How to Get an Interview at a Major Tech Company

0% money-back guarantee – The Town of Muleshoe – How to get rejected – Captain Picard’s wisdom

If you’re reading this, you’re looking for a software engineering job at a major tech company. If you’re in sales, HR, or any non-tech function, you will probably hate my controversial thoughts about Microsoft Office.

Remember: I am a random engineer on the Internet, not an official Google recruiter. My experience is from going through the process, and I offer a 0% money-back guarantee.

What To Focus On

These main ideas will make a huge difference:

  • Programming personal projects
  • Optimizing your resume (to a certain point)
  • Learning about data structures and algorithms
  • Practicing whiteboard interviews
  • Avoiding unhelpful activities (What Not To Do)

Remember, 80% of the work happens before you hit “Send” on that email.

Personal Projects… Again

Personal projects show that you’re knowledgeable about specific technologies. Make sure you have some under your belt, and can brag about how cool you are. Practice talking to recruiters, too.

Getting Noticed

A lot of large companies say, “Apply online.” It’s true. Despite sending company representatives to career fairs, many reps don’t take resumes. In contrast, smaller companies have offered to schedule interviews at career fairs.

I have had seen success both in person and via online applications. In either case, a good resume can help you stand out from the average Joes.

Do you know the way to Muleshoe?

As a software engineer, you’re expected to know basic algorithms and data structures. On the job, will you actually implement Djikstra’s algorithm to calculate the perfect route to Muleshoe, TX? Probably not. But that doesn’t stop interviewers from asking questions like that.

So you can argue about whether it’s reasonable to ask interviewees to estimate big O, or learn about hash tables. You should be able to describe common algorithms like breadth-first search before you walk into the interview room.

Whiteboard Interviews

Okay, this is only for after you get an interview. But you should already be practicing interviews before you’re scheduled for a phone screen. For a detailed guide, read this article. Then practice relentlessly.

What Not To Do

Since you’re spending time on the most significant aspects of a job search, you can ignore tactics like these:

  • Tailoring a cover letter (I’ve rarely needed these)
  • Obsessing over daily GitHub contributions
  • Waiting in line to talk to big tech company recruiters at a career fair
  • Writing a huge blog (recruiters don’t have time to read every article)

Just Apply Already!

If you’ve made your resume succinct and ensured it contains relevant terms, you’ll have a much better chance of landing an interview at a major tech company. If you get rejected, keep trying with other companies. Like a wise man once said, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose.”

Keep on programming and applying, and you’ll be ever closer to landing a job at a major tech company.

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