Google offer | Thank you Blind | AMA

New / Eng going2g
Apr 26 427 Comments

I started heavily using Blind about 3 months ago when I started preparing for my job search.

Today I received an offer from Google and I owe Blind a huge thank you for my success, from preparing for the interview to negotiating the offer, I probably wouldn't have done as well without this platform. So I wanted to give back to the community what little I could by sharing my experience.

Background:

BS in CS from a no name public university, 3 YoE at a midsized tech company, Current TC 150k

Preparation:

1) Elements of Programming Interviews in Java - I wouldn't have even heard about this book without seeing it mentioned on Blind. I read the subject matter and did the questions recommended by the authors in their 1 month "Term Project" plan.

2) LeetCode: I don't think I would have done as much LC as I did if it wasn't stressed so much on Blind. Some might say I still didn't do enough! I completed 130 questions, with a 30/50/20 easy/medium/hard split. I mainly stuck to the 100 most liked questions list. For each question, I first have it my best try. Sometimes I was able to come up with an acceptable solution, other times I wasn't. Either way, I went to the discussion tab and spent time understanding the approach behind the top voted answers. By the end, I could do most mediums on my own in 20 minutes.

Leveling:

I found a lot people on Blind finding out their interview loop was for a lower level than they expected after the fact. Having 3YoE at a non-FAANG, I was afraid of being interviewed for L3, so I ensured multiple times with my recruiter that the interview loop would be for an L4. Had I not done this, I may not have ended up with the offer I did. I suggest everyone do this to avoid a nasty surprise.

Interviews:

I had 6 interviews total, 45 minutes each. 1 phone screen and 5 onsite. One of the onsite interviews was a behavioural one. Nothing much to say about that one. "Tell me about a time where..." type questions. This type of interview is very new at Google for SWE roles. Source: my interviewer.

The rest of my interviews were coding. No design interview (I was surprised too!). Practice really paid off and I aced all of the technical rounds. On a couple, I needed a bit of a push from my interviewer, but managed to get the optimal solution. I'm not sure if this is because the bar is lowering as people have mentioned, or because I was well prepared.

Negotiation & Compensation:

I received 3 competing offers of about 250k, but thanks to Bind I knew Google could pay more and I knew I had to negotiate hard to get it. I felt I deserved it after my interview performance. Ideally, I would have loved to be at the top of the L4 band with TC of over 300, but I wasn't able to pull that off. I ended up with an offer that broke down as:

150k base, 15% bonus, 380k RSUs, 40k sign on

TC: 277k

So thank you again friends. Your time spent contributing to this platform is appreciated. And sorry about the long post.

Edit: All but one of the 15+ technical onsite interviewers allowed me to use a laptop instead of the whiteboard. Please do yourself a favour and USE THIS OPTION unless you have a really strong case not to. Coding on a laptop is much more natural and efficient. For some cases, you'll want to let your recruiter know in advance you want to code on a laptop, in others, you'll be asked beforehand, or on the day of the interview. For Amazon, they didn't have a laptop for me but they let me use my own. For the Google interview, I opted to use the laptop and my interviewers were pleasantly surprised. They said they rarely interviewed someone who used a laptop, and actually preferred it as it's easier for them to read.

The whiteboard will still always be there and is great for illustrating your solution before implementing it.

Edit 2: Negotiation Strategy.

Since I knew I wasn't going to get a competing offer that matched the TC I wanted, I tried the strategy of giving the initial number and told the recruiter I was expecting TC around 330k. I justified this by citing my interview performance, which was stellar. The recruiter told me all the feedback was awesome as well. This didn't prove effective at all... Initial offer from G was 230k :/ I probably shot myself in the foot by giving a number that's too high.

Strategy 2 was to use my competing offers. As mentioned, highest one was 250k, but I suspected G would just match this and not go higher. So I quoted my competing offer to be 270k (higher than it actually was but not too high that it wasn't believable). My recruiter did try ask me for proof, but I said it was verbal only, and we moved on without an issue. As expected, Google just matched it (actually, was slightly lower). From there, I had to be persistent, insisting that G had to beat the offer for me to accept, and inch the TC up slowly until it eventually got to 277k.

Edit 3: More on Preparation

I was working full time while studying, and studied after work and around social and family commitments. This usually ended up being about 2 hours late at night, which was enough time to deep dive into 2 or 3 LC questions per day. I did this for about 2.5 months in total.

Edit 4: Interview Scheduling

For my phone screens, I used the time difference to my advantage. I'm on the East Coast and all the companies I was interviewing with are on the West. All my phone screens were around 6PM ET.

For my onsites, I scheduled them all (4) during a week long "vacation" from work. This way I gave my employer no reason to be suspicious. Some people say scheduling multiple interviews back to back can lead to burnout. I didn't really have that problem. Woke up around 8, interviewed from ~ 10-4, then went back to my hotel room to relax for the rest of the day. Might not be for everyone, but it worked for me.

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 427 Comments
  • Facebook
    Instagrаm

    Facebook

    PRE
    Google, Microsoft
    Instagrаmmore
    “Ideally, I would have loved to be at the top of the L4 band with TC of over 300”.

    Indeed. Why wouldn’t G pay you the top of L4 with your amazing 3 yoe? There’s a ton of folks with 6+ yoe at L4 getting less, but who cares, you’ve been leetcoding for 3 months, hell yeah!
    Apr 28 6
    • Microsoft RcFm02
      Truth 😊
      Apr 28
    • Google / Eng
      rQsc13

      Google Eng

      PRE
      Qualcomm
      rQsc13more
      Let the guy have ambition. other people's actions and decisions are not OPs fault. Equality of opportunity ~
      Apr 28
    • New / Eng hi2
      OP here. Just want to add that I'm not saying I deserve the TC I get. That's for the market to decide. And if the market is willing to pay me 300k why shouldn't I go for it?
      Apr 28
    • Ignore the haters and do what’s best for you OP. Get that money.
      Apr 28
    • New / Eng hi2
      Thank you good sir.
      Apr 28
  • Amazon / Eng ddddddd1
    Congrats, but doesn't this also prove that the whole interviews of the FANGs can easily be cheated by preparing well with LC etc? I kinda wonder if the tech companies are really able to check for a certain bar. The day I launch my own company I will only hire candidates with a proven and strong open source contribution background.
    Apr 28 14
    • dddddd1 has some good points but it’s sadly not the world we live in anymore.

      Now you just jack off to LC hards and get into FAANG. Of course you need to know enough English to explain your rationale, which is about an 8th grade level. No creativity required whatsoever.
      Apr 28
    • Yelp / Eng sJJv80
      I agree. Looking for engineers with strong open source contributions is easy. Hiring them is hard, and getting enough of them to build a company is even harder. This seems like some next level trolling to me, TBH, because it’s so far off reality. I’ve worked with tons of good engineers with a total of ZERO commits in the Linux kernel or other high profile open source projects.
      Apr 28
    • Microsoft doubleup
      good luck, I would no bank my company on that, 1st it does not guarantee quality programmers, second, well that is simple, just not enough people at the pay ranges a new company can afford
      Apr 28
    • OceanX Offermore
      First of all, practicing on LC is not cheating, there is nothing stopping the companies from asking newer questions (which actually they do). However if you practice the generic questions in sites like LC, you are way more likely to think and come up with optimal solution for new questions.

      Second thing, the open source contribution and reviewing their previous work approach... is also not fool proof either. This is actually less fool proof.
      Apr 29
    • Intel eKPG80
      Cheating through practicing leetcode? Why don't you do it and go to google instead of work for amzn then?
      May 7
  • Intel VANDERPUMP
    $150tc -> $277tc.. congrats and well done. Exceptional!
    Apr 26 7
    • New / Eng going2g
      OP
      True, but comparing Boston to MTV, state tax is about 3-4% more, rent for a modern 2br increases from 3k to 4k, and since I can't solely rely on public transit, I'll now need 1 or 2 cars. From my initial estimation, these are the substantial increases in costs.
      Apr 26
    • Indeed / Eng indoodle
      Why would ANYONE need 2 cars? Do you have a spouse?
      Apr 28
    • New / Eng hi2
      OP here. Yes indeed a second car for the spouse.
      Apr 28
    • New / Eng rksh
      How do you have two accounts on blind? Did blind give you another account coz you got a job at Google and high TC? 😜
      Apr 28
    • United Airlines / IT
      jky

      United Airlines IT

      PRE
      Weatherford International
      jkymore
      Blind lets you change your name once a day. Helps with anonymity.
      Apr 28
  • Facebook Guto
    How do you feel about lying about your competing offer? Is it just a white lie to you? Does it bother you that you get more money because of a lie?
    Apr 30 8
    • Honeywell / Eng that1guy
      Agree 100%, their initial offer was shit. Wasn’t even close to what you asked even though they were fine with that.

      You did what you had to do and then they increased is 27% - that’s not a small number. It’s just a damn game, that’s why I negotiate hard. This is also one reason I really respect Netflix, they just give right what you’re worth.
      Apr 30
    • Indeed / Eng .pdf
      I thought Google asks for proof of offer letter?
      Apr 30
    • Bloomberg / Eng iVX372
      Did they ask for proof of offer? Thought they are doing that now
      May 1
    • New / Eng going2g
      OP
      I added that part to my post. They did ask for any documentation of the offer, but I said it was verbal only, and they seemed to be okay with that.
      May 1
    • Agree, you better tell what you want to get and then negotiate to make sure you get no less or at least really close. Obviously before you tell your “expectations”, it’s best to know what market pays for your skills and experience. If you have offers to prove that, even better.
      May 8
  • Google / Eng EIFY
    A few months of work saved years of downleveling pain! Congrats!
    Apr 26 0
  • Google JqBx48
    What did it cost you?
    Apr 28 3
    • Amazon munk
      Everything
      Apr 28
    • New / Eng hi2
      I don't follow.
      Apr 28
    • eBay / Eng 3ojazq
      hint: THANOS
      May 6
  • Intuit / Eng Calculus
    Congrats!
    Apr 26 0
  • New
    martinr

    New

    PRE
    Google
    martinrmore
    When you are at Google, just check internal pay sheets, your offer is super rare for L4. Additionally lately people from companies like Microsoft are still getting L3, not L4. I was in Microsoft almost 4 years and did well on my onsite, got L3. Now when I’m at G I see hundreds of people like me. Also my competing offers were rejected, they won’t care about not-FAANG companies. I just don’t want to people think that this is easy and standard, nope, seeing pay sheets you can easily notice that this TC is some super high percentile almost nobody gets.
    Apr 29 9
    • New
      martinr

      New

      PRE
      Google
      martinrmore
      Short answer: yes, that’s the higher end, but I honestly doubt that 2.5y is enough for L4.
      Apr 30
    • Facebook Guto
      They already agreed to interview me for an L4 position. Basically they gave me the choice between L3 and L4 and I chose L4.
      Apr 30
    • New
      martinr

      New

      PRE
      Google
      martinrmore
      It was the same for me :) I had the design and infra round and I in my opinion I aced it, and I had couple of years of experience, that doesn’t matter sometimes.
      May 1
    • New
      martinr

      New

      PRE
      Google
      martinrmore
      But my intentions are not to demotivate you, just learn as much as you can and show them your A game! It’s totally possible to get L4, but remember to ace the design and leadership tasks, they are probably the most important for L4. If you’d choose L3 interview, you won’t even get system design round. I had those and they say it was hard to decide but as my design wasn’t L4 for them, they gave me L3. In my previous company I designed and scaled a big ass system by myself, but it wasn’t enough for them ;)
      May 1
    • Amazon damned
      What's the difficulty difference in l4 vs l3 interview? Are the coding rounds pretty much the same with the exception of fewer of them?
      May 2
  • Shapeways gifted-bob
    That is a marvelous and genuine write up. Thank you for taking your time to do this. Congrats. You hard work paid off. Now I am inspired to go back and improve myself.
    Apr 28 1
    • New / Eng going2g
      OP
      Thank you, and good luck to you!
      Apr 29
  • Intel Hunting
    While prepping for sometime I realized why FANG goes for basic computer science questions, and if someone preps using leetcode, why its actually good when they can crack the interview.
    By doing the above way, Fang guys are sure the interviewee can actually solve propblems thrown at them. Sometimes many of us are not aware what we dont know, and hence we wont be googling for that.
    If I have a broad idea of any problem can be solved using the myriad of DS, I am pretty much set even if I dont know any specific programming language.
    Many companies ask API level stuff from specific languages. While thats a good approach, but it does not get close to how I might be able to solve a problem, in any other language.
    Apr 28 0
  • VMware ItsAlrite
    Hearty congrats.. this is what makes blind worth visiting
    Apr 27 0
  • Splunk stats dc
    Woot!!!! inspiration
    Apr 26 0
  • VMware eMMQ62
    Is the interview difficulty different for L3 and L4
    Apr 29 6
    • VMware eMMQ62
      Thank you. Did you ask the recruiter to keep the interview levels set for L4. Did they agree to that?
      Apr 29
    • New / Eng going2g
      OP
      Yes exactly.
      Apr 29
    • VMware eMMQ62
      But doesn’t that set your level even before the interview? You might end up at a level lower than you might have got?
      Apr 29
    • New / Eng going2g
      OP
      I don't think I'm gonna get L5 with 3YoE no matter how good my interview performance.
      Apr 29
    • VMware eMMQ62
      Thanks.
      Apr 29
  • OpenText / Other 11nks15
    Did you have any referrals? Did you list anyone when they asked who do you know at Google?
    Apr 26 5
    • New / Eng going2g
      OP
      No referrals for any of my applications.
      Apr 26
    • OpenText / Other 11nks15
      Ok good to know. I am in similar situation. Waiting for result from my phone interview
      Apr 26
    • New / Eng going2g
      OP
      Good luck! I think referrals only help getting the first call. Once you're interviewing, everyone is on the same playing field. Or at least that's what I would hope.
      Apr 26
    • OpenText / Other 11nks15
      I sure hope so. But I don’t know the criteria used by HC hence my Q
      Apr 26
    • Google / Product LdJm16
      OP is right, interview performance is key. Referral can only help you get that first phone screen.
      Apr 26
  • Intel / Eng KuYM20
    Congratulations and thanks for the post!
    Did you work out examples and come up an algorithm on a whiteboard and then went to the laptop for coding?
    Apr 28 2
    • New / Eng hi2
      Hey OP here. That's exactly what happened.

      The whiteboard is the perfect place to discuss and design your solution. The laptop the perfect place to implement it!
      Apr 28
    • Intel / Eng KuYM20
      Thanks much!
      Apr 28
  • Salesforce curious03
    Did u code in an IDE or a plain text editor ?
    Apr 28 1
    • New / Eng going2g
      OP
      It was an in house IDE I think, didn't have many features. Might as well have been a plain text editor.
      Apr 29
  • Oracle not_larry
    Congratulations. Location? Team?
    Apr 26 4
    • New / Eng going2g
      OP
      I'll be in MTV. Slightly concerned that disclosing my team may risk my anonymity.
      Apr 26
    • Google nooglerx
      Cloud or not?
      Apr 28
    • New / Product
      B0ngzilla

      New Product

      PRE
      Pegasystems, Robert Half
      BIO
      I’m Canadian, but then I got better.
      B0ngzillamore
      Isn’t Cloud in Sunnyvale?
      Apr 28
    • New / Eng hi2
      OP here. Not Cloud.
      Apr 28
  • @op, how would you consider yourself as a software engineer, before n after preparation... do you think you were good earlier but just needed to go thru entire leetcode/interview prep drill to crack G interview or you had to undergo a lot of change technically in this entire preparation time.

    I m asking bcoz i consider myself as very avg dev just able to complete my day to day ofc work, but somewhere inside , I dream to go to top tier tech companies....hoping that practising for interview properly could help me achieve my dream
    Apr 29 3
    • New / Eng going2g
      OP
      I think I'm good at problem solving, and that helps a lot with interviews. It's just about becoming familiar with the tools to solve problems (ie data structures and algorithms). I actually have fun working on LC/EPI problems.

      I don't know how I would rate myself as an engineer. I think I'm above average compared to the engineers I work with, but I haven't worked at a FAANG before.

      Even if you consider yourself average, I think with hard work and a bit of luck you can crack any interview. Work on Leetcode until you're comfortable solving mediums on your own in ~30 minutes.
      Apr 29
    • Thank You.
      Apr 29
    • New HJkW70
      Hi OP, thanks for sharing! How did you become good at problem solving prior to getting familiar with the specific tools? Did you do maths (e.g. olympiads)?
      May 9
  • New arhR58
    Ama - *never replies*...
    Apr 28 2
    • New / Eng hi2
      Trying to get there. Posted this on Friday but all the questions came in Sunday night.
      Apr 28
    • New / Eng hi2
      Alright, should be done now. Hope you're happy.
      Apr 28
  • Salesforce curious03
    Did u have system design round as well ?
    Apr 28 2
    • New / Eng hi2
      Nope
      Apr 28
    • Wish jeano
      How come L4 doesn’t require design?? Are you FE dev?
      Apr 28

Salary
Comparison

    Real time salary information from verified employees