How Hard Is It to Get a Job in Silicon Valley


Working for one of the biggest and most profitable technology companies in the world is many people’s dream. But what skills do you really need to have in order to build a career in the Silicon Valley – programming knowledge, communication talent, long team work experience… or patience and the courage to answer to weird questions?

New Insight into Apple’s Hiring Process

In a recent blog post, some of Apple’s hiring secrets and procedures were unveiled and described by UX designer Luis Abreu from first person’s perspective. His Apple interview consisted of three screening calls, five FaceTime interviews, five two-person interviews that took him an entire day, as well as a lunch in a café. After all the grilling, Abreu got a flat “no” from the company.

If you are surprised by this complicated interview ordeal, you will be even more surprised to learn that most Silicon Valley companies have adopted similar hiring strategies.


According to Job Vine, Google is one of the most picky recruiters in the Silicon Valley. The company gets about 1 million resumes every year. However, only 0.04% of all the applicants land the job. Google’s hiring process consists of nearly 10 steps. Among them are basics like resume screening by a recruiter, phone screen of the applicant and on-site interview. However, even if the candidate gets the approval of the recruiter, he or she also needs to get a green light from Google’s hiring committee, the senior level management and one of the company’s top executives.


Those, who want to work at Facebook, should be prepared to jump from one interview to another. The company even has a term for its complicated interview process – “loop.” After a 45-minute phone screen or onsite interview, job applicants need to pass through the “look.” They need to do a number of interviews on one and same day (don’t worry, they will give you a lunch break!). Also, many of the applicants are also asked to code… on a white board.


Microsoft recruiters do not like to waste time asking useless questions. Instead, they focus on what really matters – the candidate’s technical skill. The bad news is that they also want to see whether the applicant can work under pressure. That is why interviews are usually down by 4 or 5 recruiters.

Technology companies are also known for their absurd interview questions. They rarely have something to do with technology or skills in general. Here is a collection of some of the most puzzling of them:

  • If you were given a box of pencils, list 10 things you could do with them that are not their traditional use. (Google Administrative Assistant)
  • How would you solve problems if you were from Mars? (Senior Recruiting Manager at Amazon)
  • What is the most creative way you can break a clock? (Apple Intern)
  • A disk is spinning on a spindle, and you don’t know which way, You are given a set of pins. Describe how you would use them to
  • determine which way the disk is spinning. (Software Development Engineer at Microsoft)
  • You want to design a phone for deaf people – how do you do it? (Product Manager at Google)

Nevertheless, after all the grilling, those lucky enough to get a job at Apple, Google and company, are guaranteed to enjoy many great perks. For example, Microsoft offers some of its employees free visits to organic spa, whereas Facebook’s campus is has a video arcade, a dentist’s office, a barber shop and even a candy store. Google, on the other hand, focuses on lifestyle perks, like free food and the chance of using the company’s gyms, bocce course and bowling alleys.


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