Interviewing at Six Silicon Valley Giants in Six Days: Day 6 @ Google
A contemporaneous account of my 2018 interview gauntlet
The Night Before
The weekend has come to a close. It was a good one. A friend and I Lyfted up to downtown San Francisco and we walked eight or so miles, stopping by the Twitter HQ and the Airbnb HQ before walking down to Fisherman’s Wharf. We walked around the water for a bit and then Lyfted back to Palo Alto. In total I’d walked around ten miles (or so says my Apple Watch) that day, so I felt I’d gotten a pretty nice look around the city. There’s always more to see, though.
I couldn’t (and still can’t) shake the lingering disappointment giving Apple and Facebook, my original top-two companies, less-than-stellar interviews. To recap, I have offers from LinkedIn, Yelp, and Amazon. I no longer have any interest in Amazon. I would be super excited to work at either LinkedIn or Yelp, but I’m almost certain LinkedIn will absolutely blow Yelp out of the water with its compensation package. I think the two should be pretty similar in technical growth and somewhat similar in prestige, so compensation is a reasonable tiebreaker.
Before my interview tomorrow with Google I have a breakfast with a manager and presumably one of their reports from LinkedIn. I’m really looking forward to that because I can zero in on some specific questions that I’ve wondered that have come up in subsequent interviews. I can get a lot of genuine questions answered, I think. I’m assembling the beginnings of a matrix that compares and contrasts all of the places that will send me offers. There are only three columns now, but maybe I can bump that number up a bit with some luck and a good performance tomorrow (it’s Sunday evening as I type this).
The Interviews (and Closing Thoughts)
It’s now Monday morning and I’m still just thinking about getting an email back from either of the two companies that have yet to make a decision. Google was never my top choice, although it would be a fantastic place to work, pay very well, and they employ some of the smartest developers on the planet. I’m sure if it were my first interview I’d be a lot more concerned about it. Anyway, I’ve gotta go do my interview thing.
Well, that was a trainwreck. I had five interviews, maybe ten questions total, and I would say I answered two correctly. The rest was a complete abomination. I think my brain was in an entirely incompatible mode; all of the questions, save for a few, were very, very different than the 100 or so I’ve been asked over the past week. As a result, I struggled to even reason through many problems. Like, many problems.
Hard problems happen and provide a great opportunity for an interviewer to see how a candidate thinks, but I really just dropped the ball today when it came to communicating. It was just a bad day for me (performance-wise). I don’t know if it was the toll of… 31 technical interviews in the span of a week that finally taking effect or if it was just coincidence that Google happened to be last. I don’t believe there’s any particular reputation for Google giving interviews that shake candidates to their foundations, but they are supposed to be difficult. C’est la vie!
I don’t remember the individual interviews — they all kinda blur together — so I’m not going to break them down. No one interview stood out as particularly bad or particularly good. They were pretty much consistently bad. However, I did finally get rough ranges from LinkedIn, Yelp and Amazon. I still haven’t heard from Apple or Facebook, but I’m mentally writing them off so I can get on with the negotiation. I’m very, very happy with the numbers thrown at me so far. Hurray! They’re definitely enough to get me to move.
I guess this is it. I don’t know if I’ll ever publish this. I think at this point it comes off as braggy because I ended up getting a handful of offers. If anything, it serves as something I can keep forever in my drafts to reflect on. I’ll definitely consolidate this into one post in the future and provide some tips.
Thanks for reading.
(If you’ve read thus far you’re probably familiar with this post, but that shows how it all shook out in the end.)