Rain or shine, we mini golf.

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Take a group of twenty WhitePages interns, their mentors, and managers to a mini golf course then tell them there are prizes. Odds are you’ll come out of the round thinking mini golf was an Olympic sport.

Did your team putt the best overall score? Congratulations, bronze medals and prizes for all!

Did you putt a hole-in-one? Even if it was a fluke, silver medal for you! Here is a gift card.

Did you putt the lowest score out of everyone? Congratulations, you are a gold medalist on the top of the podium. Here is another gift card.

On the first social intern event of the summer, the team went to Interbay Golf Course to play a round and enjoy our time out of the office. We managed to dodge the rain, played through some soggy greens, and even managed to hit a few holes-in-one. Shout outs to Jeff, Katherine, Byron, and Graeme for sinking those putts with one stroke!

When the rounds were over, we headed inside for dinner and awards. Although the competition was fierce, there was a team who stood above the rest. Congratulations Team Number One! As it so happens, they also had our overall best golfer with a round total of 48; that’s only 8 over par.

We’ve enjoyed having our summer interns and it was a great way to interact outside the office. Up next on the intern social calendar is our afternoon playing Whirlyball in August. We can’t wait!

Internship Guide for CSE Majors

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My name is Shen Wang. I am a Computer Science major senior studying at University of Washington Seattle campus. Currently, I am working as an intern here at WhitePages. Every CSE major knows the importance of that first perfect internship and asks just about every person they can find all kinds of questions. Thus, I’d love to share my experience, and hopefully it can help others find the perfect fit.

Where it all started

The first time I came across WhitePages was at the fall CSE career fair. Being the only company that offered coding challenges, WhitePages quickly grabbed my attention. I took a copy of the challenge and sat on the stairs and started working on it. Due to the pressure I gave myself to come up with something clever, I was not able to perform as well as I could and did not get very far.

Time flew by quickly afterwards and the Winter/Spring career fair was right around the corner. After my first unsuccessful adventure at the previous career fair and missing my mom and puppy in China, whom I haven’t seen them in nearly three years, I was seriously considering spending the summer back in China. At the fair, WhitePages was again the only company that offered a coding challenge. Wanting to redeem myself, I took the challenge again. My mindset this time was a lot different. Instead of trying to impress, I just wanted to improve upon the last time and show exactly what I could do. This mindset clearly worked out for me. Instead of getting only a couple opportunities that lasted only through the initial screening, I was able to grab the interest of a number of companies and go much deeper in the interview process. Among the companies was WhitePages.

After the career fair were two whole busy weeks full of due dates and interviews. Honestly, I was a bit surprised when I received the email from WhitePages asking if I’d be interested in a second round test. After replying with “YES, PLEASE. THANK YOU!”(In a longer version of course), I was given a shot at the second coding question. Luckily, I was able to ace this second challenge and given an opportunity for an on-site interview. The on-site interview was a lot more fun. The interviewers were the managers from various teams. Typically, intern candidates only get to meet with two managers. In my case, however, another manager (whom I work under now) was especially interested in me and asked if I would be able to stay a bit longer. Long story short, the interview took 4 hours that day and was a lot of fun. I learned a lot from the interviewers and was fully entertained (and fed) the whole time. Shortly after, I had a very competitive offer in my hands. The offer was generous and I was given a soft deadline of two weeks to decide. After spending a week closing out other interviews and a half-bragging-half-sorry Skype session with my mom, I accepted the offer.

There were a number of welcome/orientation events, happy hours and free Friday lunches during the time after the offer and before summer.

Life at WhitePages

While I could just finish this section with one word “AWESOME”, I should probably go into more depth so this guide does not make it to the “Worst Guides of All Time” list.

Working at WhitePages is a great experience. All the time and effort spent by HR, interviewers and candidates really pays off. Every single person here working here truly fits here. I can always rely on the people around me to be friendly, helpful and smart. Remember how annoying and poisonous that lazy person from you group project course was? There is absolutely no need to worry about that working here.

One of the topics that is covered all the time in intern talks is Big Company VS. Small Company. The conclusion always becomes big ones are more financially stable and smaller ones allow people to make a bigger impact. One of the groups that is not covered in this topic is a medium company like WhitePages. Medium sized companies can often provide the best of both worlds. Finance is never an issue, and small and independent teams allow ideas to be exchanged, discussed and evaluated very quickly. For example, my project this summer is actually geared towards making a brand new product, and I get to do interesting research work and learn about how to launch a new service into production from the ground up.

Another shining spot about interning at WhitePages is the amount of mentorship I’ve received. During my two months here, I have learned a ton of things in different areas: from coding style to approaches to problems, astronomy to physics, statistics to the hottest and newest video game, career growth to interview tips, from beer to whiskey, and conversations covering all ranges of topics.

Last but not least, we also have a HR department that is dedicated to making everyone happy. We have alternating free Friday lunches and happy hours, and a kitchen always fully stocked with free treats (yogurt being my favorite).

Oh, and did I mention for August we only worked 4 days a week and had 3-day weekends all month?

Final Advice

1. Instead of working hard to impress the interviewer right before an interview, work hard on a daily basis, and just believe what you have on the table is enough to impress.
2. There are many opportunities in the CS industry. A bad interview or unfit position is not the end of world but rather an arrow sign pointing next door.
3. Medium Size Company = Big | Small > Big || Small
4. Apply at WhitePages

Journey of a Rainier Scholar Intern

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asmera mapMy name is Danait Yemane and I am a member of cohort V in Rainier Scholars. I am an Eritrean-American, and a first generation college student attending Johns Hopkins University this fall. Both of my parents grew up in the capital of Eritrea, Asmara, and after the war for independence, immigrated to the United States for more opportunities to work, and better education for my siblings and me. I am the oldest in my family, and with that I bear the responsibility of “being the best” in all things academic as well as being a well rounded role model, both culturally and academically, for my younger siblings. My family is my main source of pressure, but unlike the typical negative connotation that is associated with the word pressure, I am grateful for their high expectations. I take my education very seriously because my parents didn’t have the opportunity to pursue higher education in their community, because they grew up in what was and still is an economically developing country. Although both of my parents are qualified for college degrees, they work in laborious jobs that are far from their interests in order to support our large family (both in the United States, and in Eritrea). I have a rigorous work ethic in school because I want to have the ability to choose how my family lives, instead of having market forces make all the choices for us.

Aside from my background, in fifth grade, I joined Rainier Scholars. This program taught my family about opportunities that were available to me and provided me with support from mentors I could rely on. Before R.S., I was trained to be independent and find my own solutions to challenges. Through Rainier Scholars, I learned the importance of collaborating with my teachers and peers. Along with building my character as a student, Rainier Scholars also taught me the value of embracing my heritage. Through courses like Invictus, I learned about the importance of identity. When I graduated from the 14-month academic phase of Rainier Scholars, the guidance and support didn’t disappear. I kept in close contact with my mentors, academic counselors, financial aid advisors, etc and knew that I could rely on these individuals for help with any of my concerns. Rainier Scholars as a program not only challenged me intellectually, but also helped me discover more about who I am and where I will go.

Before going to college, I wanted to make sure that I would be busy during the summer like I have in the past with my previous internships and sports. I applied to WhitePages through the Rainier Scholars internship program and was matched at this site based on my interests. While I am here, I will be working with the Customer Service team on the Mr. Number queue by learning more about the app’s features, conducting tests with certain android phones, and providing support to customers who are having difficulties with the app.

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Me and my WhitePages team!

After WhitePages, I hope to pursue degrees in public health and international studies. My goal is to be a doctor (focusing on research and medicine) and I hope that a job like this will provide me with the opportunity to travel and expose myself to more cultures around the world. First, I want to go back to Eritrea and work with my community there by helping to serve and develop the health care system that they have in place now.The reason why I am so passionate about this subject is that I want a job where I can see how the work that I am doing impacts and benefits the lives of others. I want to serve the communities that I feel suffer from injustices that shouldn’t exist in our societies today by providing them with the resources and opportunities to change their lives for the better.

Team Bonding on a Budget

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Do you break into a cold sweat and start seeing dollars signs when anyone says, “team building activity?” Not to worry, with a bit of creativity you can leverage your own staff to facilitate a fun and truly engaging group activity, with very little time or monetary investment.

Everyone at WhitePages works extremely hard and sometimes so hard that we don’t have time to interact with our colleagues on different floors. But just as spring has infused the Pacific Northwest with warmth and sunshine (at least one day per week), so did the WhitePages HR team infuse our company with fun and intrigue on Friday, April 22nd with an inexpensive group activity – AN EGG HUNT!

This wasn’t your Nana’s egg hunt; our 500 eggs were filled with candy, dollar scratchers, gift certificates, DealPop Points and clues – that’s right clues! In an effort to have people interact with those they wouldn’t ordinarily, we selected 20 people from across various functional teams and asked them to contribute one interesting fact about themselves that others might not know. We printed multiple copies of each clue, stuffed them in eggs, and watched as everyone tried to figure out who once loaded mulch into Michael Keaton’s Mercedes, or who was once ranked the number two mathematician in the state of California.

As the team figured out who belonged to what clue, they filled in the blanks, and deposited their clue in a box for a prize drawing – two one pound chocolate bunnies, and one copy of Howard Schultz’s new book Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul with a Starbucks gift card as the grand prize.

Total monetary investment: $150 (500 eggs, ten $1 scratchers, four $5 gelato gift certificates, two 1lb. chocolate bunnies, grand prize book/gift card combo, numerous bags of candy)
Total time investment: 4-6 hours (purchasing goods, collecting clues, stuffing and hiding eggs)

Initial naysayers, soon became fiendish egg-seekers, and this one activity has had a lasting effect on group interactions, and has noticeably increased morale.

How has your organization facilitated team bonding on a budget?