Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
Interviews for Top Jobs at Priceline.com
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Mobile Software Engineer Interview
I applied online. The process took 3 weeks – interviewed at Priceline.com in March 2013.
I recently did an on-site interview for a Mobile Developer role at Priceline and thought it would be good to recap my experience for other job seekers coming along down the line.
My overall impression of the office environment was that it's "evolving". Right now everyone has assigned seats and name plates, but eventually it'll be "sit where you want" (with collaborative seats/tables for impromptu meetings and a few small conference rooms for scheduled or formal meetings) open-plan environment, which seems to be the latest fashionable craze among companies (plus it allows a company to pack more employees into a limited amount of office space). For their main office, Priceline takes up the 2nd & 3rd floors of a generic looking office building in the leafy Connecticut suburb of Norwalk. The first floor has a semi-decent cafe which looks like it could be easily converted into additional office space if the landlord desired.
The interview day itself was kept relatively short, as Priceline has their mobile engineers split between their two offices (one office is in Norwalk and the other office is in New York City). The entire group gets together about once a month, which isn't too difficult to do since the Priceline offices are within an hour's driving distance (or a commuter train ride) of each other.
My day started chaotically, as I never received an interview itinerary and I therefore didn't have a clue when exactly I was supposed to show up at the 2nd floor reception. If you want a network connection (to demo your site or anything that requires Internet access), you must arrange this before arriving on-site as network guest access apparently requires time and bureaucratic hurdles to set up. Candidates who fly in from outside of the area will be put in at the Doubletree across the street from the office building and you'll be set up to use a car service to get to and from the airport.
If you passed the technical phone calls and get to go on site, here's how my interview went (and may be the same style you'll be subjected to):
I first did a panel interview with three people from the team at once: the v.p. of mobile (who reminded me of Gary Cole's role from the movie Office Space), the product manager and the lead Mobile guy (turns out he's the only mobile engineer in Norwalk; the other technical people are in New York City).
I was then introduced to a bubbly VP of Customer something (Experience?). She was fun to talk to but not technical whatsoever. From what I could gather she was just sent in to basically get a feel for me as a person.
And lastly, I got to do a hastily arranged video conference with the two mobile engineers in New York. One of them was either super junior or an intern and not talkative at all. The other, more experienced guy, attempted to blast me with a bunch of mobile questions which I felt completely comfortable answering (and ones that most experienced mobile engineers shouldn't have too much trouble working with). If the recruiter had been a bit more on-the-ball in arranging things, I can easily imagine that a candidate could visit *both* Priceline offices to meet a team in both locations and get a feel for which place is a better place to hang their hat (that is, if one is considering a Priceline position that offers this choice). Instead, my interview day was over after about 4 hours.
The recruiter never followed up in the weeks following my on-site so I had to reach out to him just to confirm that they passed on me.
In the end, I don't believe it was any technical foul up that doomed my candidacy but instead it felt more like my (outsized or extroverted) personality didn't fit the reserved, possibly introverted team of co-workers. But in any event, I was glad to get to visit the people at Priceline and I hope my experience going through the process will help you to prepare and pass your own interview day. If my notes helped you out, please let me know by voting "yes" on the "Helpful?" question below.
- New York guy asked typical iPhone engineering questions but none particularly egregious or challenging, e.g. memory management and ARC View Answer