Before the adventure | 話說美國冒險前

Adventure starts here.

Heading to Google Headquarter @ Mountain View this summer! Everything nervous, exhausting and interesting during the preparation are here.

這暑假要去 Mountain View 闖蕩一番拉! 當中各種複雜的心情都在這裡了…

Step 0: Apply returning intern

Since I spend the summer at Google Taipei as practicum engineering intern in 2016 (please see part I, which is not published yet lol), which is an interesting experience that I’ll never forget, so the thought of going back to Google borns. However, there is some voice says that you should go out and challenge yourself from many aspects, so I apply for Google HQ as a returning intern, which also saves me the technical interviews before last step.

However, the HR team needs to verify the feedback of previous host, which leads to the letter. (Nov. 17, 2016)

I have submitted your information for review and expect an update next week to determine if we are able to move forward or not for consideration on this region.
Thanks for your patience in advance and I’ll be in touch just as soon as I have any information to share with you.

因為去年在Google台北實習(請 follow 之後的 part I… xD),是個很難忘的經驗(many thanks to Taipei Googlers),加上又想挑戰自己,不管是英文還是技術方面,因此今年有機會申請 returning intern,不怕死的我就申請想到美國總部玩一玩長長見識,也因此省掉了前面的技術型面試 。

Step 1: Entering host matching process

After they’ve confirmed, I received the following letter exactly a week later (Nov. 24, 2016), which hits the start of the toughest and most nervous step (and my only step…) to the offer.

The feedback from your previous internship was evaluated and found to be positive! We are excited to move forward with your application. As such, you are able to bypass the technical interviews and proceed directly to the project search phase where your questionnaire and interview feedback will be reviewed to determine if there is a project that aligns with your skills and interests.
Please reply with a PDF of your most recent resume/cv and transcripts (unofficial or a degree audit is fine). To be eligible for another internship you must be continuing your education. Can you please confirm that you will be going back to school after a potential Summer 2017 internship?
There are two possible outcomes: 
- We find a potential project, you interview with the host, the project is determined a fit and we extend an offer.
- We’re unable to find a project in line with your skill set, which will end the recruitment process for you.
Your profile will be considered by hosts for 6 weeks. Unfortunately, if we do not identify a project for you by then, we will end the recruitment process. We will do all that we can to expedite this review period, and if you have any academic or offer deadlines, please let us know as soon as possible.

總而言之,我必須填寫一份 Questionnaire 和 interview feedback,進到 host matching pool 後,有大約六個禮拜的時間可以被 host 挑中。接下來會有兩種結果:

1. 被 host 挑中,而你喜歡這份 project,那麼就可以拿到 offer
2. 沒有找到適合你的 project,招募到此結束。

The six-week period is only estimated, if there are some holidays (actually, a lot of them at the end of year) between it, then it will be extended automatically.

The bridge: Questionnaire

In case you’re interested, here is some of the question to fill in:

  • First & second strongest language and the experiences with them.
  • Areas with existing skills/experiences
     + Coding
     + Design
     + Infrastructure software engineering
     + Open-ended research
     + Verification and test
  • Computer science disciplines with existing skills/experience (About 40+ to pick from)
  • Google reference (Optional)
  • Preferred location
  • Preferred computer science disciplines
  • Additional product preferences
  • Research experiences

These are what hosts depend to filter the interns that may potentially match their needs, so, needless to say, it’s pretty important! And I’ve learned that due to the mainly used language in the existing team, they might use language (eg. C++/Java) as filtering condition.

以上這些是 host 用以篩選可能符合資格的 intern 的問卷,才得以從長長的 intern list 中找到真愛啊。我也聽說有些 host 會用程式語言作為篩選的條件,但 Questionaire 只給列出兩個主要語言(以及其他 Optional 的拿手語言),如果不是你嚮往團隊的主要語言就可能會擦身而過了.. (至少我是這樣和認識的學姊擦身而過的QQ 因為太晚向她請教了)

Step 2: Hopeless waiting

After the welcoming message and question answering, the patience is needed now. Of course, if someone you know is working at Google, it’s not a bad idea to ask if they have some good chances that match! Or even some posting the request on websites where some engineers may hang around.

最好可以先向你認識的 Googler 問問看有沒有合適的 project ,或是 po 文在 一畝三分地 和 PTT 看看有沒有版友可以幫忙。

Step 3: Host matching interview

3.1 “Availability Requested”

Once any host wants to reach you, a mail will be sent to you as below.

I’m happy to let you know that we’ve identified a potential project and would like to schedule you for a 30–45 minute phone interview with the host!
… Some basic project description …
Please let me know if you’re interested in interviewing for this project, and if so, provide your availability for the remainder of this week and next week (include several dates/times in ) along with the phone number or gmail address where the interviewer will be able to contact you. As a reminder, we typically interview Monday through Friday between 10am and 4pmPT.
I’d like to get this call set up within the next few days, so please respond as soon as possible.

After meeting time is set, the real fight starts here. Due to my English level, I have to prepare some points of introduction and something to ask, in case of unexpected tension.

3.2 Real interview

In my experiences, most of host matching interview are not technical, but they still want to know how much you fit the project. So the basic introduction is definitely needed, and if you’ve got some related experience, remember not to lose them! Also, be enthusiastic about the project. To show it, be sure to ask question, good questions of course.

From the experience for interview, a important point has shown. For those who has no programming contest experience, GPA and how good your algorithm problem solving has no obvious relation to host matching interview. Instead, quick-learning and real experienced seemed to be crutial for it. Thank god I’ve been working at a startup and take the main responsibility for a big project, which challenges me a lot and makes me grow in unbelivable speed.

大部分的 host matching 面試都不是技術性的,而是半聊天式的輕鬆感。不過,他們還是得藉此挑出屬意的 intern,因此最最基本的自我介紹一定少不了,這時,如果你有什麼和 project 相關的經驗,以及一些特別的記憶點,絕對不要忽略掉了。此外,如果你喜歡這個 project ,也別忘了表現出來,我的 recruiter 也提醒我可以用提問來表達妳的興趣,並藉此解決可能的疑惑。

面試這部份這麼多次,對於我這種沒有 ACM 比賽經驗的人來說,最重要的莫過於學習能力與實戰經驗了,畢竟這才能顯現你究竟能不能上手 project 所需具備的能力。多虧在新創公司的實習,成為重要產品的主要開發者,讓我在短短三個月中成長極快,而不只是在課業上有了亮眼的 GPA 而已。

3.3 Wait for feedback

The host feedback can be waited up to two weeks, since there might be interviews with other candidates. However, it’s absolutely not a problem to touch bases with your recruiter, perhaps start with some thoughts for the interview, and ask if there are some updates for you.

Bad news happens normally, since host can only pick one from those who has been interviewed with, and I have received 4 “they (hosts) have decided to move forward with other candidates at this time”, and finally get good news from Albert!

BTW, I’ve Google the ‘Host matching interview’ and found in Reddit & Quire that, someone has really turned down some host’s matching request since no enough love for the project.

As long as there is a fit, we’ll get the offer signed!

因為面試人數眾多,導致 host 的面試回饋有時會等上兩個禮拜,但等不及的時候不妨戳戳看 HR(雖然不至於有效果拉XD),他們的回覆效率都很高。壞消息是時常聽到的,在被拒絕了四次之後,終於從同樣是台灣人的 host 手中拿到 offer >< 可以去美國打手足球了!!

ps. 矽谷的工作時間(PT, -0800)剛好是台灣的睡覺時間(TW, +0800),因此睡個覺起床通常就會看到他們的回覆。不過 11~1 月這段時間有不少假期,有時也會等上好幾天都是正常的。

Some notes

Interview taken

  1. Google search — UI/UX intern (me vs 3 hosts)
  2. API: App Storage, Indexing and Serving — SWE intern (chat in Chinese)
  3. Advertising: SearchAds, Ads Quality — SWE intern (Indian)
  4. Advertising: SearchAds, Ads Quality — SWE intern (With some ML techniques) (Chinese host, but speak in English)
  5. Geo: Merchant — SWE intern (Taiwanese, chat in Chinese) (GET!)

After the offer, there are still a lot to prepare, such as accommendation, transportation, and some frameworks to understand before the adverture, thanks to Albert!

Remember to catch up with next section! See ya!

Ps.

我的英文實在不太夠用呢… 每次都希望可以想到最完整再說出來,但就要等個幾秒鐘了。這個學期要好好衝刺英文!!