For most recent college graduates the technology sector is attractive. Silicon Valley seems like a really exciting place. Innovation is happening on a regular basis. Some of the companies those graduates might use every day came from there. The compensation seems really high. And the growth opportunities are bountiful. And while all of these things are true, what no one informs you about is the hiring process in Silicon Valley. Because there is more competition entering the area, hiring becomes more strict. There are more “hoops” that you need to jump through in order to secure your role. In this guide I’m going to help you get a better idea of what you might experience when you go to an interview at a technology company in San Francisco and ensure that you are well prepared for what you’ll experience in the sessions themselves.
High degrees of competition make the hiring process more important
Companies have built up a system for vetting their candidates from the phone interview stage to what they expect to hear from you after the interview (usually through a personalized “thank you” email after the interview), to the technical interview stage. For the average person, these interviews can be quite tiring. And what you should expect is a great deal of discussion and mental testing that you might not have had before.
What the process is like
While most job interviews have you interviewing with one, maybe two of your colleagues that you’ll work with, technology jobs often have you interview with 5-8 people. Each one of these discussions lasted about 30 minutes in length each. They’re back to back as well, and take up at least half of your day in total. That’s a lot of time spent having someone ask you questions regarding your experience, your process, the way you work, why you like the company and much more. It can be quite stressful.
Technical interviews are more intense
You may have to sit down with another engineer and whiteboard out equations or solutions to problems that the employed engineer is asking you about. This can feel quite stressful because you are being asked to perform in real-time and you are doing so against a whiteboard versus your computer.
Paired-programming sessions is another way this technical aptitude test happens as part of the interview process. This is when an engineer sits down with you and your screen is shared with them. And together you go through a technical problem that you are being asked to solve. The other engineer then gets to see how you work. Meaning they can understand what types of questions you ask to get a better sense of what you’re building. And they can see how you navigate application structures to get started or if you write tests against your code to confirm the functionality.
Preparation truly is king
n your interview sessions you will tested against these things:
Your knowledge of the company
Your communication skills
Your experience in the role you are applying for
Your experience working with agile technology companies
Your experience working with teams similar to theirs
Your personal career goals
Expect a slightly confusing day but have confidence in your preparation
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