Dropbox Product Design Internship Application Process

Dropbox white logo on a blue background

In this article, I want to share my internship application process with Dropbox.

For context, even though I got into the final round, my interviews were canceled since I realized the times I suggested were after Dropbox’s recruiting period.

I mean - I was in Japan with my family. And I did not want to do interviews in Japan.

Anyhow, I hope sharing my process may help whoever is interested in applying to Dropbox in the future.

Timeline

  • Oct 26, 2022 / Sent out the application
  • Nov 28, 2022 / Received an email from the recruiter for a phone screen
  • Dec 8, 2022 / Phone screen with a recruiter
  • Dec 15, 2022 / Portfolio review (hiring manager)
  • Jan 4, 2023 / Received an email moving to final round interview
  • Jan 20, 2023 / Final round interview (scheduled but then canceled)

Going back in time…

Before interviews

After I submitted my application, I chatted with a past Dropbox design intern, KT Son. We had a great conversation, and I learned a lot about what’s it like to design at Dropbox!

Then, I received an email from the recruiter.

Email from dropbox recruiter to schedule the phone screen

Later I realized that KT dropped my name to the recruiter! I’m extremely grateful for her doing so. You never really know where a good conversation can lead to!

Screenshot of a message with a past design intern telling me that she gave me a referral

Application Stages

Round 1: Recruiter phone screen

At the beginning of December, I hopped on a call with the Dropbox recruiter.

How I prepared

I created an interview prep document with potential questions that may be asked. Then, I wrote out bullet points for the main questions:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why Dropbox?
  • What do you hope to gain from this internship experience?

In addition, I looked over multiple resources about Dropbox. Here are the ones I looked over:

And based on the research, I wrote and asked some questions to the recruiter at the end.

  • I know Dropbox follows a Virtual-First approach. How has that impacted your day-to-day life? And how does Dropbox ensure that it works out?
  • How long does the hiring process usually last for Dropbox product design intern positions?
  • Is there anything in my resume or background that could be concerning or I should address?

At the end of the interview, the recruiter told me that I will be moving on to the next round!

Round 2: Portfolio review

After a week, I hopped on a 45 min call with a hiring manager to go over my portfolio.

How I prepared

Dropbox specified that I did not need to prepare for a presentation. So I focused more on the flow of going over my portfolio. I practiced a few times to make sure everything sounds smooth.

In addition, I did my due diligence on the hiring manager and asked specific questions.

Tips

Think about the challenges you faced

One of the questions I got asked was:

What’s a specific challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?

In general, this is a good question to prep for every interview.

Pause and ask

Let’s step into the hiring manager’s shoes for a second.

Listening to one talk straight for 30 minutes can be…draining.

So, in your next portfolio walkthrough, try this: After a major section of your project, pause and ask:

Do you have any quick questions/confusions I can answer now?

This can give the hiring manager a breather.

Onto the next

After a few weeks, I received an email from the recruiter that I will be moving on to the final round!

Email from recruiter informing me that I will enter the final round

Round 3: Final round

Context: As I mentioned, my final round of interviews was canceled. Thus, in this section, I will only be sharing the structure of Dropbox’s final round of interviews.

Structure

  1. Portfolio Presentation (1 hour)
  2. 1:1 Behavioral - Deep Dive (45 min)
  3. 1:1 Behavioral - Social (30 min)

Portfolio Presentation (1 hour)

This is a direct snippet from the email from the recruiter:

Part of your interview will be a Portfolio Presentation. We'd like to get a feel for your work and your process. Consider showcasing two projects in depth. Be sure to start with a summary of who you are as a designer. Start with a few slides about your background. Showcase two projects from start to finish (walk us through the problem definition, user research, sketches, wireframes, prototypes, and visual design)

We’re interested in hearing about your design process and how you generated the final solution. Don’t be afraid to show rough sketches or designs that were not selected. We’d like to understand how you make decisions and see any iterations you tried, the trade-offs of each one, where you landed, and why.

Sample questions you might be asked:

  • What problem were you trying to solve? How was it defined?
  • How did you know you were solving the right problem?
  • Did you collaborate with others? What was the process like?
  • How did you measure success?
  • How did this design succeed or fail in achieving the business and user needs?
  • What did you learn?

1:1 Behavioral - Deep Dive (45 min)

I assume that the hiring manager from the portfolio presentation will ask more specific questions. So definitely be prepared to answer follow-up questions about your project.

1:1 Behavioral - Social (30 min)

I’ve heard that this round is extremely casual. The point is for me to ask any questions I want about Dropbox Design and learn more about the internship.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, because the time didn’t work out, my final round of interviews was canceled. It’s not a great feeling, but I also completely understand Dropbox’s situation. I’m thankful for the recruiters, hiring managers, and past design interns along the way.

If you’re applying in the future, I wish you the best of luck, and I'm always down to chat!

Han Solo saying good luck

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you for being awesome and reading this far! :)

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out on LinkedInTwitter, or by email. Will love to set up a casual call and chat!

Read Next