I intervewed with Quora for a Summer Internship. Here’s how it went....

I intervewed with Quora for a Summer Internship. Here’s how it went. – by Cesar Ilharco, former SWE intern at Google, Amazon, and Facebook.

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I’ve been using Quora on a daily basis, I love the product. And what I read about the company was pretty exciting.  So I submitted my resume on Quora careers.

A couple of days later, Katie Nguyen(Recruiter at Quora) sent me an email to schedule a 1 hour phone interview in an afternoon.  Islam Al-Aarag(Software Engineer at Quora) asked me to solve two problems, using an online text editor. In the end, I had some time to ask him questions. His answers made me more excited about the company.

The following day in the morning, Katie sent me an email to schedule the onsite interview.

I got there around 9:40 and checked-in at their reception:

Then I went to the Starbucks downstairs, bought a cup of coffee, sat down and relaxed for a while listening to music. 10:20 I went back to the reception and met other 3 candidates that were about to start their interview at 10:30 too. One from Caltech, one from CMU and the other from NYU. Katie welcomed us and, before splitting to our interview rooms, we got to see part of their office. One thing that caught my attention was a world map on a wall, with all Quora’s employees pined in the cities they came from. Yes, I was wishing badly to add one more pin to that map

  1. I first had a practical interview with Eric Morphis(Engineer at Quora). A real codebase had been previously setup on a Macbook, and I was provided written instructions for the tasks.
  2. Chun-Ho Hung(Quora Product Engineer) asked me coding problems and I was given the choice to use the whiteboard or the laptop and to use the language I prefer. Even though with a text editor I can type faster, use auto-complete and copy and move code around, I chose the whiteboard since it was way larger than the Macbook’s display, allowing me to draw and explain my thoughts more easily. And I chose Python since it’s less verbose than other languages I’m familiar with: less time to write the code = more time to think about the solution.
  3. I then had a lunch interview with Deborah Alves(Software Engineer at Quora) and had a chance to meet Adrien Lucas Ecoffet(Engineer at Quora) and Ryan Cheu(Quora Product Engineer). I got to know a bit about them and their work at Quora. The food was delicious by the way.
  4. My next technical interview was with Kornél Csernai(Engineer at Quora). He asked me coding problems. Again I could choose a programming language and whether or not to use the whiteboard, I made the same choices.
  5. I then had an interview with Veni Johanna(Engineer at Quora, who also interned with them in 2013, and 2012). She asked me relevant questions about my background and motivations.
  6. Finally I had an interview with Katie Nguyen. Among other topics, we spoke about my graduation date and potential timeline for an internship. And then she showed me the office.

By the end of each interview I had time to ask questions, and all the interviewers were pleasant to answer them.

No wasted time, the interviews were back to back. A meeting room was fully booked for my onsite interview and when one interview ended the next interviewer was promptly waiting to proceed.

The interviewing process was 100% professional and well-rounded.  The questions didn’t overlap and they covered a broad spectrum.

It was great to visit their office, meet some Quora employees and get to know more about the company. I had a positive experience, regardless of the outcome.

I went back to Menlo Park, worked on my internship project for a couple of hours and enjoyed the happy hour (it was Friday!).

Monday was a federal holiday. On Tuesday morning, Katie sent me an email saying she had “good news”. That same day, we had a phone call and the offer was signed by me, and then by Adam D’Angelo(CEO, Quora). It’s not only development and deployment that happen quickly at Quora!

I’m super excited, I look forward to joining Quora in the summer!

This article has been adapted from this answer on Quora. 

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