How do I get job at Google or Microsoft? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Don Dodge, Been employed by both Microsoft and Google, on Quora:

I worked at Microsoft 5 years, and have worked at Google over 7 years. But, I never would have been hired coming out of college. I didn't have the grades or experience. I got that experience at startups, and took big career risks to get to the next level. It all paid off eventually. Here is my advice;

  1. Only apply for jobs where you meet every single requirement. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other big tech companies attract the best of the best candidates. Don't even bother applying unless you can say you have "been there, done that" to every requirement. Maybe get experience at a startup before applying to make sure you meet the requirements.
  2. Start something, do something unusual. Write a blog, contribute to open source, start a company, or start a public service/charity group. You will be competing against candidates that meet all the requirements, so the different, extra things you did will set you apart.
  3. Be bold and take chances. After being at Google I told my friends that at Google "Achieving 60% of the impossible is better than 100% of the ordinary." Be the kind of person that will take on any challenge, and think outside the box on how to achieve it. Be prepared with examples of how you have done that in previous roles.
  4. Be curious. Ask lots of questions. Go beyond the obvious answers. Question the accepted way of doing things. This is easy to say, but not natural for most people.
  5. Be ready for tough questions. Be articulate in your answers. Explain your thought process. Many questions in an interview are designed to see how you think, how you approach a problem. Think out loud. Be concise. State your assumptions. Highlight potential issues.
  6. DO NOT FAKE IT! If you don't know something, say so. Ask a clarifying questions that shows you understand part of the question, and can identify the key factors...even if you don't know the exact answer.
  7. Be prepared, but be relaxed. Enjoy the interview. Show enthusiasm for solving problems, digging deeper, and relating past experiences to the questions or problems.
  8. Don't give up. If you don't get the job, reflect on what you need to work on. Get outside your comfort zone to get that experience. Then reapply for another job.
  9. Talk to others who work at Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. Ask about their career path, what things they did, and what they think is important.
  10. Ultimately you will be part of a team. Be the person everyone wants to work with. Be fun, inquisitive, driven, and high energy.

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