I just finished reading Ace the Data Science Interview by Kevin Huo and Nick Singh. It’s a fantastic book for job seekers in general, not just for data scientists looking to land their next role in big tech. Having done job interview coaching for some time, I’m convinced that anyone who’s serious about upgrading their job search tactics would benefit from reading it.
To data science students and job seekers in this field, I strongly recommend that you buy and study this book, as it’s loaded with specific question types, tips and strategies, and variations that you can use in nearly any imaginable FAANG data job interview scenario (the book’s subtitle is 201 Real Interview Questions Asked by FAANG, Tech Startups, & Wall Street).
However for those job seekers who aren’t data scientists, the book also offers some real gems that might be missed due to the fact that the authors wrote primarily for data people.
I exaggerated in the title. The book is a data scientist’s best friend in the job search. But for job seekers in other fields, it’s incredibly helpful as well although you don’t necessarily have to read the whole thing!
In this blog I’ll provide some of the highlights and best takeaways for the general international job seeker:
The authors make a good case for cold emailing being the best way to land an interview if you don’t already have a referral inside the company. Their support for this is mostly anecdotal but the methodology they offer is solid, and assuming you follow their strategies, could very well lead to an interview.
The authors first lay out who you should be cold emailing based on company size (technical or normal recruiters in a medium-sized company and dedicated recruiters at larger ones. To find these people, use LinkedIn search and for their email addresses, use Clearbit Connect or Hunter.io).
Once you’ve found the recruiter in question’s email address, the authors recommend the following tips. (I’d add that the same approach can be very effective on LinkedIn.):
1.Keep the email short. Most recruiters will only spend 10 seconds on average reading your email, so use the space wisely. Dispense with greetings and get straight to the point.
2.Promote yourself. Mention an accomplishment or two and include a success metric if possible. If you’re interested in a specific job posting, connect the accomplishments to the specific requirements listed in the post. (I often recommend listing these accomplishments as bullet points to make them easier to read.)
3.Relate to the recruiter personally. This may strike some as a bit of a culture difference, but the authors suggest (and I agree with them) that you look for a common point of interest with the recruiter to mention. This could be a hobby or where you went to university – find this information on their LinkedIn profile.
4.Have a specific ask. Don’t be vague or shy. Say “I’d like to interview for the _____ position at your company.” Don’t make them guess what you’re looking for. It’s also recommended that your email headline be click worthy. The authors provide examples such as “Kaggle Champion Interested in AirBnB DS.” They recommend borrowing clickbait titles from Buzzfeed!
Another tactic the book encourages job seekers to use is sending multiple follow up emails, which might also strike some international people as rude and inappropriate but in fact can be effective. You have to remember that recruiters are busy people, and it doesn’t hurt to remind them. After all, they’re looking for good employees – that’s their job and your follow-up email can help them do that!
I hope this was helpful! Again, I highly recommend this book to data scientists and for others in the job hunt, my next blog will cover some of the excellent general tips Ace the Data Science Interview provides for the behavioral interview and common questions.