How do FAANG companies think about recruiting?

Interview with Aparna Viswa, Professional Exec Sourcer/Recruiter at Facebook
August 20, 2021
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Aparna is a Professional Exec Sourcer/Recruiter with 15+ years of Tech Recruiting experience. She has a multitude of experience working at several companies, including Google, Amazon, and most recently within WhatsApp/Facebook. Aparna joined as the First Sourcer for WhatsApp just after the acquisition by Facebook. Initiated several programs, including the first ever public event to brand/attract diverse talent for WhatsApp and initiating the Women@WhatsApp group to enhance identifying diverse talent, to retain and grow them within the company. She also worked closely with the co-founders to strategize and optimize hiring processes.

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How do FAANG companies think about recruiting?

Efficient Hiring Process: I think with many applicants pouring in, it’s essential for FAANG companies to maintain an efficient hiring process consisting of structured Screening interviews and typically five 45 min - 1 hour Onsite interviews. The screening interview is to ensure the time spent on Onsite interviews is maximized.

Referral Strategy: Any company must strategize its referral strategy as the bulk of the hires are through referrals. Investing in a centralized referrals team to streamline the referrals and proactively gauging referrals is vital.

Market Research: With the constantly changing market, it’s also important to have a team focused on researching and analyzing key trends. We can then use these trends as recruiters to stay ahead of the curve.

One of the other key areas that all the FAANG companies think about is branding. So, investing in social media presence and creating short videos to share about the different initiatives within the company is key to attracting talent.

Big tech companies are increasing their compensation for engineers. What’s your advice to engineers who are debating between startups and big tech companies?

Silicon Valley is centered around big tech companies and thriving start-ups. Engineers often debate opportunities between start-up and bigger companies.

Here are a few criteria to consider - upside on earnings, impactful/exciting work, learning/experience. The myth is that only start-ups can provide impactful work, which is not the case anymore. The scope of the work you can do at a startup these days can be well defined, just like larger companies. At the end of the day, it boils down to the people/manager you work with and meaningful work.

Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Does your manager have your back?
  • Do you like working with your team?
  • Do you find the project interesting?

How can startup founders stay competitive against big tech companies?

It’s not just about competing on the salary front. It’s about putting up a good recruiting process, brand strategy, and a good recruiting system in place. Recruiting should be considered as partners to aid in a smooth process.

Candidate experience is another area to consider - providing the best interview experience and communicating effectively from engagement through offer is key to any company.

Another key area is employee retention -- as important it is to attract great talent, it is also key to retain talent by providing good work culture, flexibility, and other perks to keep things interesting.

What got you into recruiting?

Like many recruiters, I stumbled upon recruiting. I have a B.S in Chemical Engineering from India. I graduated, then got married, and came over to the US on a dependent visa. I couldn’t work for a while, but once I got my green card, I did some short gigs to get my feet wet and got embedded into the workforce. One of my neighbors introduced me to recruiting, pointing out that it’s a good mix of tech + people skills which would be right up my alley. I searched on Craigslist and applied to a few agencies. I got hired as a recruiter for a boutique agency in Mountain View. I’m very grateful to this day for that opportunity as I got introduced to Passive Tech recruiting from the get go. My first placement was a Director of a stealth start-up. Then I moved to another agency and landed my first contract gig at Google.

If you could give one tip for junior engineers considering new opportunities, what would it be?

Any new grads or junior Engineers coming out of school are given numerous opportunities through career fairs hosted at their college or other neighboring colleges these days. My advice to Engineers would be that it is vital to maintain a good Github portfolio, up to date Linkedin profile, and a sharp resume (no more than two pages) to gauge attention from corporate recruiters or start-ups.

See tips on “writing a stellar reume” by Exaltitude Founder Jean.

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