That one has to survive cut-throat competition to get a job at companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon is no secret. Interview questions, tales, and fables at these organizations range from extremely creative to downright bizarre. But, in one of those rare media interactions, the HR of both Facebook and Amazon spilled the beans on what they actually look for in a candidate.
Facebook: Culture and continuous learning reign supreme
The report, recounting the ordeal of a former employee who went through 17 rounds of interview before being hired, is based on an interaction of Lori Goler, Facebook’s Vice President of People discussing the hiring process with Glassdoor.
She says that the first thing that makes or breaks the chances of a candidate is whether he or she knows and understands the culture at the organization. She suggests to extensively read call transcripts and earning articles for the latest information on what is going on at the company. For example, founder Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the company is often brought up in interviews. Hence, knowing about the mission statement of the company, and the manifesto that Zuckerberg released earlier this year is imperative. Further, she says that applicants should be ‘builders’ or ‘learners’, or people who are constantly renewing and updating their knowledge and skills, and “contributing to the company’s growth through innovation.”
She says in the interaction, “We're always looking at something and thinking, 'That works pretty well, but it can be even better... What that means is that we are never done. That's true of every person on every job in every location across the globe for us." She also suggests that communicating the willingness to grab an opportunity to contribute to doing good, during the interview, is also likely to help.
Amazon: Culture and problem solving most important
Amazon recently made news for a whopping $13 billion acquisition of Whole Foods. The report says that last year Amazon hired 110,000 employees and there are plans to increase its full-time US-based workforce to over 280,000 in the next 18 months. However, that doesn’t mean that getting a job at Amazon is easy. The report is based on an interaction of Merriam Park, Amazon’s Director of University recruiting, with Cosmopolitan.
She says that the company culture at Amazon is laser-focused on customers, and that is something that is scouted for during the interviews. She says, “It's understanding that about us and researching how it manifests itself in how we operate. Everything we do makes a difference in added value to our customers." Further, she says that the ability to solve complex issues is something that is desirable in candidates. She advises hopefuls to “focus on a problem and how to solve it to show that they can deliver results.” She says, "I encourage candidates to give examples that show how they can follow an inquiry and get to the root cause of something. Give an example of going above and beyond serving their customers' needs."
What’s interesting to note is that both organizations have a special focus on the culture of the company, and the ability of the candidate to understand and imbibe the same in non-negotiable. Furthermore, the concepts of continuous learning or problem solving might seem ordinarily normal but are extremely rare to find. Just ask yourself the question, when was the last time you made an effort to learn something new at your job, or when did you solve a sticky problem that made a big impact at your company? Your answer is likely to tell you how concepts like learning and problem-solving are taken for granted. Lastly, both the interviewees also mention that communicating your true thoughts and ambition, about being a part of something bigger or stating how one would walk the extra mile, is important. At the end of the day, being your true genuine self is the most important aspect of sitting through any interview, so that the recruiter can identify if you would fit in with the culture, values, and mission of the company.