Cracking the interview for Software Engineer at Grab
Working at Grab for 2 years on the Android Passenger App, I had the opportunity to take interviews very quickly. The company is growing insanely fast (We still have a lot of open positions). I took more than 50 interviews and hired a few of the candidates. Today I’ll share about the interview process at Grab, for mobile engineers, and how to maximise your chances.
This is a personal thought based on my experience and may not reflect your interview experience. Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.
Grab’s interview process (For mobile engineers, Android or iOS) is composed of a screening process plus 3 interviews rounds with a total of 5 interviews. This includes 2 back-to-back rounds with engineers, and a final round with an engineering manager.
Codility Test (1 hour)
Upon submitting your candidature, a Codility test will be sent to you. It’s mostly some simple algorithm question. Grab receives thousands of candidates and this round will help, in my opinion, filter all non-motivated candidates. Don’t feel offended if you receive this test even for a senior position. If you are willing to spend 1 hour solving some algorithm questions we can proceed forward.
HR Screening (30 minutes)
Similar to the Codility Test, this screening session is a face-to-face (often via Zoom, a web-based video conferencing tool) conversation, designed to help us understand if you match our skill requirements and possess our cultural principles.
Engineering round (2 hours)
During these 2 hours you will meet 2 engineers (1 hour each). They are selected based on availability and experience. It may not reflect the team you will be joining. The 2 rounds should include live coding.
- Engineer A (1 hour) : Data Structures, Algorithms, Android, OOP
- Engineer B (1 hour) : OOD, Solid principles, Architecture & Design
I typically get involved at this point, sometimes taking the first part (Data Structure) or the second part (Architecture & Design). This is how I generally structure the interview:
- 5 minutes candidate introduction: Past project and problems solved
- 15 minutes for general question (Based on topic mentioned above). I can’t disclose the questions 🙊
- 30 minutes of problem solving including live coding. This is the most important part of the interview. (I give you some tips below)
- 5 minutes of Q&A: Candidate can ask any question and we will answer.
Final round with Engineering manager (1 hour)
The last round focuses on technical skills and cultural fit. Final decision is made by the engineering manager.
Grab does not have a hiring committee for each candidate. However, if we have opposite feedback about the candidate (e.g. “Strong yes” and “Strong no” given by engineers), everyone involved during the process will join a 30 minute meeting where we discuss and determine the final outcome (“debrief”). We will also decide on the grade issued to the successful candidate (e.g. Junior vs. Senior).
Tips for the interview
Understand the problem. During the live coding of the engineering round, make sure you analyse the problem properly. Don’t jump into a solution directly. Every software engineering problem has multiple solutions. Discuss the high level ideas and assumptions of your solutions before working on the implementation. Justify all the choices you are making. And most importantly: Do not make assumptions. Clarify with your interviewer if you are unsure of his/her asks. Think about the Grab scale with millions of users. Make sure your solution will scale for the company.
Don’t cheat. If you are doing the interview remotely, do not google the question to answer. I saw this a few times and it’s obvious. If you don’t know the answer just say it. For the Codility round, there are a set of algorithms in place to detect if the candidate is cheating and copy pasted a solution online. More importantly, Grab values Honor as one of its main principles in an employee. So don’t cheat!
Learn about the company and the business. Try to ask questions in the Q&A session that can reflect your interest in the company.
Prepare for the interview. Before jumping into the 2 hours of rounds. You know the main topic. So spend some time to review the basic and make sure it’s fresh in your mind.
Be in a quiet environment. Interviews can be done remotely via teleconferencing. However please make sure that you are in a quiet environment, have a decent mic and a stable connection. When the communication is choppy it is hard to get your message across and will reduce your chance of receiving a positive feedback.
Have a strong reason to join Grab. My last question is always “Why do you want to leave your current company and why do you want to join Grab?”. DO NOT REPLY:
“Because you offer a good package”
“I saw your office on the internet and it looks nice”
“I don’t want to, actually”
Believe it or not, but I really got those answers during an interview.
Join Us !
Interested in joining the Grab family? Check out http://grab.careers for available roles today!
If you are about to start your journey with Grab, I wish you all the best!
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