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Palantir Technologies Unix Systems Administrator Interview Questions

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Unix Systems Administrator Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Anonymous Interview Candidate
Application Details

I applied through a recruiter. The process took 5 weeksinterviewed at Palantir Technologies.

Interview Details

Recruiter contacted me via Linkedin 1st. A week later, she conducted an technical phone interview that including asking basic Linux commands and basic day-to-day sys admin tasks. Two weeks later, Palantir team lead conducted 2nd technical phone interview. He asked standard linux admin interview questions, such as what records are in a DNS packet. Two weeks later, some guy on the team conducted 3rd technical phone interview. This time I needed to remote login to thier virtual system to perform some basic admin stuff.

Interview Questions
  • I'm relatively new in the linux admin field so I did not study the "standard linux admin interview questions" beforehand. I did not answer the DNS packet question very well.   Answer Question
No Offer
Negative Experience
Average Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Palantir Technologies

  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Unix Systems Administrator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Palo Alto, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Palo Alto, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed 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 Questions
    • 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
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Unix Systems Administrator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Palo Alto, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Palo Alto, CA
    Application Details

    interviewed at Palantir Technologies in March 2013.

    Interview Details

    I was contacted by an in house Palantir recruiter. Initially I was asked to interview for a Unix Administrator position. They setup two phone interviews that seemed to go pretty well. They asked fairly detailed technical questions related to file handlers, system commands, etc. After each step you deal with a recruiter who guides you to the next step. After the second call they decided I was a better fit in another position that was part technical and a part client facing type role. After a 3rd phone interview they flew me out to Palo Alto to meet in person. I met with a few people in person and via video conference. Overall they were pleasant and professional. I was unprepared for many of the non-technical questions. I was not offered a position, but it was a great learning experience. I had never interviewed before as all my jobs including my first one came though referral where interviews were just a fluffy formality.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

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