As 2018 draws to a close with an exceptionally tight labor market, workers are in a great position to find new, exciting and well-paid opportunities.
This year, CNBC Make It spoke with hiring executives at some of the biggest and most desirable employers in the world. People like Sean Kelley, Amazon's worldwide operations talent acquisition director, Janelle Gale, Facebook's vice president of human resources and Cindy Nicola, Tesla's head of global recruiting shared advice on putting your best foot forward in interviews at these highly competitive companies.
Here's how you can use their advice to land your dream job in the new year:
Companies across all industries are fighting for top talent right now. At tech companies like Facebook, this is especially true and many say that the United States is currently facing a skills gap. This has lead companies to more open-mindedness when considering candidates. Companies like Google, Apple, IBM and Bank of America no longer require applicants have a college degree.
Gale's first piece of advice for Facebook hopefuls is simple: Apply, even if your resume does not exactly match the job description.
"We actually value skills over experience in the grand scheme of things," she says. "Apply if you have the relevant skills even if you don't have the right experience, because we're looking underneath the surface for what's really going to matter here and that's what skills you can bring to the table."
Women, she explains, are unlikely to apply for a role unless they meet or surpass every desired qualification in a job description, while men are more likely to apply for roles they are not entirely qualified for. This means that at a place like Facebook, where experience is less important than skills, women could be doing themselves a disservice.
"Skills really matter the most," she says.
Companies today are increasingly mission-driven, and Tesla is the perfect example of this trend. Though the company has faced challenges, applicants continue to pour in — last year, Tesla received nearly 500,000 applications for just 2,500 open positions — because employees are interested in dedicating their time to work they care about.
For years, Tesla — and Tesla employees — have stressed the importance of dedication to the company's founding mission "to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible."
To prove that they are the perfect fit for Tesla, and other mission-driven companies applicants should memorize the organization's mission statement. During an interview, workers need to demonstrate that they are passionate about this mission. The same can be said of applicants at any other mission-aligned organization.
"There's a lot of energy in the world around what we're trying to do. We have really tough problems to solve, so I think people want to be a part of that," says Nicola. "There's not many companies that you can work at today where there's really a direct impact between the work you do and changing the world."
"Curiosity" is one of the words that was constantly repeated by hiring managers in 2018. The best way to show that you'll be a curious hire is to ask thoughtful, creative questions in an interview.
It cannot be overstated how crucial it is that candidates prepare several questions to ask the hiring managers when they are applying for a role, especially at a place like Amazon. "We look for people who are relentlessly curious," says Kelley. "People may run out of questions, that happens, but we like that little spark."
Even if you have run out of prepared questions, Kelley says that simple questions like, "That surprises me, why would it be that way?" and "Could you tell me more about that?" will go a long way in showing the hiring manager that you would fit in well at Amazon.
"We want to see someone get into the dialogue with us and just be who they are," he says.
Be who you are, and ask questions you are honestly interested in knowing the answers to. It's the best way to show your dream employer that you will be a curious and interested colleague.
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