Airbnb Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Aug 23, 2014
Updated Aug 23, 2014
7 Interview Reviews

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1 person found this helpful  

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  San Francisco, CA
Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
Application Details

I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Airbnb in January 2014.

Interview Details

After the initial housekeeping with recruiters you do 2 phone screens that last ~45 minutes. Coding questions are the average DS and algo, but wrapped in some use scenario context, which is helpful.
Mine included: lower/uppercase permutations, simple json parsing, implementing a simple socket based client (could lookup docs online).
You need to produce *running code (this is true for both phone and onsite), but that shouldn't make you nervous.

Arch/Design questions is what got me. You're expected to know database/relation design, indexing, different layers of caching and lookup optimization as if you do this all day every day.
You can answer these Q's in either Sql or NoSql context.

Then there are 2 quirky culture/fit interviews. Know why you want to work there, be ready to share some experiences from traveling (and hopefully using AirBnB), and have something new to teach your interviewer in a few minutes. That part is actually fun.

All in all a nice experience and anyone you interact with are pleasant and helpful.

Interview Questions
  • What SQL columns you should index and how would you change the indexing in different lookup scenarios?   Answer Question
  • What can you teach me in a few minutes?   Answer Question
No Offer
Neutral Experience
Difficult Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Airbnb

  1. 18 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. 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 Questions
    • 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.
        View Answer
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    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 Questions
    • Find all words from a dictionary that are x edit distance away.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  3. 4 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. 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 Questions
    • 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
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
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  5. 8 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. 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 Questions
    • 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
    Reasons 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.

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. 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.

    Interview Questions
    • Describe what happens when you enter a url in the web browser   Answer Question
    • Sort a list of numbers in which each number is at a distance k from its actual position   Answer Question
    • You have a plain with lots of rectangles on it, find out how many of them intersect   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Average Interview
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    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 Questions
    • I had no experience in information retrieval so I found the task to be tough, especially since it was timed (3 hours).   View Answer
    No Offer

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