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How do Silicon Valley companies recruit

  王淮      2012-05-15 06:36:52      4,415    0

There are a lot of friends asking me about the basic flow of how Silicon Valley companies recruit engineers. As a candidate, I tried Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Oracle, and I received offer from all these companies. As an interviewer, I have interviewed no less than 300 people and I know about the process of recruitment. I write this article with the hope of inspiring people who want to go to Silicon Valley or who are preparing for interviews or who are in the design of the recruiting process for start-up companies with limited experience.

Chance for an interview

The easiest way to get an interview is by employee referring program, i.e, find someone in the target company to refer you. Let them give you an internal referral. In Facebook, about 60-70% of the employees are recruited with referral. With referral, the cost for both the interviewee and the company is lower. For job seekers, you can understand the real situation of the company from your friends; for the company, they can have more trust on the interviewee referred by employees. I received over 200 referral requests before, but I decided to do the recommendation of less than 100, which has 12 friends successfully joined Facebook.

Speaking of my own story. I find my first job by having an interview with an Yahoo technical director of
data mining department on KDD Conference in Chicago in 2005.During the break time of the conference,I was wandering in the meeting hall and talked to people at each booth. At Yahoo's booth, after  talked with the technical director for a while, we went to find a clean floor to sit down and started the interview. We had some discussions on several major issues of algorithm design, looks like he was quite satisfied. Later he let one of his engineers to do a phone interview with me then I got the job. If you want a job, try to attend some activities where you future boss may attend,  know them and let they have interest in you, and then get their internal referral .

Some other ways are more conventional, such as campus interviews, through the website to complete Puzzle and submit your resume (very low success rate), participate programming contest and have good performance.

Some companies take the initiative to go out and find people who are high-end talent, I found some of the senior engineers; these people are often not easy to move, if you are such a person, then, congratulations to you, you do not need to read this article .


Most companies have interests on some resumes through internal referral, school interview, website applications etc. and then let the recruiter contact those people to do a phone interview, then 2-3 more phone interviews, and finally face-to-face interview with 4-6 people.

Telephone interview

This understanding is a two-way talk about some of the candidates experience and background, they are interested in, why changing jobs, any special requirements on the job. And then talk about some of the basic situation of the company, especially the company culture.

More telephone interviews

Is generally 30-45 minutes. As an interviewer, I usually spend 40 minutes on letting the interviewee finish two questions, then spend five minutes on asking general questions. Generally after he finished the first question, I may ask myself whether I need ask him the second question; no matter how , I must free up five minutes to ask him some questions about Facebook, which is a basic respect for each other. Because it is 40 minutes, two questions can not be too complicated, usually focusing on programming problems, such as reverse a singly linked list, you can change requirements of iterative or recursive to write, in the middle to ask many questions. through the website like, both of us  can see what we typed.

I need to write my feedback on an internal tool after my interview, you can suggest what the next interviewer can pay more attention to.

Face to face interview

As an interviewee, We may generally meet 4 interviewers in Oracle(in 2005, I met 10 people ...), each 45 minutes. 2.5 people will focus on coding, 0.5 people will focus on cultural fit, one person focus on design. Typical coding questions can be found online, so I will not talk about them, but one thing need to be noted is that not everyone can adapt to the white board coding (program written on the whiteboard),you should practice before the interview. Cultural fit is to ask  previous experience of solving problems, to find his style of doing things.What we finally want is whether he can get job done. Design capability is capability of design of a large system, for example, if you do the Facebook News Feed, how you would achieve this, how to transfer data; what are advantages and disadvantages of your design.  Everyone has a different practice, which is OK, but the conversation between interviewer and interviewee can reflect some of the characteristics of the interviewee, this is the purpose of the interview. Design capability has different weights for different positions, such as the backend to be more, the frontend to be less; fresh graduates to be less, experienced to be more.

Each interviewer should make an evaluation of the candidate: strong hire, hire, weak hire, weak no hire, no hire. strong no hire. I usually ignore all the options with a weak, I may only use weak if I was in a wrong interview loop.

Special attention


For engineers, the most work is programming, so practice programming. Interview questions have a time limit (20-25 minutes), the specific tools ( or whiteboard), and do not care about minor syntax errors, it has some difference with the actual programming, so practice is still very necessary.

Prior knowledge of the company

Understand some basic information, let you know why you are interested in the company.

Ready for their own stories

True story, to let interview people quickly know your story, such as the project which you are most proud of, your contribution,  the greatest resistance you encountered, how do you solve them etc.

Offer of the considerations

In Facebook, all of the interview assessment will be sent to  a
review committee, they will make a decision whether to hire one person. The review committee will discuss all the candidates, quick decision will be made for those who have strong hire or strong not hire, for the rest, the decision will take more time.

Offer general consists two parts: wages and shares. These are different for different people, you can talk with them about this.

Original author :
王淮Harry哥 Source :



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