Interview Question

Dropbox Rotation Program Interview

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Dropbox

If you woke up and had 2,000 unread emails and could only answer 300 of them how would you choose which ones to answer?

Answer

Interview Answers

85 Answers

80

The automated pre-filtering I have setup should group the most important ones into key folders and then I just scan through the sender names and subject lines for the most critical ones first.

John on

33

High importance, then filter by subject and get rid of threads except most recent, filter by sender for VIPs, then oldest to newest

Anonymous on

23

I'd start by getting off of unnecessary mailing lists because no one receives 2000 messages in a day and doesn't receive another 2000 again the next.

Anonymous on

20

Ignore them all and reply to the first 300 people that come to my office or call me and ask "Did you see my email?"

Anonymous on

13

So the question says that you could only answer 300 but it doesn't say that you could only read 300. So, I'd go though all 2000 and answer the ones that need my input to proceed with a task.

Mariam on

14

Filter the junk, avoid the toxic people and focus on my priorities for the day.

Anonymous on

11

it depends if all 2000 of them require an answer. assuming all of them do, I would start from the last one from a known source. Usually the last ones show a string of emails from an early conversation. that might trim quite a few.

Anonymous on

15

Send the 2000 e-mails back to the corporate idiots who have nothing else to do but send e-mails all day to prove their worth.

Jack on

12

My boss, then the emails that are most impactful to the company's bottom line.

TK on

10

Delete my entire inbox and claim "There must be an issue with the server*" (I usually like saying mainframe here, because Hollywood.)

JRH on

9

Order of precedence: VIPs Time/goal critical Pre-existing threads and shortest answers

AW on

12

I would delete all 2000 of them and then move on to something important.

arthur on

8

That's easy, the ones from my boss.

Matt on

8

Delete them all and set auto-reply to say "For those that know my phone number, call me if it's important".

Anonymous on

7

Write a filter to throw out the spam from Glassdoor.com

Joe on

6

Am I going to be expecting 2000 emails a day? Are you expecting me to deal with 300 a day? What about the backlog? This job isn't for me thanks

Marv on

5

Read all of them to see which 300 I can answer

Anonymous on

5

Start with the folder where my pre-set filters place the emails that are sent directly to me and only to prioritizing based off sender. Starting with co-workers I am currently working with on an active project, followed by my boss; bottom line comes first. Then, using the same sender priorities, move on to messages addressed directly to myself and others as well. If it does not fit into one of those two queries then 90% of the time my work hours are better spent elsewhere so everything left would get moved into my "clutter" folder, to clean up my inbox, where they will be deleted the next day if I do not receive any follow ups about them.

Lucas on

3

Well I think this is a pretty easy answer because it didn't say how many you can read, it only says how many to answer. Also can you take one email to reply to multiple unread emails? Like if 5 people had the same question to you.

Cart on

2

Throw out about 1882, because they would be junk, send 92 to the proper departments, answer the other 26 accurately, and spend my free time working on the big project due in 2 days!

Lisa V on

2

Important ones will be answered , other ones will be either ignored or gone to the trash!

Anonymous on

2

Good question actually. Batman is a tactician and is always measuring and calculating his battlefield. Spiderman is a risk taker that can actually pull off the unforeseen. Both are tenacious but Batman has far more years of experience on his side... Spiderman is still just a kid. Also Batman HAS taken down Superman so I would put my money on Batman.

Owen Rubel on

2

I use filters. read the important ones.

OC on

2

Shift, Control, Alt and Delete.

Boxer on

1

Ones related to work, family, and bills.

Dee on

1

1. Set an autoresponse telling people how to escalate their needs if I don't get to them. 2. Add a filter to file all e-mails i have been CC'ed orBCC'ed 3. Sort by thread and file all but the most recent e-mails in the thread 4. Search the body of the e-mail for my name. 5. Address only the ones sent directly to me or reference me in the e-mail.

Karl on

1

I would select the mails which contain "unsubscribe", move them to another folder and read the rest.

Alberto Viñuela on

1

eenie meenie miney mo!!

Had on

1

I would segregate them as: 1. From my immediate boss 2. High Important 3. Followup marked 4. Chain mails

Abhi on

1

Delete any with the subject line that reads Urgent. That will probably take me down to 300.

Marc Tanner on

1

Reply to all, "My mailbox has been corrupted, please email me if your item needs attention today", then filter accordingly.

Nomad on

1

So... if I already have 2000 unread emails in my personal account, what does that say about my personal life vs work life?

Anonymous on

2

The question does not say you cannot read all the emails. You can just answer to 300 of them. I would check them all and then pick 300 the most important ones.

Viktor on

1

When I receive 2000 emails in a day, it's usually a worm virus or an abuse of "reply to all" that one of my colleagues did by mistake creating huge number of spam. So I will delete the additional 1700 mails that this mistake has created and focus on the 300 mails I usually get every day. For those I will apply my usual rules: customer requests first, important personal deadlines second, urgent requests from my boss third and everything else comes next.

than on

1

I would click on the Select All tool, then scan the whole list to see what I recognize and know needs responding to, deselect those, then delete all the rest.

Wintergirl on

0

No

Anonymous on

0

I would first group them according to sender and delete all except most recent ones, then reply to top 300 key (professionally and personal) saying 'I have had some serious email issues - please resend anything important' and the I would delete the lot. My ambition is to have an empty inbox by EOB each day.

BOJ on

1

I would open NONE of them as they are clearly spam.

John on

2

Uu

Anonymous on

0

Choose the ones first from my boss. Then go through subjects to sort out priority.

Anonymous on

0

Would quickly scan the last hundred, concentrate on priorities of the day and wait until i receive reminders for the really urgent and unsolved issues

Enrica on

0

I'd hit delete on all 300. Anyone who wakes up to that many emails needs to find a new outlook on life.

Scotty k on

0

I think the question is more , how can you consider that i have time for 300 emails only ? is there an average time by email ? The most important emails are the customers one , specially the one in priority. customer first ! For emergencies, my boss can join me also on the phone.

Jerome on

0

I would review the stack and respond to the most important.

Patrick on

0

First, I answer my job related questions, Then people who want to gain knowledge from me, Finally I reply my friends

vanathy on

0

First I would be amazed at my ability to answer 300 of them (assuming you are talking about doing this in a day). Second I would answer the 300 most recent ones. I find that if people really have something they want they will email you again.

Brian on

0

i would pick the ones that are the most important

Alicia D on

0

I would first answer the mails with RE: in title. They're most waiting for a reply, probably. Then, filter and answer mails from known sources. Then sort by dateTime and answer rest (300- 'already answered') of last mails..

Alexey on

0

Order of priority: 1.Addressed to me from boss 2. Copied to me by boss 3. Addressed to me 4. CCd to me

GaneshG on

0

Filter if any of them were from you (interviewer) and answer them first.

1.2.3. on

0

I'd hire my secretary and do other important stuff stuffs.

Shashwat Guragain on

0

1st - 300th (priority)

Soheil on

0

Filtering by sender, then by subject

Genti on

0

automated pre-filtering to group the most important ones into key folders and have a quick look through for any other most important ones and then delegate the rest to a wonderful secretary or PA to sort through and send to the most relevant departments and personnel so that they could be dealt with in a timely and efficient fashion as well.

Michael Fisher on

0

I would talk with my team to first see if they were able to address any of them, then move through the highest priority ones first. But at the end of that day, all emails should be looked at.

Anonymous on

0

First I am delete unnecessary email Then after I am Search my work related important mail and then see other email if my email capacity not over

Harshit on

0

Most important correspondence come thru 'snail mail'. My yahoo mail box was hacked several times and I've lost all mail- absolutely nothing horrible have happened.

Andrew Klim on

0

I would sort by : Customers My boss My bosses boss My trusted advisors

Anonymous on

0

I'm my experience, 20% of emails received require immediate action on my part, 30% are directed at me but don't require imediate action and the rest are FYI's. I would go through the emails directed at me first (where my name is not on the cc line) and determine which need imediate action, flag them accordingly and then get to it.

Anonymous on

0

Progressively filter until I hit 300... all that weren't directly addressed to me all domains that weren't my job or family the rest will be from work... skip all from HR skip all from selected depts. that have historically been less than useful then select persons take the newest 300 from the remainder

Todd Newton on

0

First filter to only show the emails of priority contacts (currently my boss, wife and mom). Handle those. Ensure conversation threading is enabled, If required migrate the email to a client that supports that. Then, after the priority email has been handled, process from most current email to last.

JamesR404 on

0

I'd answer only 250 & use the remaining time to prioritise which 250

Vikram on

0

Simply arrange by Sender's name. Look if there is any from my RM. Then look for the one from clients. And if these two take up the whole of 300 then I am done for the day. If not then rearrange again with Importance.

Amit Kumar Srivastava on

0

Sort on sender and then date to limit the number of emails you will read. You know your most important senders and can assume that the most recent time times are most relevant.

Anonymous on

0

filter by the VVIPs followed by VIPS and commoners

Aman on

0

The ones from Catwoman, who won the fight between spiderman and batman.

LOL on

0

Launch as many applications I could on my computer, yank the ac cord, get up and leave, to go on and have a life.

Stephen on

0

I'd first look for messages from people willing to help me transfer my money out of Nigeria. (http://www.snopes.com/fraud/advancefee/nigeria.asp)

The Nigerian Prince on

0

I would send and email to my network admin and tell him I woke up to 2,000 emails... Please fix my spam filters!

Dennis on

0

I would Answer 1st those from my boss and then those which were denoting to me alone, Then Last those denoting to me along with others.

Liveurownway on

0

I hate reading emails. but mostly I'll read the most important ones or the one with the star either important sign on it

Amel on

0

First I would prioritise my clients or stakeholders emails and then the emails which is planned to be exchanged as per the to-do list so the work should not stop. Lastly glimpse through the entire list and assign importance based on the work requirements and if some tasks can wait, then inform the concerned person.

Neha Malhotra on

0

This question is actually not as easy as it sounds. The key in questions like this, is to be ready for all the inevitable follow-up questions and back-and-forth that typically happens, as the interviewer really tries to understand how you think. Maybe do a mock interview with one of the Dropbox Dropbox Rotation Program experts on PrepTick to get a real-world answer? They give lots of guidance and pro tips on how to deal with this kind of stuff... https://www.preptick.com/practice-interviews-swe

Anonymous on

0

I’d never get that many so, I would know right away, some entity has gotten into my email account and caused problems. But, since I am on a Mac and have filters set up and restrict my personal and business email to those purposes (and humans only) and use a third, fourth, and fifth series of accounts for almost all other uses, to avoid junk email - it would just not happen. Indeed, in 14 years of using email, it never has.

Joe on

0

Based on priority. Addressed to me. Look at emails where my name is in To:

Anonymous on

1

I'd do to my computer what Elvis did to his TV.

HT on

1

My boss, then the emails that are most impactful to the company's bottom line.

TK on

2

Will read most recent 300 from senders I recognize and feel like responding

Anonymous on

0

Alphabetically, based on sender email address.

Anonymous on

0

I would answer the 300 from senders who I could impact, had impact on me and/or I proactively generated.

Anonymous on

1

The ones with nude photos of girls

Duh on

5

jjfg jjkbb

Anonymous on

1

Depends on my role and what else I have to do that day

Ken on

4

In Order Received

Steve on

4

Make it so I have access to all 1000 emails, not just 300.

Dmrcoast on

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