When it comes to landing a job at the top companies in the world, there is no room for guesswork or “winging it.” At the end of the day, the difference between hearing “No” and “We’d like to offer you a position here” boils down to those with the skills and preparedness, and those who don’t. Furthermore, being prepared is a matter of becoming the most well-informed candidate in the bunch. It’s not always about the shiny degree or the years of experience. Hiring managers want to see well-informed, well-researched, and highly-engaged candidates.
Don’t believe us?
We spoke to a handful of the 2018 winners of Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice award for the Best Place to Work. They gave us the inside scoop on what it takes to impress recruiters, what you need to know about interviewing and how to ultimately land a coveted job.
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The #1 company on the 2018 Best Places to Work list is Facebook, touting perhaps some of the most coveted jobs in the world. So what does it take to get hired? In an exclusive interview, Glassdoor asked Lori Goler, Facebook’s Vice President of People, for the scoop on interviewing at the behemoth social network.
“We’re a culture of builders and we’re a culture of learners. What that means is that we’re never done,” says Goler. “We’re always looking at something and thinking ‘That works pretty well but it can be even better’ and then thinking about how we can make it better and actually trying to do that. That’s true of every person on every job in every location across the globe for us.”
She continues, “We think because being a builder and being a learner is broad, [but] it’s specific and broad at the same time. It doesn’t refer to a particular type of person or particular function. It’s really about mindset more than it is about experience although some of the things that your experience will demonstrate that your mindset is mindset of a builder or a learner. That is reinforced through orientation and through the way we work and what we highlight and how things work internally.”
Remember, “most people have done a lot of research before they come [in for an interview],” Goler says, so don’t let yourself fall behind the competition before you even land in the interview chair.
With a starting rate of $11 an hour, a 401(k) plan, paid vacation days and health insurance, In-N-Out associates receive salaries and perks that are well above the industry average. Pair that with strong on-the-job training, opportunities for advancement, people-focused leaders and a fun, friendly environment, and it’s no wonder that In-N-Out has been honored as a 2018 Best Place to Work in Glassdoor’s annual Employees’ Choice Awards.
We reached out to CEO Lynsi Snyder to learn more about what they look for in applicants to the exemplary fast-food chain. “We look for great smiles and people who love being around people. We also want Associates who have a natural commitment to serving our customers. We can teach just about everything else. We find a surprising number of our best new hires are referrals from current Associates. Great people tend to hang out with other great people.”
Snyder continues, “While many of our Associates decide to stay with us and eventually join our management team, we also have many Associates who work with us for a time and then move to their next step on their chosen career ladder. Whatever his or her career goals might be, my hope is that anyone who spends time as an In-N-Out Associate finds the experience valuable — an opportunity to learn and grow, and to have fun.”
From seemingly endless job options to travel discounts and perks, Kimpton has a bit of everything for employees. To get an insider’s perspective on Kimpton and what working there is really like, we reached out to Ginny Too, Kimpton’s VP of People + Culture. Here’s what she had to say about what she looks for in amazing applicants.
“If you’re a self-starter, motivated, compassionate, have a great sense of humor and a passion for hospitality, we’re the right place for you,” says Too, a speaker at this year’s Best Places to Work Tour in San Francisco. “I can’t emphasize how important it is to get to know our candidates as individuals. We’ve always been very purposeful about hiring for heart and intuition. Those are innate characteristics that translate to our industry. We can teach someone how to make a bed or improve their Excel skills and everything in between, but we can’t teach someone to have heart. There’s an unscripted nature in how we do our business and it’s that level of empowerment that allows our people to continue to flourish in their roles.”
“We also love when people do a little extra homework to learn not only about our hotels and restaurants, but also our culture and core values such as wellness, the environment, diversity and inclusion,” adds Too. “Those who have a 360-degree view of their role will be set up for success and can hit the ground running.”
With a 4.4 company rating, SAP has an enviable company culture that 92% of employees would recommend to a friend. But something they also have that cannot be scored is a clear understanding of the power of job seekers. “Candidates and employees can afford to be choosier than in the past,” says Stefan Ries, Chief Human Resources Officer of SAP. “[This] means employers must learn how to market their open positions in ways that resonate with what today’s job seekers are looking for.”
Ries opened up about what he is looking for in candidates to join the company. His secret? Being selective.
“Since our people are our greatest assets and the source of SAP’s innovation and continued success we choose them carefully and hope to attract the right ones,” says Ries. “We are always on the lookout for people with diverse personal and professional backgrounds who are true team players and think outside-of-the-box. We look for passionate, authentic and genuine individuals who are in turn looking for a place they can come to help make an impact.
SAP has been innovative with its recruiting process to attract top talent. “We have also developed unique applications like our virtual “Get Home” game and “Perfect Match” Facebook app, which help us identify potential fits at SAP. These provide instant personality profiles and match roles for the candidates,” says Ries. “The candidate can also very quickly join our Talent Community, even before starting any sort of interview process, ensuring they get the information they need via regular updates straight from the source. Once a candidate lands an interview, we provide them with our unique “Brand Insights” digital flipbook. This document helps outline SAP’s culture, history, purpose but even more importantly highlights the employee and customer stories that have had a huge impact.”
Construction company Power Home Remodeling is a millennial-powered Best Place to Work that believes in grooming and developing from within thanks to a one-of-a-kind professional development program. After all, 90% of executives started out as entry-level employees. We spoke to co-CEO Asher Raphael about what it takes to land a job:
“I’m not interested in what somebody’s skills are; I’m interested in the traits that make them who they are,” says Raphael. “I believe you can train anyone to do something, but the core of who a person is, is way more important than the skill set that they’re arriving with. Instead of an interview, instead of talking about what they’ve done and what skill set they’re able to come in with, we’re focused on what makes them who they are.”
Raphael continues, “I want somebody that wants to learn — who wants to be trained and wants to constantly be uncomfortable. That’s a specific type of person. Our philosophy is “Who before what.” The strategy of the business over the course of 25 years now has changed several times, as it needs to, with the reality of our economy and climate, and as our territories change. If you have the right type of people on your team, people who are there for each other, they’re able to shift with the strategy and lead the charge.”
The best that retail has to offer in the way of jobs is found at REI. The outdoors co-op is owned by its members. Additionally, it gives back a large portion of its profits every year back to employees, members and nonprofits advancing causes like sustainability and access to public lands.
On the eve of their Best Places to Work win, Glassdoor spoke to REI CEO and President, Jerry Stritzke, to get to the bottom of what they look for in new hires. Here’s what he said:
“As important as what they know, is who they are. For us, that means: Do they have a love for the outdoors? Do they care about introducing other people to it? And do they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and make a difference? When we find those kinds of people, they immediately become part of a community that REI represents.”
He also shared the piece of career advice for applicants: “My one piece of career advice would be, know what your passion is, and find a vocation that lets you leverage the two together. It’s so profoundly rewarding.”
At the New York-based Silverline, employees have unlimited vacation, flexible work options, education reimbursement programs, learning & development programs. It’s no wonder they are the #1 small business on the Best Places to Work list. At the helm of Silverline’s success is CEO Gireesh Sonnad, who has a 100% CEO approval rating on Glassdoor. We managed to catch up with Sonnad to discuss what it takes to join “an organization that is rapidly growing, is focused on the success of their customers, and driven by the desire to contribute to the team as a whole.”
When you interview with Silverline, be prepared to be asked the following questions, says Sonnad:
- “Are you willing to learn as much as you teach? Are you willing to teach as much as you learn?”
- “Describe for me the best example of day that makes you excited to jump out of bed that morning.”
“We care deeply about the cultural fit of every new Silverliner – for their success and ours. While it may not be unique, we make sure that our candidates have dedicated sessions with a large cross section of individuals from throughout the company – not just their department – so that we can gauge an individual’s overall fit with what we have built. We spend a great deal of time with every candidate to make sure that they will be wildly successful as a Silverliner.”
Electronic signature company DocuSign boasts a score of 4.4 out of 5, making the top 25 employers in Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards honoring the Best Places to Work in 2018. And according to Chief People Officer Joan Burke the secret to that success is “stay[ing] close to employees and the things that matter to them — we believe in employee engagement and getting their feedback, and we’re committed to doing that on an ongoing basis.”
So what is she looking for in informed candidates? “We love to see people who are curious, and who have actually tried our product if they haven’t already used it as part of a transaction,” says Burke. “We also love people who are collaborative, and who want to make an impact inside the organization. It’s really important that people here are great team players, and enjoy coming to work every day because they like the people they’re with. But they should also show that same sense of pride that I talked about earlier: pride in the product, pride in the brand and just pride in who we are as an organization and what we’ve created here for employees.”
The number one airline on the 2018 Best Places to Work list is extremely competitive, according to Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian. So you must bring your A-game.
“Jobs at Delta are enormously competitive, which is a good situation for us. For example, last year, we had 150,000 applicants for 1,200 openings for flight attendants,”says Bastian, an 18-year Delta veteran. “So we look for the best of the best — those who have strong skills and experience but also those who we know will be a good fit for Delta. If someone is brilliant at their job but doesn’t fit our values or culture, they won’t be successful here.
“From the outside, I suspect the airline business looks stressful and challenging, which it can be,” adds Bastian. “But we also have a lot of opportunities to have fun and enjoy time with our families, friends, colleagues and customers. We really are a family and that’s why most Delta people enjoy coming to work every day.”
Glint’s VP of People Alexandra Coonce revealed that the key to being hired at the company that strives to “help people be happier and more successful at work,” is being aligned with the culture and values.
“We really mean it when we say hiring is a mutual selection process. It’s a huge mistake to convince someone to join your team without allowing them enough time to truly understand what they’re signing up for,” says Coonce. “So we spend a lot of time with candidates asking about what they’ve learned during their conversations and from what’s out there on the internet. We want to ensure first that they have a deep understanding of our culture and values, and second that they’re aligned with our mission and what we’re trying to achieve. Those two factors come before skills fit, and holding true to that philosophy without compromise is what’s allowed us to build an exceptional team.”
Coonce continues, “Glint’s values are really simple: we look for and encourage positivity, authenticity, connection, and transformation. We ask people to choose positivity in the face of adversity. Basically, to trust that they can find the solution. We lead with authenticity, and value each individual for who they are and what they add to our culture. At Glint, you can show up as you, know that you have a voice, and expect to be heard. We celebrate human connection and value conversation over technology. And finally, we embrace transformation and push ourselves to redefine what’s possible.”
You might think the best part about working at Toyota would be access to the latest innovation — but according to Terri Von Lehmden, General Manager of Talent Acquisition at Toyota Motor North America, the best part is really the innovative people. Driving towards greatness and the next generation of transpiration isn’t easy, so the automaker is looking for out-of-the-box thinkers.
Von Lehmden reveals what she looks for in applicants: “We interview as much for attitude as we do for aptitude. I want to make sure that candidates understand and embrace our unique culture and are inspired by our vision for the future of mobility. Every hiring manager approaches the interview process in a way that’s authentic to them, but I think we are looking for lifelong learners as we are a culture of continuous improvement. All of us want to engage in conversations that help us identify those candidates who are really curious and want to know more about our business. I love it when a candidate asks me why we do what we do and challenges me to think about things in a new way.”