I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Palantir Technologies in February 2012.
Interview Details – - Trivial phone interview ("find an IP address", "how many (IPs|hosts) in a /(0-32)")
- Less trivial phone interview (abstract scenario questions, problem solving using userland)
- Multi-person all-day onsite interview (takes all day, with the possibility of being let go earlier if it is decided you're not a fit to move forward).
Interview Question – "You've been at your current position for several years, we're concerned that you're going to come in here and want to tell us how we're doing everything wrong and how it needs to change. Can you answer my concerns about that?" View Answer
Negotiation Details – received 3 choices. A) less salary more stock; B) equal; C) more salary less stock.
i negotiated for the salary in C and stock in B and got it.
I applied through college or university and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Palantir Technologies in November 2013.
Interview Details – I applied to Palantir Technologies through my university's career portal. I was soon emailed an online coding challenge (the rain basin problem) and was given two hours to complete it. I did and submitted it and got an email the next day to schedule a phone interview. This interview was 45 minutes long and covered a bunch of binary tree problems. I solved them fairly quickly, and an hour after the interview, I received an email to schedule an on-site visit to their Palo Alto, CA headquarters.
That was scheduled for about a month later. This day consisted of three interviews in the morning, then lunch and a demo. They only tell you about three interviews in the morning, but if you don't get any after lunch, it means you didn't get the job. Since I was interviewing for a full-stack position, one of my interviews was a design interview, and we talked about designing an interface to display data about volcano eruptions. Another covered algorithm stuff (binary trees, dynamic programming), and the last was finding a bug in a program on the interviewer's laptop. He was not allowed to say anything while I searched for and fixed the bug.
I had two more interviews that afternoon, which were with a specific team. They went over more basic algorithms, and I did well on the first, but not on the second.
I was not offered the job after that, which I think came down to the last interview of the day. The guy kept interrupting me. But oh well.
Interview Question – Check if a sub-string with a given string-sum exists in a string. So if each character has an integer value associated with it, the string-sum is the sum of each character in the string's values. First part of the problem, you are given the length of the string, second part, you do not have the length of the string. Answer Question
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Palantir Technologies in December 2013.
Interview Details – Was emailed after submitting my resume online to set up a phone interview - the emailer prompt replies to all my questions. First interview was a phone screen, which asked one question on arrays and then a testing question about an office printer. Then they went silent for two weeks until another phone interview, which was more behavioral and another testing question about a GPS. Next, after a month of silence, I got offered an on-campus interview, which consisted of 3 interviews back-to-back, then a tour of the campus. If you do well they ask you back for another round, I didn't and was given a t-shirt and a thank you. Their cafeteria is great though!
Interview Question – Technical questions weren't difficult - top k values of an array, fibonacci numbers recursively/iteratively. Testing question: how would you test a defective Google Docs? Answer Question
I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Palantir Technologies.
Interview Details – 2 phone interviews, onsite for 1 day.
Interview Question – How would you program a computer to shuffle a deck of cards? (Generate a permutation of the numbers from 1 to 100, uniformly at random) View Answers (3)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Palantir Technologies.
Interview Details – Met a current PQE for a casual meet and greet. About a week later, I went for 2 full days of interviews with current employees. I didn't feel like any of the interviewers had actually read my resume. Then, I got invited back to interview with one of the founders. He definitely hadn't read my resume, and seemed disinterested in interviewing. Overall, not a great experience, but I stuck it out because I had heard good things about working there.
Interview Question – I don't remember any specific questions, but I was presented with mostly algorithm questions, problem solving scenarios, and riddles. Answer Question
I applied through college or university and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Palantir Technologies.
Interview Details – Campus career fair, followed by one phone screen and an onsite interview.
Interview Question – Getting to the founder interview is a good sign. Don't worry about it being very short. Make sure to brush up on dynamic programming, heaps, and recursive algos. Answer Question
Very Easy Interview
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Palantir Technologies in November 2013.
Interview Details – HR was quite terrible, a company should never have HR to ask technical questions because they don't have a clue.
1. HR letter asking to schedule an interview, replied, didn't hear a thing for about 2 weeks
2. Wrote a follow up letter to HR, HR responded and said it has been scheduled at this date and time, w/o asking my scheudle
3. Telephone interview
4. 3 days later, a thanks but no thanks
1. Playing a game of too high and too low to guess a number between 1 and 1000. What is the maximum time it takes to get a right answer?
2. How many bits does it take to store 100,000
3. Describe the basic functions of a hashmap
Interview Question – All pretty easy. View Answer
Very Difficult Interview
I applied online and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Palantir Technologies.
Interview Details – I applied to this position through the online job portal. Submitted resume and cover letter and heard back from a recruiter a few days later. The first step was a conversational phone screen with a recruiter. If the recruiter likes you based on the conversation, they will then pose a set of 3-4 situational problem solving scenarios to test your logic skills. The next step was a phone interview with a current Palantir employee in the same position who delves deeper into technical expertise and basic problem solving skills based on the resume. If you pass this round, you will then be asked to complete an exercise in which you use the Palantir software to actually conduct your own investigation, which takes a few hours. If you make it past this, you will be asked to interview at the office in person. Plan on this interview taking at least 6 hours. It is 4 one on one interviews with members of your potential team, and a free lunch in their cafeteria.
Interview Question – In the in-person interview, lots of white-boarding out of logic puzzles and problem solving scenarios. Answer Question
I applied online and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Palantir Technologies.
Interview Details – Total interviews: 8 (including phone and on-site)
I didn't find the interview questions especially tough, as long as you thought creatively. I had a few interviews and then lunch (which I think was a "culture fit" interview, to be honest) followed by a product demo and then more interviews.
If they like you, they let you stay after the product demo to do more interviews, and everyone who is hired interviews with a founder during their on-site day.
Honestly, it's pretty stressful/long, but not unbearable. Everyone seems to know it's a long day, and offers you breaks, drinks, and snacks constantly.
Interview Question – How would you describe the Palantir platform to your grandmother? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – They give three offers with different mixes of salary and stock options and you pick what works for you.
I applied online and the process took 2+ months - interviewed at Palantir Technologies in September 2013.
Interview Details – I applied to Palantir directly through their website. 24 days later I received an email from them asking for a time to set up a technical pre-screen. That technical pre-screen lasted about 5 minutes during which they asked about the purpose of nsswitch.conf, removing files more than 1 week old, how to find a directory in / with the most usage, and how to see the remote NFS mounts on a system I don't have access to. Two days later they contacted me again asking for a date for an initial phone screen to be scheduled in 4 days.
(We are now 32 days into the process). The phone screen was with one of the engineers on the team and lasted about 20 minutes. Questions included what is your best on-call war story, What is bind and how does it work, tell me how DNS works, what is your ideal job, what is your super power, why Palantir, and how many ways can you find to copy a file. 10 days later they emailed again with an offer for a second phone screen to occur the next day.
(We are now 43 days into the process.) This was mostly an informational chat about Palantir. I don't see any of my notes on the questions they asked but I see a lot of information they provided me about the company. A few hours later I received an offer for an on-site interview to occur in 3 1/2 weeks.
(We are now 68 days into the process.) They flew me out on a Sunday, put me up in a really plush hotel, gave me a rental car, covered all costs (including the mini-bar), and gave me a "goodie-bag" with some Palantir swag and snacks. The next day I was to start on-site around 10:00 AM. The interview process included talking with 2 "managers" (more on that later), 3 engineers, and 1 of the "founders". It also included going to lunch with some team members and watching an hour demo of their software product. I was done at 6:00 PM. Questions during the various interviews included: What is in the init.d directories, how do you set run levels, what are different RAID levels, what happens if you kill the init process, what is a relational db, why would you use a hard link versus a soft link, walk through of a hardware troubleshooting question (one of 2 CPUs are bad), what is your best hack you've done to fix a problem, what is your super power, what is the one tweet you would send to the world, what are you passionate about, and what would YOU use our product for. The "founder" asked me 4 questions - what technologies would you like to learn, what is the coolest it technology to come out in the last 12-18 months, what problem will you solve for us, and what is something where you really had to dig in to find the solution.
Two days later I received a generic email from a generic email account at Palntir saying I was not chosen but they would keep my resume on file. That ended the 70 day process.
First, the good things I found out. They give you 3 meals a day for free in their cafeteria. They also provide a stipend if you live really close to the office. And they seem to be able to get anything they want (i.e., special booze, fancy coffee, laundry service, etc...) just by asking.
The number of drawbacks for me were much greater. I got the feeling everyone there "drank the coolaid". Much ado was made about there being no managers and the company was totally flat. There were team leaders, but no decision makers - you just did what you thought was right. The work environment was sloppy with excess hardware laying around haphazardly pretty much everywhere. Their on-call rotation moved between the Unix, Windows, and network teams, but if you as a Unix person got a Windows call, you don't have the ability or logins to fix it - you just page out the Windows guys. The amount they bragged about being able to buy anything made me concern about the company spending too much money. The technical bar they presented in their interviews seemed low - no one knew any programming languages and everything was done using bash. During lunch with the team, they did a lot of complaining about other teams and how annoying the problems were they faced on a day to day basis. Quarterly they reboot all of their internal Unix systems and expect approximately 30% of them to not recover. That is what they would work on for the next few weeks. The "manager" failed to show up for his interview slot and 2 other came without any prepared questions or even having seen my resume (and it was pretty obvious they were not prepared with any questions - it was more a rambling question time). One of the interviewers really liked cussing (not horribly, but one cuss word every minute).
I walked away from the interview with serious concerns about the company, the lack of leadership, the unprofessionalism they simply referred to as "we're a start up!", lack of organization, and group-think.
Interview Question – You have a system that is set up with a load balancer, 4 web servers behind it, one large backend unix server behind them, and an oracle database behind them. You get paged that one of the external customers who accesses the oracle database via VPN is unable to get responses. Go. View Answer
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