We’ve reported that it’s a great time to be looking for a job. Unemployment is low, many companies anticipate adding more staff this year, and over 100 occupations have more openings than actual hires month-over-month.
For those looking to switch jobs, it’s hard to deny the lure of a big name company. This is especially true in the tech sector, where company names can be synonymous with big innovation: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, and the like. But it’s also the case at other businesses where the focus on developing world-changing products and services can be just as laser-like.
With that in mind, we scoured Fast Company's current list of 2016‘s Most Innovative Companies to bring you the inside scoop on what it takes to snag a job at five of the top employers.
Growing from a dorm experiment in 2004 to the platform actively used by more than a billion people every day, Facebook landed in the No. 2 spot by virtue of the fact that it's never let size stand in the way of acting like a startup. Even as its umbrella has widened to include the spun off Messenger (800 million users), acquired Instagram (400 million users), and WhatsApp and Oculus VR. This year virtual reality headset Oculus Rift is due to ship to consumers, broadening Facebook’s realm further into computer interfaces.
Not surprisingly, Facebook touts itself as a place for new recruits to "do the most meaningful work of their career." Given its reach, that’s not hyperbole. According to the company, staff work in small, nimble teams and it values the authenticity and diversity of its 13,000+ global workforce.
In addition to telling Fast Company that engineers should "be prepared to write code on a whiteboard during your interview," Facebook’s global head of recruiting recently shared a favorite interview question with Business Insider "On your very best day at work—the day you come home and think you have the best job in the world—what did you do that day?"
Not every interviewee should expect to get that question, but Kalinowski advised candidates to be ready to explain what they do when they lose track of time during the work day. This, she says, is a good indicator of what they truly enjoy and are good at.
CVS Health came in at No. 3 (right behind Facebook) on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Company list this year. That’s because in addition to operating over 7,800 pharmacies, the company has expanded to developing new products in its Digital Innovation Lab. Among them: an Apple Watch-compatible mobile app, and a new feature that lets users scan paper prescriptions and insurance cards to fill medications remotely and set reminders to take medications. It also has partnered with IBM to use Watson's artificial intelligence system to predict which customers need interventions to avoid health crises.
The company’s president and CEO Larry Merlo, recently told Fast Company,
"We look for people who are purpose driven, not just profit driven. We look for people who want to help people on their path to better health and who resonate with our values of caring, collaboration, innovation, integrity, and accountability. As we grow our organization with diverse talent at all levels, we are most attracted to great people who reflect our purpose and values."
Alphabet is the newly created holding company that’s home to Google and all of its web-based properties, as well as other ventures such as driverless cars. Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin created Alphabet and Page serves as CEO while Eric Schmidt serves as executive chairman. What’s notable at the No. 8 ranked Most Innovative Company is its expansive vision for the future, even as Google enters its third decade.
We’ve covered Google’s recruiting process before, most recently revealing how one software engineer was recruited through a secret coding challenge. Three million candidates applied for a few coveted positions at the company between 2013 and 2014. Those that didn’t make the cut were often culled when recruiters reviewed their resumes riddled with oversharing, objective statements, and a too-template-like approach.
Laszlo Bock, Google's head of people operations, tells Fast Company that Alphabet is looking for some very specific traits.
"Four things: general cognitive ability... Not just raw (intelligence) but the ability to absorb information; emergent leadership: the idea there being that when you see a problem, you step in and try to address it. Then you step out when you're no longer needed. That willingness to give up power is really important; cultural fit—we call it 'Googleyness'—but it boils down to intellectual humility. You don't have to be warm or fuzzy. You just have to be somebody who, when the facts show you're wrong, can say that; expertise in the job we're gonna hire you for."
An addictive exercise class that began in a single studio in 2006, SoulCycle now attracts a "cultish following of spinners" across the country. As the company prepares for an IPO, SoulCycle's team continues to launch new locations with a signature approach to connecting with locals to build communities. The company is also looking to bring SoulCycle into spinners' homes, riding against its competitor Peloton.
SoulCycle’s company mantra "bring soul to the people" is reflected on its career page which states: "SoulCycle isn’t just in the business of changing bodies; we’re in the business of changing lives." As such, CEO Melanie Whelan tells Fast Company, "We look for people who are passionate about the brand, and about helping people. And naturally positive people."
Now in its fifth year, Snapchat’s becoming known for more than just its fast-disappearing messages. Over 100 million daily active users view over 7 billion videos every day. Now music combines with Live Stories to bring viewers glimpses of Coachella, the iHeartRadio Music Festival, and 2015 MTV Video Music Awards among others. BuzzFeed, National Geographic, Comedy Central and others have signed on to bring short form content to the millions of millennials who are more attached to their mobiles than ever.
The exponential growth has Snapchat’s ranks swelling. Currently, dozens of jobs are listed from tech to HR, finance, operations, and legal. A video on its site highlights the company's culture which some of the staff described as fun and crazy, in part because Snapchat’s home base in Venice Beach, California, while far from Silicon Valley, is equally informal. The video frequently makes mention of coworkers being like family, and indeed Snapchat’s job descriptions emphasize collaboration and ability to work well with others, which extends beyond engineering to roles in other departments such as finance.
You wouldn’t necessarily put entrepreneurial skills down for a job in payroll, for example, but it’s important to team Snapchat. As one job description puts it:
"We are looking for candidates with the highest performance standards, who are proactive, and driven by results. We are looking for leaders who have built a consistent career of excellence and achievement in both the workplace and academic environment, can execute well and flourish in an entrepreneurial environment, and can work across and up and down a dynamic organization."