David Kuo
David Kuo
Mar 27, 2018 · 6 min read

At Life360, our mission is to build technology to give families peace of mind. The mobile team is playing a crucial role in this mission. We are committed to deliver delightful user experience that’s built on quality and innovation. While having fun doing that, we also help each other learn and grow.

Since I joined Life360 back in 2014, I have been heavily involved in the hiring process. As we scale our mobile team, I think it would help candidates by sharing why engineers are excited to work here, what we are looking for, and how our interview process is.

Life360 app

Why Life360?

Facebook has the social graph for friends, and LinkedIn talks about the economic graph for professionals. We want to the build the family graph for our users and become the must-have technology for every household globally. We are achieving that by building smart features and safety services to give families peace of mind anytime, anywhere. Since I joined Life360, I have become a loyal Life360 user. I am using it with my family around the globe. It’s meaningful and rewarding to work on technology that keeps my loved ones safe. Besides our vision and mission, here are another 4 reasons why people are excited to work at Life360.

  • Challenges — We have a unique set of challenges that are hard to solve. We move fast without suffering quality, and we continuously push the boundary of UI/UX excellence. We build innovative technology to use sensors on mobile devices to detect location, drives, and car collision while maintaining low battery consumption.
  • Growth — We doubled our active users and tripled our revenue last year. As we scale our team to accommodate this high growth, it also means more career growth opportunities for our engineers. We provide tech talks and trainings for our engineers to learn or improve different skills.
  • Impact — Although we are growing at a rapid rate, we are still pretty small with 75 employees where everyone can make significant impact. We are one of the top 10 apps in App Store’s Social Networking category and Play Store’s Lifestyle category. Each engineer is working on an important part of the app for our growing 12 million monthly active users.
  • Culture — We celebrate wins, recognize contributions, and learn from failures. We care about each other and help families in need by organizing events like blood and food donations. We organize hackathons to encourage innovation and autonomy. Our communication is open and transparent.
Celebrating 10 million MAU at Spin

What are we looking for?

On the engineering team, we value leadership, execution, skills, and teamwork (we call it the LEST framework). This is unique from other companies which might only require strong technical skills. Besides technical competencies, we are looking for engineers who take initiative and can influence product features and technical projects (for senior engineers, we expect them to lead those projects and deliver results). They are accountable and can get things done with high quality. They know how to surface risks and problems early and remove roadblocks. They know how to communicate to not only engineers but also a non-technical audience.

Besides the framework, engineers who are successful here have the following three qualities: hungry, humble, and people smart (the term is from the book The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni).

  • Hungry — They are motivated, driven, and passionate about what we do. They have a growth mindset. They are eager to learn, improve, and grow.
  • Humble — They treat people with respect. One of our company’s core values is “Be A Good Person”. We don’t have any brilliant jerks here, and we would like to keep it that way.
  • People Smart — They know how to collaborate with others. They know how to work in a team environment in an effective way.

Our interview questions are designed to assess candidates on LEST and those three qualities.

Interview process

Our interview process is very competitive. Only 6% of candidates will proceed to the final round. The process consists of two stages: phone interview and onsite interview. Before each interview, we will let you know who you will be speaking with and what type of interview it is so you know what to expect. For some interview modules, you might be speaking with two interviewers instead of one. The purpose is to get more assessments from the team before making a hiring decision. Since our mobile engineers work very closely with the product team, beside speaking with the engineering team, you will also be speaking with a product manager in the onsite interview.

For the phone interview, there will be one for introduction and the other for technical. As for the onsite interview, we will invite you to our San Francisco office located in SOMA to meet with the team and have lunch with us. We will give you a tour of our office that has an open working environment and a beautiful view. If coming onsite isn’t possible, we will use video conferencing instead. Normally our onsite interview can be done in one day. If there are additional rounds, we will make sure to let you know ahead of time. We will provide you with the tools you need such as IDE, CoderPad, and whiteboard to solve problems.

How to prepare

We understand interviews can be nerve-wracking. We all have been through it. The following tips might help you prepare for our interview.

CS fundamentals and programming languages

Most of our interview modules require fundamental knowledge from Computer Science and programming language of your choice. We’d suggest brushing up on data structures and their performance implications. There are many books and online resources that you can find to help you prepare like Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell, LeetCode, and GeeksforGeeks. We highly recommend practicing a few of them before the interview.

Mobile app development

We suggest reviewing the following core concepts for your mobile platform: UI components, view layout, data models, concurrent processing, and networking.

App design and architecture

Think about how you would design certain functions in an app that would provide great user experience. You might want to think about how to address corner cases and trade-offs of your design. A classic book Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software can be a good start.

Your background and experience

Spend time to review your resume and projects that you have worked on. Think about what motivates you, how you work with others, and how you want to grow in your career.

Tips during the interview

Communicate

Ask questions and let us know if you need help. We don’t know how to help you if you don’t let us know. We don’t assess candidates on syntax or memorization of APIs. If you are stuck, let us know. We could guide you to the right path. Furthermore, discuss your solution with us. We are curious how you arrived at your solution.

Design before you code

Make sure you understand the question and take time to design your solution first. Don’t jump into implementation right away. Think about how you can improve your solution. If you can’t find the most optimal solution, start with the one that you know and iterate on that. When writing code, make sure it’s well-formatted so it’s easy for us to understand.

Test your solution

We value quality over speed and quantity. After you are done with a problem, test your solution and make sure corner cases are covered. Discuss different test cases with us and walk us through.

Are you excited to join us?

I hope this blog post can give you more information about Life360 and our interview process. If you are excited about what we do and want to be part of this growth journey, the mobile team is always hiring! Check out our jobs page.

Life360 Engineering

Musings of Life360's talented engineers

Thanks to Josh Wickham, Michael Sullivan, and Remon Karim

David Kuo

Written by

David Kuo

Engineering Manager, Growth @ Yelp

Life360 Engineering

Musings of Life360's talented engineers

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade