How to prepare for technical interviews and negotiate your offer

Interview with Lital Zigelboim, Senior Technical Recruiter Leader at Facebook
September 2, 2021
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Lital is a professional tech recruiter with over 15 years of experience in global talent acquisition. In the last decade, she gained extensive experience while working at Google, Waze, Facebook, and WhatsApp. She established Facebook's tech hiring in Israel, created the first WhatsApp hiring outside of North America, and worked on countless talent acquisition strategies and efficient scaling across all brands and from all over the world. Lital’s vision is to bring the knowledge that she gained in recruitment into growing companies and help them fulfill their mission by hiring the right people. She is also a Yoga teacher for children. She loves practicing meditation and breathing and hopes to bring mindfulness into the recruitment world.

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How can candidates connect with recruiters?

On your first call with the recruiter, really use that opportunity to get the information and the tips because they usually understand the culture of the company and the profile of the people they like. Memorable hires are ones that I managed to build a relationship with.

Try to understand also the side of the recruiter because they work with a lot of candidates at the same time. Wait a few days to get a reply, but if you’re not getting a response it's also fine to send a gentle reminder. Be honest and say that you really want the role and you really want to give everything that you can in order to get the role.

How do you prep for interviews (technical and non-technical)?

Prep is super important. I came across a lot of candidates that were really talented, but they didn't put enough time into preparing for the interview. And unfortunately, they didn't pass the process. And it's a real shame. I know some candidates that took two/three months to prepare.

Speak with people that previously interviewed for the company. Check online, there's so much information. Use Glassdoor, to get interview questions.

Mock interviews are beneficial. Ask your recruiter if they can share with you information, documents, or anything that can help you to be more prepared.

The general advice to prepare for the interviews applies to people at all levels of engineering roles.

What advice would you give to candidates who want to differentiate themselves when applying to tech companies?

1. Apply through your network/ via referral

As a tech recruiter, you are getting a lot of applications and you don't really have the time to really go deep into the profile and to read the series for a long time. I would say from my experience, the best way to apply to those companies is through your network. Try to see if you know anyone inside the company --  engineers that studied at your university, colleagues, ex-colleagues, friends of friends -- and ask them to refer you. And even if you don't know anyone in your specific area,  a recruiter, salesperson, anyone from the company could refer you.

Don't feel bad when you're asking people for referrals. Most companies will offer some kind of hiring bonus if the candidate that you refer actually gets hired, so you shouldn't feel like you're burdening anyone.

2. Customize your CVs

I would learn about the company and the product to customize my CVs. If you just graduated, we don't expect you to have a lot of experience, but if you have a project that is connected to the main product of the company, include it. As a recruiter, I would also want to see something unique like winning in a coding competition. Think of creative ways to get your resume to stand out.

Whether you're interested in applying for a FAANG company or a startup, you need a strong resume to represent yourself. ​Check out "Write A Stellar Resume - Land Your Dream Tech Job Workshop" for resume writing tips.​​

So let's say you did all this prep, You did the interview, you got an offer. Now what? How do you negotiate the offer?

Speak with other companies, go and interview with other companies. You're coming from a super strong place during negotiation if you have a few offers or even one competing offer. If a candidate tells me the offer is not attractive enough, I can go back to our comp team and say we need to raise the offer and they would say, why? If I have competing offers, that is something that is helping me as a recruiter to help the candidate negotiate for a better offer.

Tell us more about the Comp Team.

Their role is to build the compensation packet. The packet has a few parts: the base salary, the equity, and the benefits. The recruiters in the offer stage work with the compensation team in order to build the strongest packet that we can for the candidate.

Oftentimes, as a candidate, the person you're interacting with could be the hiring manager or the recruiter but we're not the ones that are deciding your compensation package. We provide the feedback of the interview and share the data with the compensation team.  They come up with a compensation package based on the feedback.

Smaller companies may not have separations of teams like this and might be more flexible to work with you.

Read Next:

How do FAANG companies think about recruiting?

by Aparna Viswa, Professional Exec Sourcer/Recruiter at Facebook

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