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How to Pitch Yourself as a Must-Hire at a FAANG Interview

Posted on 
January 31, 2022
|
by 
Team Interview Kickstart

Picture this — you’ve applied for a software engineering role at FAANG, and you’ve made it past the initial stages of the hiring process. It’s now time for THE interview — this is where things get really serious! Having made it to the FAANG tech interview, you want to start the process off on the right note. 

The key to setting the stage for a great FAANG interview is to pitch yourself as someone who FAANG interviewers and recruiters want to hire for the job. However, grabbing a FAANG interviewer’s attention is a skill few software engineers develop to their advantage. 

In this article, we’ll talk about how you can develop the best pitch to introduce yourself as a must-hire software engineer at a FAANG interview. We’ll cover:

  • What Are FAANG Interviewers Looking For?
  • How to Impress Interviewers With a Great FAANG Interview Software Engineer Pitch
  • Tips to Prepare the Best Pitch for FAANG Interviews
  • When to Pitch Yourself for a FAANG Software Engineering Job
  • FAQs on How to Pitch Yourself at a FAANG Interview

Pitching yourself the right way can set up your FAANG interview process for success. Having trained over 9,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Our alums land big offers from FAANG+, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest-ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $1.26 Million! 

Want to nail your next tech interview and uplevel? Sign up for our FREE Webinar.

What Are FAANG Interviewers Looking For? 

If you want to nail your pitch at a FAANG interview, you have to understand how FAANG interviews differ from interviews at other tech companies. Customize your pitch to meet the expectations of a FAANG interviewer.

Here’s what they’re looking for: 

Excellent Software Engineering Tech Skills or Hard Skills

While all companies look for solid software engineering technical skills, FAANG interviews are designed to filter only the cream of the crop. 

FAANG companies are always on the cutting edge of technology and focus on hiring only those software engineers who have advanced technical skills in existing technologies or strong skills and knowledge in new and in-demand technologies.

Cultural Fit and Key Software Engineering Soft Skills

Additionally, FAANG companies emphasize cultural fit. With their unique working cultures and business ethos, FAANG companies don’t hire to fill a position quickly. They hire software engineers who are a cultural match to ensure long-term contribution to the company’s success. 

For example, at Amazon, you have to be mindful of the company’s 16 Leadership Principles.

Innovation, Learning, Risk-taking

FAANG companies work on multiple projects simultaneously with an experimental outlook towards technological adoption. FAANG interviews are designed to identify software engineers who can deal with ambiguity and have a learning and risk-taking mindset. 

Software engineers who can leverage or quickly develop hard technical skills to promote innovation and help the organization maintain their competitive advantage are highly preferred.

Uniqueness or Individuality

Of the thousands, if not millions, of applications FAANG companies receive annually, only about 2%-5% make it through. Needless to say, there are masses of software engineers out there with exceptional skills, talent, and experience. 

As companies that thrive on innovation, FAANG interviewers look for software engineers that stand apart from the crowd.  

Recommended Reading: 7 Crucial Soft Skills to Land a $500k Tech Job

How to Impress Interviewers With a Great FAANG Interview Software Engineer Pitch

Whether you’re a senior software engineer, a mid-level software engineer, or a new graduate, your first impression is crucial at a FAANG interview. It gives you a vital competitive advantage and sets the tone for the rest of your interview in your favor. 

A sound introduction will not just grab the interviewer’s attention but will keep them interested in you. Incorporate these essential factors to deliver a great FAANG interview pitch:

1. Keep It Concise and Relevant

Most people ramble, trying to cover as much information as they can about themselves. To a FAANG interviewer, it shows you haven’t really prepared your pitch, which could be interpreted as a lack of enthusiasm for the role. 

Pitch yourself based on relevant points only. Check off all the requirements, or as many as you can, off the job description. Your profile may not be an exact match for the role, so fill in the gaps with crossover skills or related experience. 

If it’s not relevant, it will only make your pitch longer and less effective; trying to impress FAANG interviewers with irrelevant skills in a bid to appear smart won’t work. FAANG interviewers are way more focused than your average tech interviewer and are very specific about their hiring goals. Talking about irrelevant aspects of your profile will create the impression that you haven’t understood the role. Additional skills can be elaborated on later in the interview. 

Keep your pitch tight and to the point, delivered in about a minute. Touch upon key aspects of your profile and self:

  • Overall experience
  • Key achievements
  • Area of specializations 
  • Key certifications
  • Educational qualifications
  • Key skills (hard and soft) 
  • Unique personality traits
  • Why you’re a good fit for the role

2. Quantify Your Claims

When highlighting your achievements, quantify your statements. For example, instead of saying: 

  • You led a team, mention the size of your team
  • Your project was a revenue driver, specify how much revenue your project generated and why it was an admirable figure
  • You have mentorship skills, mention how many people you mentored, in what capacity, and how you contributed to your protege’s success
  • You were part of the team that worked on XYZ product; specify your task and its positive impact on the product
  • You’re good at a particular technology; highlight a project you implemented your tech skill successfully

Formulating your pitch in this fashion will require some practice and refinement, but it will make you appear authentic and portray you as a candidate with value.

Recommended Reading: How to List Experience on a Software Engineering Resume

3. Ensure Clarity of Thought and Speech

Organize the subject matter of your pitch in a logical and easily comprehensible manner. Don’t ramble. Follow a chronological timeline of your learnings and experiences; group related points together. Draw a clear connection between your skills and value and the potential role and company requirements.

Be mindful of your tone and speed; an upbeat manner will denote enthusiasm. It can be unnerving delivering a pitch when you’re not used to talking about yourself or talking for an extended period without any interaction from the interviewer. Read facial clues and body language to gauge whether the interviewer is following your line of thought. 

4. Be Confident

Confidence tells your interviewer that you’re confident of your abilities and value. This conveys that you have something to offer and will make the interviewer sit up and listen. Talking about yourself isn’t easy if you feel like you’re bragging. However, pride in your skills and abilities signals passion for your work, a stand-out quality FAANG interviewers look for in software engineers. 

Be careful not to sound like a know-it-all; don’t exaggerate in a bid to get the interviewer’s attention. FAANG interviews are designed to weed out disingenuine candidates.

5. Highlight Hard Skills and Soft Skills

FAANG interviewers are interested in software engineers with a balanced skillset. To grab the interviewer’s attention, highlight soft skills that can help you leverage your tech skills. Highlight those soft skills that are in line with the company’s culture. Play up your soft skills, especially in instances where you don’t have the required expertise in the hard skills for the role.

6. Pitch Yourself as a Future Employee of the Company

FAANG companies often evaluate candidates based on the long-term value they can bring to the company. Solve this problem for the interviewer by talking about how you are a fit for the company beyond the current position. Talk about the growth you envision for yourself in the company. Connect your career aspirations with the kind of platform the company can offer you. 

For example, “I’m a keen innovator (provide example) and wish to deepen my AI skills in (the potential role) and further play a pivotal role (indicates interest in leadership and growing the company) in more complex projects in the area of (research the company’s future projects or direction in your desired field).”

7. Create Interest 

Offer interviewers the opportunity to dig deeper. When pitching yourself, provide information at a high level. Provide interviewers with talking points and the chance to build on what you say with follow-up questions. Think of them as prompts for the interviewer to pick up on. You can use interesting facts or adjectives to create interest. For example:

  • ”At (past employer), I worked on many complex projects using (tech skill)” — the adjective “complex” can make interviewers curious and prompt them to ask you to elaborate on your projects and the complexities involved. 
  • “I built the strategy around which (XYZ) product was launched, resulting in (mention successful outcome)” — this prompts the interviewer to ask more questions about the strategy you used.

This way, you can consciously drive the direction of the interview, allowing interviewers to ask follow-up questions on topics of your choice. 

Recommended Reading: How to List Projects on a Software Engineer Resume

8. End Your Pitch on a Positive Note

Come to a clear conclusion at the end of your pitch, emphasizing how the company will benefit from hiring you. Don’t start your pitch with enthusiasm only to trail off at the end, as this can make your entire introduction unconvincing. 

Pitching yourself should elicit interest from your interviewer, and your enthusiasm should be strong enough to propel the interview forward in your favor.

Tips to Prepare the Best Pitch for FAANG Interviews

If you really want to succeed at your FAANG interview, you have to do more than just focus on probable FAANG interview questions. To prepare for your FAANG interview effectively, you will have to focus on your interviewing skills as well. Your FAANG interview prep should include working on how to pitch yourself in the best way possible, ensuring you position yourself as a must-hire for the job.

Write Your Pitch

This may sound tedious, but writing down what you’re going to say at the interview can actually help you organize your thoughts and deliver your pitch with clarity. It ensures you don’t leave out essential information.

It also acts as a master copy from which you can prepare multiple versions, as required. Refer to your written copy to check if you’ve missed out on anything during your delivery. Some interviewers may only allow you to pitch yourself in a few words, adjectives, or a couple of sentences. 

Say It Out Loud

You’re probably already prepared to answer FAANG interview questions in an interactive Q&A format. However, unlike during the rest of your FAANG interview, your pitch will not be interactive. 

You should practice your pitch as part of your FAANG interview prep to familiarize yourself with your delivery. Get comfortable with your voice and the fact that you’ll be delivering a monologue as the interviewer listens without any interaction. 

Communication is usually not a strong point for software engineers. A well-delivered pitch can give you a competitive advantage.

Research the Job and Company

Relevance is key to an excellent FAANG interview pitch. Don’t assume you understand the job by the role title. Read the job description thoroughly to understand the requirements. In addition, research the role at the company to understand what it entails. 

Look at profiles of software engineers in similar positions on LinkedIn to get insights into the kind of work they do and the skills required. Try to connect with someone in the organization to find out what the interviewers are looking for. The best FAANG interview pitch is the one that captures a FAANG interviewer’s attention.

Don’t focus only on the potential role; ensure you research the company as well. FAANG companies are big on software engineers that offer more than just technical skills. Include relevant cultural traits and soft skills in your pitch as well. Try to find out what FAANG hiring managers tend to look for at a FAANG interview.

Understand Your Profile, Personality, Skills, and Value

Create a personal candidate profile as part of your FAANG interview prep. List out your skills, qualifications, strengths, weaknesses, experience, learnings, achievements, interests, passions, personality traits, and reasons for wanting to work at a FAANG company. 

With this, you can highlight your most relevant aspects to create a great FAANG interview pitch. 

Pitch Yourself to Stand Out Against the Competition

The best software engineers apply for jobs at FAANG companies. FAANG interviews are highly competitive. You’re not just pitching to show you’re a fit for the job; you’re pitching to tell interviewers why you’re better than the other software engineers for the job. 

Zero in on one or more qualities that make you stand out. For example, in addition to excellent tech skills, you also have advanced knowledge of the market the potential role functions in, or you possess specialized certifications or training in the required technology.

When to Pitch Yourself for a FAANG Software Engineering Job

There are different circumstances in which you should take the opportunity to pitch yourself as a desirable candidate for a FAANG software engineering job. 

At the Interview

The most obvious time is at your FAANG interview itself, typically when asked to introduce yourself. The most common FAANG interview questions that prompt you to pitch yourself are when interviewers say, “Tell me about yourself” or “Can you introduce yourself?” or “Why are you at this interview?”

Alternatively, if you’re not asked a direct question at your FAANG interview to introduce yourself, use any opportunity during the interview to pitch your skills and capabilities. For example, if you’re discussing projects, draw attention to specific attention to relevant skills you possess.

Similarly, when given the opportunity to ask questions to the interviewers, ask deliberate questions that allow you to respond to their answers by pitching relevant details about yourself. FAANG interviewers are likely to pay attention to software engineers who think on their feet.

At an Information Meeting

It’s tacky to make an outright pitch for a job at an informational meeting meant to learn about the company or a potential role. However, you can indirectly draw attention to relevant details about yourself and how it matches what the company is looking for. 

For example, you can open the meeting by talking about a particular skill and how closely related it is to the company’s products, which is what drove your interest in the company. Indirectly pitching yourself this way could land you a tech interview at your desired FAANG company. 

At a Networking Event

Talking to influential FAANG employees about a potential role you’re interested in at a networking event is akin to giving an informal FAANG interview. 

Pitch yourself as you would at a formal FAANG interview when introducing yourself. However, in this case, introduce yourself quickly in a couple of sentences or 100 words. Keep the tone of your pitch informal as well. You want to convey how you’d be a great fit for the company without appearing like you’re trying to hard-sell yourself. 

Recommended Reading: How to Get Interview Calls Through Networking and Referrals 

FAQs on How to Pitch Yourself at a FAANG Interview

Q1. How can I describe myself in only one or two sentences or 100 words at a FAANG interview?

When asked to describe yourself in a couple of sentences or 100 words, mention your total work experience, your highest educational qualification or certification (if applicable and relevant), your most recent and senior position and employer, whether you’re a leader or specialized individual contributor, a key accomplishment, three to five of your most relevant skills (hard and soft skills), and why you’re a fit or interested in the potential role and company. 

Utilize adjectives for a succinct yet informative description. Remember to pick only the most relevant and impactful details.

Q2. How should I promote myself as a software engineer at a FAANG interview?

FAANG interviewers prefer software engineers with unique skill sets that can contribute to organizational growth. Pitch yourself as someone with the ability to leverage existing skills to improve the company’s existing product portfolio. Additionally, pitch yourself as someone who can propel future growth by leveraging a learning and risk-taking mindset. 

Q3. How can I pitch myself at a FAANG tech interview when I have little or no experience?

FAANG interviewers are keen on a candidate’s ability. You can prove your fit for a role by drawing on personal projects or experiences that showcase relevant skills, including crossover skills. Highlight professional training and certifications to prove you have the required skill set. Provide examples of how you applied new learnings practically to successfully solve a problem or add value to a previous employer. 

Q4. What is the best way to practice my interview pitch during my FAANG interview prep? 

Write down your pitch and practice saying it out loud. Work on your pitch till it is concise and easy to communicate. Prepare variations of your pitch; prepare to talk about yourself in just a few words or for as long as a minute or two. However, don’t memorize your pitch, as FAANG interviewers can easily spot a rehearsed, inauthentic introduction. Mock interviews with professional hiring managers are undoubtedly the best way to practice your pitch during your FAANG interview prep. 

Q5. How should I introduce myself at a FAANG interview? 

Unlike many tech companies, FAANG companies will typically only hire you if you’re a cultural fit and a potential long-term contributing employee. Besides highlighting deep and diverse software engineering tech skills, mention key soft skills that make you a cultural fit for the company. Highlight a learning mindset by showcasing an expanding tech skill set and how you added value to your past employers. To stand out from the intense competition at a FAANG interview, showcase your individuality and uniqueness.

Are You Ready for Your Next FAANG Interview?

A great pitch for a FAANG interview as a software engineer depends, at the crux of it all, on being a great software engineer. This means having strong, FAANG-worthy tech skills and the right set of soft skills to complement them. 

Step one to pitching yourself at a FAANG interview is getting your FAANG interview prep right. At Interview Kickstart, we have helped thousands of engineers develop their tech and interviewing skills with our pioneering technical interview prep courses.

Software engineers have benefitted immensely from our team of instructors comprising actual hiring managers and tech leads from FAANG companies. Our team draws on personal and deep experience on how FAANG companies hire and what FAANG interviewers look for. Our alumni of software engineers have successfully upskilled and positioned themselves as must-hires at FAANG companies, landing lucrative offers from FAANG and other top tech companies.

Register for our free webinar to learn how to crack FAANG interviews to uplevel your career!


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