At Interview Query, we love to hear from those who’ve successfully landed jobs in the data science field. To help the rest of our community, we’re sharing their career path stories and approach to interview preparation.
Recently, we spoke with Asef Wafa, a former Microsoft analyst who landed a job at Google during the height of the December employment cuts. Asef walked us through his interview experiences and offered advice for data science job seekers in today’s hiring environment.
I started working in data science after finishing a Master’s in Business Analytics, and I’ve stayed primarily in the advertising analytics space throughout my career. I spent 2.5 years at an advertising agency and then 3 years with Microsoft. At Microsoft, I had a position focused on sales analytics, as I wanted to take a detour from advertising analytics to focus more on products.
My process was a little unconventional: it lasted about 5-6 months. Initially, I was contacted by a Google recruiter for a different role. The interview for that position went well, but the company then went into a hiring freeze.
A month later, they reached back out because the hiring manager had recommended me for what’s now my new role: Senior Analyst on the Google Strategy team.
Basically, it takes about a year. Even while I was still at Microsoft, I knew I wanted a more senior-level role, but I had to take some time for interview prep.
I spent the first few months of the job search getting a better sense of what the interview process would be like for jobs I was interested in. I also had a number of interviews in the first 3-4 months in order to shake the dust off and get more comfortable.
In these initial interviews, I realized I needed to practice more product sense questions and that technical questions were a weakness as well. I was confident in my technical skills, but in interview settings, under a time crunch, these questions were more challenging for me.
That’s how I landed on Interview Query to really devote myself to interview prep.
I used Interview Query over several months to focus on product and technical questions. I felt that the questions in the database were very relevant, and there were situations in my real interviews that included the same questions I’d already done on Interview Query.
One tip I have would be to dive into the comments section of questions. The community feedback and answers were invaluable to me. I was able to see other people writing code solutions similar to mine and got feedback on the code I submitted.
For Google specifically, one of my interviews was a “Googliness” and leadership interview. I didn’t really know how to approach it or what it would include. I was able to find some YouTube videos that did a good job of talking through what to expect, how those interviews were conducted, and how to structure my answers.
This process is hard and disheartening, and that’s especially true now that the number of postings is much less than a year ago. You have to be prepared to get rejection after rejection, and it will be very tiring. The process can chip away at you.
Take care of yourself because it’s not a race– it’s a marathon. You’ll need that mindset and discipline going in.
At the end of the day, after going through this process, you’ll be able to find what’s best for you and your career, and that’ll help separate you from everyone else.