Hiring managers from Salesforce.com, Microsoft, and mobile ad network company InMobi are hiring and hiring aggressively. But when it comes to working at these kind of name companies, well, the competition is fierce. So, how do you win them over?
During Google I/O last week, I talked to hiring managers and recruiters to find out.
Microsoft and Bing
The Redmond giant’s Silicon Valley Bing operation has approximately 15 job openings in development, testing and program management, says Alok Agarwal, a Microsoft senior test manager. His group is looking for candidates whose skills include developing machine learning models, building verification and monitoring tools and analyzing Big Data.
“Bing runs on thousands and thousands of servers, so we need someone who understands how things will work as it scales,” he says.
Agarwal’s common complaint about resumes is they don’t clearly explain the candidate’s career path, and they tend to neglect the accomplishments or achievements at each of their past employers.
“In an interview, we want to know what you really know. If you say you know something, we’ll ask you a lot of questions about it,” Agarwal says. “Often, you don’t get dinged on what you don’t know, but you will on what you say you know.”
In asking questions related to problem solving, Agarwal says he assesses how logical your approach is to breaking down the problem, approaching a solution and coming to a conclusion. It’s more important to take a logical process, because few people come up with the right solution.
Should you land an interview with Agarwal’s group, expect to talk to five people during the process. Ultimately, your selection will come down to both your skill set and your fit with the team’s culture. A good fit is someone with a positive attitude and who’s not selfish. Folks who say: “not my job, not my problem” need not apply.
Salesforce.com, Quality Engineering
Salesforce.com is hiring people in product management, development, performance engineering and documentation, from entry level to senior director.
Before sending your resume off to Ritu Bhargava, senior manager of quality engineering, take a hard look at all the skills you’ve listed on your resume. It will save you and Bhargava time if you limit them to your top skills — the ones you have deep expertise in.
Honesty, technical skills and functional skills are the top three things Bhargava seeks in a candidate. Functional skills could range from domain knowledge to how a product is used. On technical skills, the No. 1 thing needed at Salesforce.com is Java expertise.
Cultural fit is possibly more important at Salesforce.com than it is at other outfits. Three times a year, when a new release comes out, every employee is allowed to apply to a new team, Bhargava says. As a result, it’s important to keep the team happy and cohesive. Otherwise, they’ll face constant churn.
“I have to interview 100 people just to find the two brightest and smartest people,” Bhargava says. “And after investing that time to find them and staff the team, I need to be a flexible and open manager.”
“Our teams are self-organizing, self-correcting and self-empowering,” Bhargava adds. “So we can’t afford to have team members who are inflexible and have attitude.”
InMobi, a mobile advertising network based in India, is looking to hire 45 folks in its North American operation. Twenty three of those of technical positions like UI-UX designer, innovations lead and product manager. The company has over 700 employees world-wide, with 115 in North America.
Beyond the job description, InMobi wants people for its San Francisco office who enjoy working in a startup environment and take ownership of new processes, according to April Ulang, head of talent acquisition.
“We’re looking for people who are strong individuals but can also collaborate,” she says. “We also want people who have good energy and are highly motivated. That means they are interested in going to meet-ups, events or … forums.”
In the initial screening — before the hiring manager does an interview — Ulang is simply checking to see if candidates meet the job’s requirements, and that they’re intelligent, articulate and confident.
In terms of work environment, InMobi is causal. About two thirds of its workforce are 20- to 30-year-olds.
“We’re an open group and like to joke around. We work hard at our jobs but we know when it’s time to take a break and get a keg,” says Ulang. Still, she says, folks applying to work there shouldn’t expect to find a gourmet cafeteria or free massages.