Airbnb Careers: What You Need to Know

Airbnb careers might be a little ‘different’ from ones at some of the other big tech companies. For example, did you know the founders of Airbnb sold cereal to raise money for their startup when it was struggling? Selling O’Bama O’s and Cap’n McCain’s kept them going through a very lean time when they also had tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

Today, Airbnb has several thousand employees and generates billions in revenues. At any given time, there may be hundreds of openings listed on the Airbnb Careers page. In a single year, Airbnb received 180,000 resumes for 900 open positions.

How can I get a job at Airbnb?

One thing to keep in mind about working at a tech company like Airbnb is that it was founded by just two young guys who attended design school. In other words, they didn’t have MBAs from Harvard Business School, so they created their business based on their personal experiences including passion. With Airbnb careers, it may help your cause a lot if you are actually passionate about travel and hospitality.

If you don’t care about the company’s services, this lack of emotional connection will probably be fairly obvious to anyone in HR or other employees you talk with if you get an interview. Airbnb even has a page showing how they are supporting people who are pursuing their passions.

One of the founders, Brian Chesky, has spoken about the importance of passion,“Companies that hire employees..that are deeply passionate create companies that customers are really really passionate about, and those are the companies that have strong brands.”

A young woman got an Airbnb interview after she made a resume which was very similar to the company’s website. She had tried the standard channels for months before that with no success. Showing her passion for travel and interest in Airbnb landed the interview. Some tech companies hire for culture fit as much or more than skill sets. To see if you are a good culture fit, first read as much as you can about Airbnb culture and determine for yourself if you are a good match.

You could still try the typical job-hunting approach, but if you don’t have a strong connection to what Airbnb does you might have a better chance somewhere else. If you have enough relevant LinkedIn connections, it may work to try to reach out and attempt to have a conversation with an Airbnb recruiter. You might also ask for a referral on Bind, like this user did.

We at Blind are in a fortunate position when it comes to Airbnb careers because 3,100 Airbnb employees use our anonymous messaging platform. So, let’s take a look at what some of them have said.

Insights from Blind

“Be prepared to answer a lot of non-technical questions. We reject technically competent people if we don’t think they’re a good culture fit.” Jan. 19, 2018 (read more here)

“Be very good with algorithms and data structures (top coder). Be thorough with system design fundamentals. Be prepared for onsite coding and culture questions.” July 23, 2018

“Airbnb has a lengthy interview process. I went through it recently and actually quite enjoyed the rigor and enthusiasm of those I met. After quite a few interviews, they want a 3rd cross functional interview.” Jan.17, 2019  (read more here)

“For phone interview any company would be all about leetcode. If you make to onsite you’d need to prepare for system design and cultural fit.” June 1, 2018 (read more here)

How is the culture?

Airbnb culture has four core values: champion the mission, be a host, embrace the adventure, and be a cereal entrepreneur. The first is about the employee connection to the Airbnb hosts and supporting them. The second is about how they support their employees by having caring, welcoming workplaces. The third is about their drive sourced from curiosity, openness and a belief in growth. The last is related to their determination to make their dreams come true.

Insights from Blind

“Engineering << Product at Airbnb, and the problems aren’t that interesting. It’s not a tech culture, and there’s a lot of unnecessary office politics. IC’s are kept on a short leash by “visionary” managers who don’t like to feel threatened by capable grunts. Airbnb likes to sell candidates that there’s so many engineering challenges that it’s a great place to be, but these challenges are there in the first place because of ill equipped management not doing things well in the first place.” Aug. 23, 2018 (read more here)

“Old timers have no career progression or promotion opportunities and while the company is becoming bigger, it is becoming less tight knit too. Going to work involves dealing with politics, red indian chiefs and sometimes, childish leads. The multiple reorg has created more confusion than clarity and people i talked to are feeling stuck and demoralized.” Nov.16, 2018 (read more here)

“People are either genuinely kind or genuinely nasty people are good at faking it. Either way, you only experience kindness, which works for me. Getting things done is a bit of a struggle as you have to over communicate, which feels like a waste of time at times. On my team, I work very closely with other non-engineers which rarely happened at other places, so collaborative culture is awesome across functions. My team is diverse in terms of race, and gender, and at the company, we make a lot of effort to be inclusive of all kind of people.” Sep. 26, 2018 (read more here)

“Engineering culture is bottom-up and democratic. It means that anyone can propose things and it’s adopted with enough popularity. The drawback to that is that it’s difficult to move fast since everyone is arguing their way is the best, and duplicate ways of doing things happen. For example, Java vs Ruby. If a dictatorial decision to use only one of them, we’d move a lot faster in my opinion, but also lots of capable engineers who are a strong fan of the other would quit at the same time.” Aug. 18, 2018 (read more here)

“Frontend tech is really rad though on web, iOS and Android. They are also democratic, but they seem to resolve debates and move faster than any backend projects.” Aug. 18, 2018 (read more here)

“Culture comes first. Airbnb cares a lot about its culture, which means they only hire people who truly believe in their mission and culture. As said earlier, candidates will have some non-technical interview with interviewers, which will mainly focus on your background, past experience, work style, how you work collaborate with others and so on so forth. Be prepared to answer questions like ‘why Airbnb’.”  Sep. 25, 2017 (read more here)

How are the perks?

Airbnb does offer some perks, but perhaps not as many as Facebook or Google. Reportedly, there are stipends for phone service, commuting, biking, and education. The perk travelers will enjoy very much is $2,000 a year in Airbnb credits. There is also a policy that allows some remote working and working from home.

Insights from Blind

“Dinner here starts at 6. About half the people I work with go. But people only start working around 10-1030 and then leave right after dinner.” Jul. 24, 2018

“They offer way better than pizza and beer. Top notch food. And they have beer and wine on tap. But there’s too much kool-aid in the company like Airbnb is a way of life.” Jul. 14, 2018 (read more here)

How is the compensation?

The average annual salary at the vacation and home rental company is $122,000, according to Paysa. Salary is an important aspect of compensation but it is not the only one. At many tech companies the total compensation package includes stock, performance bonuses, sign-on bonuses, benefits, perks and relocation costs.

Insights from Blind

For a question about product manager compensation, the answer was:

“L5 tc will be about $300k – $350k. Base salary about $180k. Bonus 20%. The rest RSUs. L4 tc will be about $240k, base around $150k, 15% bonus. Around $300k – $400k RSUs.” Oct. 20, 2018 (read more here)

“Airbnb L4 SWE:
180k base
57k sign on bonus
90-180k stock refresh
420k stock / 4 yrs at 31b valuation from July 2017 funding round.” Nov. 15, 2018

“There’s a one year cliff on all stock grants at Airbnb. Vesting is quarterly.” May 15, 2018 (read more here)

“My TC is 510k at Airbnb. Hired in as an L5, recently became L6.” Mar. 27, 2018

“Dear airbnb folks. I got an offer from Airbnb. Impressive company. The recruiter mentioned x percent bonus paid out twice a year as long as I meet expectation, but told me that it will not be in offer letter. What does this mean? Will there be a bonus or not? 

The bonus is fairly new and I don’t think the rules are defined for 2019 yet. I think it actually depends on company performance more than individual performance right now. (read more here)

But there is no shenanigans, the bonus is real and depends only on your level. They aren’t going to give you a lower bonus % just because it’s not guaranteed in writing.” 
Jan. 10, 2019

How diverse are the employee ranks?

About 40% of the employees at Airbnb are female, which is higher than at some other tech companies. In 2017, Airbnb published some diversity information on its website stating that about 11% of its US employees were from under-represented populations.

Insights from Blind

“It’s something like 40-50% Chinese in engineering, I don’t know why. It’s not just leetcode though, people are generally very good.” April 21, 2018.

“My team is diverse in terms of race, and gender, and at the company, we make a lot of effort to be inclusive of all kind of people.”  Sep. 26, 2018

What are some of the advantages to Airbnb careers?

Airbnb is a very well-recognized brand and is known in many parts of the world. Working at Airbnb is probably an effective resume builder and it’s a good place to expand your professional network. Once you have worked for such a company it’s easier to find work in similar organizations. For example, on the Blind platform you can see professionals who once worked at Airbnb who are now at other tech companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and so on.

How much is housing in San Francisco?

The Airbnb headquarters is located at 888 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94103 in SoMa or “south of market” district. This area is in between the Financial district and Potrero Hill.

The average apartment rental in San Francisco is $3,700 per month, a one-bedroom is $3,400, and a two-bedroom is $4,500,  according to Rent Jungle. If you can afford to buy, you will be lucky to find a studio or one-bedroom condo in this area for less than $600,0000, which is why many people commute from the outer districts of the city and the East Bay.

In cities like Oakland, Concord, Pittsburg and Antioch real estate is much more affordable, but you have to deal with a long commute and an environment that does not have the cultural advantages of living in a city like San Francisco.

One way local residents get around the very high cost of housing is by living in shared spaces like having housemates. In the SoMa district, there are shared situations in apartments, and condos — there are also tech houses where tech employees live together to reduce their housing costs and to have a sense of community. Some shares options are only $1,000 a month if you can them.

Insights from Blind

“Check out the more slept-on neighborhoods like Alamo square, cole valley, and Lower Haight. Central, walkable, safe, quintessential SF vibes without all the nasty stuff that I’m sure you’ve heard all about.” Feb. 10, 2019

“Warning for mission bay. Used to live there before all the construction madness started. It’s a mess right now with muni T line not running and have to take shuttle bus instead. Id recommend inner sunset.” Feb. 10, 2019

“Nob Hill, Russian Hill and North Beach. These 3 locations are good mix of pricing with rent control (because houses are super old with thin walls), commute distance to fidi (in-fact any place as these neighborhoods are in the center of everything), safety (btw no part of the city is absolutely safe), yuppie crowd, proximity to bars/restaurants/coffee shops.” Feb. 10, 2019

“I’m moving out. Company is opening an office in the Midwest and offered the same TC for whoever wants to move. Soon I’ll buy a 4000 sq feet home for $400k and raise my kids there.” Feb. 3, 2019

“I bought a 3 bedroom townhouse in east bay. My TC is only $150K.” Feb.4, 2019

“Oakland is huge and varied so there’s no characterizing it wholesale. I live in one of the nicer parts, and I feel as safe walking around here as I do in SF (safer than tenderloin and probably bayview too). My rent is $1950 for a small but nice-enough 1bed. I wouldn’t love commuting to the presidio from here, though.” Feb. 3, 2019

“Totally doable, have lived in a car (not even a van) for more than 6 months in Albany. Super easy if you work at Google.” Jan. 22 , 2019

How is the traffic?

San Francisco has some of the worst traffic of the major US cities. Fortunately, if you work for Airbnb, there is the BART train system and the city MUNI buses. So, you can live and work in San Francisco without owning a personal vehicle. Uber and Lyft are readily available as well. Bike riding and scooting are all feasible but at certain times of day peak traffic could be very dangerous for these modes of personal transportation. Walking in San Francisco is fascinating at times and is mostly safe, with the exception of certain neighborhoods, but SoMa during the day is safe.

What is there to do?

San Francisco is well-known for its museums, restaurants, live events, sports and higher education. It is very diverse, progressive and open-minded; the city by the bay has stunning views, crisp weather and is located not far from the Sierra and Lake Tahoe. You can easily also get to Sonoma, Napa and Santa Cruz.

Finally, Airbnb careers are not like any old career; Airbnb emphasizes passion and if you get in you will meet other people who are driven and very capable too. At Airbnb, you might meet people who are on their way to creating their own business opportunities, so you could eventually join their startups or launch your own.

Image Credit: Dilu, Wikipedia no ch[slide-anything id=’4321′]anges made, CC BY-SA 4.0

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