After 2 months of networking and interviews, I received an offer from C3AI for the 2022 UX Design Summer Internship.
In this post, I will share my application process and takeaways. Hope this will help whoever’s interested in applying in the future.
Oct 2021 / Networking + Calls
Oct 31, 2021 / Submitted Application
Nov 9, 2021 / Received Questionnaire + Take Home Assignment
Nov 24, 2021 / Received Final Interview email
Dec 8, 2021 / Final Interview (2 hours)
Dec 15, 2021 / Interview with VP of Design
Dec 22, 2021 / Got the offer!
C3 AI is a leading enterprise AI software provider for accelerating digital transformation. In very simple terms, they provide AI software for companies.
In the end, I was grateful that I got one referral. Without it, I doubt I’ll even get the interviews.
In November, I received an email notifying me about the questionnaire and take-home assignment.
I had two weeks to complete both of these tasks, and I was told to not spend over eight hours on the take-home assignment.
If you want to know what I did for the assignment, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn! Here are some tips when doing it:
Feel free to go over eight hours. But there’s a catch: Don’t make it obvious that you spent more than that. Trust me. You can tell one worked on this assignment for over 20 hours vs 8 hours.
Think about the user journey, assumptions, constraints, and trade-offs. These considerations will help you make more focused and effective design decisions.
C3AI is an enterprise AI company, so think about how you can add AI & ML into your project!
Having a clear design process that’s easy to follow for the interviewers is crucial. For example, here’s a standard process that I follow:
Here were resources that I looked into when doing the take-home assignment:
For the presentation and questionnaire, I used Figma to create my slides.
After I submitted, I received an email to schedule for the Take-Home Assignment Presentation!
But, before I signed up for a date, the C3AI team sent out this email the day after:
Due to a slight change in process, they’ve decided to jump straight to the final round.
The final round will take approximately 2 hours. And after further inquiry, they told me the reason for the change was to give out offers before the holidays! Love it! :))
The final round interviews consists of three virtual interviews:
This round was interesting.
All the applicants gathered in one call. And we took turns presenting our assignment to three product design managers.
For me, I enjoyed seeing what other applicants did as application process can often feel like a silo. In the end, we went a bit over time due to technical difficulties. But here are some advices when presenting:
This is a personal preference. But showing your results in the very beginning gives the interviewer something to dwell on instead of a “grand reveal.”
The interviewers won’t hard cut you if you go over. But presenting within the timeframe is a sign that you respect everyone’s time.
I was very nervous for this one because I’ve never done a whiteboard challenge before.
I tried to practice beforehand on my own. But it felt weird not having another person to give feedback and discuss with.
So I prepped by looking at different articles, videos, and real-life examples of whiteboard challenges.
On the day, I did the whiteboard challenge with a product designer. And the problem given was:
People have difficulties finding an ideal car
I won’t go into the specifics cause that’ll make this article way too long. But this was the process I followed for the challenge:
This is my process, and there are tons of other processes out there. So do your research and find which fits you the best! Here are some tips when doing the challenge:
When interviewer challenges you or suggests alternatives, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong or a bad designer! Throw that thought away! The point is to work with the designer to create a workable solution!
I know it’s hard. But try not to treat this as a whiteboard challenge! Treat this as a collaboration exercise. Ask questions and communicate frequently with the designer! It’s as if you’re already in the company working with him/her! Feel free to ask them:
What do you think about this?
Is there anything I’m missing or should consider?
Like the Take-Home Assignment, remember to think about how to add in elements of AI & ML to your idea!
In the last minutes of the challenge, I suggested using an AI voice assistant to chat with users and recommend cars based on their conversations.
And based on my interviewers reaction (”That’s a cool idea!”), that idea definitely boosted my chance.
Another point of the whiteboard challenge is to let the interviewers how you think. So speak out your thoughts! Be aware of any assumptions you have!
As you can see, I only made two screens, and they weren’t even close to polished. So, your thinking process really matters the most!
Here were some resources I looked up when I was prepping for the whiteboard challenge:
In this interview, I spoke with another product designer. This one was very casual, and I could tell that the interviewer took a close look at my portfolio and resume beforehand.
Some of the questions my interviewer asked were:
To be honest, I thought the three interviews went way better than I expected. In fact, I may even use the word “fun” to describe the 2 hour long round.
At this point, I thought the interview process was over.
Until I received this email after a few days:
I’m meeting C3AI’s VP of Product Design!
Seems like C3AI does this every year, and I truly appreciated the opportunity to meet him!
As I expected, this wasn’t really an interview per say. It felt more like a casual conversation or a vibe check.
The VP of Design was very friendly, and he explained to me what C3AI does on a high level towards the end of the interview.
It was a great conversation, and the waiting period begins!
The day after my call with the VP of Design, I flew back to Taipei, Taiwan and began my 14-day quarantine. So the wait for a status update felt like forever…
But, it all ended when one morning I woke up to this email from one of my interviewers:
My heart was racing. I knew this was IT.
After an hour, I received a call, and I was offered the Summer UX Design Intern role for C3AI!
Looking back, the process took around two months, which is a common time frame.
In the end, I did not take the offer, but the application process was a great learning opportunity!
Anyways, I hope this article helps you in any way. For everyone who’s on the application grind, you got this!
Thank you for being awesome and reading this far :)