Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google have become the infamous “FANG” companies as Wall Street claims them. They’ve achieved an elite status as their businesses are extremely stable. They drive a vast amount of consumer intent in the US and earn billions in revenue. As a result, each of them have some of the best job opportunities in the US. But some of the most competitive job opportunities as well.
It is estimated that 37% of recent graduating classes are seeking employment at larger companies. Companies like Facebook are in particular focus for recent graduates because they’re a recognizable brand with a world-class culture driven by technology innovation.
As this continues to accelerate in coming years, it will be more competitive to be able to get employed at companies of this stature. We’re going to cover the three qualities that you should show off during your interviews. Let’s get started.
The top three qualities that will get you employed at top technology companies
With each of these qualities, there are indirect ways of being able to ensure your employer notices them. Be sure you plan out how you might be able to integrate our strategies for displaying these qualities in advance of your interview or discussions with HR managers.
Deductive reasoning skills
If you haven’t interviewed at Amazon or Facebook, they often ask engineers and other business professionals interview questions that are related to finding your general IQ or deductive reasoning skills. Questions such as:
- “How would you move mount fuji?”
- “How many ping pong balls can you fit in a limousine?”
It’s very important that you prepare for these style of interview questions in particular. These questions absolutely test your mathematical skills and communication skills at the same time.
In order to show your employer that you have good deductive reasoning skills, you don’t need to answer the question perfectly. That’s what makes them “tricky”. For example, it’s not required to know how many ping pong balls can fit into a limousine. But it is very important that you either verbally or physically (whiteboard or chalkboard) walk your interviewer through how you would solve the problem.
For example, being able to say, “Well a limousine is about 18 feet long and about 6.5 feet wide.. So that’s around 600 cubic feet. So about 64,000 ping pong balls can fit into the limousine.”
Walking your employer through your reasoning for the answer, even if incorrect, is the proper way to show your deductive reasoning skills. And while this absolutely tests your mathematical skills on the fly, it is far more important to verbalize your process than to be correct with your answer. This is because the employer is far more interested to see how you can think on your feet and use deductive reasoning to produce as close to a perfect outcome as you can.
Being able to show off your communication skills is very important in all interviews. But in fact, it is vastly more important in these highly-desired technology companies than any other interview. This is because software is intangible. Meaning, you can’t hold it three dimensionally and speak to it. This makes it difficult to collaborate with your colleagues. Testing your communication skills every day.
Technology companies spend a considerable amount of effort ensuring that communication is clear across all functions of their business. Because one communication mishap can be costly on the business. It can mean more time to get products into the market. Or more time spent making investments. This means that technology employers care a great deal more about your communication abilities can than any other style of company.
The best way to show off your communication skills is to be prepared to speak about yourself. Being prepared to answer interview questions is necessary but where most candidates make missteps is when they’re asked to speak about themselves. Questions like, “Tell me about your career” or “How do you solve problems” or “Who are you” are those that usually test a candidates communication abilities.
Questions that cause you to feel some sense of introversion or discomfort are the ones where you need to practice. Here’s what you can do, have a friend ask you questions about yourself and time how long it takes you to reply in a concise way. Have them ask, “Who are you?” and see what you respond with and how well it connects to the job you’re applying for.
Knowledge of the business
Yes, you’ve probably heard this interview tip before. And while it is important to practice this for all interviews, you need to go a few steps more in-depth for larger technology companies. It is important to know:
- Quarterly revenue
- Quarterly investments (which products are being spoken about in the news)
- Annual customer pain points they’re attempting to alleviate
- New products or services soon to be released
- And in-depth competitive business analysis (like Amazon Prime compared to Netflix)
Being able to show the interviewer that you have a very in-depth knowledge of the business confirms a number of worries for the employer. Indirectly, it confirms both your deductive reasoning and communication skills too. But more importantly it informs the interviewer that you are aware of the business in a way that you could contribute towards the growth of it.
When you can recite these data points without referencing them from a sheet of paper, you are ready to use them. In order to show this off, you’ll need to find a reason to bring them up. And this goes back to our deductive reasoning technique. Whenever applicable, answer an interview question with a financial or conservative guidance fact as part of your reasoning for the answer.
An example would be if the interviewer asked you, “What would you want to work on if you were employed here?” you can answer with, “Last quarter you invested $15M into your new messaging service, I read about it a few months ago on The Verge and it seems to be an impactful part of the business with a humble goal for the customer. That could easily be something I could find myself wanting to get involved in.”
Your recital of a few facts as part of your supportive reasons for your decision show that your knowledge of the business (beyond surface-level data points) is vast. This ensures you present yourself as a candidate who already feels as though they’re employed.
Putting it all together for FANG companies
The three qualities we described above are absolutely important in all interviews but are vastly more important for large technology companies. It’s important that you practice the traditional interview questions such as “Describe yourself” or STAR questions such as “Tell me about a time you failed.”
But if you can, be sure that you mix your preparation of traditional and non-traditional interview session components (like the situations described above) into your preparation. This will absolutely increase your odds of being in the top 5% of the candidate pool.