Ace Booking.com's Interview: Tips & Strategies for a Winning Outcome
Are you curious about the interview process at Booking.com? If so, this post is for you. In it, we'll take a look at the company's interview process and provide strategies to help you ace your interviews.
7 min read
4 Dec, 2022
Almost everyone knows Booking.com - it's a household name. And with that reputation, comes a difficult interview process.
As you may expect, the company receives a high volume of applications, making the interview process a competitive one. You'll have to ace a number of remote and on-site interviews if you want to join their team of over 9000 globally distributed staff.
With this in mind, I'll be outlining the different stages of the interview process and providing tips to help you stand out from the crowd. So, if you're looking to work at Booking.com, read on to learn more about the interview process and to get some advice on how to best prepare yourself.
The Interview Process (for non-tech jobs)
Booking.com's interview process for no-technical staff typically consists of three different stages and takes between 2 and 4 weeks to completed. These stages are:
- Initial Screening Interview (Phone Call or Skype)
- Written test
- On-site Panel Interview
1. Initial Screening Interview
You can apply through Booking.com’s website or through various job posting platforms such as LinkedIn or Indeed. The recruiters then go through job applications before contacting qualified applicants through a call.
The first stage is conducted via a phone call or Skype. This initial interview lasts about 30 minutes. The call will be about basic questions regarding your qualifications and experience related to the position.
If you pass this stage, you will move on to the second round which is a written test and a panel interview.
2. Written Test
This test takes about 45 minutes to complete. The written test is conducted to assess your analytical skills. This also includes questions to test your knowledge about the company.
3. On-site Panel Interview
The final round of interviews is conducted on-site at Booking.com’s headquarters located in Amsterdam.
This is the final stage and lasts about 60 minutes. You will be interviewed by three employees at Booking.com who will ask about your significant experiences and skills.
Booking.com's modern HQ in Amsterdam i.e. dress casually for your interview
Here are some sample question you can use in your interview preparation for non-technical jobs:
- How do you deal with situations where you need to practice empathy and your ability to address customer concerns?
- Tell us about an encounter with an upset customer and what you did to handle it.
- What do you think about “Hospitality” and how do you practice it?
- What do you know about Booking.com?
- Do you have any expectations for this position?
- Why did you choose Booking.com?
- Share with us an experience when you went above and beyond for a client.
- What do you think “customer service” means?
- What experiences do you have that are related to this job position?
- Do you know anyone who works at Booking.com?
- Why should we hire you for this job position?
- How do you deal with angry customers?
- Where do you see yourself after 5 years?
- How did you overcome a difficult situation at work?
- Share about a time when you had to meet tight deadlines.
Would you like a 4 day work week?
The Interview Process (for Software-related jobs)
As with the interview process for general jobs, Booking.com’s average interview process takes 2-4 weeks and is split into three stages. This is applicable to all technical jobs in Data, Design, and Software Engineering.
- Coding Test (HackerRank)
- Phone Call
- Onsite Interviews
1. Coding Test
Booking.com’s coding test is done online through HackerRank. This covers your knowledge of basic algorithms and data structures. The HackerRank test lasts 75 minutes and has 5 technical challenges, but others report only doing 4 questions. You can practice and check sample problems for Booking.com uploaded on HackerRank’s website.
HackerRank offers sample problems for Booking.com related to travel profiles, hotel systems, reviews, and car parking. You can also search on YouTube for sample challenges to practice with so you are better prepared for the coding challenges.
2. Phone Call
After the coding test, you will receive an e-mail with time slots to arrange for a call. It would also be a good idea to send a follow-up e-mail to ask about what steps to take. The phone call is your usual phone screen with the recruiter where you will talk about past experiences, motivation, and questions about yourself.
During this phone call, make sure to ask some questions. Ask about things like company culture, perks, and questions about leadership. Some people who get high scores in Hackerrank skip the Skype interview/call and are invited to the site directly.
3. Onsite Interviews
There are typically 2-4 rounds for the onsite interview, depending on the position you’re applying for. The first interview is with the HR recruiter, which is similar to the initial phone call regarding usual HR topics.
Two technical interviews that follow are for algorithms and system design. The algorithmic round involves solving a problem on paper with two engineers. Although this problem you will be solving is harder than HackerRank’s challenge, it’s not impossible.
For the system design, you will also be doing this with two engineers. During this round, you want to show them your structured approach as you clarify requirements, define components, and dig into deeper details to ask the interviewer what they care about regarding the problem.
The last meeting is with a senior member of the team or a principal engineer. During this interview, you will share the business impact of the work you have done. Demonstrate your understanding of Booking.com’s business model.
p.s. make sure you also demonstrate that you understand the basics of A/B testing since this is a common topic that Booking.com likes.
Here are some sample question you can use in your interview preparation for technical roles:
- Demonstrate how you can create an attribution model.
- Show us how you implement a recommender system.
- Explain Booking.com’s business model and how we make money from it.
- Can you code and style a feedback form from scratch?
- Find unique words in a given string.
- Explain what a HashMap is.
- Can you design a small feature for Booking.com’s portal?
- Share with us your process when conducting user research.
- Tell us about a data science project you’ve worked on. What was its business impact? Do you think this project was successful? How?
- Explain what you know about A/B testing.
- Can you implement a function that returns the first n chars of a text without breaking any word?
- What metrics have you used to measure the success of a product you were involved in recently?
- Do you have experience working with Android UI?
- Talk about how you validate your decisions.
- How do you handle a sudden influx of customer support calls after implementing website improvements?
Strategies and Tips
As with usual job interviews, there are general tips you should practice so that you can ace that Booking.com job interview.
When preparing for a job interview, you should always set aside the time to practice. There are a great number of sample interview questions available on the Internet. For Booking.com, we’ve prepared 15 sample interview questions for you to practice. Try to answer them in advance, and write down your personal answers so that you can internalize them.
Ask a friend, family member, or colleague to do a mock interview with you. Ask them for feedback and things you should improve on. If you have the finances for it, you can also consider getting an interview coach. Being prepared is the first step to acing that interview.
To be fully prepared, research is essential. Take advantage of the Internet and use it to find out as much as you can about the company you’re applying for. Is there any recent news or new accomplishments that the company has done?
Know the company’s mission, vision, and history. Most companies have their own websites, so going through those would be a great help during your interview. If you think about it, what company would want to hire someone who doesn’t know anything about the company they are applying to?
3. Be confident
When you’ve prepared and done your research, the last thing for you to do is bring up your confidence. Get rid of those nerves and be confident of the skills you have. Answer the interview questions with confidence and leave an impression on your recruiters.
As with any other company, Booking.com’s hiring and interview process is not easy and might take a while before you get your offer. But if you take note of the strategies and tips, and practice the sample interview questions found in this article, getting that dream job would be a walk in the park!
But don’t worry, even if you don’t get that dream job, why not consider looking through our job board. We have positions with a 4-day workweek from fields such as data & analytics, engineering, product & UX, sales, and more!