How to get an internship at Airbnb


Airbnb! A story of how three guys turned renting a mattress in their apartment into a billion dollar company. Two roommates who couldn’t afford rent decided to rent their apartment to people coming in for a design conference to make some bucks and that’s how it all began. Founded in 2008 as AirBed & Breakfast, Airbnb is now the largest online marketplace and hospitality service for people to lease or rent short-term lodging through a mobile app.

What are the types of internships at Airbnb and who is eligible?
Airbnb offers internships to students pursuing bachelors, masters, or Ph.D. in computer science, math, design, management, or related disciplines across their offices in Delhi, Gurgaon, and Mumbai. Management students can find internships in profiles such as operations, supply quality analysis, business development, client acquisition, sales & marketing, etc. Engineering students can look for internships in software development and data analysis. Airbnb internships generally last 6 months and offer a monthly stipend of 25K – 30K.

How to apply to an internship at Airbnb?
1. Apply onlineInternships: Airbnb careers
You can apply to internships in Airbnb through their official Airbnb India careers page.
2. Internshala – Airbnb often posts internships across various profiles on Internshala. You can register on the platform and apply to Airbnb internships when available.
3. Employee referral – You can connect with Airbnb employees via LinkedIn and request them to refer you. This will get you past the initial resume screening.

What after applying to an Airbnb internship?
Airbnb is known to have quite a difficult hiring process. Airbnb recruitment involves a resume shortlisting followed by 2 field-specific and 1 HR interview. If you’re applying to an engineering job, you’ll have to take a coding test, 2 technical interviews, and an HR interview.

The coding test is a 60-minute Hackerrank challenge, which usually involves writing code for a single problem statement such as pagination. You can code in the language of your choice. Following the test is a telephonic interview wherein you are asked about the code, its complexity, and how to improve it along with some conceptual questions on data structures and algorithms.

The second technical Airbnb interview is either done face-to-face or on Skype. The recruiter asks some conceptual questions such as –
1. What happens when you enter a URL in a web browser?
2. How would you split up a list of hosts into pages for a search result?
3. Given an unsorted array of integers that you can’t index into, write a function to find its median.
4. What can you teach me in a few minutes?
5. You are given a Twitter-like social network. When a user tweets something, all of their followers retweet it. Write an algorithm to find the smallest set S of users such that all users in the graph see tweets from at least one user in S.
6. Given a dictionary and a matrix of letters, find all the words in the matrix that are in the dictionary.
You’ll also be asked conceptual questions related to the programming languages that are requisite for the profile you’re applying for.

If you’re applying for a management profile, you’ll be mostly given hypothetical situations and asked to come up with a feasible solution. Also, get ready for some tricky questions in these interviews. Some sample questions are –
1. What would you say at Airbnb’s funeral?
2. When you walk into a room, what would be your theme song?
3. What will you do with a million dollars?
4. How would you explain Airbnb to your grandparents?
5. What would you do if a guest is kicked out by a host and she needs to retrieve her belongings?

The HR interview questions are pretty standard and similar for all profiles. Some sample questions are –
1. Why do you want to work at Airbnb?
2. What do you like the most about Airbnb?
3. What’s the last gift you gave to someone?
4. What are your expectations from this internship?

What to expect once your Airbnb internship starts?
Well, let me quote an instance. A young boy joined the Airbnb office as an intern and his manager said to him, “Hey, welcome home!”. Yes, Airbnb takes its mission to create a world where you can belong anywhere quite personally! At Airbnb, you work on real-time projects and try to enhance users’ travel experiences. There are no cubicles; you sit in open spaces. Your mentorship is not limited to your managers. You’ll also receive it from very seniors members of the management like the CFO and the CTO. And as the ex-interns say, ‘People are great, the work is great, and the culture is great. Why won’t you come here?’.

A couple of pro-tips from hiring managers:
For design students:
a. Before calling you for an interview, the recruiters look for a visual and complete portfolio as it gives them a signal about your abilities and experiences.
b. Redesign an aspect of Airbnb to display your skills, ideas, and interests.
c. The recruiters look for a passion for the craft and an entrepreneurial spirit.
For engineering students:
a. Airbnb works mostly on Python and Ruby on Rails. So, you should have a working knowledge of these languages along with an experience/fundamental knowledge of Java, C++, HTML/CSS, and SQL.
b. Practice a lot of coding problems before taking the test and the interviews.

For a closer view of the Airbnb work culture and internship opportunities, you can read Hwanghah’s journey to landing a design internship and Anna’s amazing experience at Airbnb.

Now that you have a deep insight into Airbnb’s internship program, apply to Airbnb summer internships 2018 and expand your horizons. You can also look for similar software engineering and design internships on Internshala.

Pic credits: Glassdoor and Armando Kirwin

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