Airbnb Software Engineer Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Airbnb Software Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Sep 13, 2017
117 Interview Reviews

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Helpful (10)  

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
Accepted Offer
Neutral Experience
Average Interview

Application

I applied online. I interviewed at Airbnb (San Francisco, CA) in September 2017.

Interview

The recruiter contacted me a few days after I applied online for an initial phone screen, very straight forward, just gauging my interests and motivations and so on.

The first technical phone screen followed very shortly after, which were very straightforward. She was pretty engaging and responsive. She definitely gave me a few hints along the way, but you must be extremely prepared with CS fundamentals.

I got a callback a day later notifying that I would make it on to the next technical phone screen. This one was a little easier than the first, so pretty manageable. The interviewer seemed to like my approach and was also very positive and engaging throughout the experience.

That afternoon, they told me I was moving on to the onsite, which I scheduled for the next week. One coding interview, two culture fit interviews, then lunch, experience, architecture, and one last coding interview.

The onsite coding interviews were actually the same caliber of the tech phone screen interviews thankfully, so don't expect them to get progressively harder. One of the interviewers told me that they recently refreshed their interview question bank with new questions, a lot of them they provide and make up on their own. Needless to say, none of the questions I saw on Glassdoor before this were remotely close to what I was asked. It was still pretty manageable though if you do your preparation.

One thing I should have been more prepared on was semaphores and mutexes. They asked me in depth about processes for about 20 minutes, and my knowledge was only pretty intermediate. Makes sense I guess since the engineers do dev ops on their own, which is respectable. Make sure to study advanced details on processes, threads, and scheduling.

Also make sure to get up to speed on intermediate - advanced Discrete Math, that was a common theme.

The rest of the interviews were straight-forward. Culture-fit was pleasant, as long as you have creative answers you'll be fine. Don't be caught off guard by the abrupt, quirky questions. If you're quick on your feet and proof to substantiate your answers it will go well.

Experience was just a high-level casual conversation about my resume, didn't go in depth at all, no whiteboarding. I got to ask the engineer a lot of questions here due to the extra time left.

Interview Questions

  • 1. Implement algorithm to rotate binary tree
    2. Change algorithm for trees with 1 to n children nodes
    3. Iterative implementation   Answer Question
  • Given a string (no spaces) and a pattern, see if they match.

    "xyzxy" and "airbnbairbn" return true.
    "ccc" and "airairair" return true.   Answer Question
  • With two words and a separate list of words, find the shortest sequence between the two words where only one letter is changed at a time. Make sure to return the sequence of words as a list (solution only valid with backtracking).   Answer Question
  • Architect and design an Airbnb clone   Answer Question

Other Interview Reviews for Airbnb

  1.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Airbnb.

    Interview

    Applied on the onsite career site, was contacted by recruiter to take HackerRank online coding challenge. They don't even give you a phone interview call, no matter what your experience level is or which reputable tech company you're coming from. Automated testing using HackerRank robot is not the right way to test experienced engineers. If we are spending our valuable time, it is fair to expect the employer to have the same skin in the game.

    Interview Questions


  2. Helpful (5)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. I interviewed at Airbnb.

    Interview

    Applied through a recruiter - Fairly standard and quick process. Initial screen and company question then a technical interview the next week. Communication with the technical interviewer was sub-par ... also note it is not about solving the problem sub solving the problem most optimally.

    Interview Questions

    • Palindrome Pairs question - given a set of words, find all pairs of words that form a palindrome when concatenated. Make sure to know big-O time complexity   1 Answer
  3. Helpful (26)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Airbnb.

    Interview

    I verbally accepted the offer and I am waiting to hear back from the recruiter. It’s been almost 5 months.

    Sadly, bias runs deep in the hiring process which is extremely disappointing coming from a company that promotes acceptance and hospitality. The company seems to take you much more seriously if you have a competing offer from Google or Facebook, otherwise, you’re less interesting to them. Even though you nailed their +8 interviews. At the end of the day, the story of how one of their employees (look it up) negotiated his offer with them is a sad reflection of reality.

    It’s all in the hands of the recruiters – the managers and engineers you meet don’t matter. In my case, my recruiter handled the situation extremely poorly. He showed 0 interest in trying to close. I turned down other compelling offers in the process of accepting theirs (which I wasn’t 100% convinced with but I really liked the mission of the company) but for reasons only the recruiter knows, that was the last time I heard back from them.

    Almost every company I had interviewed with in the past followed up with a survey in order to make their process better. Not Airbnb though! They didn’t provide me with a way to express how uncomfortable and unwelcome the process made me feel and so I decided to write this post for future candidates.

    To future candidates:
        • If you have other offers, make sure to discuss them with the recruiter as soon as you can.
        • Manage the process – if the recruiter doesn’t give you a deadline, specify one. It’ll be used against you otherwise.

    To Airbnb recruiting team:
        • Be a host – empathize with the candidates, understand where they’re coming from. The culture of inclusion and hospitably starts with you.
        • Simplify – don’t trick the candidates. Set clear deadlines if you really care about the timelines, otherwise, don’t timelines against the candidates.
        • Listen from the candidates – situations like this happen all the time. Sometimes, it’s the candidates fault and sometimes it’s the recruiters fault. Listen to both sides.

    Interview Questions


  4. Helpful (6)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. I interviewed at Airbnb (San Francisco, CA) in May 2017.

    Interview

    Week 1:
    First contact was with a recruiter a few days after sending my application through a referral at the company. It was a typical recruiter screen and we proceeded to scheduling a technical phone interview.

    -----

    Week 2:
    The technical phone interview was done over the phone and in CodePen (using collab mode). It was a straightforward UI task I was able to finish quickly, so we found ways to enhance it further. I was emailed the next day and told they wanted to bring me onsite.

    -----

    Week 3:
    The onsite interviews (6 of them) took up the entire day: 2 technical, 1 algorithm, 2 cross-functional, 1 project deep-dive.

    You must sign an NDA when you arrive (so I can't share any of the questions they asked). I was given a brief tour of the building, then shown to my meeting room for the day (they wrote a nice welcome message on the whiteboard).

    The 2 frontend technical interviews were much like the phone interview - straightforward UI tasks. Both were done in CodePen and were enjoyable. The algorithm interview was more practical than I expected. We discussed the approach I would take, and then implemented it (also in CodePen). The 2 cross-functional interviews were a series of questions and topics for discussion. I got the idea they were using those to get a gauge on my personality. The final interview was a deep-dive into a past project I worked on. I suggest picking something you enjoyed as it makes talking about it for 45 minutes much easier.

    Also included was lunch - the food selection in their cafeteria is impressive. You are paired with an employee who takes you to their cafeteria to eat with you. This was not an interview. It seem silly at first to have a chaperone, but it was a good chance to ask questions both about the company and the interview process.

    Despite a long day, everyone involved was polite, upbeat, and courteous to my needs (asking if I needed bathroom and water breaks). All interviews started right in on the problems/questions and then left time at the end for me to ask them questions about the company.

    I met with the recruiter on the way out who told me he'd be in touch in 2 days. I left pleased with how I represented myself.

    2 days later, I was told they were proceeding to drawing up an offer and that they will have it to me the following week.

    -----

    Week 4:
    Offer received and signed.

    -----

    Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. Everyone I interacted with was pleasant and friendly. Based on some of the feedback I read on Glassdoor, I was expecting uninterested and tired interviewers, but that wasn't the case at all.


  5. Helpful (4)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Declined Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. I interviewed at Airbnb (San Francisco, CA) in May 2017.

    Interview

    The interviewer jumped straight into the problem. It was basically a variation of coin change. Interviewer was not very helpful but definitely gave me time to think about the problem and wasn't too pushy. I got stuck in a recursive infinte loop because of the issue with including an item multiple times and not having duplicates. Shouldn't be too hard. Working solution provided.

    Interview Questions

    • Q) Given a list of menu items and prices. Print all combinations that match a target price.
      Eg: target = $3, Menu( A:$1 , B:$2)

      Print
      A,A,A
      A,B

      But no B,A   2 Answers

  6. Helpful (4)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. I interviewed at Airbnb (San Francisco, CA) in May 2017.

    Interview

    Total Process from start to finish was around 3.5 weeks.

    I had a referral and outstanding offers from two "big 4" companies so they did a great job of hurrying along the process.

    Had two phone screens. The first was an interesting problem that's not currently on leetcode in any variant. I'd rate it somewhere between leetcode medium and hard. Barely finished it in time since I was debugging the last 15 min.

    Second phone screen was a leetcode easy/medium problem. Trick is not overcomplicating it.

    Onsites consist of several interviews: some are coding interviews, some are architecture interviews, some are fit interviews. Unlike other companies, Airbnb prefers a working solution in the allotted time even if it's suboptimal. Your code is expected to run. So I'd recommend taking no more than 10-15 min coming up with the algorithm... start coding up the naive solution if you're stuck and if you have time at the end you can explain a better algorithm to use.

    The fit interviews are pretty straightforward. This isn't something you should "study" for, but read up on Airbnb's core values and think about how you align with them. They care a lot about fit which is probably why everyone seems so awesome to work with.

    Architecture interview was much more intense than any of the tech giants. I found it to be highly disorganized but we basically did a deep dive into a system. If you're an experienced engineer you'll find it fast-paced but not terrible.

    Experience interview is very pleasant. You talk about cool projects that you've worked on and how they work.

    Interview Questions

    • NDA (and I'm working there) so no specifics. But I strongly suggest studying graphs, networking, less common data structures like tries/radix trees and min/max heaps, bit manipulation, and searching (BFS, DFS, binary search).   1 Answer

  7. Helpful (3)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Airbnb.

    Interview

    Talked to one of their recruiters on the phone. Seemed fine.

    After that had a technical phone screen interview setup.

    The interview used coderpad. The interviewer immediately asked his question. Barely talked. Was very hard to understand when he did. Provided no help or direction at all. Made it pretty clear he did not care to interview me. He presented his second question incorrectly. I explained my understanding of his second question and he agreed. I implemented it. Then he brings up an edge case, which is not at all valid for the question that was asked. He then asks what the run time of my solution is. I tell him. He disagrees. I explain to him again. He seems to concede then says he has to go, but he'll let me take the rest of the allotted time to finish and answer the question correctly. The same question he had asked incorrectly. At this point it was clear this was a waste of time so I also exited the interview.

    Interview Questions

    • Determine whether word is a palindrome and find palindrome pairs within a set of words   1 Answer
  8. Helpful (3)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Airbnb (San Francisco, CA) in May 2017.

    Interview

    Overall, this was a negative interview experience. The company highlights it respects every individual, men and women of all races, however, they actually do not respect the candidate. I'll explain my experience in detail.

    First, a little background about the interview process: After a phone interview, I was invited to their HQ in San Francisco for an onsite interview. The onsite interview includes two coding interviews, a project deep dive, two cross function interviews and two system design interviews.

    1. The recruiter was never on time for phone calls before bringing me onsite. Among all the 5+ companies I interviewed in the same period, I never had this kind of experience. Airbnb recruiter was the most unprofessional one. If I need to take a 30-minute phone call during work, I have to make a good schedule and find a good spot. Airbnb, please respect your candidate and be on time; when you are late, at least reschedule a time instead of directly calling me when I am in the middle of work.

    2. The onsite interview has a "project deep dive" session, and it essentially asks you every detail of a project you worked on. This is absurd and totally ignores the risk of leaking confidential information of the candidate's employer. I have to be very careful in this session and avoid some detailed information when answer questions of the interviewer, and obviously he was not satisfied. Airbnb, please respect confidentiality when designing your interviews!

    Among the 5+ companies I recently interview, I had the worst experience with Airbnb and I will not consider applying again.

    Interview Questions

    • coding in a computer instead of whiteboard; behavior questions; system design questions.   Answer Question

  9.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. I interviewed at Airbnb (Seattle, WA) in May 2017.

    Interview

    2 round phone screen, 1st display search result with pagination, 2nd implement 2d iterator. Basically there is not much communication with interviewer, I just coding and explains the solution, and interviewer seems agree with everything.

    Interview Questions

    • interviewer asked me to implement 2d iterator   3 Answers

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