This is a significant post because this was my first ever onsite interview. I don’t plan to post every single interview experience I’ve had, but this is special 🙂 The video is a bit lengthy so feel free to read the summary below. Thanks!
This video is my experience and is unlisted so you’ll only find it here.
So, I got sent a link from an acquaintance of mine about the Spotify Technical Fellowship. I had heard about it and was on the mailing list but never received notification from them that the opportunity had opened up. Anyway, I applied with my information, solved the 3 technical questions and 1 system design question. It took me 2 days.
After applying, I completely forgot about it until I received an email 2 weeks ago telling me that I had made it to the onsite interview. I was completely dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe it. I applied for the back-end role of the fellowship and was given only one day and time that I could interview. I had 3 days to prepare and I hadn’t studied algorithms in 5 months. I spent the weekend relearning core algorithms and data structures and solving a few Codewars challenges.
I arrived 20 minutes before my interview and sat in the beautiful waiting room. I was pretty anxious. I started chatting with the two other people who were also interviewing at my time. I think both of them had just finished a bootcamp.
Finally, the recruiter came to take us to our interviews. We were led first through a themed room (I don’t know how else to describe it) of the sorts and then into another massive room filled with engineers. I think there were at least 100 engineers there. Maybe 150+. The place was stunning. The recruiter placed us each in a separate small room. Mines was blue and green with a round table and four chairs. The walls were blue but one could use them for writing on.
My first interviewers came and they were very friendly. They told me my schedule for the day and then we began. I had to explain a common Spotify system design question. It was actually fun and my interviewers responded well. All four of my interviews were 45 minutes long.
My second interview was behavioral. I was asked the typical behavioral interview questions i’d gotten applying to retail. Their questions were a little bit more specific and personal. This made it easier to come up with a response. I believe that interview went well but I also probably came off as too casual.
After my second interview, my interviewer took me to the “snack section” in the engineering hall. I wasn’t hungry at all but I saw Chobani yogurt, cliff bars and pistachios (among 40 other options) so I had my way with them and tried to calm my nerves for the next interview which would be algorithmic.
My third interview consisted of a 2D array. It was similar to the Sudoku checker problem (I have yet to post on this blog) albeit simpler. I explained out loud and solved the algorithm up until the last line when my mind went blank. I explained exactly what was supposed to happen, but for some reason I couldn’t come up with the simple line of code. My interviewer stepped in and wrote the last line for me. He was quite supportive and overall the interview went well.
My last interview was also algorithmic. I was interviewed by two girls. In each interview i’m given about 5 minutes to ask them any questions before we get started. I found out one of the interviewers had done the fellowship the year before and now she was on the engineering team. She said there were about 8 of them last year. My interviewers seemed a bit jaded but overall they were responsive and helpful throughout the interview. I was their last interview for the day so it was understandable. The question they gave my was an array manipulation question. When my interviewer finished writing the question on the bored I smiled….by accident. I couldn’t believe my luck that I had gotten such an easy question. I tried to keep a straight face and explained how to solve it while implementing the code on the “white board”. After I solved it and tested it with an example, she added new conditions and limitations. I solved those as well. I think I was moving a bit fast and tripped up once because of this, but it was so simple. Overall, I think that interview went great and I demonstrated my understanding of the problem.
Afterwards, I left with the other two people being interviewed and we discussed how our interviews went for about 30 seconds. It seemed to have gone well for them. Only one of them was tripped up about the 2D array question.
I went home and for the next week and a half waited for a response. I didn’t get the fellowship. I don’t know why, but I assume there were others that were better.
Overall, it was a great first interview.