to set the record straight starting with the impossible questions like, “How do you move Mt Fuji?” They have been derided and discarded by the originators, Google and Microsoft, as not being effective measures of a good employee. They aren’t using them anymore.
During the interview if you want to seal the deal, be the expert they expect and tell them what you know without any contrivances or grandstanding. But they already know what you know. They want to verify it and then see if you fit into their culture. Culture fit is why they test drive people as contractors.
It would be redundant and low tech during an interview to offer a work sample when your samples, opinions, and track record should be easily found on your website/blog. They expect you to have large digital footprint. They will look at it before they even talk to you. They check your references in advance too through all your recommendations on Linkedin and other testimonials online. Since those are your references, it is best to have good ones.
It behooves you to pave the way by getting to know people in the company who will vouch for you. These companies have very clubby cultures built on trust and comeraderie. If you have high level friends at them, then they will just walk you in, and you won't need to be a contractor.
And, it is easier to be hired by one of their contracting agencies who will present your credentials and pave the way for you. Companies like Google, Facebook, or Apple all tend to hire larger ratios of (like 60%) contractors and compared to (40%) smaller numbers of perm employees. Start as a contractor and then do the temp to perm hire once they get to know and fall in love with you.
The big sexy tech companies feel you should want to work for them. Then after paying your dues for a few years including being a contractor, then the rewards will flow towards you. So don't expect the red carpet when you are hired. They don’t all pay that well. Google and Apple are at the median or below on salary scales. Glassdoor.com will tell you that. Bigger salaries and more stock options for the same jobs are found in smaller companies who have to compete with the big guys for talent.
If it is important to you to have a brand name tattooed on your CV then by all means go for the big name tech companies, but sometimes it is even better to be in on the ground floor with a startup, instead. All those name brands were start-ups once upon a time ago.
Licensed by CC-by-SA