ThoughtWorks Interview Questions

Updated Jun 27, 2015
277 Interview Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)  

    Lead Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview


    I applied online. The process took 4+ monthsinterviewed at ThoughtWorks.


    Very lengthy process. Great opportunity to meet with a lot of smart, creative people, but unfortunately some of those people were:

    1.) Unskilled, unprofessional, or outright rude interviewers, doing things such as doodling on my resume, making disapproving faces in response to my answers, yawning while I was talking, or abruptly cutting me off with "can you just answer the question?!"

    2.) Interviewing for jobs they don't do, where they may or may not understand the nuances and "behind the scenes work" of what it means to succeed in the role. (See some of the interview questions/answers)

    3.) Surprisingly closed-minded or under-developed in their perceptions
    ThoughtWorks does hire smart people and put them in creative roles, but I met with several people who seemed to hold closed-minded or immature perspectives, leaning heavily on process or hierarchy to navigate what they do. (See some of the interview questions/answers)

    Interview Questions

    • If you were president of the world, what would you change on your first day?   1 Answer
    • What if two stakeholders, with exactly the same level of influence on the project, wanted opposite things?   1 Answer
    • How do you feel about Affirmative Action?   Answer Question
    • If two candidates are exactly equally qualified, but one is white and one is black, is there anything wrong with hiring the black one?   1 Answer
    • What would you do if a client developer didn't want to join the daily stand-up?   1 Answer

    Principal Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Declined Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview


    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at ThoughtWorks (New York, NY) in May 2015.


    The interview process and the outcome mirrored the experience of a previous commenter who had applied for a Principal Consultant position (and posted a review on March 29, 2015).

    I applied online, and I got a positive response the very next day. The first conversation was with an internal TW recruiter out of the Chicago office. A very engaging discussion, and she was sure to capture my compensation requirements within the first few minutes.

    Next step was a discussion with a Technical Director, which is a pretty high-level title at TW. The director had to cancel at the last minute, and instead, I spoke to a Principal out of the San Francisco office.

    After successfully submitting my coding test and presentation, I was invited to come into the NYC office. There, I had a panel discussion about my presentation, a pairing interview, a short interview about my views on social justice (TW's Pillar 3), and then a logic test.

    The next week, I had a video debrief from the Managing Principal of the NYC office.

    A week later, I was invited to come into the NYC office to discuss an offer. There was a huge disconnect, and I ended up leaving the office very frustrated. As soon as I got home, I sent an email to the TW recruiter in which I said that I withdrew my name from the candidacy.

    My main complaints were:

    1) During the first ten minutes of my initial interview with the TW recruiter, we narrowed down my salary expectations. Then, during the last meeting, where they told me that they were going to give me an offer, the Managing Principal asked what my salary requirements were, and after telling him, he said that he was not authorized to offer that much, and he would have to get special permission from a person who was a level or two higher. In my opinion, when you tell someone to come in to talk about the offer, you actually have a number in hand !!!!

    2) At various times during the interview process, the interviews did not take place at the scheduled time. They have something wrong going on their with their internal clocks. The second interview I had was delayed twice because the recruiter in Chicago messed up on the times. The final debrief was delayed for two hours, resulting in a very awkward situation where they gave me ten minutes notice that they needed to have a video chat with me ... and I was sitting in my office at my current job.

    3) I originally was slated to speak with one of the technical directors. He cancelled at the last minute, and instead, I spoke to a Principal out of the San Francisco office. The interviewer was on a cell phone at a nosy location, and it was difficult to communicate with the interviewer. In my opinion, when someone is being interviewed, they should be on a land line and in a quiet location. Especially if you have a senior-level candidate that you are speaking to.

    Basically, despite their proclaimed excellence at technology, the internal processes are not what you expect from a company that carries the ThoughtWorks name.

    Interview Questions

    • ThoughtWorks was pleasantly surprised when I volunteered to take the coding test. From what the recruiter said, Principals are not expected to take this test. They sent over a list of a few problems, and I chose one of them to do. This was the famous Kiwiland problem. I won't go into details, but it is easy to find this problem with a simple Google search. The problem was made a bit easier for me due to the fact that I was just starting to write a graph package for myself for a side project. So, I wrote some algoirthms around that core package that enabled me to solve the Kiwiland problem in a few hours. During the on-site pairing interview, I was asked to expand on the problem a bit. We did not get to the final answer, but the interviewers and I discussed ways that I could adapt my classes and algoirthms to solve their problem. Some good discussions went on, and I appreciated the comments of the interviewers. During the debrief, the feedback was that my code was not designed in a TDD-like fashion (which it wasn't), so TDD-designed code seems to be something that ThoughtWorks looks out for.

      ThoughtWorks also gave me a presentation to write up. They sent over a list of five business scenarios that they probably encounter frequently (ie: integration of disparate systems, scaling up a development org that is having issues, etc), and they asked me to choose one and give a presentation on it. I wrote up a brief PowerPoint, and during the on-site interview, a panel of three TWers grilled me on my presentation and philosophies. It was an engaging discussion, and a lot of it revolved around the use of MicroServices vs Monolithic apps, and how you would implement them at a customer site. In fact, many of their questions for a Principal-level applicant are geared around how you would deliver for tricky clients.

      At the on-site, two very young TWers asked me about my opinions on social justice and what I was passionate about. I was interested in devoting part of my time at TW to helping social causes, but it looks like a lot of that work is done out of their offices in India and Africa. They do have a bit of work going on in NYC with Unicef.

      The last part of the interview is their famous logic test, where you are basically given an array of integers and written directions, and you are asked to solve various problems. For me, the key was to take the written descriptions, translate them into simple C-like pseudocode, and "run" the code by hand.

      After the on-site, TW followed up with a one-hour debrief and final interview with the Managing Principal of the NYC office. Again, more questions about how I would handle tricky client situations.
      Answer Question

    Technical Lead Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview


    I applied online. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at ThoughtWorks (Chicago, IL) in April 2015.


    There was an initial phone screen with the recruiter. This was followed up with three coding challenge problems and I had to submit one of them. The code challenge took 3 days to complete and submitted online. I then had a phone screen with a senior consultant at the company for about 45 minutes. The conclusion was an on site interview and two tests. Conversations started with technical and soft skills, followed with a pair programming session on my code challenge problem (we extended it) and then lots of soft skills.

    Interview Questions

    • Why did you decide to pick this coding challenge problem vs one of the others?   Answer Question
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    Applications Developer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview


    I applied through an employee referral – interviewed at ThoughtWorks.


    First round was offline puzzle solving round where they give you three puzzles and you have to write code for one of them. Next they call you onsite. Onsite interviews consists of aptitude tests which does not involves usual quant questions instead tests your concentration power by making you solve some flowcharts. During next round you sit with one of their developer and do pair programming on the solution that you submitted prior to your interview. They focus on design and readability of your code. These are followed by two technical rounds with seniors developers.

    Interview Questions

    • Questions on regular expressions. Basic Data-structure and design questions.   Answer Question
  6. Helpful (2)  

    Junior Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview


    I applied through college or university. The process took 2 daysinterviewed at ThoughtWorks (Chicago, IL) in February 2015.


    Two day process. First day was logic assessments (Wonderlic test, Flow Chart Logic Test developed by ThoughtWorks) and a group project (designing a floor plan for Puggles). Second day was 5 minute presentation on any STEM topic (with 1 hour prep time). Then some technical interview questions. Then a values interview (really a grab bag about anything you put on your questionnaire. Also be aware of what is happening in the world). Lastly, a pair programming exercise where you review your code that you sent in.

    Just finished the interview so I have not yet heard back on an offer. (Putting NO until further notice.)

    Interview Questions

    • What is the reward that you gain from helping others learn?   Answer Question
  7. Helpful (2)  

    Principal Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview


    I applied online. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at ThoughtWorks (Chicago, IL) in February 2015.


    My recruiter contacted me the very next day after submitting my profile to ThoughtWorks website. She indicated that TW is looking for senior technologists and influential consultants (like myself) to help shape their client engagements in North America.

    From what I understand, ThoughWorks has a lot of green talent (new college grads, and those making a career change), along with a cadre of long-timers who are less-willing to travel to client sites these days. So at this point, they're interested in filling the gap by hiring new Lead and Principal consultants who have flexibility to travel at least four days per week, from their home-base. (No need to relocate to TW hub.)

    My interview experience consisted of the following:

    - Background, Skills & Interests screening with the recruiter over the phone.
    - Fulfilled a fun test-driven development programming problem, at home. It took about 8 hours to complete.
    - Personality test (online)

    - Flight & one night hotel stay in Chicago prior to in-person interview at corporate headquarters. (I was surprised to learn that TW HQ is simply two nearly vacant floors of a tall office building.)
    - One hour interview about my consulting & engineering team leadership skills
    - One hour interview about TW's "Third Pillar".
    - One hour pair programming interview, refactoring & enhancing my programming exercise on my laptop.
    - Lunch (in a conference room by myself)
    - 15 minute IQ Test
    - 45 minute Logic Test consisting of strange state-flow diagrams (not fun).
    - Short tour around the office

    - A few days later I was invited to a video conference with the Chicago office Director.
    -- He spent about an hour going on and on about TW's client engagement model.
    -- Than he asked a few questions about my career path & what I would see myself doing within their organization. At that time he used bully-tactics to pigeon-hole me into a much lower-paying role (Lead rather than Principle). Not cool.

    - A few days later my Recruiter contacted me to offer a role that payed much less than my expectations. So I politely declined.

    Interview Questions

    • TW "Third Pillar" questions:
      -- What's the difference between tolerance and acceptance?
      -- What are you passionate about regarding social justice? How could you make a difference?
      Answer Question

    Reasons for Declining

    Didn't meet my salary expectations.


    Software Developer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview


    I applied through college or university. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at ThoughtWorks (Austin, TX) in February 2015.


    Went to school's career fair and talked with a recruiter. They sent me a long questionnaire and a problem set with my choice of three series of questions involving a particular topic. After completing one of the three I talked with a recruiter via video chat. The recruiter seemed very stonefaced during the process and did not seem to react in a positive manner to my answers.

    Interview Questions

    • Given a graph G, give how many routes of length 5 go from node A to B   Answer Question

    Associate Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview


    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at ThoughtWorks (San Francisco, CA) in February 2015.


    I applied through Linkedin and the talent scout recruiter got back to me within a week. I was given a coding test where I had the choice between three problems. I chose the directed graphs problem and turned it in a week later. I was also given a questionnaire and thought the questions on it were a bit weird. I was then pushed to a video conference interview with the recruiter. She asked me questions about the coding assignment. She also asked a lot of different types of questions regarding social justice, etc.

    Interview Questions

    • Do you know the three pillars of Thoughtworks   1 Answer

    Software Developer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview


    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at ThoughtWorks (New York, NY) in February 2015.


    Months ago, I was very excited about the idea of working at

    ThoughtWorks.  I worked on my application in early-mid December and

    sent it in mid-month. I heard back a generated response a couple

    days later from Michael Hassin about the survey and coding challenge.

     I did the survey promptly, and put my focus on the challenge.

    I had some Java experience before so I thought it wouldn’t be so bad.

     Since I wasn’t working at the time, I decided to really make a strong

    effort and address concerns not directly asked by the challenge (making

    sure rovers don’t collide and adding JUnit tests).  I probably spent 25

    hours on it over the week, many of which were spent researching how

    to do the build, since .jar files were not allowed.

    I only mention the effort here because it would have been nice to get

    one sentence of feedback for 25 hours of work.  I would have expected

    different behavior from a company that goes on and on about being

    “people focused.”

    After sending it, over two weeks go by and I email Michael (if it’s a real

    person, I never actually heard from him) to ask whether my challenge

    was received.  I don’t get a response, but I do get an email from Sue-Ellen

    Nario that does not mention the challenge. I am told to schedule a phone

    interview and I pick the earliest time possible, which was early January.

    The interview was cultural, and went fine.  A key part of it was about the

    relocation.  I was asked specifically whether I would be OK with a year

    in Dallas followed by a year in NYC.  While that was not my first choice,

    I was open to it.  I was told that I would hear back ‘by next week’.  I sent

    a thank you note after the call.

    I interpreted ‘by next week’ as meaning I would probably hear a

    response (or at least a reply to the thank you note) that week, since the

    interview was Monday morning. Days pass, Friday rolls around and no

    response, so I thought, OK, I guess they meant by the END of the

    following week.  The following week, more days pass.  Monday,

    Tuesday, still nothing.  On Friday, I still hear nothing and sent a polite

    reminder email.  No response on Friday but on Monday I get an email

    from you.

    We are now in early January, and the email says that circumstances

    around the relocation, one item we specifically discussed in the phone

    interview, have changed.  Now New York is full, and I must pick Dallas

    or Atlanta for the second year.  This is a bit frustrating since I have been

    moving forward in the application process as fast as possible and yet

    the spot filled up, but OK. I reply asking whether I have to decide now or

     could do it later, and unsurprisingly the answer is I have to decide now.  

    Not sure why I bothered on that one.  After another day or two of delay by

    ThoughtWorks, I speak to you on the phone.

    Now late January-- On the call you inform me that circumstances have changed again.  

    Not only do I not get my third choice of working in Atlanta/Dallas for the

    second year, but now, the spots might be full all together.  This is

    especially annoying considering I have spent in total around 30 hours in

    the process (the challenge + researching the company for the phone

    interview) and have been moving as quickly as possible to proceed, but

    I respond politely.  I am told that I will hear back the following Tuesday

    or Wednesday about whether there are spots open.

    Wednesday rolls around (now early Feb), and of course, no call or message.  Thursday,

    Friday, still nothing.  Looks like you have no intention of responding

    ever.  So now (two months after I sent in my application), when friends

    and family members ask me “how’s it going with ThoughtWorks?”,  I

    have to reply “I have no idea.” I send another polite follow-up a few weeks later

    and get no response again.

    I realize ThoughtWorks acted like any business can, and many do,

    being in the position of power over the applicant, by treating me less

    than kindly.  Nothing wrong with that, but what really irks me is the way

    ThoughtWorks tries to market itself as not a typical business, but

    instead one that really cares about people. If they didn't want me, for

    whatever reason, just tell me and we can all move on.

    I have since found a job that pays a lot more than ThoughtWorks did,

    and I truly recommend that nobody applies here. In my 4 or so month

    job search, I experienced all types of responses from all types of companies,

    but nobody was near as rude and horrible to deal with as ThoughtWorks.

    Interview Questions

    • What would you do if you ruled the world?   1 Answer

    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview


    I applied online. The process took 5+ monthsinterviewed at ThoughtWorks.


    I learned a lot during this interview process. They wanted to make sure this was true. They flew me out to chicago and got to stay in a nice hotel. Learned a lot about the companies philosophy. They travel alot. People were all very nice. Interviewers really wanted to get to know who you are and what you're about. Asked loads of questions about different things...make sure to study up. Be yourself, speak clearly, and do everything else that's considered good in an interview.

    Interview Questions

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