Nikhil Yadav

@yadavnikhil012

What I learned from my Google UX Internship Interview process

A story difficult to tell

Finally, a 6 long month interview process has come to an end. It was difficult to tell the result out-loud. This unexpected chapter of my life does not meet a good end as I was not able to make through the last round of the process. However, I believe that my story can help potential candidates excel in the interviews and avoid mistakes that I might have committed.

Through this blog, I would be sharing my interview experiences and things I learned during the internship process.

Application for UX Design Internship

Being a self-taught designer and without any major degree in Computer/Interaction/Design, I had never expected that I would get a chance to sit for google interview. Well, life is unpredictable so I applied for Google UX Internship in early September with the hope that Companies value skills more than our degree. Next day, I got a reply from Google with a hope that they may consider my profile.

Months passed but I didn’t hear anything from my recruiting manager. My anxiety kept on increasing and I kept on mailing HR after every 2–3 weeks to know about the application status.

Here, I would like to thanks my Hiring manager for her kind and supportive nature in handling my all follow up emails, taking out time from her busy schedule and constantly updating me about my status.

Voila! A reply from Google

4 Months passed and when I had totally left any hope for the internship at Google, A reply hit my inbox on 3 January informing that my profile was shortlisted for the internship and I need to complete the task before 9 January. I was so happy that Google truly values skills more than a degree.

Google Hiring process

Google has a unique hiring process that was totally different from what I had experienced earlier. It was a long process that took several weeks and constantly tested my patience. During the process, they strive to keep you updated but don’t hesitate to reach out to your recruiter if you have any questions.

After your interviews are done, independent hiring committees made up of Googlers at various levels of the company review your candidate packet, which includes your interview feedback and scores, your resume, references, and any work samples you submitted.

To know more visit: https://careers.google.com/how-we-hire/

My internship process was broken down into 3 stages-

  1. Assignment Submission
  2. Hangout Interview with 2 Designers(45 mins)
  3. Hangout Interview with Hiring design team(30 mins)

1st round- Assignment Submission

For the task, I was asked to select one problem statement from the given 3 choices and submit the problem statement within one week. Given the confidentiality of the task, I cannot tell you the details of the problem statement. Here I have tried to compile some useful tips-

  1. Be clear on every design decision you’re making.
  2. Analyse problem statement and underline important words that need more emphasis. You should be able to clearly define and understand what problem statement you’re solving.
  3. You will get a week time to submit your assignment, Try to do a proper user research before arriving at any solution.
  4. Analyse the survey and properly explain the results.
  5. Regardless of the methods you use, it is important to describe your recommendation clearly and concisely to help your hiring team understand your work and process as they view it remotely.
  6. Try to submit more than what you’re asked. I was asked to submit a low fidelity overview of core flow and 2 key high fidelity screens of the flow. I additionally submitted the user research form, it’s responses and an invision prototype of the flow.
  7. Properly list down any corner case and any assumptions you’re making in the document that you’re submitting.
“A well documented submission is a key to a successful assignment submission.”

2nd Round- Hangout Interview with 2 Designers

After a month of submission, I was informed that I got shortlisted for the first round of the interview. My hiring manager shared some resources to help prepare for the interview.

A day later I was informed about the dates and time of the interview. They also set up a test hangout session to check if the hangout link is working fine and I am comfortable with using Hangout.

The Interview(45 mins)

I sat in my chair 15 minutes before the interview to make sure the internet, the video camera, and the microphone were all functioning correctly. Two designers(Design Lead and Interaction Designer) from the hiring team took my interview. The interview was of total 45 mins and it started with the Design lead explaining how the time would be distributed for the interview-

  1. Brief about yourself(10 min)
  2. Detail your past project/Portfolio Overview(15 min)
  3. Q&A on submitted assignment(15 min)
  4. Any Doubts(5 min)

Here are the things I learned from this interview-

  1. Brief about yourself- Prepare your elevator pitch. Tell about your background, how you started designing, what have you learned till yet, what are your future aspirations, how google can help you in fulfilling your goals — all in a form of a story.
  2. Detail your past project- Focus on 1 or 2 of your best projects. Tell about the problem statement, methods used, explain 1–2 core flow/problem solved, results obtained and learnings.The most important part is not to try to cover every aspect that you have prepared, but rather to ensure you have communicated yourself to your audience — they have listened, comprehended, and engaged. Be prepared to quickly go over the rest of the slides in a very short amount time.
  3. Q&A on the submitted assignment- Be clear on the design decisions. You should be prepared to answer every ‘Why’’. For example, you should be clear why you have used images on the card, how you analysed the problem statement, proper clarification on the flow, what could be done to improve the flow further and any other corner cases. Also think about the environment/situation where users are going to use your product, what could be the social and personal problems associated with it and how to solve them. This is the point that I missed in the interview.
  4. Any Doubt- This is the most important part that should not be skipped. Ask as many questions and doubts from the interviewers. Engage them in conversation. Know their stories. Some of the questions that you can ask are what are their expectations from you, what type of projects you would be doing, how many projects you would be working on during the internship, what is the work culture, what your interviewers have learned over the years working in the organisation, any feedback to improve yourself, when would you be getting your result etc. Asking questions shows that you are really interested to work with them and want to improve on the mistakes you committed during the interview.
  5. Remember Names- Always remember the name of your interviewers. It helps to easily engage them in conversation. Good interviews are good conversations.

One thing I really appreciated about my interviewer during this interview was that he took the time to provide feedback on my design challenge. Design lead also appreciated and encouraged me to keep doing what I’m doing. He also mentioned that my story reminds him of his story as well.

3rd Round(Last Round)- Hangout Interview with Hiring design team

Within a week of interview, I was informed about the result on a telephone call. I was equally excited and nervous as this was going to be the last round of the process and I wanted to give my 200% to this interview.

I started with researching about the Hiring team on LinkedIn. I was skeptical about the interview this time. I thought that this interview would majorly focus on how well I fit in the team as technical and portfolio overview was already done in the first round of interview. So, I started to pen down answers to some of the culture related questions in the notebook like what are the values I value the most, what was the good thing about my favourite intern, why I wanted to join Google, how do I see myself 5 years down the lane, why Google should select me, etc.

The last Interview(30 mins)

Contrary to my expectations, This interview took a different turn as this time the whole team wanted to ask more in-depth questions on the assignment that I did. They wanted to know how I arrived at a particular solution.

Similar to the first interview, This interview also started with one of the Designer from the team explaining how the time will be distributed for the interview-

  1. Brief about Yourself(5 min)- Here they wanted to know more about my aspirations, and What type of person i wanted to become in the years to come.
  2. Q&A on assignment(15 min)- This time questions were more focussed on user research that I conducted, sample of population taken for the interview and how my design would have changed if I haven’t taken the survey.
  3. General questions(5 min)- These questions were based on my perception of design, what is design for me, what part of design process I like the most, what are the important stages of a design process according to me, etc.
  4. Doubts, if any(5 min)- I told about my joining date and availability and asked some doubts about the team I would be joining.

The D-Day

As I was waiting eagerly for the result, I felt that the days got longer and I was unable to sleep. Every hour I kept on checking my inbox for the result. I was too nervous and anxious. Finally, the result arrived and I got rejected in the last round. Disheartened, I have asked for the feedback from my hiring manager. She would revert back to me within next week. I shall be updating the blog with the feedback.

As rightly said, Show must go on. I would continue my internship streak again with the hope that I will meet Google soon.

Some resources to help you prepare for the interview

There’s the basic stuff on google.com:

  1. Google jobs site: http://www.google.com/about/jobs/
  2. How we hire: http://www.google.com/about/jobs/lifeatgoogle/hiringprocess/
  3. YouTube playlist: Meet Googlers who Do Cool Things That Matter

Articles:

  1. How to Become a UX Pro, and How to Hire One (Nielsen Norman Group, 2014)
  2. How To Get A Job At Google (New York Times, Feb 22, 2014)
  3. How Google Taught Itself Good Design (Co.Design, Sep 2013)
  4. Redesigning Google: How Larry Page engineered a beautiful revolution (The Verge, Jan 2013). “Probably the most in-depth article ever written about design evolution at Google.” (jwiley)

Some of my picked articles:

  1. Summarising my Design Story #2
  2. Making of my portfolio website
  3. How we used user centred and component driven approach to build the MVP at Indiez

Thanks for reading this so far. If you like this article, please hit the 👏 button and let others too know about this. Keep following me for such updates on Dribbble, Medium and twitter. 🔥 🔥 🔥
I am currently looking for UX Summer Internship. In case of any opening, Do contact me at yadavnikhil012@gmail.com.

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