Google offer | Thank you Blind | AMA

New / Eng going2g
Apr 26, 2019 546 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.

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TOP 546 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, 2019 6
    • Ignore the haters and do what’s best for you OP. Get that money.
      Apr 28, 2019
    • New / Eng hi2
      Thank you good sir.
      Apr 28, 2019
  • Cavium JqFrjV1n
    Thanks OP! This is what makes Blind worthy

    I have few questions:
    1. What is the duration of your preparation? How time did you spend daily?

    2. Did you use competing offers to negotiate? If i don't have competing offers, what strategies can I use for negotiations?
    Apr 28, 2019 2
    • New / Eng hi2
      Hey, OP here!

      I spent as much time as I could after work and social/family commitments. I would say about 2 hours a day.

      I added my negotiation strategy to my post. If you don't have a competing offer, you can try telling your recruiter your expectation. This didn't work for me, maybe because my number was too high.
      Apr 28, 2019
    • Cavium JqFrjV1n
      Thanks OP
      Apr 28, 2019
  • Intuit / Eng Calculus
    Congrats!
    Apr 26, 2019 0
  • 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, 2019 9
    • 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, 2019
    • Box / Eng Aaaaaaand1
      Great answer, OP
      Dec 27, 2019
  • 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, 2019 14
    • 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, 2019
    • Intel eKPG80
      Cheating through practicing leetcode? Why don't you do it and go to google instead of work for amzn then?
      May 7, 2019
  • $150tc -> $277tc.. congrats and well done. Exceptional!
    Apr 26, 2019 7
    • 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, 2019
    • 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, 2019
  • Google / Eng EIFY
    A few months of work saved years of downleveling pain! Congrats!
    Apr 26, 2019 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, 2019 9
    • 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, 2019
    • 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, 2019
  • New / Eng WalmartLab
    Congratulations! I'm in the same experience bracket and interviewing soon. Will use your tips. BTW, how did you calculate to the 277k TC? 150*1.15+?
    Apr 30, 2019 5
    • Voya / Finance
      Blind867

      Voya Finance

      PRE
      Voya Financial
      Blind867more
      You could also factor 10% interest on your sign on, add your interest to your comp, and split your sign on over 4 years.
      Dec 27, 2019
    • New tkDk83
      If you want to be fancy and technically the most correct in comparing multiple offers, you could model the cash flows you expect to receive each year and discount the future value of those cash flows by your personal discount rate (I’d use 6%, average market return). So in this specific case,
      Year 1: 150k+22.5k+95k+40k = 307.5k
      Year 2: 150k+22.5k+95k = 267.5k
      Year 3: 150k+22.5k+95k = 267.5k
      Year 4: 150k+22.5k+95k = 267.5k
      Y1 discount factor: 1/(1+6%)^0 = 1
      Y2 discount factor: 1/(1+6%)^1 = 0.94
      Y3 discount factor: 1/(1+6%)^2 = 0.89
      Y4 discount factor: 1/(1+6%)^3 = 0.84
      So the net present value of your future payments is
      307.5*1+267.5*0.94+267.5*0.89+267.5*0.84 = $1.02M

      This accounts for the fact that money now (ie your 40k sign on) is worth more than money later as a result of your opportunity costs.

      TLDR, if you’re comparing multiple offers looking at the net present value (NPV) of the future promises cash flows is the most accurate way to compare apples to apples.
      Dec 27, 2019
  • Google JqBx48
    What did it cost you?
    Apr 28, 2019 3
    • New / Eng hi2
      I don't follow.
      Apr 28, 2019
    • eBay / Eng 3ojazq
      hint: THANOS
      May 6, 2019

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