Guy Kawasaki has a great piece today titled Everything You Wanted to Know About Getting a Job in Silicon Valley But Didn’t Know Who to Ask:
Many people ask me for advice about getting a job in Silicon Valley, so here’s the inside scoop. Not everyone will agree with this advice, and some will outright deny what I’m saying, but if you use these tips you will stand head and shoulders above most candidates.
I won’t reiterate the whole list here, but this is definitely worth reading. He starts the list with a great tip: “Love what the company does”. When I worked at Palm, I was amazed at the number of candidates who had little or no knowledge about Palm PDAs. “My friend has one” was one of the responses I got when asking a candidate what he thought of Palm PDAs. Needless to say he didn’t get hired. Conversely, an engineer on my team had bought a Palm and written a couple of programs for it before the interview; she was hired :)
At Yahoo we face the same situation. Again, we’re dealing with a consumer product (a free one, in fact), so there’s really no excuse for not being prepared to talk about it. In my case I had not been a heavy Yahoo! Messenger user, but played with it pretty extensively before my first interview and had intelligent things to say, both good and bad. That’s probably not the only reason I was hired, but I’m sure it helped.