Friday, March 25, 2011

On Interviewing

It is done. Just like that the trip that I was so worried about is over. I am on the plane back to Los Angeles.

Allow me to give you a condensed version of my trip. It was a lot of stress followed by a lot of sleep followed by more stress and sleep. I'll elaborate.

I got to Austin the night before my interview. SmartBear offered to pay for a hotel but I chose to stay with my good friend, N. (N is probably the oldest friend of mine who I still keep in touch with. He knew my brother and I before we even moved to the US.) As a result of the 2 hour time change and excitement of seeing my friend we ended up staying up until 2 am. I was so nervous after i had gotten up, taken a shower and gotten dressed. Suddenly I was sitting in a half dark room all dressed up reviewing my answers to questions regarding each of my projects on the resume -- it became real. I swear, if given a choice of eating a turd straight out of the toilet bowl or proceeding with the interview i would have looked into the first less painful option.

They asked me to come in to the office at 10 but N needed to be at work earlier so I figured I would just get dropped off and wait around for an hour or so. MISTAKE! They took that opportunity to grill me for an additional hour. The first person I met at the office was Will - the guy who interviewed me on the phone. So I felt a little more relaxed. We talked for an hour mainly about the classes I've taken, projects, things I like and not like about CS and such. He explained that we are waiting for Cody to do the technical part of the interview. By the end of the hour I had gotten pretty comfortable. That feeling completely disappeared as soon as Cody walked in. My heart sunk into my stomach and I was ready to run far, far away from Texas.

I stayed though (cause I am tough like that). Cody was a total softy. The actual coding questions weren't all that hard. I was really scared i would get a binary tree question because i am not that great at those. It took me a little while to reverse the linked list but I got it in the end. I had one mistake. The way I implemented it, the while loop condition needed to be head != null but I had it as head.next != null. Oh well. The questions following the actual coding part were a lot more tricky. But I did well, or so they said. They actually prefaced one of the questions with "we've never heard of anyone getting the answer to this before but think about this...". I had an idea and started answering and Cody pointed out a glitch with my method and was like "but you are dangerously close, I got scared for a second". That made me feel good but in all honesty, readers, when they told me the answer I wasn't close at all.

I had an interview with another pair of people (Eric and Tiffany) right after that. That was a little more relaxed. But I feel like I was so drained and relieved that I didn't appear to be enthusiastic. From what I gathered the whole team at the office is 10-13 people. They are all engineers so it would really kind of cool to be a part of such a tight knit group. Tiffany is from Alabama and she was the only one out of the bunch who had an accent. She was absolutely adorable. (Left = "layft", talked about going to the rodeo. You get the idea.)

After that we went out to lunch - the whole team + the manager. Where did we go? None other than a texan BBQ joint. Daggum. That was so much fun. A lot of laughing, good food, southern accent and humor. The manager wanted to drive me back to the office and he told me that the team was pretty impressed with me. I wanted to squeal, get out of the car and run circles around the guy in celebration. He drove me back to N's place where I changed and slept blissfully until N came home several hours later.

The next day I had my phone interview with Google. That didn't go as well but it still wasn't the utter failure that I was preparing myself for.

I am happy to be done (at least for now). I still need to apply to more places. This was a good first experience but hopefully not the last. It's not so scary! Oh, who am I kidding? Interviewing for a software developer position totally is the scariest and the most stressful thing I've done since performing. Hopefully I'll be able to wind down and relax before I start my last quarter at UCLA.

Bye-bye, Texas!

4 comments :

  1. Olga,

    I think you are probably more awesome than you give yourself credit for. Also, as much as I hope you come to Austin and live with me, I also hope you have many more amaaaazing interviews and get your dream job. Please come hang out with us and camp in Poppy the Pop-Up during Isla Vista. We will hide you away from any jugglers who may judge you. :)

    Love you, friend!

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  2. P.S. where's the pictures, yo?

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  3. I don't know! Nate won't send them to me.

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  4. I might be moving to Austin next year. On the off chance that we both go there, I had some great pizza when I visited if you're interested.

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