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My Interview at Uber (alexkras.com)
233 points by akras14 on Feb 20, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 167 comments

I once interviewed at Uber. I told them I was also interviewing at other companies, to see what was available. They told me this was not "the people they where looking for". And it wouldn't be "OK" to say something like that in America. They where looking for people who really want to work at Uber.

I got an assignment to build a linked-list in language of choice, with a test-suite. A weird assignment if you ask me. But i build it in Golang and submitted it a day later.

After that I didn't get a reply for 3 weeks!! I then mailed them asking if they where going to check out my work.

2 days later I got a reply, it was OK to continue. At that point my interest for Uber was already gone. If they cant handle candidates well, the company would probably be chaotic inside too.

I also don't like their arrogance.

An old colleague of mine is working at Uber, and he says the working times are flexible, but more than 40 hours per week. And they have over 1000 microservices. And its normal to rewrite them often.

To me that seems like a bad architecture.

Your interview experience depends a lot on the recruiter that's working with you. And this applies to all companies. Although I didn't get an offer from them, my experience interviewing at Uber was extremely pleasant and I made sure to connect with the recruiter, now at another co., on LinkedIn. I told myself that I'd hire that recruiter if/whenever I started my own company. After passing the phone screen, I still remember that the recruiter working with me called me back within 10 mins after I hung up with the interviewer and got me an onsite scheduled immediately on the spot. I didn't hear back about the offer for a few days after my onsite interview, but I was able to get someone to call me up and deliver the bad news immediately after I pinged the recruiter.

But the key here is first impression. It applies to you the same as it applies to them. Be it Google or FB or anyone else...these companies are nothing special.They create an illusion of an elitist club but in reality it's the same old bureaucracy / corporate bshit that awaits you anywhere else.

Why should I bother and be religious about the company If I do not even know what I am getting my self into.

First impression is for marriage not for work. Most of the best coworkers I have ever had gave me a very bad first impression... Uber sucks for a lot of other reasons other than there is some creepy guy who can't handle relations with women or their recruiters are not people I would choose as bff.

Yeah sure but if the recruiter / hr acts like you are piece of meat and would become a mere grunt to keep the machinery running what should you do ? I mean you are either desperate and badly want to work for the company but why pretend ?

It's not like in this era people stick to one company working there for a lifetime.

Since HR is far from a typical tech company's core competencies, they often don't focus on it and don't realize the damage these employees can do, both by turning off potential hires, and by pissing off employees. You could argue that you would not want to work for anyone dumb enough to let clowns run their HR, and I wouldn't fault you, but you might miss some otherwise good opportunities this way. I have had at least a couple of experiences where HR was not in any way indicative of the quality of the company and colleagues, except for the fact that they were too busy to put much effort into it.

Until we get completely AI run companies like in Accelerando, hiring needs to be one of every companies core competencies. A company can't do anything without having employees.

> It's not like in this era people stick to one company working there for a lifetime.


In a great organization it will not depend on the individual recruiter because the organization as such makes sure that candidates are handled well. Same for management or other traits of an organization.

> And they have over 1000 microservices. And its normally to rewrite them often.

> To me that seems like a bad architecture.

I don't know, the part about it being "normal to rewrite them often" is worrying, but having fleets of microservices managed like Erlang processes or supervision trees sounds interesting and possibly pretty good — assuming that's how they're architected, I've no idea about that. And rewriting a service might be less of an issue if each service is just a small processing loop.

The idea about microservices is that they are small and self-contained. This makes them easy to rewrite completely. Now I wouldn't say it is the goal to rewrite them all the time, but it is not a bad sign if some of them get rewritten occasionally. Microservices are somewhat new and a lot of architecture and infrastructure is being built around it. Companies like Netflix and Uber take the lead in this. Susan Fowler wrote a book about this during her time at Uber, you can find it here:


I've been programming a while now and it definitely is a bad sign if you're rewriting any code often.

Firstly, it takes a lot longer than just making the necessary change. It's a waste of time.

But more fundamentally, I can understand getting it wrong the first time. Throwing what should have been a prototype up without rewriting it. Whatever.

But how the hell did you get it so wrong the 2nd time? And the third time? And the 4th, etc., etc.

Now I'm not afraid to do refactors, massive ones if needed. But there's a big cost to doing it. The big problem with constantly rewriting stuff is that you almost always introduce new bugs. Or you misunderstand the reason behind some of the edge cases and cut them out.

Sounds like the actual problem here is classic NIH syndrome with new programmers coming in, not liking the old programmer's style and rewriting the whole thing.

Part of the appeal and one of the advantages a microservice architecture gives you is that you no longer have to do massive refactors. The services should be small, focused and easy to reason about. Part of me likes the idea of never having to deal with legacy code written 10 years ago in Java 6. Constant rewrites of the same microservice might raise a flag due to unnecessary churn, but I welcome this new era of "immutable" code.

Not trying to sound like a wise guy, but I can see another option: the state of the system is in flux, constantly trying to improve, finding new ways to do it, using new and updated technologies etc.

On top of that, microservices are supposed to be self-contained, but they do depend on each other to some degree.

>They where looking for people who really want to work at Uber

Unless they were looking specifically for you (TeeWEE) and not a random search on LinkedIn, it is very elitist of them to expect that. I cannot understand how so many companies and interviewers fail to realize that interviews are not a one way street. Interviewees should also be evaluating the company for a fit as much as the interviewer does.

People who "really want to work at Uber" are easier to take advantage of. They will work for being able to say they work in cool company and will be willing to take lower salary and worst working conditions. (Being woken up often to quick fix broken things screams disorder and broken process. Being asked to do 80 hours of work in 40 hours time screams incompetent tech management.)

IMO, all the jobs you are supposed to do out of passion tend to be like that (hello game development).

I have never met anybody who really wanted to work for Uber. There are some companies that people really want to work for, example Google, Facebook etc depending on interests, but even then, it is usually not just the company but the pay, nature of work. perks etc. Most people enjoy interesting/boring work irrespective of the company. A person willing to work 80 hours at Uber will probably work 80 hours elsewhere too.

> Being woken up often to quick fix broken things screams disorder and broken process.

Why? Things break. Critical things act up. You patch it up and work towards automating the fix or fixing the problem during business hours. Maybe you are focusing on the "often" part? Depending on the stack you work with, I think often has a different meaning.

> I told them I was also interviewing at other companies, to see what was available. They told me this was not "the people they where looking for". And it wouldn't be "OK" to say something like that in America.

In case you're not aware, it's totally normal to say that in America, particularly if you're a recent graduate. Your recruiter will need to know if you're expecting another offer or something like that, as competing offers can affect your schedule and compensation.

> An old colleague of mine is working at Uber, and he says the working times are flexible, but more than 40 hours per week. And they have over 1000 microservices. And its normal to rewrite them often. To me that seems like a bad architecture.

Maybe... probably. Red flag is "more than 40 hours".

and yeah, I too have decided I have no time for companies who screw around during the recruiting process.

> not "the people they where looking for". > asking if they where going to check..

I think you're confused with the meanings of were and where. Were - plural of was Where - denoting a place. As in - where was this?

I hope you take my comment in positive light. Not trying to be snarky. English is my second language and I appreciate being corrected when I make a mistake so I can learn.

They actually got you to build a linked list from scratch? That's somewhat hilarious, considering you can get a book within 10 minutes that'll show you how to do it, not to mention unless you're a terrible programmer who reinvents the wheel and doesn't know how to google, that situation isn't realistic at all.

Think of it as a slightly less insulting form of FizzBuzz.

I regularily used a similar exercise to weed out bad candidates. The task was to build a stack with based on a double linked. Looking up stuff was okay, but straight copy paste was not. I gave them half a day and told them to write the best code they can.

There where many discussions how that exercise is relevant to the junior PHP dev position we were hiring for (spoiler: it's not). But it gives you a good idea what the candidate considers good code (consistent code style, documentation, tests,...)

I'm curious about the stats (if you have them): how many of the candidates added documentation ? because one could argue that documentation by itself is not DRY since now you have both the code and the description of the code (the docs). if the code changes - you MUST change the docs as well (otherwise the docs and the code are not overlapping, which is much worse than not having docs in the first place).

I might be completely wrong about documentation not being DRY, but this by itself could be a good conversation with a candidate .

OK since I'm being down voted for this post, let me clarify: if you read the context which the OP mentions in the blog post, he/she was given a take-home assignment.

I agree, rooting out people who can't do basic things like linked lists is desirable, however, if you're going to send a take home assignment, my point was, you're not going to get a very honest measurement of their capabilities on one that they can google in a few seconds. That's all I meant.

My interview at other $BIGNAMECO was "fix" an existing Linked-list implementation on site. That was pretty fun, IMHO.

That does sound fun! I think figuring out bugs is a good way to find out if someone knows what they're doing at all. My main objection was "implement a LL from scratch in X language!" -> googled in 5 seconds and slightly modified, done as a work-from-home and hand in assignment.

I'd enjoy a good debugging question for sure.

People complain a lot about basic CS assignments in interviews. Just thinking out loud: it's an important skill to be able to put together libraries and existing code to get a working product. But a lot of software is crap, and I think often one of the contributing factors is a lack of knowledge about data structures, design patterns, algorithms... in other words, the stuff that a CS education might actually teach you about. You can't look something up if you don't know enough to look for it (and to understand the answer) in the first place. So the "irrelevant" basic CS problem interview questions might be a way to check not only if you can build a product, but if you can do it well?

I think the irrelevant CS problems are an okay test to see someone's style and thought process where they shouldn't be too worried about solving the problem (they should have at least a meager basis of understanding to begin with) and can spend time cleaning up, and preparing their thoughts for presentation. I think this is fine as one of multiple measures.

I graduated from CS, and the only reason I knew anything at all about how to handle multi-tier architecture is because I was employed previous to my graduation. How do you keep configuration from being a mess? Hard coded values all over the place, etc. CS courses give you the theory needed for getting started down a path of understanding, but it does not make you understand, nor does it actually prepare you for the real world. Data structures are one thing, micro services, unit testing, configuration management, dependency injection, and persistent storage are beasts all unto themselves.

Nearly every interview is not realistic at all. At least it's better than whiteboarding.

The best interviews are those that make an attempt to be realistic rather than assuming correlation between ability and knowledge of some of the more rarely used textbook knowledge.

Fair point, but I'd at least expect an original assignment to be submitted later that isn't like in thousands of data structure programming book out there. Well, maybe expect isn't the right word, but I'd never run my interviews with such trivial requests that don't reflect what the actual work will be (hopefully they aren't writing LLs from scratch, anyway).

Do you have an example what would you ask on an interview ? I am just curious.

Sure. If it's say a web application, I'd invite them to install the framework(s) / libs used and to implement a basic feature that could actually be used in an application they'd be working on. Nothing super complicated, but something that wasn't "reinvent the wheel that's googled easily". I'm not aware of many major programming languages these days that are missing linked lists or similar data structs.

I'd also pay them for their time, regardless if they got the job.

You are a terrible programmer if you can't implement a linked list. It's so basic that not being able to cope with it means you don't understand indirection, which is the fundamental of all programming. Is it a good interview question? Depends on the language: its perfectly valid to ask for a C programming position, but makes little sense for a JavaScript role (as in there are more meaningful problems for assessing their knowledge).

I interviewed at Uber in Amsterdam and my experience wasn't great. They flew me over for just one day (waking up at 5am just to get there on time) and kept me interviewing between 11am and 7pm with no break for food and no food in sight. After that they essentially forced me to take Uber back to the airport once I told them that I just took a train from Schiphol. What's funny was that the driver was so upset with the company that he bitched and moaned all the way to the airport.

8 hours of non-stop interviewing?! Do they manage to hire anyone?

I don't know. They didn't hire me.

In which somebody who didn't want to work for Uber, interviews at Uber, is unimpressed, and they with him, but this realisation is kept secret until a story about Uber culture blows up all over the web over a weekend.

By the way, it's spelt "suit", not "suite". I believe the e on the end has escaped from "belive", which appears later in the article.

So in your view if someone isn't super keen on working for a company, but goes through the interview process and points out alarms about their business practices, that is then invalidated? Unless you're implying the author has some sort of bone to pick with Uber, and feel free to present evidence, that seems like a very silly point.

And it's a personal blog, and maybe the person is ESL, who cares if there were two mistakes? If you find that pedantry irritating enough to comment on it, I can't imagine how awful your browsing experience must be like in general.

Yeah, just a tip OP: You might want to re-read your article for typos - there were quite a few which detracted from the actual story for me.

But as an aside - I was looking forward to hearing more about what you could learn from their corporate culture from the interview rounds. You mentioned that they were almost always running in 'emergency' or 'fix it' mode and expected staff to work long hours, but did you see it in the conduct of the staff you met? Did they seem tired or frazzled?

Also, what did you manage to learn about the management structure and how they treated employees there? Did you notice that people respected their managers, or feared them, or felt disconnected from them?

From the article:

    The guy interviewer was so tired from “staying up
    last night working” that he drank two energy drinks
    during our interview and forgot his laptop when he left.

Going into the interview I had a pretty open mind. Just because I thought Facebook > Uber, doesn't mean I didn't want to work there. But after talking to the driver, couple interviewers and the hiring manager, I was positive that it was not for me.

Fixed, thanks. ESL

If you want some more you use "I've" a lot, where it should just be "I", example:

"He then asked if I had any questions for him. I’ve asked if they had any plans to make thing better for the drivers."

"I’ve asked if they considered to pay the driver more? He said that it’s not ideal"

"It wasn’t until I’ve red Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber today"

The last one also has "read" misspelt.

Thank you!

english is my second language, can you explain why I've is wrong in this context?

English is my second language as well, but here goes:

Take the first one as an example since it refers to both the third person and first person asking something:

> "He then asked if I had any questions for him. I’ve asked if they had any plans to make thing better for the drivers."

The former is simply past tense, while the latter is present perfect.

You generally write a text in one tense. It doesn't have to be present, it doesn't have to be past, but once you settle with one it's best to stick to it.

Past tense as it suggests indicates something happened in the past. Present perfect on the other hand indicates that something has been done, but either continues in the present, or the effects of which are still present.

It's not as much about being inherently incorrect as it is about being coherent. Best practices if you wish.

This is one of those surprisingly subtle things that's particularly difficult for native speakers to explain, and things are complicated even more by the fact that British English and US English vary slightly in their usage. I personally wouldn't call "I've" completely incorrect in those sentences (though some may say otherwise), but it does sound "off" to American ears.

Some further reading which may clarify things a bit (or possibly confuse them):



Dear Americans,

Being expected to tip a person for a service you just paid for is NOT normal!

Yes, in the EXCEPTIONAL situation where you want to give a person money for whatever reason, please do so but do not change a default setting for something that warrants it 10% of the time.

How does one justify going to a salon, being given a price by the barber, paying it and still be expected to "tip" the person you just paid what was asked for?

Uber including tipping will mess up the experience. Period. It will influence ratings. Cos, how would a driver rate 2 passengers with equal service but one tipped $20 and the other $0.

We from the rest of the world are very uncomfortable being forced to perform this "optional" task.

Yes, I'm glad that on top of the cultural problems of Uber, at least they don't support tipping culture.

I use Lyft when I have the choice now, but the tipping makes me uncomfortable. Tipping is why taxis drive past people of the wrong skin color. Tipping is why the most important thing in restaurant service is to be sexually attractive to your customers. Lyft does not entirely have the moral high ground, because it supports tipping.

Just pay your employees the money they earned and charge me the correct amount for it.

"people of the wrong skin color". Ugh

I should've explained. I meant, how can skin colour be wrong or right!

@rspeer used sarcasm, implying everything you said in your two posts and more.

Your arguments are socially valid, but not statistically. People may not be racists nor sexual addicts, but unconsciously they will go to the place with less "poor people" and more "nice people", if they are able to pay for it. We can pretend that such thinking doesn't exist, but ask yourself with more attention.

"Tipping is why the most important thing in restaurant service is to be sexually attractive to your customers."

This isn't true. You tip for their service not sexual attraction.

It's hard to calculate the service they provide. Wouldn't you pay more for a pleasant drive than for an unpleasant one?

Besides these points, I think it is a stretch to say tipping is immoral.

> This isn't true. You tip for their service not sexual attraction.

Or you think you do: http://scholarship.sha.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?artic...

"This study found that attractive waitresses earned larger sales-adjusted tips than did less attractive waitresses. Attractiveness had no effect on the tips of waiters."

If this was just based on (an even) salary, wouldn't it be better for everyone?

The same logic applies without tipping. Attractive waiters can negotiate a better salary or get the job instead of someone less attractive.

Not in case of known salaries per position. (Or at least small differences in case of ranges) But we won't get there in one day. Getting rid of tipping is one of the steps.

Salaries might be set per position per restaurant, but go have a look at the staff at your local high-end steak place. Then go visit your local Chile's/Applebees/Fast Casual Dining place.

Which has a more attractive staff? Which do you suppose makes more in tips? (Or would in salary if straight salaried?)

I believe that in a straight salary system that more attractive people would be well served (no pun intended) to seek jobs at higher-end restaurants; I believe that's already happened to some extent. One table turn could tip $100 or more at a high-end place today. That will be partially shared with the multiple staff serving the table, but it's still going to be a very strong hourly rate.

Sure, there would be some migration towards the high-end, but at some point you either hire experienced people, or your reputation will suffer and you'll no longer be high-end. This migration leads to hooters, not to a place with sommeliers.

Getting rid of tipping is like treating chronic disease with symptomatic pills. Though we have to question, whether it is a real disease or simply our nature?

Demand is on customer side, not on service company or place. If someone wants to be surrounded by attractive service and is ready to pay for it (not rejecting averages, of course), is he completely wrong?

> This isn't true. You tip for their service not sexual attraction

Yes it is true. You may _think_ you do not tip for attraction, but in that case you either think wrong or do not represent a typical person.


That may be how it's supposed to work, but that's not how it actually works.


Tipping could work, if the tips are received anonymously with some time period. So that drivers would not know, from whom the tip came from.

I'm not from US and generally I like the "no tips" culture. However sometimes I want to tip for exceptional service. Unfortunately Uber doesn't offer a tool for that. I think it could be implemented in some non-intrusive way.

You could always just give the driver a bit of cash on the side, if you have any, like an old fashioned tip.

1. I don't think the drivers can see how much you tip.

2. In case of restaurants in the US, generally servers make very little without tip. When you pay you are paying the restaurant and not the person who serve you food. I know it's different in other countries but that's just how things are here.

> generally servers make very little without tip

So pay them more. isn't the whole point of paying for a meal is to include expenses like paying employees? By paying tips you actually contributing to a system that doesn't pay to employees.

"So pay them more."

As a European that is also often uncomfortable with this typical US "custom", I think it is kind of an arrogant statement to make.

It is just a different way to do things, and I'm not sure what servers would choose given the option.

In Europe servers tend to work long hours, often at minimum wage (I worked briefly as one, while studying), it's not like they are treated substantially better.

At least in the US you can count on the occasional generous tip, and good servers tend to work for it.

How is it arrogant?

In European countries with minimum wages one can live off of, they are per definition treated substantially better.

Not only is this not always the case in the US, but there are exceptions from minimum wage in professions with tips.

But, if you decide not tip someone, especially a food service worker that you know is only making $2.35/hour, then you are punishing that worker. Punishing them vastly more than you are punishing are system or the employer. If you really don't want to support tipping culture, don't use any service/store that allows for it and petition your legislature to change the laws.

a food service worker that you know is only making $2.35/hour

This varies by state. For example, in Oregon the minimum wage is $9.75, and, importantly: Oregon is one of the few states that does not allow employers to take a tip credit. Employees must be paid at least the full state minimum wage, whether or not they also earn tips.

Despite this "high" wage, there is no shortage of restaurants in Oregon. Somehow good restaurants do manage to stay in business here.


> But, if you decide not tip someone, especially a food service worker that you know is only making $2.35/hour

In the USA, all tipped employees always earn at least the federal minimum wage. There is no such thing as a service worker making $2.35 per hour.


It's possible that food service workers might earn a lot more than minimum wage with tips, such that taking away their tips would hurt their compensation. Perhaps - it's still arguably no concern of the patron. If I'm buying an automobile from a car dealership, should I pay extra because the poor car salesman needs his commission? I don't think so. His compensation is between him and the leadership. It is fair that I negotiate the lowest possible price, and a price that works for me.

Regardless of all that, my primary point is that it is incorrect to claim that servers will make less than minimum wage without tips. They always earn minimum wage and so this is not a reason to justify tipping.

> But, if you decide not tip someone, especially a food service worker that you know is only making $2.35/hour

No, the society they live in is punishing them.

But it's hardly the patrons' responsibility to mitigate a horrible labour situation.

In USA, even minimum salary for servers is lover then minimum salary for other workers - the law expects the tips. Whole American culture expects patrons to pay directly to server.

> In USA, even minimum salary for servers is lover then minimum salary for other workers - the law expects the tips.

Not true. The federal minimum wage for servers and other tipped employees is the same as other employees: it's just the minimum wage.


"Where an employee does not receive sufficient tips to make up the difference between the direct (or cash) wage payment (which must be at least $2.13 per hour) and the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference."

Interesting, they did not told us that part when I worked in USA in summer. Cooks got 6.5$ and that was minimum wage in there. Servers got 1.5$ and had to report all tips to be taxed. Then again, servers earned more overall, so minimum wage was not really an issue for them.

Literally the third sentence in your link provides support for GP's position:

"The employer is prohibited from using an employee’s tips for any reason other than as a credit against its minimum wage obligation to the employee (“tip credit”)"

You are mistaken. Please read the rest of the article, and the comment that is a peer to yours.

"Where an employee does not receive sufficient tips to make up the difference between the direct (or cash) wage payment (which must be at least $2.13 per hour) and the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference."

I agree with this sentiment. I hate the 'tip culture' too, but it's not going to change overnight and the reality is, if you aren't tipping people in the US (and Canada, btw), the worker is getting far less compensation.

It should change, but this particular Uber situation isn't going to be the straw that broke the camel's back I'm afraid.

Can the drivers know IF you tipped?

Then let the restaurants pay their servers more. Or put it in the bill. "service charge" it is called. Don't leave me with calculations to do and faux hospitality from waiters being nice only because of money.

I'd hate to have to do a "little dance" and show extra teeth every time I serve someone.

From my previous conversations with Lyft drivers, if I recall correctly they get a sum weekly/biweekly and don't see who tipped.

I used to live in a country where tipping wasn't a thing. But having lived in the US for a while now I actually like it. It gives the servers incentive to do well. Also you always have the option to not tip if the service is really bad. I understand your frustration, though. Perhaps, I've gotten too used to it haha.

Ok, this may work for drivers, but what about the kitchen staff at restaurants, don't they deserve more? Do you think the waiters share the tip? This is a horrible way to solve problems, everyone should receive a fair pay directly, by their employer.

> 2. In case of restaurants in the US, generally servers make very little without tip. When you pay you are paying the restaurant and not the person who serve you food. I know it's different in other countries but that's just how things are here.

Yeah, this applies only to US. It is a fucked up system. Everyone else people are rational and tips are not excepted - the service is excepted in the price.

It applies in plenty of other countries too, although not to such a high degree.

> Being expected to tip a person for a service you just paid for is NOT normal!

In other cultures it is normal. Yet in other cultures you'll offend people when you try to tip them. Can we just accept cultural differences, and, when visiting, adapt, please?

PS: I am "from the rest of the world", and you don't speak for me nor for my friends who work in service in Central Europe - you don't have to tip them and they'll still smile, but you'll wait for your drink while I can down and order 3.

It is not optional, you just have to understand that polite announce. It allows you to decide how much service guy/girl earned in your case. And the sane default is n%, depending on location. If you don't care, simply tip n% instead of zero. You are absolutely able to pre-calculate your expenses including tip if you're going to be served.

> It allows you to decide how much service guy/girl earned in your case.

Unfortunately that's not how it works, unless you also know what percentage of your meal cost goes to them. Maybe the restaurant already pays them a sizable portion of what you spent. Maybe they work for tips only. (regardless how legal that is) Maybe the tips go directly to them. Maybe they're pooled and shared with everyone at that shift. And many, many other questions... You don't know the answers, and nobody will tell you what they are. You're doing a blind bidding game.

If you want to do it and be fair to the servers, you have to tip them the whole amount you think they earned. Do you really want to decide that every time?

Even if shared, low-tip workers will be managed off by the team. On 'decide' part, you simply pay fixed percentage if you are not able to. Even kitchen is motivated that way on a long distance. That works at large scale, not in single case, right. Like a market.

I had some insight into how restaurant teams work. I could write a long post here, but in practice... no, nobody will be managed off, teams will fight internally, discussion about servers/kitchen tips split will both anger and further (if it's possible) divide people, ... Just remembering that stuff makes me sad. Maybe there are some good places. I've seen a few and it's a total mess, inequality, and any tip pooling leaves everybody upset.

Thinking of it, it's basically a small mirror of the general society with managers as the government.

„...paid what was asked for...“

A barber/hairdresser will get paid minimum-wage over here in Germany. From friends who worked in this profession I know that they make even less at the end of the day, roughly 5€ per hour. Only because you get paid market-rate doesn't mean you can make a living.

Whenever I ask myself if I would be happy to receive a tip being in the same situation I tip: restaurant, package delivery...everywhere.

Nothing specific to the US.

You tip for taking a delivery?

I do - when it is for a food delivery. If I order pizza or something, I'd tip something small to the person delivering it.

I'm from Belgium, so we do not have a tipping culture either, and in many cases it is not that needed, but always welcome (restaurants). I live in a university city, so many of the waiters are students and as having been a student in a similar position, I know that they do not tend to have money to waste so the tips are a nice extra.

In general I am happy that we do not have a strong culture around it like in the US, because then you'd have to find out how much to tip etc, which would probably be uncomfortable for me.

I tried "Gett" once or twice since they did a deal for new joiners.

They included a tip feature but it infuriated me with the way you had to decide on the tip amount before the journey was over. What if they don't drop me off where I want and stop the journey early? That default 20% tip you encouraged me to set is... not good.

The author asked a bunch of questions and even used the anecdote in a blog post. I think tipping here is fine and also the ethical thing to do. There was no tip option so...shrug. Do people not carry cash anymore, could have tipped in cash imo

I'm European and I actually prefer the tipping system for service over higher base wages. I'd much rather have the customers decide who gets paid better than giving equal wages to the crappy service at the cost of the good people and hoping the employer filters out the bad apples and rewards the good ones. Then again it's pretty rare to see "well your service was horrible, have 0$ as a tip" and the tipping also kind of smears together into one big "roughly 10-20% every time independent of service"...so whatever I just accept the better base wage and only tip for good service now. It's usually 25% or nothing for me.

+1 tips are just a result of ppl being brainwashed by capitalists who are not willing to pay WAGE instead.

Tipping could work if tipping was made annonomous to the service just provided in order to prevent users feeling guilty for not tipping or Drivers giving bad reviews for lack of tips.

But americas tipping culture is silly.

I don't know where you live but I know some Western European countries where tipping in the way you described it is quite normal.

I've lived in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. I can testify that I personally observed no tipping culture here whatsoever.

Belgian here - I do tip but as mentioned elsewhere in this thread, it's not part of our culture. And I leave mostly small tips, nothing comparable to the US.

I once paid a tenner with €5 due and left in a Belgian bistro. I was followed and forced to take back my €5 as they didn't consider tipping appropriate.

Never had that happen to me - but what I did encounter is that it is explicitely stated that tipping is not necessary and that the service is counted for in the bill.

But those are unique instances I believe :-)

Nonsense, tipping happens all the time in Germany.

In general, there is a north-south divide, but I guess it also depends on your milieu.

Are you referring to forced "optional" tipping or service charge included in the bill?

The latter is ok in my book because it is seen as part of the cost of the service but separated in the invoice just like tax.

The former is a BIG pain!

I have just wanted to object to the notion that this is an exceptional American phenomenon.

It's also common in Canada. In Europe? I'm not aware of any country using a similar arrangement.

Such as?

E.g. Austria, Germany, Switzerland

No it isn't.

At least in Switzerland, you round up a Franc or two maybe if you are paying with cash, just to make the bill easier to pay. If you are paying card you generally don't tip at all.

If you tip 20% you either come off as a stupid tourist, or if you speak the language and explain it is for exceptional service (and not just because you culturally don't know better) you will make the waiter's day.

Even tough I was born and raised in Switzerland I always give a 10% tip in a restaurant when I was happy with the service.

To give no tip is in my experience considered quite rude. I only ever do it when I was unhappy with the service.

I live in Switzerland too, born and raised here, and everyone tips only when the service is better than usual, or we round up and give a franc or two for the service

Thats interesting. I guess there is no general pattern here.

My personal experience when I was jobbing as a waiter during my university time was different. Larger tips (more than a round up) were rather the rule than the exception.

Due to the fact that all tips are usually shared with everyone working in the restaurant I usually even tip if I was not that happy with the service because I liked the food or also the other way around.

This has been my experience in the Suisse Romande. Maybe you are from the Schweizerdeutsch side?

Exactly. I do live in Zurich. I'm in Geneva quite often and even there when having lunch with my romand co-workers they usually tip around 10%.

It still is quite surprising how even those "habits" are different in all the different regions here.

It is really not normal, at least from my experience being and living in those countries.

You obviously have never been to a hairdresser in e.g. Vienna. The same applies to taxis, cloakrooms, hotels, bars and restaurants in southern Germany and Austria. But as said somewhere else, it could depend on your milieu.

Tipping a barber in those countries? I think you're making things up.

Next time you are around, I will be happy to give you a tour. Edit: Have a look yourself at this: https://www.google.de/?q=trinkgeld+friseur+deutschland

I was in Switzerland for a couple of years and only saw very drunk people try to tip female bartenders. Otherwise no tips. Prices are high and service staff are well-paid.

Give it a rest, man. Don't like how we roll in the US? Don't come. Don't want to tip? Then don't do it.

If you want to live in the US, then assimilate. Either do it or dont -- but please stop this pedantic "how-the-rest-of-the-world" works perspective.

Mr. US roller.

I'm sorry, you'd have to live with hearing different perspectives. I'll be visiting the US in a bit, I'll decide to tip or not and I'll still give my opinion. :)

Or you could take your own advice and avoid any place (on or off line) that will expose you to international perspectives.

I don't need an Internet argument to learn that tipping is uncommon outside the US. Nor do I care.

Your opinion is always welcome even if I disagree with it.

Enjoy your stay :-)

Well not only is it perfectly fair to criticize something irrespective of whether you live want to live or don't want to live in a place, given that Uber is international and does not allow tipping anywhere, even in countries without forced tipping, it's absolutely valid to be annoyed at US tipping culture.

The were many instance where I would have liked to tip an especially nice Uber driver as an extraordinary thing. But due to the poisonous tipping culture this is not easily available through the app and giving cache is another hurdle and inconvenient for both parties.

That seems like a silly perspective. Can't handle even reasonable criticism? Maybe you're the problem.

America has this huge ego, where some of you guys feel "the best". It's a third world country, seriously. Don't like how you roll and won't come back, once was enough.

It's your problem, so maybe try relaxing and listen to advice if it's sensible.

Nothing in this article really stood out for me. Anyone who has interviewed in the valley is bound to come across disorganized recruiters, overworked engineers, demanding hiring managers and an overall chaotic environments. This is the norm.

The issues raised in Fowler's however is not normal and is something that Uber should figure out as soon as possible.

This article seems to be capitalizing on the popularity of Susan Fowler's blog post earlier today, which was rightfully popular for its outrageousness.

This one is just a weird uninformative rant that is mostly just a description of an arduous but not particularly horrible interview day, plus some comments about not liking the app.

It doesn't contain anything particularly new or insightful or damning about Uber.

I wonder why the author feels those engineers waste their time compared to Facebook and Google which is all about ads. Is this what they did studied engineering for? To show best ads? Name one person who enjoys ads. Yet I can be you millions who enjoy cheap timely taxi rides.

Terrible judgemental article. The author has preconceived notions and wants to capitalize on the Uber hate wave.

I think the quote you're looking for is

> The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads ... that sucks.

Good point, my judgment was mainly based on engineers being overworked/underpaid.

Re trying to capitalize... I want to contribute to the discussion, since the time seems right for Uber to actually listen.

Sorry, I got a bit riled up there and my last line was probably unnecessary :-)

I liked your article but would have liked it more if you had left out the comparison to facebook part out. I have multiple friends at the big G and facebook and trust me if that's not a waste of good engineering talent & life, I don't know what is.

Looks like a regular startup company interview.

I have no objections to Uber's business model, and a friend of mine earns $5000/month being an Uber driver (that's in Switzerland, but still impressive -- it helped him a lot when he had financial troubles).

Sexism, of course, is unacceptable, but that's from another story, not this one.

$5000/month is very impressive. Could you share his work routine?

I know one guy who leased a Prius. He didn't get the calls he was promised. He ended up ruining his credit.

I hear these big numbers thrown around, and don't know whom to believe.

Five grand a month is great! Is there something different in Switzerland that would account for his/her success?

My friend who leased the Prius lives in the Bay Area.

He is a professional driver with stellar Uber rating, and tracks all events and other potential price hikes, being exactly where he's needed the most (he also chose one of the most expensive cities to work in, and lives in less expensive area). But this is a full-time job with some research and planning.

> Five grand a month is great! Is there something different in Switzerland that would account for his/her success?

Yes, cost of life and wages are way higher than what you have in mind. Median salary is around 6k (it is by far the highest in Europe, esp. looking at after taxes wages).


His interviewers were young and seemed stressed. One guy implied you should work long hours. He realized mid-interview it wasn't for him. Finished interview. He feels bad for drivers.

> The driver said that Uber gave him more business, but he didn’t make as much

I asked many Uber drivers (outside and inside my own country), and they all LOVED uber (bottom line - more jobs, more money, even if smaller profit margins per job)

I think in general it was much more appreciated in third world countries. (And also by me, safety-wise. regular yellow taxi drivers could be extremely dangerous in these places. so many tricks to make on tourists).

I truelly cannot remember a negative comment about it.

> I was planning to tip him well, but couldn’t find the tip option like the one I’ve seen in the Lyft app

I think that the rating system is much more powerful (even economically) than a $$$ tip.

A 5-start rating is even better than a $ tip - you will (in the long run, if others rate you high as well) make more jobs (thus more money) if you have a great rating.

Same goes the other way around: Giving 1-2 stars is even more criticizing than not leaving a tip - if your average rating is lower you will get less jobs. if it's below some threshold - game over.

I myself would prefer (if I were an Uber driver) that you just gave me a pampering 5-star rating and then have a nice day :)

(edit: new lines) (edit2: responded to a different quote from the article)

It seems weird to me that the author was so uninformed going into the interview. I do everything I can to tip the balance in my favour during a job hunt.

There seems to be a conflict in the article. The writer questioned Uber's need to pay less in real dollars and more in funny money, but is happy to stick to Lyft "even if it costs me a few extra dollars".

I understand if one company is a better culture fit than another, but if the motivation is to make more money, then wouldn't it be better to work for someone who will actually pay more money?

I don't see a conflict or even see what those statements have to do with each other.

It seems to me that the writer includes his values when making a decision (willing to pay more for Lyft, not interested in working at Uber due to a culture mismatch) and also doesn't weigh Uber's financial package as highly as some other companies because of their stock situation.

I didn't see the writer say that his motivation was to make more money, but even if that is the goal, my impression is that it looks like other companies that allow selling their stock and/or offer higher compensation would be better ways of doing that in his view.

> I was planning to tip him well, but couldn’t find the tip option like the one I’ve seen in the Lyft app.

The best feature of Uber compared to Lyft if you ask me.

I think some of the stuff in this story reminds me of the crazy MBA interview shit someone was telling me about going through just recently.

For example, Amazon had a "bar raiser" who'd be somewhat intentionally offputting and as part of the interview they gauged your response to this person's mannerisms. Same with the frequent and seemingly chaotic interview situation. Two different "tactics" meant to determine how you handle unexpected situations.

"The Interview" is such terrible black magic, there's simply no way these techniques provide reliable predictivity towards someone's success in their job. I would love to hear about specific metrics regarding expected vs. actual success, and while I know it'd be impossible to know how someone would have done had you hired them, you can at least know how well someone did who you did hire, based on your expectations. Like, if someone scores "well" on the "Is it cool if I take my shoes off during this?" stress test, does that actually make them more likely to be a good employee?

I currently believe no one in HR knows the answer to that question, though the assumption is largely, "Yes."

Long post warning - this is just a perspective about shitty HR in the vein of this post, not sexism, like the original Fowler post.

Late last year at 10am on a Thursday, I got a call asking if I wanted to interview for a HR position with Uber in Australia. He wanted the position filled ASAP, so we organised an interview for that evening.

I had already accepted an offer from another company for a summer internship in software dev, an area I was actually interested in, but I was beguiled by the Uber brand and was practically willing to give up a lot to work for them as a result. I am not interested in HR by any stretch, and believe that HR staff are better put to use removing staples from about-to-be-recycled paper or other more productive ends.

I 'passed' the initial interview and was asked to do the following:

- Draft a cold email to a potential hire, with the goal to fill an existing vacancy in the company;

- Pass an extensive, three-hour 'data analytics' test (see: basic-intermediate data manipulation and analysis in Excel) hosted on HackerRank. This was actually fairly challenging because you're purposefully time-poor throughout the test;

- Create a PowerPoint presentation outlining a plan to target university grads. This was also challenging since if I was given a template with pre-made slide designs, it would be pretty easy. But I designed a slide deck from scratch completely in line with the Uber design guidelines, including typeface, color and other design requirements, on top of my recruitment strategy;

- Trawl through their current Uber Careers website and list as many possible ways that it could be improved.

So I was given this Thursday night. He wanted the tasks done asap, but I told the recruiter that I had an assignment due Tuesday, and that it would be quite a crunch. He 'relented' and gave me until Sunday night. As I write this, I realise that he was unabashedly using my enchantment with the company to his favour.

I did nothing that entire weekend but work on those items, and handed them all in Sunday evening, right on time, to the detriment of my assignment. I found out later (through a contact in the company, not from the recruiter) that I scored over 80% in the online exam, and that all the other items were very well received.

Despite this, I never received anything back from the recruiter at all. Nothing except a boilerplate rejection email, featuring photo of Diversity Hire #1 and #2 laughing over coffee and 'Thank you for your application. However, we cannot proceed with your application at this time...' The recruiter insisted that they tried to call me (again, I heard this through the contact) but lo and behold, despite being glued to my phone for over a week, my phone didn't ring once. The incredible disrespect I felt from this experience will mean that I'll never apply to them for any role, ever.

Tl;dr - my perspective of Uber is that they are entitled to your best work, and have no intention to reciprocate.

I think you got played. I saw that before as a hiring manager at an old school company when other departments would exercise candidates and sometimes pick up a nice little gem of an idea or two for their own use. Especially that part about revieiwing their website - that's paid work.

I certainly had this in the back of my mind. But I knew someone who got hired doing the exact same thing - my contact. So I had good reason to think that this effort would be worth something, and Uber can certainly afford to pay for those kinds of services. Of course, like you are saying, nothing stops them simply just using what I did and telling me to fuck off, which is what happened.

> I work at Apixio and we are hiring. Please hit me up if you would like to join us.

This seems like an odd juxtaposition with an article detailing the author's interview at another company...

Poorly written (probably because it was written in a hurry to piggy back on Susan's article). This doesn't contribute anything new to the conversation.

I found it interesting. The account does not have to contain outrageous horrible war story to be worth to be read. Moreover, if you are trying to make up your mind about a company or place, non exaggerated no big event story about how normal daily affairs are done there should matter.

The fact that this story does not contains ridiculous behavior on part of anyone, just some warning flag does not make it pointless.

If you look past the typos the article does bring up a few new points.

(BTW, the author said he was ESL, which might explain the typos).

More than the typos, I was more put off by the structure and sentence flow which made me feel like it was haphazardly put together, but didn't know he is ESL. Thanks for pointing that out. My apology to the author.

I think your comment is the first in what amounts to a "noise loop", where your comment doesn't add anything substantive to this conversation, and me pointing out that fact also doesn't add value, ad nauseum, forever. There may or may not have been signal in the submission, but there certainly is no signal in what we're doing.

Preferably, you'd have never made your original comment. Maybe I shouldn't even make this one. Who knows.

Yet here we are.

pls buy my kindle books

The tldr here is that this is a nice recounting of personal experience interviewing with Uber and being frustrated by it, pointing out the many warning signs seen in the interview about a toxic work culture.

The post was prompted by the phenomenal writeup by Susan Fowler on her year working with Uber. If you can read only one, certainly read hers. If you can read only two, consider reading Susan's twice as it's exceptionally good writing. This is a nice (not exceptionally original) personal account of a bad interview experience.

In case someone wants to save 1 minute of their life :) https://www.susanjfowler.com/blog/2017/2/19/reflecting-on-on...

I'm not familiar with the other write up you've mentioned, but I enjoyed this blog post. It's nice to know warning signs for potential companies you could work for. We have to stick together in IT and not let companies take advantage of us.

If doing 80 hours of work in 40 and all the other warning signs is no big deal to you, by all means, gun for an Uber position in that area. I'd like to hear about that though before I waste my time, so well done by OP.


I can write the same blog post about onsite interview at Google, which was a horrible 6 hours marathon with people that copying to their notes all that you draw/write on whiteboard.

Questions/problems are pretty lame, btw. Do one geeksforgeeks problem a day, you'll be able to crack it in a year.

I have also unsuccessfully interviewed at Google in the past. My biggest complain there was that people felt a bit snooty.

But I did not get a sense of such extreme underpaid/overworked culture as I got from Uber.

And yet, despite all these politicizing attempts, Uber has essentially transformed urban transportation in the 21st century.

I would argue that they've disrupted American urban transportation instead of transforming it - we're still essentially getting around the same way, and taxi services world-wide basically operate the same way Uber does and have for a long time. While Uber has a presence in other countries, the public transit infrastructure is far better supported and taxis operate with similar costs.

I can't imagine trying to take Uber in Seoul, for example, when the majority of the time I could either just take the metro or have a home delivery for most stuff I need, or grab one of the numerous taxis. Or, in my current home city of St. Petersburg, Uber doesn't have much of a competitive edge in price or service compared to the other taxi services, and in most cases, just taking a tram or the metro makes more sense.

Uber's system works really well in places where car ownership is mandatory for day to day activities, simply because there aren't any better alternatives. They didn't really transform urban transportation, they just capitalized on the inefficiency of current taxi services, disrupting the existing market, and quite frankly, unless they start to invest in stuff like the personal taxi drones like what is being demoed in Dubai right now [1], I think they're going to end up with a transportation empire that is irrelevant when you can just travel as the crow flies and eliminate the traffic concerns entirely. Granted, such a future has a ways to go with technology and regulatory work, but so do the autonomous cars everyone is banking on.

And to the side point on your comment, doing something impressive doesn't excuse bad behavior.

[1] http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2017/02/taxi-take-0

edit: corrected auto-correct's change of Uber's > User's back to Uber's

They did not transformed all that much, they are taxi service like any other. Where they were actually forced to follow the same rules as everyone else (Germany), they do not have better prices. Basically, they are good in taking advantage of corrupt system and make the corruption work for them.

This one is the key. If it wasn't for corruption and breaking laws they couldn't practice such prices. Plus the fact that they manage to get revenue from both riders and drivers.

"politicizing attempts".

Sexual harassment is politicizing?

Laws, minimum wage and ethical treatment of employees are a huge barrier to innovation, and I for one am glad Uber has ripped that barrier down.

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