Duolingo Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Duolingo Interview Questions

Updated Aug 31, 2017
31 Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Pittsburgh, PA
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Duolingo (Pittsburgh, PA).

    Interview

    Applied online, got an e-mail from a recruiter the following day. Quick phone screen with the recruiter, then a take-home coding challenge that was relevant to the particular role I applied for. After that, had a coding interview over Skype with an engineer. Fairly standard interview. The engineer doesn't care much if you come up with the best solution right away, just ask for hints and explain your thought process.

    After that, got invited for an interview on-site which consisted of two whiteboard coding problems and a pair programming session.

    Overall, the process was super smooth and everyone was really friendly and easy-going. Seems like a great company!

    Interview Questions

    • The white board coding problems required knowledge of data structures, recursion, and dynamic programming. That being said, they would probably qualify as "medium" level difficulty problems - nothing too crazy. The pair programming session involved editing an API endpoint in their code to do some simple data manipulation before returning it to the frontend.   Answer Question

  2. Helpful (1)  

    Product Designer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Remote, OR
    No Offer
    Negative Experience

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Duolingo (Remote, OR) in August 2017.

    Interview

    The interview process kicked off with a standard ~15 minute screening call with a recruiter. I was told to hold all questions about the role and their design team/process until my next interview.

    The immediate next step was a one week design exercise. The recruiter sent a two sentence prompt that simply asks you to design a half dozen or so screens of a mobile app that would teach a topic of your choice. This sort of design challenge is typically the last step in any interview process - it requires a couple days of work to identify a topic and formulate your approach, wireframe several concepts, bring a concept up to a polished visual design, and package it all into a presentation.

    After sending my presentation, I was told I would hear back within two days. Ten days later, the recruiter called me out of the blue to give me a standard rejection line, and that she was not able to provide any constructive feedback on the project.

    This interview process shows a complete disrespect for the candidate's time. Right out of the gate, they expect you to invest many hours into your candidacy, but are not willing to give you anything in return. I never had an opportunity to speak with the design team, nor did I get any sort of opportunity to present my work and get feedback on how to improve. I think every self-respecting designer at some point learns to value their time and to never do free work. I would not recommend applying to Duolingo, unless it is one of your top choices.

    Interview Questions

    • Design task 1:

      Take any subject you are passionate about (music, math, history, it can be anything), and imagine it being taught in fun, bite sized challenges. Design 5-10 mobile screens that show how you might navigate the app and teach the subject. Avoid making something that looks and feels too much like Duolingo.

      We recommend designing at least 4 screens, and not spending more than a week working on it once you’ve started.   Answer Question
  3.  

    Recruiter Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Pittsburgh, PA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Duolingo (Pittsburgh, PA) in June 2017.

    Interview

    I applied online and was contacted by a recruiter to schedule an initial (~30 min) phone screen. I was then scheduled for a 2nd phone screen (~45 min) with the HR manager. After that, I was given a task/essay prompts to respond to and two days to complete them. I believe the next step would be an in-person interview but I was told that they decided to move forward with other candidates. I wish they would have done more than just tell me I wasn't in consideration (what I could work on, etc.), especially after I spent 2 entire days writing essays.

    Interview Questions

    • How would you handle issues at a career fair (ex. your materials for your booth not being there)?   Answer Question
    • How would you get more people to accept their offers?   Answer Question

  4. Helpful (1)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Pittsburgh, PA
    Accepted Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. I interviewed at Duolingo (Pittsburgh, PA).

    Interview

    I applied to the company for a software engineering internship position through my university.

    They gave me a take home project, which I completed, and did really well in the interview. I received an offer, which I accepted.

    2 months later when it was close to starting my internship, the internship position suddenly disappeared. POOF! No job.

    Interview Questions

    Duolingo Response

    May 4, 2017 – Recruiter

    On behalf of Duolingo, we would like to respond to this review that we believe is incorrect. It is a company priority to provide a great interview process and experience for any candidate. However... More


  5. Helpful (4)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Interview

    First, there are two phone interviews where you are asked asked standard Cracking the Coding Interview type questions. You write code in an online text editor with a REPL while talking to the engineer over the phone. Then, you're invited on-site. You're given again fairly standard technical questions, and you solve them on a white board.

    Interview Questions


  6. Helpful (4)  

    Customer Service Specialist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Pittsburgh, PA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 5 weeks. I interviewed at Duolingo (Pittsburgh, PA) in December 2016.

    Interview

    First interview was a brief phone screen. Second was a longer interview with person who would directly supervise position. Third was in person, lasted several hours, and included meeting with numerous people. I did get the sense that a couple people I met with didn't want to be part of the process. Not sure if that's because they weren't onboard with me as a candidate, had other things to do, or that I didn't engage well with them during the interview. Overall, the interview process was well done and they regularly communicated with me during the process. Seemed to be a good place to work and I was disappointed to not be selected. As with every interview I've ever done, no specific reasons were given as to why I wasn't selected.

    Interview Questions

    • Standard questions: tell us about yourself, why do you want to work here, what makes you right for this position. Also behavioral questions: tell us about a time..., when did you..., etc.   Answer Question
    • What's a common misconception that people have about you?   Answer Question
    • Was also asked a few provocative questions about my previous employers business practices. Not sure of these were spur of the moment or an interview strategy.   Answer Question
    • Was also given several customer service scenarios and asked how I would handle them. Focus was on my thought process more than the specific answers.   Answer Question

  7. Helpful (2)  

    Product Management Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ months. I interviewed at Duolingo in December 2016.

    Interview

    So I applied for a role as a PM intern with Duolingo on October 6th and I got a call December 1st after completing almost every stage of my interview that they would not be going forward with my candidacy.

    I definitely think they could have handled some things better but regardless, I do appreciate the opportunity.

    This is how the process ended up going for me:

    1. In October, I get emailed by a recruiter and was asked to complete both a product task and a programming task within one week. I ask for an extension since there was a Fall break at school.
    2. Submitted completed PRD and programming task after 12 days.
    3. Phone interview with PM, get assigned task to create a deck based off PRD to complete within 1 week
    4. Finished deck
    5. Phone call with another PM about how to better define PRD in deck and prepare further revisions within the week, asked for an extension again because I was going to be at a wedding
    6. Submitted revised deck to new recruiter on-boarded since past recruiter is leaving company
    7. Get a call from new recruiter that they won't be moving forward with interview process

    Overall, definitely a very engaging and thorough interview and 10 times better than the totally unrelated algorithm questions I've gotten in the past. Still, not getting the opportunity was a pretty big let down after everything was over with.

    Interview Questions

    • Determine one thing Duolingo could improve and create a 1-3 page product specification document for your proposal.   Answer Question
    • Create anagram checker.   Answer Question
  8. Helpful (2)  

    Customer Service Specialist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Pittsburgh, PA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Duolingo (Pittsburgh, PA) in December 2016.

    Interview

    Same as other reviewer: phone screen, interview with managers, all day on site. I also got the impression that half of the people I was meeting with weren't interested in talking with me - those interviews were uncomfortable and it was difficult to click with those people (high up managers, specifically). The team i would have been working with directly seemed great and asked really interesting questions. I don't feel like the team had a great handle on what they were looking for as far as customer support goes. It seemed like they were trying to crowdsource a support process from their interviewees. The posting was for a general support role, but they needed a manager. The company did seem great and had lots of nice perks. HR was great about getting back to me quickly with next steps.

    Interview Questions

    • What kind of tickets do you think you would see in this role?   Answer Question
    • Give me an example of a time you solved a problem with metrics/numbers.   Answer Question
    • If Starbucks was designing a new cup, how would you test that cup   Answer Question
    • How would you test the Duolingo product/what types of issues would you run into?   Answer Question
    • How large are the other support orgs you've worked on?   Answer Question
    • How would you go about putting a support process in place?   Answer Question
    • What is a common misconception people have about you?   Answer Question

  9. Helpful (7)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Pittsburgh, PA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ weeks. I interviewed at Duolingo (Pittsburgh, PA).

    Interview

    Applied for one specific engineering position, but I was told I'd interview for another, one I didn't particularly want. When I asked, there was no reason given other than it seemed like a good idea to them. I didn't really want this other position but since I hadn't interviewed for a number of years I decided to do it for practice.

    Changing the job seemed like something you'd want to discuss, but I got a "we know better than you" vibe from them. However, the chief people there are known for great work and a few successful startups in the past. But they've just done a D round and this is their fifth year of "selling" a free product. Unless they find a buyer it doesn't look like a great business and I don't see anyone with deep pockets in their market looking for new tech.

    I'd found them online after hearing talk about them and so sent a resume directly. A week or so later I did a phone screen using a screen sharing tool with an engineer. It was the typical "write some code to solve a problem" to demonstrate basic programming skills. A few days later I was invited to an onsite interview. This all seemed standard up to this point.

    However, this place doesn't seem to place much value on having a HR process of any substance or quality. When I arrived I was treated somewhat coldly and left to stand alone in the middle of the work area. There was no attempt to prepare me or make me feel like it was a place where I'd want to work. The "office" area is spacious and cathedral-like and felt prissy like a library. I was clearly not the correct demographic for this place and would be an outsider if hired, so I anticipated that I'd likely be "selected out" as being "a bad cultural fit" and I wasn't sure that it would bother me very much. I was told there would be two hour-long interviews, followed by lunch, followed by other interviews with senior people if needed. I've done tons of interviewing myself, and that means that the later interviews would be depending on the earlier people giving the thumbs up.

    The two interviews were average algorithm coding questions. They picked subjects I wasn't familiar with but I knew the data structures that were appropriate and answered all the questions. I was a bit rusty at interviewing but thought I did well despite not recalling a few things I could easily look up as needed. They then specifically sat me beside a founder at lunch, who grilled me about my experience at a number of local startups, so he had evidently read my resume and asked good questions about my background. He must have assumed I'd make it through the interview as he had some topics he wanted to discuss when we met in the afternoon. The people I met at lunch seemed nice and all seemed quite intelligent and well mannered. Evidently, I was not the same quality of person because I was told to leave immediately after lunch. So, it was a bit of a relief, but still stung a little. They sent an email the next day stating the obvious.

    I really wish they had not made me stay for lunch when it was only two people who had to make the decision, they could have sent me off and immediately told me no instead of pretending and making me sit through lunch with people I would not be working with. Seems dumb, and I have better things to do.

    Well, perhaps I didn't interview as well as I assumed, but I got no negative feedback during any interview. One of the interviewers was rather cold and a bit short with me and I think that person just didn't like me. Tech people like to think that they are able to form good judgements about potential hires in a short period, but that is mostly illusion. A good hiring process is never this short or this brittle, excellent people are not always immediately obvious and some things take a long time to see clearly. I've got decades of experience inventing new high end tech and was found lacking in minutes. The hiring process I encountered here was that you need to go to a top school and need to obviously fit some cultural norms to be taken seriously. They have hired a lot of good people, but they've also let a lot of gems fall through the net, if my circle of friends who have applied is any indication. You can be super picky and err on the side of caution when there is no competition, but this seems short sighted given how many people they just lost to another big tech company that moved into town.

    So, this is a group of really bright people and for most, if you get an interview you should go for it, but this is not a place that shows any signs of visionaries who are going to make breakthrough products and define new markets and new kinds of software. Maybe they are hidden in there, beyond sight? If I were just starting out this would be a desirable position and worth the struggle to achieve.

    Interview Questions

    • Solve problems using a boggle gameboard. Dig into how autocorrect works.   Answer Question

  10. Helpful (1)  

    Senior Software Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Pittsburgh, PA
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Duolingo (Pittsburgh, PA) in October 2016.

    Interview

    I applied online. I had two phone interviews where I had to solve a problem. After, I came onsite and had 2 whiteboard coding questions, followed by a lunch, a pair programming and finally, a system design question. Everybody was awesome, very nice and helpful. Everybody is committed to th company mission and seems to be very good in software engineering.

    Interview Questions

    • System design (database/backend)
      Basic algorithms questions
      Pair programming in Python   Answer Question

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