Plus, tips and insights from our ex-Uber Coaches
Is what you’re doing legal?
Are you spending within reason?
Could what you’re doing be twisted in the press?
These are the 3 questions – rules – that Uber employees must keep in mind on a regular basis.
And here’s why: Uber is the epitome of a company that has been “disruptive”. The process of innovating the transportation industry has required bravery and resilience to go against a political and corrupt taxi industry, leading to court cases, protests, damaged Uber cars which required repairing, and other challenges.
But in the process of facing these challenges, Uber has transformed the way we view transportation to be more effective for the end user, has created job opportunities for drivers, and supported countless businesses with revenue generating opportunities through UberEats.
So if you’re thinking of applying for a job at Uber, know this: they’re looking for someone whose drive to shape the world carries them through potential polarizing challenges – challenges that could be more dire than what you’d face at other tech firms, but that serve a purpose to help people.
We sat down with two of our ex-Uber Carrus Coaches to learn more about their experiences and the interview process. Read on for insights!
1. The Interview Process
The interview process as described by ex-Uber coach Kelly (including how many interviews and the length of the hiring process) can vary role to role, but in general you can expect to have:
- a phone interview
- an online exercise that tests your analytical capabilities
- a team phone screen for a shallow dive on analytics, behavior and culture fit
- An onsite 3-part interview which can include presentations (known as “jam sessions”, especially if you’re applying to be a Product Manager) according to a prompt, an analytics/strategy deep dive, and culture fit deep dive
2. The 3 Kinds of Questions You’ll be Asked
Uber will be testing you on three categories of questions: analytics, behavioral competencies, and hypothetical case studies. Here is an overview of each to help you prepare:
The Analytical Question
Uber is a data-driven company. The analytics exercise is a test to see how you can interpret, manipulate or analyze data.
Every role is expected to be able to handle data, and to lead problem-solving ideas with data at the forefront. The data points can be things like how many bookings were made on a Friday night, how many cancellations they had, etc.
You’ll be asked literal math questions such as finding the percentage of cancellations to requests, and there are exact answers to each question. You’ll also be asked what problems you see with the data and opportunities to leverage.
“If you don’t have the analytic skills, [this test] might weed you out. If working at Uber is important to you, prepare your analytical skills so you don’t fail this part of the interview.” says Kelly.
Analytics Question Samples:
- We’re experiencing a spike in cancellation rates Monday mornings globally. What’s one thing you can actually do or feel comfortable doing that might make a difference? Demonstrate experimentation.
- What analysis would you use to understand if we should increase the price of an UberEats delivery?
- What metrics would you use to determine the success of a new app feature?
Here’s a real-world example of a situation they had at Uber that requires data analysis:
“One day, we noticed that there was a higher cancellation rate on Friday and Saturday nights. We called customers and found out that people were cancelling because they were in large groups and wanted to ride in a car together, but they couldn’t fit into a sedan. So, in one weekend, we created UberXL with a view for all vans with 6 occupancy and changed pricing. This led to a benefit for drivers and riders were able to all ride in the same car while saving money. It was a win win win.” shares Kelly.
The Behavioral Question
Behavioral questions are aimed to assess how you act in a situation. They can be measuring anything from how you think to how you communicate to your problem-solving skills. The key to answering this question is to provide a story from your life that illustrates your answer.
Behavior Question Samples:
- Tell me about the proudest moment in your professional career why it was meaningful to you.
- Give me an example of a time you made a decision that was unpopular and explain how you handled implementing it.
- Tell me about a time you had to stand up for your beliefs.
Keep in mind that Uber has a business model that serves people on different ends of the business spectrum, like drivers and riders or in the case of Uber Eats, customers, restaurants and couriers. So when you’re preparing your answers, think about how your stories show measurable results that have a positive impact on all involved.
“Rework your story to be more people centric and tie it back to the numbers. Combine data and people. How is it measured? Show your impact through innovation. How did you make the scenario good for everyone?” Kelly recommends.
Here are 35 behavioral interview questions to prepare for (with example answers).
The Hypothetical Case Study Question:
Hypothetical case study questions are essentially brain teaser questions such as, “How many tennis balls fit into a bus?” Hiring managers are not looking for you to provide an exact answer; rather, they are looking to measure your ability to solve problems and the process and steps you take to do so.
Here is a great list of brain teaser question themes to get you acquainted – have fun with them!
Interviewing for Tech Roles
There will also be additional interviews for tech roles:
“If you’re applying for a role in some of the tech departments, you will traditionally have a panel of interviews, a bar raiser and a hiring manager interview. Of course, Uber is a free-thinking company, so the dependencies [on how many interviews there will be] might come from the seniority level of the candidate.” says Maggie, a former Uber tech recruiter and Carrus coach.
Mark weighs in on his experience during the interview process:
“[Uber] scheduled the phone screen quickly. It turned out to be a technical phone interview. I was asked 2 coding questions and they were not super difficult as it’s only a phone screen. I won’t disclose the question, but you can expect something like string manipulation.
I was informed to have the on-site interviews just a couple of hours after the phone screen, which really surprised me (as most companies won’t react that fast). The on-site interviews were roughly 4-5 hours long with 4 technical interviews. You can expect the same type of questions asked by Google/Facebook and I think the difficulty is also the same. One big difference is that someone would ask you to code on a laptop and make the code works! So you’d better be comfortable to write non-pseudo code and be familiar with syntax and API lookups.”
3. The key characteristics that Uber is looking for in a candidate
Any tech company you apply for is going to care about your problem solving skills and passion for innovation. So what sets Uber apart?
There are two particular qualities that Uber is looking for: a person with a strong ability to use analytics in problem solving, and a person who recognizes that the work is about more than fulfilling a career for yourself; it’s about serving the people involved.
Carrus Coach Kelly weighs in:
“I was on the drivers [versus the riders] side of Uber. One of the most fulfilling experiences was being able to give drivers an opportunity to make an income. Every Monday we’d process payments and if we were late, people wouldn’t be able to feed their families because they were living paycheck to paycheck. It makes you realize that you’re not doing the work for yourself, or for Uber, but for the people who you know personally. It’s not just about you and your career, but about changing the world for the better.
“We also had a program for drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing. We created a system where [the app] tells the rider that the driver is deaf or hard of hearing and there is also a sign on the headrest. We created events to onboard these drivers. It was really rewarding work being able to give someone who isn’t independent access to a way to money and fulfillment.”
At the end of the day, when you’re applying to Uber you’ll need to show that you can fit the company culture of being people-focused, passionate to make a difference, brave, and resilient.
Ready to apply for an opportunity to make a difference at Uber? Book a session with former Uber Project Manager Kelly, or former Uber tech recruiter Maggie to get prepared!