Airbnb Software Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews
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Very Difficult Interview
Software Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Airbnb in November 2013.
Interview Details – Applied online Nov 2013.
1. Few days later spoke with very knowledgeable recruiter.
2. In 2 days scheduled the tech phone screen using coderpad - didn't have enough time to finish the problem.
Overall the questions are on the difficult side for phone screening. I wonder how many people can produce working code in 40min. I would recommend people try the two questions, and give yourself 40min for each. The code need to be complied and working. Please comment on this post and tell how long it too you.
Interview Question – 1. find all the combinations of a string in lowercase and uppercase. For example, string "ab" -> "ab", "Ab", "aB", "AB". So, you will have 2^n (n = number of chars in the string) output strings. The goal is for you to test each of these string and see if it match a hidden string.
2. Implement a simple regex parser which, given a string and a pattern, returns a boolean indicating whether the input matches the pattern. By simple, we mean that the regex can only contain special character: * (star), . (dot), + (plus). The star means what you'd expect, that there will be zero or more of previous character in that place in the pattern. The dot means any character for that position. The plus means one or more of previous character in that place in the pattern. Answer Question
Software Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
The process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Airbnb.
Interview Details – Very similar to below. Recruiter reached out through email, call with recruiter, and then a few technical phone screens, to an onsite.
The onsite was most of a day, and very tiring. There was 3 behavioral interviews along with 3 technical interviews.
Questions ranged from basic data structures/algo to scaling systems
Interview Question – Find all words from a dictionary that are x edit distance away. Answer Question
Software Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Airbnb.
Interview Details – Recruiter outreach (email), led to a call with the recruiter, and then a technical screen (Skype, coding in an online editor) with an engineer, which in turn lead to an onsite.
The onsite was very long, and had me talking to about 7 different team members (mostly engineers, and one interview with a designer for cultural fit); it lasted the entire day.
Lots of tree questions (implement a BST, score sudden-death tournament results with a minimal binary tree data structure, encode an alien dictionary using a tree and then produce a dictionary using topological traversal), and a "rebuild Twitter from the ground up" scaling/architecture question.
Interview Question – Store a set of sudden-death tournament results in a compact format (eg. a bit array) and a set of predicted match results (also in a bit array). Score the predictions, giving one point per correctly guessed match, without unpacking the bit array into a more convenient format (ie. you have to traverse the tree in-place). Answer Question
Software Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 7+ weeks - interviewed at Airbnb in January 2013.
Interview Details – The recruiters I worked with were very good, punctual and responded to emails in a timely manner. They were very accommodating to my schedule and did their best to prepare me for my interviews.
The coding challenge was reasonable although you had to manage your time very carefully and prepare your tools ahead of time as it was timed. The first phone screen was focused on practical problems that were of adequate difficulty and appropriate for the position in question.
The on-site interview is a TIRING experience, I was there for almost 5 hours and was exhausted by the end. I found the technical portion of the interviews quite easy and was really only challenged by one question in 3 hours. Questions were a mix of practical coding problems and CS fundamentals. The culture portion of the interviews was more difficult, there were a range of question from explaining technical topics to a non-technical interviewer, to more personal questions about why/whether you like to travel, how you started programming, how you look at design, etc.
Interview Question – Some of the culture/personality questions were quite off the wall and hard to answer. For example, explaining to a non-technical interviewer how one would be able to identify elegant code. Answer Question
Reason for Declining – One factor I considered was the offered option package. First, the recruiter was not able to tell me the strike price nor the number of basis points the offer represented which are pretty basic quantities to ask about when evaluating any stock option package. Secondly, they have a high valuation, relative to other companies with a similar risk profile, which cuts into the possible upside.
Software Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Airbnb in October 2012.
Interview Details – I got to talk to them through a recruiter and after the phone interview went onsite for the full day.
The engineers I talked to I didn't think they were as good quality as some of the other companies I had talked to. Couple of them asked me questions that they were unsure of themselves or gave me the wrong answer and had to go home and figure out why what they said didn't make sense.
Software Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience)
Interviewed at Airbnb
Interview Details – They made me do a programming task on InterviewStreet on creating a simple search to retrieve locations and other data from a database.
Interview Question – I had no experience in information retrieval so I found the task to be tough, especially since it was timed (3 hours). View Answer
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