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Top interview tips from Silicon Valley giants

Have you ever wondered what tactics Silicon Valley companies use when interviewing candidates? It turns out, there’s a method to the madness!

silicon valley

The entire team at Talent is hugely excited about our new San Francisco-based venture with the Coit Group. This will be our first major expansion into the United States, and expands our network to four continents. Founder and Executive Chairman of Talent, Richard Earl, describes this as the beginning of a truly global service.

“Our clients can now work with Talent across four continents, ensuring they have seamless access to a global pool of top-quality tech and digital professionals, wherever they choose to set up operations,” he said.

Of course, a big part of the appeal of San Francisco in particular is its proximity to Silicon Valley, the world’s hub of IT&T opportunities. But just how do some of the biggest tech companies recruit? Let’s take a look at the interviews typical of brands like Google, Facebook and Apple to see what tips we can gather for candidates.

Expect the unexpected

If there’s one thing that comes up time and time again with IT&T recruitment, it’s that talent is critical. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult for businesses to discern between talent and preparation, with Google’s own careers site acknowledging that “you can anticipate 90 per cent of the interview questions you’re going to get.”

For this reason, Silicon Valley interviewers are notorious for throwing out bizarre and incredibly difficult questions. A few of these compiled from Glassdoor by Business Insider include:

  • Microsoft: If you had a choice between two superpowers (being invisible or flying), which would you choose?
  • Cisco: What kind of tree would you be?
  • Apple: What would you do if you were the one survivor in a plane crash?
  • Google: Choose a city and estimate how many piano tuners operate a business there.

When first confronted by one of these questions, especially in a high-pressure situation such as an interview, things can get a bit stressful. Fortunately, these riddles aren’t really about proving genius-level intelligence.

A question of logic

These mind-bending hypotheticals are tests to see how you think, and how you perform under a bit of pressure. It’s easy to prepare routine answers to basics questions like “what are your strengths and weaknesses”, but much harder to solve problems that, by any measure, are impossible. Here’s how Google describes this approach:

“We ask open-ended questions to learn how you approach and solve problems. And there’s no one right answer – your ability to explain your thought process and how you use data to inform decisions is what’s most important.”

Of course, you may not encounter these sorts of questions in all interviews, but this tactic is certainly worth keeping in mind when you answer questions. You never know, such tactics may just take you to Silicon Valley itself!

For more insights and information on IT&T recruitment, get in touch with Talent International today.