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Tips for Tackling Some of America’s Toughest Interviews – Easy Interview Skills

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Today I have a fantastic guest post from Gabrielle. Gabrielle is a content creator who enjoys writing fun and informative pieces about professional and personal development. She’s also an avid yogi who calls New York City home.

Being in quarantine gives you the chance to dedicate time to self-improvement. It’s a great time to focus on your long-term career goals and sharpen up your interview skills.

If you ever have to leave your current position and re-enter the competitive job market, you’ll want to be prepared. Just because you’re invited for an interview, doesn’t mean your interview skills are up to the test to land you the job. 

In some cases, a person’s qualifications are impressive, but it’s been years since they’ve practiced for an interview. In other cases, you simply lack interview experience. Where do you begin?

By taking a look at the interview processes of America’s top tech companies, you can learn a wealth of information about how to build your interview skills. It’s not just tech companies that use these techniques when interviewing… businesses across industries follow the same best practices.

Some of the most sought-after qualities in candidates are emotional intelligence and resilience, so you have to think ahead about how you’re going to convey that. Can you show your ability to problem solve and thrive in ambiguity?

Can you demonstrate that you’re a leader and team player who takes criticism well and isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo?

Sure, your technical job skills are important, and hopefully your resume speaks for itself. But polishing your interview skills is what’s going to get your foot in the door. 

When you understand how to answer the types of questions asked by interviewers at Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Amazon you’ll feel prepared for almost anything.

Let’s outline some of these questions and tips below. Plus, check out a helpful graphic from the pros at LiveCareer at the end of this post, which nicely illustrates this interview advice.

Here are some excellent tips for tackling some of America’s toughest interview questions.

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Google

Question Example #1: How would you revolutionize the car wash industry?

How to Prepare: Make flashcards of various, unfamiliar topics. Every five minutes or so, randomly select a card and practice telling a story based on the topic.

Question Example #2: How would you design an escape plan for the building?

How to Prepare: Create a list of 10 design-related problem-solving prompts. Practice explaining the main steps you have to take for each.

Facebook

Question Example #1: What three things would you add to Facebook?

How to Prepare: Brainstorm at least 5 ideas for innovating the company’s current products or services.

Question Example #2: What method would you use to investigate why people stop engaging with a product?

How to Prepare: Research product case studies in the industry to familiarize yourself with common pain points.

Twitter

Question Example #1: If you were the CEO, what are three things you would spearhead at Twitter?

How to Prepare: Research the company’s past, current, and future goals. Create at least 5 ideas for new initiatives. 

Question Example #2: What’s the value that Twitter can bring to a marketing campaign that Facebook can’t?

How to Prepare: Study industry trends and identify what differentiates the company from its competitors.

Apple

Question Example #1: How would you solve the issues you have with co-workers?

How to Prepare: Reflect on previous experiences and think of at least 3 examples that show your emotional intelligence.

Question Example #2: Talk about a time when learning new technology was challenging for you.

How to Prepare: Prepare several job-related examples of learning challenges you faced and overcame.

Amazon

Question Example #1: What information would you use to measure the success of a product?

How to Prepare: Research and review common performance metrics in the company’s industry.

Question Example #2: What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned outside of school or work?

How to Prepare: Practice telling personal anecdotes that demonstrate genuine curiosity and a growth mindset. 

Every interview process is different. After all, the nuanced approaches of recruiters and hiring managers vary from company to company.

One thing they have in common?

Continuously improving their interview processes to assess candidates in a comprehensive, unbiased way.  This means you also need to work on your interview skills often.

Unfortunately, there will never be a foolproof way to set yourself up for success in an interview. An organization that dedicates itself to investing in quality talent will not have a super easy interview process.

Think about it: Google’s HR team probably wouldn’t have crafted such a  tough process if it wasn’t getting 3 million+ applications a year.

Fortune 500 companies are notorious for having some of the most grueling interview processes to ensure they hire only the best of the best.

These processes are so selective, you actually have a better chance of getting into Harvard (5.2 percent acceptance rate) than you do at getting a job at Goldman Sachs (3 percent), Walmart HQ (2.6 percent) or Google (0.2 percent).

Let’s say you’re not applying to these selective companies.

There’s still a lot to learn to sharpen your interview skills. These organizations use all kinds of great interview methods mixed in with some trick questions used to prove your ability to think on your feet.

Even though hiring practices are becoming increasingly digital, the in-person interview continues to be a critical deciding factor.

Another interesting thing to consider is that even the smartest candidate that could bring a company millions usually won’t get hired if they’re absolutely horrible for company culture.

Fast Company reported that one former HR executive from Netflix swore by the importance of emotional intelligence. The HR veteran emphasized the importance of assembling cohesive teams and warned against compromising on your organization’s core values.

He also noted, “The candidates who demonstrate entrepreneurial thinking and confidence….end up being informal leaders on their teams.” This proves the importance of showing your leadership skills as soon as possible.

Extremely competitive interviews are tough for a reason. Once you’ve already spent time and energy perfecting your resume and landing the interview, you want to maximize your chances of acing the interview.

Let’s hope you can use these takeaways to aid in your job search.

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