Internship at Google 2013
3 Host matching phase
The first round of interviews that I just passed was very general and they were testing your computer science background. However, the second round called host matching is quite different. Managers (called "hosts" at Google) from teams all over the Google who have some project for interns in mind will schedule interviews with a candidate they found strong for their project.
This phase is the important one. If your resume and cover letter do not state clearly what you like to do, you may end up be contacted by someone who wants you to do something you do not really enjoy. It is very important that your resume has some features that will distinguish you from others, like some cool project.
This phase also makes the importance of "applying soon" for internships. The sooner you apply the more chance you have that some host will schedule an interview with you. In about a week later another exciting email from my recruiter arrived.
“Hi Marek, I am happy to let you know that we have identified a potential project and would like to schedule you for a technical phone interview.„
Figure 1: Main patio in front of the first cafeteria on campus called Charlie's cafe.
3.1 First interview
I was interviewing with James from Google Research. At the beginning James introduced himself very nicely. He told me his background, where he studied and what is he working on at Google. I had to admit that I was quite surprised because his background was so rich. I knew that I am speaking with an important person from Google which made me quite nervous. Then he asked me about some of my projects which I listed in my resume and we were discussing them together.
After the gentle introduction he started asking some very technical questions. I was not coding but I was solving various problems and question like "What would you use to solve problem X?". Honestly, I did not know answer to all of his questions. He was very nice to me and whenever I did not know the answer or my solution was not exactly right he explained me the correct solution — that was very nice.
At the end of the interview he explained me what would be my responsibilities if I would work with him in his team but he never mentioned any concrete project.
Figure 2: Nice area between Google buildings. It's probably cool to have palm trees in front of your windows at work.
The first host interview was really exhausting. My immediate feelings were:
- "OMG, I failed it so bad."
- "I described my projects so badly."
- "I did not even tell him that we submitted a paper to ACM SIGGRAPH conference."
- "How could I forget that X is used for Y."
I sent e-mail to my recruiter that I really enjoyed the interview with James and I am very interested in working with him in the summer. And my recruiter replied me with:
“Hi Marek, I actually have another host interested in speaking with you!„
Figure 3: Android robot statues can be found at many places around Google campus.
3.2 Second interview
The second host interview was very different from the first one. I was speaking with Ozan from Google Ads. After his brief introduction he went straight to description of his project he wanted me to do. His description was quite detailed and at first I had no idea what he wants but then he included the missing pieces and he just asked me:
“Do you want to work on this project over the summer?„
The he problem was that his project was not very exciting to me. But I had no idea how to answer his question. I would prefer to work on James' project from the first interview but I did not know if he liked me. At the same time I would rather work on "boring" project in Google that not work in Google at all. But in this situation there is no "maybe".
My answer was that I do not think that I would be good fit for this project and I would rather work on the project from the first interview. I could not find appropriate English words to describe what I wanted to but I think he felt that I am trying to say that I don't like the project which was correct. At the end of this interview he said that he will let know my recruiter about my preferences and that was all. No technical questions from his side whatsoever.
Figure 4: A wall decorated with little propellers, same as found on Noogler's hats given to every new Google employee - Noogler.
I felt so bad after this interview. I walked in the computer lab where all my lab-mates were and they enthusiastically asked me: "How was it?". I answered:
“Well, I said "no" to Google...„
They were like: "Whaaaat? Are you crazy?". Yeah, then I realized I probably blew my chances in Google but hey, I really didn't want to work on that project. I was hoping that I did well in the first interview and James will take me to his team. I was also hoping that some other hosts might schedule some more interviews because those two were quite quick.
Figure 5: Statutes in park at the center of Google campus. Most of them are white statutes of significant people but one is not.
3.3 More stress
On top of my bad feeling about second host interview an e-mail from my recruiter arrived:
“Thank you for speaking with our hosts! Unfortunately at this time both James and Ozan will not be proceeding with your application.„
I stopped reading immediately after I noticed there is a word "unfortunately" in the sentence. After a few minutes I encouraged myself and read the e-mail and yes, it was not good. But I was still hoping that other hosts will contact me but that was not the case. After a few weeks of hoping I was thinking that was probably it.
As I mentioned earlier, I applied to Microsoft, Apple and Intel as well. However, nobody got back to me by this time and it was already 4 months from the date of application.
Figure 6: T-rex skeleton with a bunch of hanging flamingos on it in the center of Google campus, because why the hell not?
3.4 Happy ending
But you already know what the end of this chapter is. So how do I made it to Google? This email landed unexpectedly to my inbox:
“Hi Marek, Great news! James has had a change in plans and would like to proceed with an offer to have you join his team this summer. Are you still interested and available?„
Am I still interested and available? Seriously? I was never more interested than now! That was the happiest day for a long time! I literally could not work anymore that day, I was just walking around so excited — I will be interning at Google!
After this happy e-mail I was talking more with my host, signed some papers and got work authorization for the summer from my school. In the meantime, Google provided me with housing and flight to California so had no worries about those.
Figure 7: Wohoo! Windy peek just behind one of Google buildings.
Figure 8: Panorama from the windy peak.
Comments for this chapterNote that comments are separate for every chapter.comments powered by Disqus
Table of contents
- 1 Introduction and application process
- 2 Initial interviews
- 3 Host matching phase
- 4 Internship at Google
- 5 Coding at Google
- 6 Perks and fun at Google
- 7 Conclusion
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