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Category Archives for "Interview & Informational Chats"

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30 Smarter Questions You Can Ask the Interviewer (and Why)

Interviewing is like playing a friendly game of tennis.

You get served the ball by your friendly opponent hoping that you can return it back well. 

What does it mean to hit a great response back?

  1. The Recruiter/HR Manager actually enjoys the game
  2. The Recruiter/HR Manager can actually play the ball back
  3. The question or answer you're hitting back is intriguing and has material he/she can react back to

Imagine if the hiring manager or recruiter is "carrying the weight" of the game, hitting a great ball to you, giving you a great entry point to answer, but you're only able to "receive it" and not respond back with substance. 

Wouldn't that be boring to the hiring manager? Wouldn't that create a disproportionate weight on you just "answering questions" vs making it more conversational?

Why People Fail At Tech Interviews and What to Do

That's why it's important for you to ask quality questions - to be able to actively play a friendly game of tennis. To show curiosity and hold a 50/50 relationship and a 50/50-weighted conversation. 

Previously, I talked about how curiosity is the #1 reason  people fail at tech interviews. I know this because I've interviewed dozens of candidates in my job at Google. And I also know this because I've truly tested my methodologies personally as well, which got me 100% interview to offer ratios for tech jobs.

You can show curiosity by:

  • Doing your homework - research about the role, the company, and the interviewer that you will meet with
  • Actively listening  - lean in during your interview on the edge of your seat and plant your feet firmly on the ground. Don't slump back on your chair, it just makes you look uninterested.
  • Taking notes - remember what the interviewer says and write down notes. Not only will it show the interviewer you're truly interested in what they're saying, you can also write down the 'keywords" that they say so that you connect your answers back to what they said.
  • Asking the right questions - you'll usually have time to ask questions at the end. You can also ask questions after you answer one of the interview questions if you see that there's an opportunity.

Don't Let This Small Thing Undermine Your Chances

The challenge is, if you don't do any of the above, especially  asking great questions, the interviewer might think you're not that interested or not prepared.

Questions like - "How are the benefits at Facebook?" just won't cut it.

That was actually the worst question I've ever gotten as an interviewer and I immediately decided I didn't want her.

It just shows you're not strategic in your ways of working. In my mind as an interviewer, I wonder - how does this translate to his/her work in the workplace? Are they just a data monkey and just does what they're told? Or are they proactive and curious?

It also infers that you don't care about solving the company or team's problems  (which is why a person is hired anyway).. You only care about getting a job.

When in the Interview Prep Process do you prep your questions?

Now that you know why it's important, when are you supposed to prep your questions?

When I prep my students for interviews these questions can be written down after we have a full 25 to 30-page prep doc done. 

This 30-page prep doc includes information about:

  • Who we're meeting
  • Interesting traits of those people for talking points
  • Information about the company, role, and culture that we need to keep in mind
  • 25+ interview questions and answers that can predict 99% of what the interviewer asks - I call this the "Plug and Play" approach
  • and lastly questions we want to ask for each interviewer.

If you want to learn more about the 5 Most Common Questions that Tech Interviews ask and How to Answer them, subscribe below. This is ONE section out of my 7-day FREE Email Course if you're interested.

ANSWER THE TOP TECH INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
ERROR-FREE AND WITH CONFIDENCE — EVERY TIME

7 Smarter Strategies to Make You Stand Out Against Competitors

The key is to think through your strategy:

  1. What are the most important 2-3 things you need to learn about this role in order for you to make an educated decision about this role? You usually only have 30 minutes with an interviewer. 
  2. How can you distribute the 1-2 things you need to learn among different people you'll be interviewing with? You'll typically have 3 to 4 interviews that are back-to-back for tech with different managers, people in that role, one HR/Recruiter, and maybe one person who sits outside of that hiring team but works closely with the role.
  3. Who is it that you're talking to and who can best answer that question? Eg. Don't ask questions about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role you're going for to the VP or senior manager of the team. 
  4. Make sure questions are open-ended like "How.." "Why.." "Can you tell me more about...". That's how you keep the tennis game going instead of a "yes or no" question.
  5. Say "Out of Curiosity.." or give a short reasoning before you ask a question if you feel the question is too abrupt or interrogating. The last thing you want is for the interviewer to not be able to answer a question or think you're too aggressive. Giving a reasoning can help soften your approach.
  6. Use follow-up questions - Don't go through a laundry list of quesitons for an interviewer. Those only provide surface level answers. Instead, ask follow-ups like :"You mentioned XYZ. Would you mind elaborating more about that?" or "Tell me more about.." or "Why do you say that?"
  7. Use follow-up answers - Don't just let the interviewer answer your question and let the ball drop (literally and figuratively!). Write down the key points that the interviewer said and match those back to your experiences. For example if you're asking them about traits of an ideal candidate for the role and they mentioned they wanted "someone with experiences influencing both A-level and C-Suite clients." After you've asked follow-up questions and gotten more depth (about 1 to 2 minutes), you can then respond back "that's interesting, because I've had experiences influencing both A-level and C-Suite clients too!" Then you proceed to tell your example or story by using the STAR Method.

In the end, you want to ask questions because it shows that you're curious and also because you want to make the best educated decision about a job. Job descriptions only tell you <5% of what a job entails. 

The last thing you want is to join a company in a job that isn't what you expected (very common), thus waste your own time as well as the company/team's time, and need to look for a job again.

What you want is a job or company that you can work in for 4 to 5 years, to be able to grow you career and learn.

The 30 Smarter Questions You Can Ask An Interviewer

  1. How does the success of this role ladder up to your role?
  2. Can you tell me what a typical day looks like in this role?
  3. What does an ideal candidate look like for you?
  4. If you were working with a [Title of Role], what's one advice you would tell him/her to succeed?
  5. What does success look like for a [Title of Role] ?
  6. How do [Title of Role] often fail in the company? 
  7. What's the #1 Challenge the team/business/company is facing?
  8. What's the biggest opportunity the team/business/company foresees in the next 2 to 3 years?
  9. How do you think the culture of this team or company is different from other tech companies?
  10. What do you like best about working for this company?
  11. Out of all the candidates you've interviewed or seen in the system, what's one thing that makes me stand out and one thing that I may lack or need improvement on?
  12. What are the next steps in the process and is there any information you would need from me to help you make a better decision?
  13. What are your goals for the next  half-year and how does this role contribute to those?
  14. Given what you know about me, is there anything missing in my portfolio or experiences that may hinder my opportunity to move forward as a candidate?
  15. Do you have any feedback for me?
  16. I know you've worked at XYZ company before, how has your experiences in this company differ and what prompted you to make the jump?
  17. I know you've worked as a XYZ role before, how has your experiences in this role differ and what prompted you to make the jump?
  18. I know you've worked in XYZ country before in the same company, how has your experiences here differ and what prompted you to make the jump?
  19. Tell me about a great  [Title of Role] you've worked with, what made working with him/her amazing?
  20. What is the structure of the team like and how do the different roles ladder up to the wider goal?
  21. What is the typical career path for someone in this role?
  22. What does the first 30-60-90 days look like in this role?
  23. Given how rapidly the industry is changing, what are one or two things you wish you knew or had skillsets for when you first started in your role?
  24. Out of curiosity, why did the previous person who filled this role leave?
  25. Since you've been in different teams in the same role, how is this team different from others?
  26. I know this team/company/role/office is new - what prompted this creation and what are the expectations for success for this team/company/role in the next few years?
  27. Who do you work with on a day to day basis and how does your role ladder to their successes?
  28. How do you foresee your role as well as this role change in the next few years?
  29. I read about XYZ news, how has this impacted your role, the business, and the wider company?
  30. How has this role changed in the past 5 years?


Tell me, which of the smarter questions did you ask in your tech interview and what was the result?

ANSWER THE TOP TECH INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
ERROR-FREE AND WITH CONFIDENCE — EVERY TIME

How to Ace Your Interview at a Tech Company in 5 Steps

Interviews for tech companies can go 1 of 2 ways: 

  • It can feel like a nice catch up with a long lost friend 
  • or an awkward date that you can’t wait to be over.

The problem is, you don’t want to be in the 2nd situation halfway through the interview. Wouldn’t that just be a waste of time for the both of you?

So you need to do the “dance.”

Before you go on a “blind date,” we could probably agree that it’s a good idea to learn more about the person first.

Before you travel to a new country, you might need to learn more about the culture, attractions, and possible dangerous situations to watch out for.

Similarly, before you walk into an interview you should learn more about the company and hiring team.

This way, you can get enough information to match the right solutions to their problems and ask the right questions during the interview.

I spent years interviewing candidates in my tech job.

Prior to the tech job, I also spent 10+ months applying to 100+ companies before I finally cracked the code on how to ace my interviews.

I remember what it felt like in the beginning of my job search process when young Bessy didn’t know anything about optimizing the interview approach.

Half-way through interviews, I would get blank faces and awkward silences that left me more nervous and incoherent than I already was.

After months of researching and testing various approaches to interviews, I got to a point where I could get offers for every official interview I got my hands on. Even ones beyond tech.

Now I teach these methods in my private coaching programs as well.

If you want the top questions asked in a tech interview and how to answer them, I’d love to share it with you. Just enter your information below and I’ll send it over. Then, after you crank out exactly how you’ll answer these questions word for word, you’ll be able to ace any other questions tech interviewers throw at you.

At the end of the day, it’s not the interview itself that you should focus on, but it’s the prep work behind it.

By the time you finish reading today, you’ll understand the 5 C’s of acing your interview:

  • 1
    The #1 way tech interviewees fail
  • 2
    A system to know exactly what the hiring team needs
  • 3
    The 3 C’s that set you apart

PRINCIPLE #1: The #1 way tech interviewees fail - Curiosity

I could tell you everything about tactics that all the other publications you’ve read online would say:

  • “10 questions you have to ask your interviewer!”
  • “Stay Positive"
  • “Read tech interview books!”
  • “Memorize all the questions!”
  • “Sell yourself!”

Sure, these tactics can help but in the end, the #1 way tech interviewees fail is a lack of curiosity.

The best people I’ve interviewed are the ones who are curious - curious to succeed, curious to understand the business, curious about what the hiring team needs, and curious about how to help.

This means reaching out to people who are on in the company as well as the hiring team prior to the interview.

This means reading and watching videos about the company to learn about their mission statement, products, vision, plans for success, and business challenges.

This also means doing whatever you can to find out about the topics that matter and how the team plans to solve big problems.

We live in a day and age where information is readily available online or through your connections. So it’s not about not knowing anymore, it’s about being curious enough to find the answers.

Find out how Laurie used this system to do her pre-interview homework and got a job in a profitable tech startup

Curiosity also shows during the interview when you ask great questions.

The worst questions I’ve received during an interview were:

  • Is it true there’s slide at Google?
  • Are there any learning opportunities coming into Google?
  • Do you work within your team or do you work with other departments too?
  • What clients did you work on in Hong Kong?
  • Are there any similar goals in managing a campaign as what I do now in campaign management?
  • What is XYZ like as a manager?

It gives the interviewer a feeling that #1 the interviewee didn’t really care and #2 they just wanted A job… any job.

A better way to ask some of the questions are:

  • How has your experiences in Google Hong Kong differ from your experiences here in Chicago and how did that impact your approach to work?
  • How does your team approach the agency, client, and Google relationship? What are the similarities in roles and how does it differ?
  • What are some of the challenges your team faces both internally and externally that keeps you up at night?
  • How would you describe this team in 3 words?

In the end, only 2% of applicants actually get an interview (WebWire). This already shows you have the basic qualifications if you got the interview.

Why not make the most out of this opportunity by doing more prep work that shows you curiosity and proactiveness beforehand?

Principle #2: A system to know exactly what the hiring team needs - the Checklist

This is the 2nd C, understanding the exact checklist of an ideal candidate. This means, you’re anticipating what the hiring team will evaluate you on.

You’re probably thinking, “What! Where do I find this information? Tech already seems exclusive in some ways.”

You might think about looking for “information” online - especially to get information about the “most common interview questions” through LinkedIn, Glassdoor. It’s definitely a great start, but the prepping process shouldn’t end with you facing a computer screen.

What sets a successful interviewee apart is being able to get information that no one else has access to. This requires a system to reach beyond common sites you find online.

A system to research and find the information you need to build a checklist of what the business, role, and company needs and wants.

How do you build your checklist?

First Step - Understanding the roles, businesses, products, and overall “searchable” information.

First and foremost you need to understand the company, departments, and specific products that you’re going for. This is high level information that can allow you to make an educated guess for the scope of work that this role is required to do and the overall business challenges that the team or company may face.

This easiest search to do are includes “X Company” +  “Business model”, or other combinations including + “mission statement”, + “products,” + “annual report,” + “founders letters,” + “annual meeting,” etc.

This way you can learn exactly how the businesses make money, what products they have, the message they want to convey, and the teams they hire.

Second Step  - Be Specific

Then, you can verify both the business challenges and role challenges by being more specific about what you’re looking for.

I know it’s easy to just search for someone you know in an ideal company and just ask for a 30 minute coffee to  “learn about the company and role.”

In reality, this is not beneficial for either you or the person you’re reaching out to.

I can’t tell you how many times someone reached out to me on LinkedIn or Facebook with a vague request like that chat about my experiences in a tech company.

As much as I want to just chat with the person  or even aim to refer him/her into the company, I simply don’t have the time.

The reason is because I get at least 1 of these requests each week. I could spend 30 mins just talking about my experiences knowing that it won’t actually help them or I could get a better understanding from additional context about the specific challenge they want me to solve or roles they want me to advise on.

Sometimes the person who reached out to me is completely searching the wrong types of jobs in comparison to his/her background. Sometimes, they ramble a 500 word paragraph that’s not going anywhere. Sometimes, they’re just not prepared.

For example, don’t just say you want to get a “product manager” role. Dig deeper. What does it mean? What do they do? What’s the minimum requirements? Do your homework before-hand to learn how your experience and wants tie into the role.

Then you’ll need to build your resume to tailor specifically to those business and role challenges you’ve prepared for. I can’t emphasize this enough.

Third Step  - Leverage Your Network

Once you’ve done your research, you can leverage your network both from social media, friends of friends, random people you’ve met at a barbecue, to learn more and possibly get a referral into jobs.

You don’t have to decide that the role you specified will be the exact role you plan to get into. However, you need to be specific in order to get enough information to make an educated decision.

By researching online, you barely have 10% of the information right now to make a solid decision whether you’re fit for the tech job or not. So the goal here is to focus on learning more and expanding your research process through your network instead of getting a referral.

I’ll walk through how to (a) find the right people and (b) how to reach out

How to find the right people on LinkedIn:

You can click “Jobs” on LinkedIn to see specific people who work at certain companies with various titles. Note: I have 2500+ connections on LinkedIn so it’s easier for me to search, if you don’t it might be good to connect with past alumni/high school friends first on LinkedIn to build the base.

After you search, you could then reach out to them saying something similar to the below:

“Hi XYZ name!

It’s been a while since we’ve chat. I’ve been following your journey in [Insert very specific occasion and a very specific reason why you admire/like/or connected with it].

I wanted to reach out for a quick 15 minute favor if that’s alright. I’ve been researching a few roles and companies among [name 3 companies + roles] because of my background in [insert specific experiences]. I really feel that I can add [XYZ value to the company and team because of XYZ].

However, after some intensive research, I still have some questions in mind and I thought that it may be best to reach out to you since you’re an expert in this field. I’ve done [XYZ to solve them previously].

If it’s okay, can I have a short call with you for 15 minutes? I had the below questions I wanted to specifically chat about if that helps:
[Insert questions 1, 2, & 3, and possibly a short explanation of how you tried to solve it]

I’ve also attached my resume in case to provide more context. If a call won’t do, I’m also happy to chat here in text or email if that works too! Feel free to say no. Either way, I appreciate your time for reading this and connecting briefly.

[Insert Calendly link]

Thank you so much
Name”

This example script shows that:

  • 1
    You care about them as a person
  • 2
    You’ve done your homework
  • 3
    You’re mindful of their time by providing them choices and only asking for 15 minutes of their time
  • 4
    You’re providing additional information

TIP: If they don’t respond on LinkedIn, you can follow up on the same platform in 2 days, and then follow up with a short note on another social media or by text message where you both are connected as well.

How to find the right people on Facebook:

I’ve also seen a friend blast “Does anyone know anyone in Hootsuite?” on their feed.

Then, friends would message her directly or link them up in a group chat.

The great part about this approach is that you could rely on the 3rd party validation, where your friend introduces you instead of you trying to earn a relationship with a complete stranger.

These are only a few approaches, there are always more.

By the end of the chats you need to expand your research by getting referring contacts.

For example:

“Thank you for your time today, I really appreciate it! [I have XYZ action items] to do and I can update you once they’re done. In addition, are there 2-3 other people you can think of who’s either in XYZ role in your company or a similar role in another team? I want to learn more about their challenges and business goals to see if I’m a right fit. If there aren’t hiring teams, other folks who are in similar roles would be helpful!”

If they say they do, you can ask them to introduce you both in the same email.

By the end of these chats you should have been able to:

  • 1
    Understand the different roles in the hiring team
  • 2
    Learn about all the challenges that the hiring team faces
  • 3
    Match your experiences to what they look for
  • 4
    Get a sense on the culture and vision of the hiring team

These are topics that would add up to the team’s “ideal candidate checklist.”  And you probably would’ve have chat with at least 3-5 quality people within the team to get this information.

It takes time, but remember - you can only get information that’s valuable from people who are in the company but most importantly, in the same team.

Fourth Step  - Referral

Then, once you’ve casually found a right fit, you will naturally get referred.

People who are in tech companies are passionate about referring friends or aquaintances into the company. The main reason is because people who refer usually gets a high bonus ~US$3K to $5K.

Referrals also have a 9.5X of a success rate vs applied candidates (see chart below).

(Source: Lever)

By getting referred after you’ve done these chats, you also have a higher chance of acing the interview since you’ve already had enough “inside information” from the 3-5 informational chats.

Principle #3: During the Interview - Be Clear

Once you get the information you need (Principle #1 - Curiosity) and have the specific requirements the team needs beyond the job description (Principle #1 - The Checklist), no you need to focus on the interview.

The 2nd biggest challenge I’ve faced as an interviewer after the lack of curiosity, is the lack of clarity when interviewees answer the questions.

This is actually the biggest issue among my students in my personal coaching program as well. They always say they don’t have the right experience but I would actually say the reverse. They have great experiences but don’t know how to apply these clear and concise stories to interview questions in order to match up the hiring team’s “ideal candidate checklist.”

If you want the top questions asked in a tech interview and how to answer them, I’d love to share it with you. Just enter your information below and I’ll send it over.

A few tips for you would be:

  • Use the STAR method at all times - for Situation, Task, Action, Result
  • Get the top questions asked in a tech interview through my free email course
  • Write down your answers in a running document to reference to and practice with. This will help you get your example stories or situations straight and simply be able to “Plug and play” for any interview
  • Nail the basics first before you tackled harder “behavioral questions”. Simple questions such as “Why XYZ company?” “Why do you want this role?” “Tell me about yourself”
  • Ensure your answers are about 30 seconds long. It’s like peeling an onion, you can let the interview choose what they want to learn more about with their follow-up questions
  • Practice answering in front of the mirror… vocally.

After you’ve done the tips, you’ll be way less nervous and much more clear in your answers.

Principle #4: During the Interview - Culture

Everyone talks about what your technical skills are but no one talks about how you fit into the culture.

There’s a reason why Google coined a term called “Googley.”

.. Why Amazon is known to be relentless for growth

… How Salesforce prides itself in their “Ohana” culture

Culture is a huge piece of the pie where everyone has to unite and interviewers look for but no one coaches you on. When interviewers ask certain behavioral questions, they’re also looking for these specific traits to see how you fit in.

It may or may not be something you can control, but definitely something you can convey by showing the best of who you are.

That’s why I always tell my students - if you have specific interests or quirky traits that make you stand out, always express it! You’re already “nervous’ in the interview, but if you don’t show your natural side, interviewers wouldn’t be able to feel how you’ll fit into the culture.

I’m not talking about interests such as TV shows you like to watch or places you like to shop. I’m talking about passions, interests, hobbies, or experiences that are completely unique. Eg. You’ve traveled to 25 countries, play soccer professionally before, built an art gallery, or wrote for 200 blogs.

I used to think I needed to be really serious in the interview. But as I progressed and learned more, I found that my natural smile and interest in people made me a great candidate. Trust that your quirks will too.

Principle #5: The Bottom Line - Care

The bottom line is - interviewers know whether you actually care about the cause that the team is striving for.

I’ve interviewed candidates who “memorized” a script like a robot before.

I’ve also interviewed candidates who specifically told me they just wanted to switch jobs.

In the end, if you don’t do the prep work or actually care, interviewers know that the job is “just another job” for you.

So don’t lean on the “I-Don’t-Know Syndrome” where you lie to yourself saying “I don’t know how to learn more about the company and roles.”

Just try and be relentless in the process of learning.

As long as you care, people you have chats with along the way and interviewers can feel the passion and drive you have.

Conclusion

We talked about the 5 C’s today:

  • Curiosity
  • Checklist
  • Clear
  • Culture
  • Care

It’s these 5 C’s that can drive you all the way through the multiple rounds of initial research, insider information chats, referral, multiple rounds of interviews, and eventually the offer.

Get started now and get the top questions asked in a tech interview straight in your inbox. I’ll show you exactly how to answer these questions!

Just enter your information below and I’ll send it over. 

Love,
Bessy

6

Top 5 Myths When You’re Trying to Get into Tech

You’re in marketing and want to get into tech. Glad you’re in the right place. I’ve been through it all and can show you exactly what I did to get into tech from marketing. The bonus is I got in within 2 weeks of applying with no technical experience.

I know how you feel. You’re constantly thinking:

  • I’ve been applying for jobs in tech and it’s just crickets.

  • I’m not doing anything wrong, I just don’t know how to best navigate this because it is a completely different industry and it feels like a little exclusive in some ways.

  • I have been working in digital marketing for so long, I don’t really know what other things I would qualify or have the skillsets for

  • If I stayed in the same company, I’d be miserable. I feel like it would set me back in my careers in some ways.

But going from marketing to tech is hard. I feel you. At first when I applied, I only got marketing positions because that was the easiest route. I also didn’t have friends in tech. I always thought that if someone offered me a job that was really on point with what I’m looking for in tech, I would go in a heartbeat. All I wanted to do was solve big problems move around the world, and be in a family environment that values the work and dedication I bring to the job.

And I’ve done it! I got in with no tech background, just 2 years of experience in PR/SEO, and got the job within 2 weeks of applying. Most importantly, I’m now on the other side of the table, getting at least 1-2 chat requests on LinkedIn a week, looking through applications for our team, and conducting interviews for hire. I know what it means to be on both ends and have helped quite a few people get tech interviews of their own. Now instead of  letting you meet 50+ people, send 100+ unique applications, and have 15 interviews when I first mindlessly searched for my passion, I want to show you step by step in how I got multiple offers from tech companies, one including Google.

Few things to note:

  • I don’t have any technical background

  • I don’t plan to go into software engineering or programming

  • I had 10 months of “applying in the dark” until I had a coach and got the job in 2 weeks (wish had him way earlier!)

  • The process to get the job is repeatable because in my recent transition internationally, I got 2 offers out of only 2 applications. A 100% success rate

  • Being in this role helped me work in another country permanently. +100 points!

Top 5 M​yths When You’re trying to get into tech

“I should compensate another 2 years to build the skills and set me up for something I want in tech”

If you’ve ever played a sport or been in a dance/art group, you’ll know the feeling before playing a game in the league, going into competition, or performing on stage. It’s nerve racking but you know you’ve built the skills in the last few months during intense practice that you would do well. You wouldn’t tell yourself “I’m going to learn the skills for 2 more years before I get in there” because you know that you only learn more and get better by being in the game, in competition, or on stage. Most importantly, you know you learned enough and practiced enough to show up.

It’s a similar concept. You’ve done enough projects and achievements within your role, team, and wider company to show impact and broader business acumen and problem solving abilities. The most important part is knowing how to convey these achievements with data, evidence, and quotes to showcase the impact. This is actually the #1 mistake I see marketing applicants make when applying to tech – not being able to speak about their achievements and apply it with a story. Witness how Nancy’s resume transformed from crickets to 2 tech interviews in 2 weeks. This also  brings us to the 2nd myth

“I don’t have a tech background”

Most people think you have to have a tech background in order to be in tech. However,

  1. I’ve actually worked with biology, psychology, literature, political, musician backgrounds before in Google.

  2. Many hiring managers and tech recruiters actually prefer hiring outside of the tech industry because tech companies prioritize diverse backgrounds and knowledge. We call these “gurus” – people with exclusive knowledge that can solve specific problems within the team or business. This exclusive knowledge can include product, industry, or marketing specific knowledge.

“I think I’m applying to things that are outside my range but I don’t really know”

There are a lot of different titles in a tech company.

  • There’s account management where you manage corporations that use your tech products or software. Entry level starts with Account Associates (1-2 years) to Account Managers (3-6 years) to Account Executives/Lead (5-8 years) to Industry Managers (7-10 years) managing a team and beyond.

  • There’s marketing management where you help promote the tech company and products for the clients in the market (B2B) or help strategize marketing for users in the market (B2C) or help with marketing products and solutions internally (B2E).. It usually starts with Associate titles (1-3 year) to Manager titles (3-8 year) to Lead titles (8-12 year).

  • In between promotions for both account management and marketing management, there are “senior” within the titles similar to Senior Account Management.

In the end, many tech companies are very flexible with how and who they hire, as long as the person fits the role, can drive results based on their challenges, and can offer a unique perspective on the business.

For example, when the role I got into at Google required 2 years relevant experience. I worked as a marketer in Boston 2 years before that, not necessarily in tech but in PR/digital marketing. Nothing was directly relevant. However, they liked my nimbleness and ability to adapt and learn quickly.

As you can see, it’s my overall knowledge that helped but also the fit for the role, solving that team’s specific business challenges. Find out what the type of job that someone at your age and experience level could typically go into

“I’ve applied to a bunch of jobs online and just waiting to hear back”

Lazlo Bock, Google’s Chief People officer said, “Each year, around 2 million apply for a job here and 5,000 are hired” (The Guardian). That means only one in 400 applicants get hired. When I was interviewing I was always against 50+ other candidates, both when I got into Google and also when I applied for the international role.

That’s why it’s important to understand where recruiters and hiring managers usually hire from and what the success or preferred medium is. Sure Builtin’s 2017 Tech Recruiting Playbook showed that majority of their hires come from job boards and referrals, But internal candidates and referrals are actually the most successful hiring according to Jobvite. Job boards are usually successful hires if the candidates have a similar background as the role they are hiring for.

You know it’s important, 76% of you job seekers ranked employee referrals as being of high to extremely high importance (US News). Then why do you still apply to jobs online? Why do you still “wait to hear back” and never actually do?

It’s because most of you say, “I don’t have friends in tech” or “I only have a network in my industry” and you stop right there. The issue isn’t that you don’t have friends in the space, it’s because you haven’t tried reaching out by leveraging:

  • 3rd degree relationships on LinkedIn

  • Friends who have a huge network and may know someone who may know someone in a tech company

  • Friends who directly work with clients/partners who are in tech companies

  • Your clients/partners in tech companies – account managers in Facebook, Instagram, Google, Sales Force, Shopify.. All the products that you use!

There is a specific process and script you can use to reach out, build relationships, and get referrals. Because in the end, most tech companies give a $1000-$5000 referral bonus for employees just for referring! We know that they believe in you when they do – even if they don’t actually know you, they can see all the accomplishments in your resume and effort in your approach – as long as you do it the right way. That’s why you need guidance from someone who knows how the tech hiring process works.

“I’m pretty good at it. I’m just researching online”

Researching only gives you the PR-safe version of companies. Employees – both past and present – do not want to have anything written in the world wide web as it may tarnish their reputation or relationships in the industry. That’s why you don’t find answers to your specific questions- what are the companies looking for? What is my natural entry point in the tech industry? what skillsets that I know a lot of peers in my industry at my age don’t necessarily have? And if you have a specific job or company in mind, “what’s that job look like?” “Where do I start?”

These are longer form questions that require #1 knowledge of the company dynamics in that specific office in a specific time frame. #2 Understanding of the teams and the role that you’re looking for. #3 TIME! Someone can write a 8000 word article about that role and the ins-and-outs may change in 6 months. Why? Because the tech world moves so quickly, new products come out every few months and client dynamics change.

That’s why we cannot rely on researching online. In the end, they are hiring you to solve a problem that only you have exclusive knowledge or experiences doing. If you can learn more about the job on all angles, and know that you can help the team achieve what they want, then you can for sure get the tech job! The question is, how do you find out what that job looks like?

That’s why we cannot rely on researching online. In the end, they are hiring you to solve a problem that only you have exclusive knowledge or experiences doing. If you can learn more about the job on all angles, and know that you can help the team achieve what they want, then you can for sure get the tech job! The question is, how do you find out what that job looks like?

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