What I learned from practicing interviews on Pramp.com

for the first time

What I learned from practicing interviews on Pramp.com

for the first time

I came across this website to prepare for people to ace interviews for data scientist jobs in the industry. It was mentioned and recommended in the post written by Daniel Miller, a data scientist at Microsoft. I was a little suspicious at the first beginning because I don’t think there will be any free services in helping people with improving their interview skills. Normally, we get help from the school Careers Center. I do benefit a lot from visiting the Careers Center at the USC but they could only go this far to help with resume critique and behavioral questions. Anything technical or related to a specific position are beyond what they can offer. So, I am stuck!

Until I gave a try on this website, Pramp, it totally changed my perspectives on how to prepare a data scientist interview. Actually, early this year, I was invited by the recruiter to interview for a data scientist position at Google. The phone interview went well and I was invited for an on-site interview. I postponed the interview to early 2019 so I could prepare for it during the winter break. I spent most of my time practicing code and learning more new machine learning models. Later on, I realized that I was totally wrong through the entire process to ace a data scientist interview. None of my preparation touches the surface on how to evaluate a new feature to boost a company’s growth, i.e., how to increase the number of complete successful purchases or boost the growth of users. Obviously, the interview didn’t go well and even I knew it right away after four rounds of the interviews. After a week or two, the recruiter called me and told me that they’ve decided not to move on with my application. I was frustrated and still don’t know how to improve my situation. It’s totally changed after I went on practicing an interview on Pramp.

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The entire process was very simple. During an hour session, two of the participants have the opportunities to play as interviewer and interviewee. I was given a case for a data scientist at Airbnb to ask how the applicant is going to do to improve the growth of successful online booking. My partner did well, actually, better. He did an awesome job in figuring all the questions being asked and almost hit the perfect answer for all of them. In contrast, I did bad and was not even saying things during the interview. It turned out I had hard time with concretizing the business questions to specific metrics to measure the success. What they would like to achieve at the end of the day? What data do we have and challenging would we be faced with in terms of getting the data ready for the next step? Sometimes, it was about what data could be available and possibly collected for this business questions. I’ve learned a lot during the interview and am excited for the next try!

If you will be interested in trying out this awesome website to enhance your interview skills, please check out here, Pramp. They’ve provided six tracks including applied data science, project manager, behavioral questions, and etc.. You can also read more about them on Medium. Hope this will help you to land your dream job soon!

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Zhi Yang
PhD in Biostatistics

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