Tips for getting a job with a FAANG company after college
It’s no surprise that many new graduates aspire to work for one of America’s Big Five tech companies: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, or Google (often referred to by the acronym FAANG).
Cutting your teeth into a leading company in the industry can provide the fundamental hallmark of a long and successful career in technology. However, it goes without saying that scoring an offer from a FAANG fraternity member is not easy, especially when FAANG’s hiring is down from pre-pandemic levels.
To help you land the job of your dreams at FAANG, we asked several graduates who have successfully navigated the recruitment process to reflect on their experiences and share their most effective strategies and tips.
Get on the radar
For new graduates without a CS diploma from one of the best foster schools, Getting noticed by FAANG’s internal recruiters and meeting the initial candidate selection criteria can be the most difficult part of the journey.
You will need to spend more time on high-end activitiesexplained Shayaun Nejad, who honed his technical skills in a boot camp after graduating in chemistry and now works as a software engineer at Twitch, an Amazon subsidiary.
After building relationships with internal recruiters, he would ask for the opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge of algorithms and data structures by participating in technical assessments of phone screens or whiteboards.
Many companies provide interview prep material, and the sooner you get into it, the better. Nejad also recommends creating a basic app on the side (using React or another platform of your choice) so that you can talk about it during interviews.
“Don’t beat around the bush, ask for referrals,” said Keely Hicks, who has spent months networking with family, friends and influencers through social media, Meetups and organizations like Women Who Code and Tech Ladies after graduating from Rhodes College. “Yes, a cold approach can be intimidating,” she admitted, “but it’s easier when you realize that the worst someone can say is ‘no’.”
Hicks’ efforts resulted in around 12 interviews and a job as a software development engineer for Amazon. His advice? Don’t take the rejection personally – and never turn down a chance to interview, use them as an opportunity to practice your interview skills. Also, keep asking for feedback and rehearsing your resume.
To make up for a lack of internships or co-ops, work on projects or challenges and post them online or on GitHub. For example, Aidan Toole did two internships at Facebook while attending Drexel University. He also built up a portfolio on Dribble and improved his skills by taking on the daily user interface challenge, which landed him a full-time job as a product designer at Facebook after graduation.
“Make sure that every bullet, every skill that you highlight on your resume provides value to the employer,” Nejad said.
Build your technical chops
Once you have passed the initial selection phase, educational pedigrees are less important. Technical skills carry the greatest weight in the typical FAANG assessment process. When you are competing with up to 250 applicants for a vacant position, there is no room for error on coding tests.
“Entry-level jobs at FAANG companies are not really entry-level,” Hicks noted.
New graduates must continually learn and develop their skills in order to perform at the level expected by FAANG hiring managers. Successful job seekers can spend four or more hours each day practicing live mock interviews with colleagues, as well as solving coding problems and algorithmic challenges on popular websites.
For example, because many problems require the candidate to demonstrate a deep understanding of commonly used data structures and systems design, and to complete a task correctly within the allotted time, Nejad honed his skills by solving 10 of the most frequently asked coding problems listed on LeetCode (a favorite of FAANG engineers) every day. He also spent time ‘shop talking’ and learning from fellow engineers in vibrant online communities such as News from hackers.
Additionally, because FAANG companies value cultural “fit”, you should spend time researching the culture of your target companies and practicing answers to behavioral questions.
Ultimately, it is possible to land a job at FAANG as a new graduate. However, to achieve this goal, you need to make job hunting and skills development your full-time job.