Ola was founded in 2011 as a cab-aggregation service. Now, they are one of the biggest ride-sharing services in the world with almost over a million drivers in their ranks.
With that kind of growth, it is not surprising that they are considered as one of the top Indian startups to work for. Here are a few more reasons why Ola has become a popular choice:
- It has raised a total of $3.3 billion after 16 rounds of funding. Recently, it was reported that Japanese investment powerhouse, SoftBank, has offered to invest another round of $1 billion in Ola.
- They have started expanding into new markets like New Zealand and Australia. Besides that, they are venturing into other areas like scooter-sharing, food delivery, and e-pharmacy.
- If you are someone who is impact-oriented, then Ola is the place for you. They are all about working fast and hard to make a quick impact.
- Ola salaries are very competitive and above the industry average.
- Growth in the organisation is based on the value you bring to the table and not based on experience alone.
So, if you are interested in joining Ola for an engineering role, then read on and get a complete roundup of their hiring process. We’ve covered everything from frequently asked interview questions to an overview of Ola’s work culture.
What does Ola look for in a candidate for engineering roles?
Ola is a fast-paced tech organisation and extremely data-driven. They want candidates to be smart, impact-driven, and creative.
The recruitment process
Ola’s recruitment process is pretty standard. It hires through two avenues:
- Off-campus recruitment
- On-campus placement drives
Off-campus recruitment process
Ola posts their job vacancies on LinkedIn and the career section of their website. Employee referral is another major channel for recruitment for Ola. So, if you know anyone who works in Ola, get them to refer you.
Here are the steps involved in the hiring process:
Written test: If your application is shortlisted, you’ll be asked to take an online test on HackerRank. Typically, this section includes questions on data structure, array and integer, and ticket booking system.
Technical interviews: If you pass the online test, you will progress onto the next round — technical interviews. You will be asked to come over for the interviews, or it’ll happen over a phone call if you aren’t in the same city.
The interview process aims to find out the values you bring to the organisation, and if you can work hard and fast to get results. Ola likes candidates who are willing to experiment and work through ambiguity.
For tech-hiring, Ola usually has three rounds or more.
First round: The interview process is usually kicked-off with a coding test. You will have to live-code.
Second round: Your code from the previous round will be reviewed. Expect a few questions about it. Then, you may have to face one or two further rounds that test your technical proficiency around system design, DS and algorithms.
Final round: The hiring manager will handle this section. You will be tested for tech and product competencies, intelligence and fit.
Remember, Ola looks for smart problem solvers – and you will be tested for this rigorously.
Frequently asked questions include:
- Traverse a binary tree
- Design a distributed system
- Reverse a string using stack
- Design a bowling alley using OOP concepts
- Data structures and algorithm
- Implement set data structure of Redis
- Questions on RESTful API
- Expect scenario-based questions such as how would you tackle an outage.
What skills should you focus on?
HTML, Javscript, CSS, Java, SQL, Algorithms, NodeJS, Python, Ruby on Rails, Critical thinking, Problem-solving, Logic and reasoning.
On-campus recruitment process
For engineering roles, Ola mostly hires from pedigreed institutes such as IITs and NITs. They do hire from Tier 2 institutes as well, especially for development and testing roles.
The questions asked in these interviews are along the same lines as those in the off-campus recruitment process.
How critical is your academic performance?
CGPA is just one of the data points that Ola uses to evaluate candidates. Ola looks for smart problem solvers who can fit in with their work culture. If you can demonstrate that, you don’t have to worry too much about your grades.
Some Dos and Don’ts
- Be well prepared for the interview – it will be rigorous and will test you for tech skills and cultural fit.
- Know what Ola is all about, what they do and how. Also, read up on relevant business aspects of Ola.
- If you have friends working at Ola, talk to them. Understand the company, how it functions and its work culture.
True to their fast-paced nature, Ola expects new-hires to join as soon as possible — within 10 to 15 days. If you are an experienced hire, Ola will wait for your notice period, but they prefer early joiners. Ola also carries out background checks to ensure their candidates don’t have any negative references.
Working at Ola
During the initial years, working at Ola was ‘insane’. However, it is not as intense now, and the work is much more structured. You can still expect a fair amount of workload and being pushed against timelines to deliver.
Ola is high on employee engagement and has a multi-pronged approach. It starts with a daily team level huddle. Next, managers have regular meetings to discuss work and progress with employees. Besides that, senior executives of Ola also engage with employees once a month with all-hands meetings. During these meetings, they give a macro picture of what is next and what are the company’s priorities moving forward.
But it’s not all work and no play! Ola folks do have their fair share of fun. Managers bond with employees regularly – through team dinners and offsite outings.
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