Joining Google

8/25/2019Time to read: 4 min

It has been a while since I added the last post. A lot has changed in my life. Two months ago I left Veeva and joined Google. In this post, I will talk about my journey of job hunting.

I started looking for a new opportunity when I was about to reach the 2-year mark at Veeva. I wanted my early career to experience various company cultures instead of staying at one company for a long time. A couple of my closed friend also left Veeva or were seeking outside opportunities at that time. So I thought it was a good time for me to make a transition too.

I was contacted by a Google technical sourcer, who might saw my record of applying to Google during undergrad.

My last Google interview failed because I didn't practice enough coding questions. This time I wanted to make sure I was well-prepared. I bought a Leetcode membership for a month, which gave me access to questions categorized by companies. I tried to do around 5 questions per weekday. On weekends, I would go to coffee shops and hang out with a group of friends who are also applying for jobs. We work on coding questions together. Sometimes we even mock interview with each other. On a productive weekend, I could do around 20 questions.

I tried to focus on mostly medium level Leetcode questions. Sometimes I scattered some easy questions to relax, or try some hard questions just to make sure I wouldn't feel clueless if I receive one during an interview.

Doing coding questions every day can lead to a quick burn out. In about a month, I gradually slowed down my pace. I did around 180 questions for about 2 months. I know some people did much more, but I feel I didn't have much trouble with the algorithm and data structure questions in my interviews.

I did the Google technical phone screen during lunch. The interviewer was very friendly but the questions were hard. I barely have time left after coding. But I think what the interviewer look for were the communication and the thought process. I had the interview on Wednesday and I receive a response to move forward on the next Monday.

Around that time, I also started applying for other jobs. I wasn't very comfortable asking for referrals from my Linkedin connections especially if I haven't talked to them for a long time. So I just went on job hunting forums and asked for help from strangers. I got a few referrals, such as Facebook and Uber. During that time I had 1 year and 9-month working experience, while both Facebook and Uber required 2 or 3 years of experience so neither of them worked out.

Despite rejected by Uber, I got an interview for Uber ATG for a job I applied on Linkedin. Uber ATG is the autonomous driving division at Uber with offices at Pittsburg and San Francisco. The technical interview went pretty well, and I got a chance to move on to onsite.

I also used Triplebyte with their front end engineer track. Triplebyte is a platform that connects companies with candidates. The idea is that once a candidate passes Triplebyte's rigorous online tech screen, the candidate's profile will be visible to Triplebyte's partner companies. If both the candidate and a company agree to move forward after a non-technical phone call, the candidate will be fast-forwarded to onsite for that company.

Having worked in front end primarily for almost 2 years, the Triplebyte interview went like a breeze. I passed Triplebyte's interview with a good remark. The next step was to pitch to some of the interesting companies in the Triplebyte platform. I was a bit disappointed that most of the companies I saw on the platform are small to medium level startups. There are some notable companies such as Apple, Adobe, but those companies are highly sought after on this platform by most candidates.

Next was my Google onsite. I had my onsite in the nice Sunnyvale office. I had 5 interviews on the day, two in the morning and three in the afternoon. All of them were technical coding questions. The questions I got were interesting. I can see that the interviewers put a lot of thought into those questions. The Google interview was exhausting both mentally and physically. One trick I did was, I asked for a cup of tea before each interview. Drinking hot tea makes me calm, and It also forced me to take a bathroom break between interviews.

I also went to onsites with two companies on the Triplebyte platform. One of them was Flexport. Flexport is a freight forwarding company with a fast-growing technology division. It is located in San Francisco with about 10 minutes walking distance from Bart station. I like the environment of Flexport and the employees were very friendly. The interview went pretty well.

Google's result came back very fast. A week after the onsite, I got the message from the recruiter that I passed the hiring committee. At the same time, the recruiter sent me 4 teams that potentially matched my interest. One of them reached an agreement to move forward. On the same day, the recruiter sent me a verbal offer.

Flexport also decided to move forward after my onsite! They invited me back to the office to do team matching. I had a very pleasant talk with the UI platform team at Flexport during the interview, so it would probably be the team I eventually match with. But I was quite certain that I would join Google at that point, so I let the recruiter know that I won't move forward to team matching.

That was it. The whole job hunting experience lasted for about 2 months. This time it was much smoother than it was during my undergrad. I am now a Googler.

Google's monorepo
How I became a front end software engineer