ThoughtWorks Interview Questions & Reviews in Chicago, IL
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Software Engineer Interview (Negative Experience)
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at ThoughtWorks in May 2011.
Interview Details – They flew me to Chicago where I spent several hours doing tests.
2 hours in the morning on skills testing then 3 1 hour interviews after lunch: (a) pairing interview: some pair programming; (b) technical interview; (c) values and consulting interview.
It has been a while now but what was clear was that they were probing me for my political opinions. That was surprising and seemed unprofessional. I was mostly non-committal in my responses. I had the impression they were looking for more enthusiastic endorsement of the various political causes they mentioned. They apparently don't want a diversity of opinion within their walls.
No offer. Quite happy to pass them up too. Struck me as being a rather odd shop, condescending, intolerant, unprofessional.
Interview Question – What did I think about boycotting the state of Israel? Answer Question
Software Developer Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at ThoughtWorks in November 2013.
Interview Details – Got the lead through campus job fair.
First round was a coding assignment. I had to choose one of three questions and submit my code and allied files in one week. I chose a question of medium simplicity so I could show off my object oriented knowledge and code portability and best practices principles.
After this I had to submit a questionaire. This was way too lengthy and to me pointless. It is supposedly to assess creative thinking.
Next came the logical assessment round. This took half a day at their Chicago office. A bunch of applicants, including me went through logical tests- these were timed tests; and needed intense concentration to complete in time allocated. Then we were formed into teams to work on some problems. It tested a combination of skills- logic, business sense, math ability, presentation. The activity itself was fun though. (I was teamed with 2 people applying for BA and QA roles respectively. )
All this was followed by a behavioural interview a week later. This is where I started getting some inkling that I probably am not going to make the cut. I was asked a lot of questions regarding college curriculum, learning habits, current affairs. I was also asked questions on any social cause dear to me. I am not much into social causes (which is a big point at thoughtworks), so those Qs did not really do my interview any good. I also probably did not do myself any good by saying that I do not have any issues traveling and stuff so long as the projects are challenging. Maybe that was a bad idea. But overall, the interviewers and employees at their office seemed quite enthusiastic and knowledgeable and courteous. Even their rejection letter came within a week so, I was not left in limbo or anything.
Interview Question – Name a recent technology trend that you read about.
What is your style of learning? How do you gain knowledge from others, especially from people younger than you? Answer Question
Very Difficult Interview
Junior Consultant Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at ThoughtWorks in January 2013.
Interview Details – From initial communication with HR to the results from the final interview, the process took about 3 months. First was a visit to the ThoughtWorks office for two analytical examinations and a group exercise. Next step was a written questionnaire, a phone interview and a coding challenge. The final step was an all day in office interview broken up into four sections - code pair, values and culture, TW Pillar 3 and a technical discussion.
Interview Question – How would you explain the reason for racial segregation in the city of Chicago? Answer Question
Junior Consultant Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at ThoughtWorks in December 2013.
Interview Details – The process took well over 2 months in total. I first applied through the LinkedIn Jobs Board. I was contacted by one of their "Talent Scouts" via email with a lot of information about the company. Also included was a questionnaire and a programming test; both were fairly straight forward. The questionnaire had questions like, "What is one thing you have taught yourself during your own free time," or "You have been appointed Ruler of the World. What are the 5 most important things you will do while ruler?" The programming test had 3 questions and allowed you to choose and develop one in any of the three listed languages (Java, Ruby, and C#). I personally wrote my solution in C# because I had been using C++ for the past 2 years, however, the company mainly has projects that use Java and Ruby on Rails.
After I had submitted both the questionnaire and programming test, it was a long process of waiting to hear back. I sent a follow up email about 2-3 weeks after submitting the questionnaire and test just to check if I was still being considered for a position. They emailed me a week later asking what day the following week would be best for a phone interview. As others have posted on here, the phone interview is a personal discussion about your desires and aspirations for the future and for working with ThoughtWorks. They are also looking to see if you keep yourself busy by your own free will. They have something within the company called "The Beach" which is where all idle workers go to stay busy with personal work or helping on other projects.
It took a week and a half to hear back, but I finally was told that I made it through to the in-person, 2 day interview process. This process was really laid back. I never felt nervous at any point, even during the technical interviews. Be warned, if you think you're right for the job because you have a background in Comp Sci, then you are in for a shock. This company is very reliant on "equal opportunity" and they bring in anyone. I had people with backgrounds ranging from economics to education without any Comp Sci degree or experience apart from the Dev Boot Camp 5 month course. They really don't weigh your worth based on your knowledge of the theory and concepts of programming. Be ready to be grilled on your cultural background and your social views. If you don't enjoy a more liberal approach to the workplace, then you may want to reconsider your application. You won't find many conservative minds at this company.
The first day of interviews were more about getting settled in their office. Everyone that was in my group got together to talk about each other so we can more fully understand everyone's background. We had a discussion on your personal thoughts of meritocracy. This is where I had the biggest issue with the company. It felt more like entrapment than an actual discussion. They already knew the answer they wanted to hear, but they wanted to see how you would respond. You can discern the answer to the question yourself. After the meritocracy discussion, we took 2 assessments, the Wonderlic test and a test designed and developed by ThoughtWorkers. The Wonderlic is straight forward; you can find the test online for free. The ThoughtWorks logic test was so simple. It's very basic logic based thinking. If you can follow the directions and think through the problem like a programmer would, then you're going to blow through it in no time. I finished in 20 minutes leaving me 40 minutes to double and triple check my work to make sure I didn't make any stupid mistakes. Surprisingly, others didn't even finish which was quite astonishing.
The second day was where the real interview process began. They give you a schedule that outlines what interview you have at what time and in what room of the office. There is two technical interviews, one where you refactor your code through pair-programming with an actual ThoughWorker and one where you discuss your education background in development. The education background technical interview also included a STEM presentation that you were to create with little time to prepare and then present to 2 interviewers. It also included a Tic-Tac-Toe problem which was very easy to work your way through. If you take the steps of TDD (Test-Driven Development) and make small, quick iterations on your AI process, then you should be able to create a non-losing strategy. The last interview that part of the day is the culture interview. This interview is very much like the the phone interview, but they ask you even more hypothetical questions to see how you will respond. I was asked, "What is one person you would not want to work with," and "What is one industry you would not want to work in."
Interview Question – "What is one thing in the recent news that has upset you." View Answer
Junior Consultant Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at ThoughtWorks in June 2013.
Interview Details – Applied online, received a online coding challenge. Completed it and did a phone interview with one of the recruiters. I was asked to fill out a survey and a personality test.
They asked general questions, about my experience, why I was interested in TW and what social justice meant to me, very laid back.
Then I was invited for assessment day, where they gave a company tour and had us do a wonderlic test and the logic test and a group assignment.
The group assignment was a made up consulting scenario where you were to build a house for some pugs and each person was given a bunch of requirements from the pugs, the goal was to create a floor plan and make it as cheap as possible.
After assessment day was the technical interviews. The first interview being pair programming with two TW devs. This went OK, one dev seemed very annoyed while the other was very helpful in answering questions.
The 2nd part of the interview is with another pair but they were more on the HR/recruiting side where they asked you about your values and thoughts on social justice, and what the 3 pillars of TW were. They also go over the questions you answered in the questionnaire they sent out. The question they went over for me was the "what would you do as president of the world?" I was also asked about what I have done for social justice.
After that was a short break and the last interview would be the technical interview with two different TW devs. Here they gave me a hour to prepare a 5 minute presentation on a STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) topic and there would also be a 5 minute q&a. This seemed incredibly hit or miss. One dev would be interested and the other would have absolutely no clue what I would be talking about and just be totally disengaged. After that they wanted me to whiteboard the mars rover problem and talk them through it.
The wonderlic was 50 questions in 12 minutes. I must have done poorly because they asked me to do it twice (once at assessment, once at the technical interview). The logic test is not very hard, but I recommend you look at some example problems: http://freshnerpaper.blogspot.com/2012/01/thought-works-placement-paper.html has some. READ the directions very carefully because sometimes it will try to trip you up. IE go to the box number in box 10 (so if box 10 had the number 5, you would go to box 5). Also for the last 3 tests you treat them like a maze it so draw the route that matches the condition and figure out what satisfies that path.
The interview was not stressful, but the emphasis is really on object oriented programming. Does the name of your classes and methods make sense? Can you explain the program you wrote?
Personally, I felt the whole social justice stichk was incredibly pretentious. The folks I talked with were taking credit for the companys efforts when they themselves do not sound like they contributed anything to the cause. Just seemed really full of it. You can't participate in any social justice causes until 2 years into employment or so anyways.
If you're considering TW because you're new at programming and have heard of the great things about TW university, I was told it was more of a consulting crash course where you are thrown into a big simulation. There would be some mandatory classes after TW university for building/deploying applications but a lot of learning will be up to you to do alone. So my advice is don't take this program/career path as the silver bullet that is the only way that will get you up to a professional level - do not get discouraged at all if you get declined. No mentor or teacher will ever get you there, you got to learn it yourself - they can help but remember it is you that crosses the line, stay persistent and passionate. This was a good learning experience for sure and I definitely took the opportunity to ask developers some technical questions of my own - that I always wanted answered. At the end of the day, I was probably not what they were looking for technically (I think I nailed the logic test but bombed the wonderlic and I felt like my OOP knowledge was lacking) but also I don't think it was an exact cultural fit. The interviews were always in pairs and it felt like one person was geninuely interested but another would not be. The interviewers were very professional and kept the atmosphere laid back so I did not feel like I was being grilled or anything.
Best of luck to any future candidates.
Junior Consultant Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at ThoughtWorks in July 2013.
Interview Details – Applied for the Junior Consultant position online and received the 3 programming questions a few weeks later. Completed the Mars Rover example (without JUnit, in case anyone is wondering if its necessary) and received the "positive feedback on your assignment" email with the questionnaire about a week after.
A week after sending in the questionnaire I received an email with details for a phone interview with a recruiter. The phone interview was HR based with no technical questions. Unfortunately I stumbled at this part but the process as a whole was a great experience.
Good luck guys!
- What scientific or technological concept have you taught yourself outside of school/work? View Answer
- What was your best and worst team experience? Answer Question
- Why do you want to be a developer? Answer Question
- What do you know about our Social Impact program? Answer Question
- Tell us about a time when you laughed really hard or made someone laugh. Who were you with? What happened? View Answer
Junior Consultant Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through other source and the process took 7 months - interviewed at ThoughtWorks in July 2013.
Interview Details – Just as previous entries on here, the interview process ran as follows:
1) Brief phone call (to see if I was still looking for employment, etc)
3) Coding challenge
4) Another phone call (mostly the recruiter discussing details of the job)
5) Invitation to Chicago HQ to complete:
(a) Logic assessment
(b) STEM presentation
(c) Technical interview (Pair-programming)
(d) Non-technical interview (Discuss the values of the company, your values and how the two align)
My biggest advice is to be super well-versed in your contribution to the non-technical portion - for instance, don't make a passing remark about how we should aim to eliminate poverty unless you have some ideas on how to achieve it. They don't drill or interrogate you aggressively, but they do expect you to be able to (have and) communicate personal ideals and ideas.
The technical portion is very straight-forward. It consisted of very basic OOP questions. As for the pair-programming, my interviewers (of which there were two) were friendly and helpful with refactoring my submitted code. It was like a mini seminar on TDD.
(The interview process took a very long time for me - it ran on and off because I was still in school full-time)
Interview Question – Tell us about the political state of _______ (where you're from). Answer Question
Negotiation Details – No negotiation as this was an entry-level position.
Junior Consultant Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through college or university - interviewed at ThoughtWorks in July 2013.
Interview Details – 1. questionnaire and oop assignment
2. phone interview
first day: assessment
second day: technical and value inteview
Interview Question – the value interview three pillars and questions on questionnaire Answer Question
Junior Consultant Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 4 months - interviewed at ThoughtWorks.
Interview Details – Met them on campus. Passed the wonderlic test and questionnaire and the coding assignment. This was a long process. But then an HR called me asked some behavior questions and failed me.
Interview Question – What are your thoughts on our Three Pillars? Answer Question
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