Square
4.1 of 5 18 reviews
squareup.com San Francisco, CA 500 to 999 Employees

Square Software Engineer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Feb 19, 2014
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Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Square.

Interview Details – I really enjoyed the interview process, they have a unique way of interviewing and it's fun for the candidate and the interviewer. I had a total of about 10 in-person interviews, most of which involved coding. The interviewers were very friendly and professional. The recruiter I worked with was awesome and communicated extremely well throughout the process.

Interview Question – There were many questions that required knowledge of advanced computer science - data structures and algorithms - which goes to show how selective they are (to their credit).   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

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Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer
San Francisco, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Square in January 2013.

Interview Details – I did a series of Skype screen calls remotely, and then was brought onsite for a full day of interviews. The process was fun, based on the fact that you can write code on an actual computer, and run it. At the end of the day I got the chance to have a more informal conversation with one of the managers and learn more about the company and possible roles. I received an offer a few days later.

Interview Question – I signed an NDA.   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Software Engineering Interview

Software Engineering
San Francisco, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Square in February 2014.

Interview Details – Had two phone interviews which are coding on a shared document and they were pretty easy. And was flew in to their SF headquarter for the onsite. I had three paired coding interviews and finished all the requirements and tests ahead of time. And then I had three Q&A interviews focusing on past experiences and a lot of behavior questions. They seem to be happy with my answers. In general I feel they like me. However I just got a rejection email from the recruiting team saying that my coding was not good enough and they are on the edge of accepting but in the end decide to pass.

Interview Question – To me nothing feels really difficult. But I guess I know how high their bar is this time. Getting the coding questions done correctly ahead of time doesn't assure you that you will pass. It only guarantees you that they will let you finish the whole schedule which means meeting everyone you are supposed to meet. Maybe they judge people with a few more years of experiences with a much higher standard. Some people I interviewed with are founding members of some big names in the Bay area.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer

I applied through college or university and interviewed at Square.

Interview Details – I had an oncampus interview where I had to pair program with an engineer. I had to design a LRU cache that had no constraints on time complexity. I implemented a class that worked perfectly but got a rejection 3 days after.

Interview Question – LRU cache problem that supports get and set operations.   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

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Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer
San Francisco, CA

I applied through college or university and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Square in November 2013.

Interview Details – Had a very easy on-campus interview then got invited to the final round. Had 3 back to back pairing programming interviews onsite. Some people were asked to have a forth interview. What surprised me most is that there was no algorithm questions. All the questions are very practical.

Interview Question – signed NDA   Answer Question

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Negative Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
San Francisco, CA

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

Interview Details – I applied for an intern position last spring but had been denied at the last stage. Square contacted me this fall and asked to interview again. Had 2 pairing interviews on campus that were very easy. Advanced for another onsite, this time in the new HQ. The morning consists of 3 more pairing interviews. These were more difficult questions, and the amount of pair programming vs. you just doing it alone varies completely by each interviewer. My first interviewer smelled of weed, didn't explain the problem very well, and I struggled with it while he sat on his own computer. I felt that he deliberately gave simple test data that concealed the complexity of the problem. Only after I started did I realize how I had messed up; short interviews and not much time to change that. One interviewer sat down and said let's make tic-tac-toe, and I had a blast hacking that with him in the 45 minutes time. The afternoon is odd. Some candidates are asked to do another interview, while the rest are given tech talks. It wasn't clear if they had advanced or what, and it was really awkward when they did that.

Between the unprofessionalism of the 1st interviewer, the awkwardness of the afternoon, and the midnight redeye return flight they gave me, I'd say it was a slightly negative experience.

The candidates are the best from the best universities (MIT, CMU, etc), so Square has the ability to be insanely selective. Even had I done well on the first one, I'm not sure if I would have received an offer.

Interview Question – Build a game.   View Answer

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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Software Engineer
San Francisco, CA

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 5 days - interviewed at Square.

Interview Details – A mix of technical coding interviews & verbals. Coding is paired programming at a computer.

Interview Question – Brush up on those CS fundamentals as you may encounter an algorithm.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Very transparent.

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1 person found this helpful

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Positive Experience

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Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee
San Francisco, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Square in August 2012.

Interview Details – I was contacted by an internal recruiter. I was looking at the time. (I'd been contacted a year earlier but not looking then.) They had one phone screen and then one all day on-site interview, with a mixture of Q&A and coding sessions as well as a lunch break with someone.

Interview Question – Asked for an algorithm for connecting credit cards and merchants into sets. Kind of a big problem if you can't keep everything in memory. Made a fair amount of progress but didn't finish everything. It was an interesting question, related to Square's business rather than a theoretical question. The interviewer kept modifying my code style which seemed a little odd.   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Software Engineering Interview

Software Engineering

Interviewed at Square

Interview Details – I was contacted by square. The person said a few key things that peaked my interested, but not enough information to make a decision if I liked it or not. They forced me to go through the full cycle before discussing anything.

Spoke with at least 9 people though the course of 4 calls/meetings. Not a single person seemed happy or enthusiastic. Everyone seemed as though they were forced into talking to me and it was such a burden to deal with me.

Finally got a "screen interview" setup. The day of the interview, the interviewer was switched to someone else. That person had absolutely no personality what-so-ever. Gave me no feedback, wouldn't talk to me about anything and if I asked a question, to confirm a requirement, he responded as though I was a nobody and wasting his time.

I solved the series of problems. I asked for some feedback (because he wouldn't say anything) and he made a comment about his personal preference of adding a bunch of print to console statements everywhere.

Next day, "declined because of my background". I asked for some feedback from the recruiter, nada. Wrote the original person I spoke to for some feedback, nada.

Obviously they think they are above decent human interaction and feel it's their way or the highway. I don't care that I didn't pass, but they could at least tell me what was wrong. I mean, I asked at least 5x. Maybe I had a reason I did something a certain way. Who's to say their way was better than mine without even discussing it.

It was for the better though. Why would I want to work somewhere everyone is so unhappy? I only considered it because I wanted to work with smart people, not for money. It became clear to me that smart != happy.

Interview Question – I don't know the technical term, but it was just a calculator that's operators do not appear in normal order. The interviewer did not explain the requirements well, so once it was clear, I was able to do it.

The interview went like this:

calculate("2 3 +") # => 5
.... a few others
calculate("12 2 /") #=> 6
calculate("48 4 6 * /") # => 2

Instructions: "Write the calculate function"
  View Answer

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3 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Square.

Interview Details – Most intense interviewing process of all the companies I talked to! I did two 1-on-1 pair programming interviews, each lasting 1 hour. Each time, they let me know about next steps either that day or early the next day.

For the full day on-site, I did 4 one-hour pair programming sessions, lunch included, and a couple other interviews. By the end of the day I was exhausted! While definitely the most difficult series of interviews, it was overall a positive experience knowing how seriously they take hiring.

Interview Question – Pair programming interviews covered walking trees/graphs, algorithms, and some UI   Answer Question

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