Shutterstock
3.8 of 5 13 reviews
www.shutterstock.com New York, NY 150 to 499 Employees

Shutterstock Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Apr 3, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting the Interview 

66%
16%
11%

Interview Experience 

45%
9%
45%

Interview Difficulty 

11 candidate interviews
Relevance Date Difficulty
in

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Shutterstock.

Interview Details – The interview process with Shutterstock was thorough, professional, and pleasant. I felt that they valued my time and took me seriously as a candidate. The full process from the initial recruiter contact to the final offer lasted about a month. The process consisted of both technical phone screen and in-person half-day interview loop.

The technical phone screen consisted of basic programming questions that proved I could write code and to assess my level of familiarity with the specific language. I was asked to solve a basic question on recursion, another one on data types, and finally I was asked to implement a unix command line utility.

When I arrived at the interview, the HR representative and the first interviewers were ready for me right away. The in-person interview consisted of 4 parts and I had questions on SQL and database design, an application design problem (implement a popular video game), and a more in-depth problem that required knowledge of datatypes and recursion. The interviewers appeared to be knowledgeable in the topics they were asking me about. Whenever I got stuck, they worked with me, gave me hints, and were very patient and polite. Overall I felt the technical questions were thorough and they adapted as I showed my strengths and weaknesses.

The people I interviewed with stayed focused on task but were also honest and friendly. They answered my questions to my satisfaction and also made a very personable impression. Everyone seemed both prepared and well-practiced in the interview process. Definitely one of the better interview experiences I've had.

Interview Question – Typical software interview questions covering software application design, data structures, and recursion. Nothing too language specific.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
San Francisco, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 5 days - interviewed at Shutterstock in October 2013.

Interview Details – Contacted by recruiter. Was given a coding exercise that the team liked followed by technical phone screen

Interview Question – Implement T9 dictionary   Answer Question

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3 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Shutterstock in July 2013.

Interview Details – This was the fourth programming position I've applied to recently where the interview process apes the Google-developed style of initial, tech-heavy phone screens followed by a day of intense on-site whiteboard drills from a rotation of engineers and managers over the course of several hours. It was the second set of such interviews that I saw through all the way to the end; the other two I pulled out of myself when I detected I wouldn't fit well at the company. Shutterstock, I must say, I had high hopes for, and not in small part due to the glowing employee reviews on GlassDoor.

As far as I could tell, I hit it off with everyone, and scored at least par on each of the whiteboard drills they lobbed at me. The exercises were interesting, at least, and they were interspersed with opportunities to speak about my past professional experience and publications, which helped keep my spirits up. I went home feeling quite elated.

Three days later I was told that while everyone really liked me, "they didn’t think it was a good match from a technical perspective for what they need right now". Which meant... what, exactly? Were they just humoring me at the whiteboard? Did they change their mind about the position's needs? Maybe I shouldn't have been so honest about which aspects of engineering I feel weakest in, or perhaps I shouldn't have pushed back so hard against one exercise that featured an incomplete spec?

I asked the recruiter if perhaps they could provide more detailed information about where the mismatch might have existed, but have received no reply after several business days. As a result, I feel rather snubbed, and have no idea why they both asked so much of my time -- and invested so much time on their own end -- only to say "no" and little else.

The silver lining here is that the insult I felt at this brush-off made me realize that I'd only feel it again and again at subsequent Google-style, drill-heavy interviews. This was the end of any feeling of novelty at working my through these arbitrary obstacle courses that mainly examine my ability to monkey up code rapidly and on short notice, with less focus on exploring my existing expertise and published body of work. I will never again consider working for an employer who conducts interviews in this way.

Interview Question – The best part of the whole interview process was the initial phone screen which involved a challenge to implement -- using only the telephone to describe what you're doing -- the T9 predictive text-entry system for older cellphones. The engineer with whom I spoke kept upping the ante with changing requirements. This was actually quite a lot of fun to think through, and made me optimistic for the rest of the interview process. (Which is to say, it did a lot to set up my ultimate disappointment with it.)   Answer Question

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5 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Front-End Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
New York, NY

I applied through other source and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Shutterstock in June 2013.

Interview Details – Shutterstock's Head of Talent reached out to me on LinkedIn, asking if I was currently looking for work and if I was interested in talking to them about a Front-End Engineer position (she provided a link to the job posting). If I was, they requested that I attach a formal copy of my resume to my response. I responded, via LinkedIn, that I was happy to talk to them. My resume was attached.

A week later, when I hadn't heard back, I sent an email to the address listed on the Head of Talent's LinkedIn profile. Again, I included a copy of my resume. I received an immediate response telling me that a Talent Coordinator would be contacting me to set up a phone screen but, before that could happen, they needed me to send my resume to both the Head of Talent and the Coordinator. The Coordinator had been CC'd on this email exchange and my resume was still attached to my initial email and was still available in the thread. As requested, I sent another copy of my resume.

The Coordinator emailed me two days later to schedule a phone screen. The phone call took place the next day and lasted all of five minutes. She simply wanted to verify that I was, in fact, applying for the Front-End Engineer position, that I understood that it was a full-time position, and that I would be expected to work on-site in their New York office. I confirmed and she said she'd be in touch. The next day I received an email scheduling another phone screen, to take place in two days.

This turned out to be a technical interview with a member of the Front-End Engineering team. The interviewer was friendly, the tone was casual, and the questions were same set that everybody asks (what is scope? what's a closure? what is prototypal inheritance? what is event bubbling?).

The next day I received an email from the office receptionist with a list of available dates for an on-site interview. All of the dates were of the same week, three weeks away. I was told they wanted me to meet with the person to whom I would be reporting and that those dates were the earliest they were available.

The on-site interview consisted of 5 meetings with a total of 7 people over the course of 5 hours. When I arrived for my interview I was told that the manager who's scheduled necessitated the three week delay was at a conference and that I would be meeting with a random Project Manager instead.

Three of the meetings were just more technical grilling, one covered the usual "describe a conflict with a co-worker and how it was resolved" stuff, and the last was to get a sense of how I felt the meetings went and to see where I was in my job hunt.

One of the technical sessions was to work-through a problem (designing a spell-check system). It was conducted at a whiteboard and I was told that I was expected to write syntax-correct code and that pseudocode would not be tolerated.

Another of the technical sessions was with the same person that conducted my technical phone screen. The session felt, very much, like a continuation of the phone screen.

The last technical session felt like a trap. They hadn't asked me to prepare any code samples but the first thing the interviewers did was ask to see code. Being a Front-End interview, I took them to a page where they could see the code work, interact with it, and view the source. They told me it would have been better if I had shown them something hosted on GitHub. I showed that the projected was, in fact, hosted on GitHub but the damage seemed to have been done. They asked questions like, "Can you name five design patterns, explain them, and give an example of a situation where that would be the best pattern to use?" They made it clear that it would be better if I explained the patterns without having to write any illustrative code.

My final meeting was with the Head of Talent. I asked how long it would be before I heard from them. She assured that I would know if they wanted to make me an offer within 24 hours.

It's been 2 weeks since my on-site interview (4 weeks since my first phone screen and 6 weeks since they reached out to me on LinkedIn) and I have yet to hear from anyone. I sent the Head of Talent an email a week after the interview to let her know that I had accepted a position at another company. She did not respond.

At no point in this process did it ever feel like I was anything other than just-another-resume-in-the-pile which, considering that they reached out to me, is disappointing. With the exception of the person that did my technical phone screen and his partner for my on-site interview, every aspect of my protracted interaction with Shutterstock was dismissive and insulting.

Interview Question – Name five javascript design patterns, explain them, and give an example of a situation where that would be the best pattern to use.   Answer Question

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7 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Mobile Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
New York, NY

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Shutterstock in March 2013.

Interview Details – I recently did an on-site visit to Shutterstock and thought it would be good to recap my experiences with meeting the team there.

First off, their offices are in the Financial District in Manhattan. Literally one or two short blocks away from Wall Street. Shutterstock now takes up 3 1/2 floors of the ~30 floor building, and meeting room space didn't seem to be a problem like other previous Shutterstock employment reviews have mentioned (on the other hand, I did get bounced around to 2 or 3 different meeting rooms of dramatically different sizes throughout the day).

If you're doing a visit (e.g. a fly-in) from out of town, Shutterstock only covers transportation expenses and everything else (i.e. any meals) is on your dime. The hotel they'll put you up at is right across the street (or possibly one street down and one street over) from their offices.

The Shutterstock office environment appears to be of the long table / open plan variety (no cube walls), but the flip side to not having any privacy is that one can get a great view (and natural light) from the windows from pretty much anywhere you're sitting in the building. Even the Men's Room has a window view of the Statue of Liberty.

One last "location" thing to consider is that Shutterstock will be relocating sometime in the next year from FiDi over to two floors of the Empire State Building, so that will dramatically change the commutes for plenty of employees, not to mention the office layout (the Empire State Building has a much larger floor plan and cubes / tables might be somewhat more distant from the windows).

The actual interviewing process consisted of one phone interview and then an on-site visit, probably across a space of about two weeks. On-site, I spoke with five engineers: two of which would be guys I'd be working regularly & closely with, two senior engineers I'd only tangentially be working with (one was an engineering director for the back-end & server team, the other specializing in mobile web) and lastly Shutterstock's big picture architect.

The only technically challenging questions came from the direct hiring manager, who asked me questions directly related to mobile engineering (some of which I've repeated below). The hiring manager also had questions about table views, localizations and unit testing (e.g. "have you done any?"). The rest of the questions I was asked basically were standard job interview ones ("describe a situation where you had to deal with challenging issues") meant to feel me out in terms of a cultural fit. I enjoyed my conversation with the architect, who initially struck me as a quirky hipster, but quickly revealed himself to have a thorough "big picture" view of everything and I felt like he would have been a great co-worker to bounce ideas off of.

On the other hand, I had two non-direct engineering co-workers also involved in my interviewing process. One of them asked me some of those very standard interviewing questions (e.g. "describe a challenge you had to solve in one of your previous jobs") while the other one, an engineering lead, immediately took an almost antagonistic approach ("why do you want to work here?", "do you think you could be happy working on one product all day long?") that had me struggling to try to counter his negative perceptions of where I was coming from, in terms of my background. I'm guessing he'd be the major "thumbs down" vote against me coming on board.

Speaking of negative impressions, I discovered I was turned down about a week or two after the interview concluded. They did provide feedback (which I was very thankful for) which I thought was half fair and half "if only I had known they were concerned about something nobody ever asked about" unfair.

In any event, I was glad to get to visit the people at Shutterstock and I hope my experience going through the process will help you to prepare and pass your own interview day. If my notes helped you out, please let me know by voting "yes" on the "Helpful?" question below.

Interview Questions

  • Here's the one "bigger" question I was asked by the hiring manager on-site:

    Given an array of strings, e.g.:

    NSArray * files = @"[@"file2", @"folder22", @"folder10", @"file1", @"folder100", … … …, nil];

    Describe how you would write some kind of method or function that would sort the strings in a predictable manner (e.g. "file1", "file2", "folder2", "folder10", "folder100" instead of "folder10", "folder100", "folder2")
      View Answer
  • In terms of traditional iOS memory management (versus ARC), what's the difference between release and autorelease?   View Answer
  • What's the difference between UIView & CALayer   View Answer

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3 people found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Developer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
New York, NY

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Shutterstock in June 2010.

Interview Details – I first got called in for the first round phone interview, asking three questions regarding to their own database designs. So, I'm asked about tackling their problems that they have had problems for months. The first question was about how would you design the database structure involving meta data for an image. They had one basic table about the images. Anyways, the other two questions were related, and I could answer them well. This one lasted 45 minutes.

A week later, I got called in for a second round phone interview. It was geared more towards my experience and some Perl questions. I told him specifically that I have written object oriented Perl (OOP) a while ago, and I couldn't remember what I wrote. He also asked me where to look for if I have questions about using Perl. I told him CPAN, which seems to be a satisfying answer. Anyhow, the interview lasted about 45 minutes.

About two weeks later, I was scheduled for the final round interview at their office. It was to my surprise because I thought I failed miserably in Perl because I haven't used it for years ever since I moved to PHP, but I also said that I can catch up really quick. Anyways, it's held at the financial district in Manhattan.

I went to that building asking for Shutterstock. The attendant called checked the reservation list, and said I wasn't in the list, so he called up the office and neither did the persons at the office know who I am -- as if I was an unexpected guest. I was asked why I'm here; I simply replied that I was here for the interview. The attendant passed my info to Shutterstock, and yet they still didn't know me. It was unexpected, but whatever: I waited for about 20min, and finally the guy came down from the elevator and greeted me and asked what position I was interviewed with. I said developer. He shrugged and led me to the interview site.

The interview started out with two guys. they discussed about my experience, and finally they moved on to SQL stuff written on the white board. I explained everything to them, and they were very pleased. Then they moved on to the design question, showing me a few pictures from Shutterstock, I mean, istock photo site. They basically asked me how do I tackle the problem that they're facing: given a home in the search query -- how do you determine whether the picture is the actual home, not part of the home such as a door. I explained a few ways. The first way is through keywords and the second way is through pattern recognition by determining the object heuristically. There's no right or wrong answer to this.

Lastly, the guy asked me to fix a bug on Shutterstock. It's related to the wrong categories name for different languages. He asked me to trace out the source of the problem. It uses Mason HTML with Perl. Since I've never used Mason HTML, I was pretty slow finding the problem. It took me about 15min to locate the error. I was led to another room where I meet two more people.

Over there, I was asked another design question, like how do I design geomapping routes. Basically, they would like to know how "google maps" does the routing from San Fransisco to New York City. I explained to them. And, that concludes the last interview.

I waited for two weeks, and was notified that I didn't get an offer. These are the two reasons:

1. My Perl skill is not extensive enough.
2. I don't brainstorm on algorithms.

For the first one, the only time they asked about my Perl experience was in the second round phone interview. So they cannot judge me based on that without giving me an actual Perl test in the one on one interview. As for the second one, I was never asked about algorithms. I was only asked to explain my approach to the problems. No algorithms were ever asked or focused.

From most of the questions here, they were trying to use me to tackle their site problems. Basically, the company is using the interviews to solve some of the problems. They never intend to hire anyone from the beginning. The interviewees are like their free consultants, which is why they're "hiring" ALL positions.

Interview Question – Given a search query, how would you determine the most relevant images for that search query. For example, if someone types in "house" as the search query, how do rank "beach house" higher than something like a door, as both of them relate to house?   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Shutterstock.

Interview Details – We had one screening interview, followed by a technical phone interview. I didn't think the technical interview went well, so I was surprised to hear back about setting up another interview, but we arranged an interactive pair programming session.

That coding interview went quite well. I spent most of the time implementing a simple version of a standard Linux utility program, including tests, and refactoring as we moved through the exercise. We talked about testability and design concerns as I wrote code.

I was invited to do an on-site interview, but accepted an offer elsewhere before that could be arranged.

Interview Questions

  • Implement a simple version of T9. First, just complete the word, then predict the word.   Answer Question
  • Implement a simple algorithm, make it scale, and then do all kinds of O(n) analysis about it.   Answer Question
  • Write a simple version of a standard Linux utility program   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Negative Experience

Easy Interview

Sales Interview

Anonymous Employee

I applied online and the process took 2+ months - interviewed at Shutterstock.

Interview Details – I applied there because I liked the industry they are working in. I applied online and waited a long time before anything happened.
I then received a call one day. The call was not planned, unexpected. Luckily I was available .
This was the 1st interview. The recruiter was very inexperienced. Looked like she was reading a script. Didn't know what to ask and how to ask
questions.
I made the questions and answers basically. How could she assess me ? I wonder !
Then another interview few weeks later with another inexperienced recruiter not konwing anything about business in general.
Then an interview with a manager who was a bit more aware of what he was talking about but still very unprepared.
Then a face to face and I got the job.

Interview Question – None. all was really too easy to be true (and we know what we say about that..).   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Nothing notable

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Declined Offer

Negative Experience

Very Easy Interview

Sales Manager Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
London, England (UK)

I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Shutterstock in February 2013.

Interview Details – Very unprofessional and strange recruitment process. First: application online, no reply of any kind.
Second: out of the blue, I receive a call from the U.S (I live in Europe and the position is based in Europe). The "recruiter" is very young obviously, doesn't know what kind of questions to ask and the interview last 10 minutes.

A Second interview comes: Another person than the one planned calls you. Young recruiter again with unprofessional and unprepared questions.
They don't know exactly when the job starts, where it will be based in Europe (they seem to see Europe as a small USA), what scope of responsibilities for the role, what salary, etc...

They say they love my profile but haven't a clue about anything about the position.

A third interview is planned with a " sales manager".

They still don't know about the location, start date, scope of the role but they know they aren't going to pay much for this position.

It was supposed to be a manager position: Managing 20 to 40 sales people in different markets with incongruous hours (to address markets in the U.S, EMEA and Asia). The candidate has to be hyper flexible.

But soon the reality transpire: the focus is on monitoring and employee surveillance, how to make them receive and make calls all day + discipline and how to punish and reward (scary).
I start to realize they want a reckless call centre supervisor rather than a Sales or people Manager. They haven't a clue about sales, selling, business.

The salary proposed is ridiculous, of course.

When you know what they do: selling pictures from photographers at ridiculously low prices (as low as few cents), no wonder...

Interview Question – I can't remember any difficult question. I just remember being very unconformable with what they wanted the candidate to do in his job. Looked more like a jail supervisor job than anything else.
+ They haven't a clue about HR, recruitment, interviews.
  View Answer

Reason for Declining – Bad company culture, they clearly show you that they exploit employees, have no consideration for them, underpay them and ask you how well you would play this game.

Total lack of professionalsism during the interviews.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Graphic Design Interview

Anonymous Employee
Cairo (Egypt)

I applied through college or university and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Shutterstock in August 2011.

Interview Details – they asked me about my skills, my study, my graduation and programs activity
and asks me about salary, works time, vacation time ..etc

Interview Questions

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