A recent interview conducted by Vault discussed the recruiting practices of tech firms. Andrew Cerda, a recruiter for companies like Yelp, Foursquare, and Class Pass; describes the type of traits and qualities that these firms are looking for in their candidates. I’ve synthesized Andrew’s advice into 5 categories that will help improve your chances of getting hired by a tech firm.
Advice for Applying to Open Positions:
Don’t be transactional. That is to say that companies are not looking for a resume or application that is generically built to all other tech companies. Find ways to put more personalization into a job opening. This can be accomplished through chatting with alumni of your university, current employees of the company, or even integrating information such as the mission statement and keywords from the job description into your resume and cover letter. The more effort you put into personalizing your application, the higher chance you have of a recruiter recognizing this effort and inviting you to interview.
What Types of Work are Being Recruited:
In addition to more traditional, engineering style careers, there are teams focusing on product, design, marketing communications, business development, operations, and sales to name a few. Sales typically has the largest volume of open positions while product and business development are typically the most sought after careers. Those who work in sales often do best when they find a company with products that they feel passionate about. This allows them to become more successful as they are working with products and companies that they believe in
Recent Changes to Interview Process:
While of course recruiters want to see the skills required of the position when you apply, there has also been a large push to evaluate skills that are a bit more difficult to measure. Analytical abilities, critical listening & thinking, product intuition, craft & process, problem solving, passion for the product, and a good fit with the company’s culture all make for soft skills that contribute to success in a position just as much as harder skills.
What are Common Deficiencies of Applicants:
It is not uncommon for recruiters to hear fluff & jargon in their interviews. Instead, focus on responses that highlight cause & effect relationships in your relevant work. Discuss and disentangle the complexity of your process, and demonstrate a desire to challenge yourself to understand the bigger picture of your work. That is, “how does my individual contribution affect the next team and the end consumer?” Just because one tweets doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to tweet or the larger impact of Twitter.
How to Improve Chances at Getting Hired:
We all have professional and personal circles that we can pull on to make tangible industry connections. Family, friends, and coworkers may themselves have family, friends, and coworkers who are employed in the industries we seek to enter. Reaching out to one of these individuals at a company of interest for a 20-minute conversation can elucidate a considerable amount of insider information on the company, its culture, and the candidates it looks to hire. This will add weight to your application when you utilize this persons advice and name in your cover letter and through crafting your resume.