Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
Interviews for Top Jobs at Zynga
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Principal Software Engineer Interview
I applied through an employee referral. The process took 1+ week – interviewed at Zynga (San Francisco, CA) in April 2012.
Zynga has a great interview culture - one of the best I've ever been exposed to. Things started with a call from an internal recruiter, who had been poked by a friend of mine. He arranged a phone screen, which served as a poseur filter ("Reverse a linked list!", "DFS a tree!"), and was efficiently conducted. I was brought in just a few days later for in-person interviews, which worked through issues at the operational ("How would you handle proactive hardware provisioning for a giant web application?"), strategic ("Sketch a million-user presence system!"), and tactical ("Implement a distributed hash table!") levels. Every interviewer was on-time and showed evidence of having read my resume and thought it through. That level of preparation warmed my heart, since I had been the "tech interview guy" for years at a previous employer, and finally got a little karmic reward.
- How would you proactively provision hardware for a large LAMP application? Discuss monitoring, cost planning, and how you'd estimate the marginal value. Answer Question
- Suppose you need a chat system with 10M concurrent users, with a dense adjacency matrix. How would you implement a presence and chat system that scales to that kind of user base? Discuss tradeoffs among reliability, complexity, latency, and cost. Answer Question
- Implement a distributed hash table. Discuss how it will scale horizontally, how it might implement redundancy, and what kind of reliability guarantees it can make. Answer Question
Reasons for Declining
It wasn't my best offer, in money terms, and I wound up with a more technically challenging position elsewhere, with the only company that did a better interview process.
Other Interview Reviews for Zynga
Principal Software Engineer InterviewAccepted OfferPositive ExperienceAverage Interview
The process took 1 day – interviewed at Zynga (Seattle, WA) in March 2011.
Standard stuff. prelim screening, then on-site - 4-5 1hr interviews.
You gotta be good at interviews. Wrote a hashtable implementation on the board (can you code).
Solved a few distributed systems problems - bank of webservers, tiers of caching, dealing with connection fan-in, etc (do you understand systems and networks, not just FOR loops).
Few other questions - interviewers were pretty good at it. I learned a few things to use in my own interviews.
I didn't need to negotiate. They hooked me up - serious efforts were taken to double my stock grant when I didn't even know what was on the line. Negotiate with what? No one else would pay me that much.