Engineering Interviewing at Strava

We know Engineering interviewing can be stressful, and stress can often make interviews a poor sample of what you can do at work. We want to create an interviewing environment where you can show who you are and what you can do. Hopefully this blog post will help you present your best self during your interviews at Strava!

Our principles for interviewing

Our goal during your interview process is to figure out if you will succeed at Strava. We tailor our interviews to gauge how you would do in everyday situations, rather than test intelligence or ask brainteasers.

We try to do that by:

  • Creating an environment where you can show your abilities
  • Asking questions tuned to the job you would be doing
  • Simulating a work environment — that may be programming at a computer, finding solutions with a product manager, or designing a component of a system
  • Asking questions about more than technical ability

Just like you don’t have to have every answer at work, we don’t expect you to know everything during your interviews — many of our interviews are collaborative, just like work.

We also want you to know whether you want to work at Strava by the end of the process, so we give time for your questions, and try to introduce you to your potential team.

Before coming onsite

Before coming onsite, engineering candidates talk to:

  • A recruiter
  • A software engineering manager
  • One or more software engineers

Interviews will usually be similar to an onsite interview in content — we’ll probably ask about your experience, your interests, and ask technical questions.

We use Zoom meetings for most remote interviews, it’s a good idea to set it up and test your camera and microphone well in advance of the appointment. We also may send you a link to a shared typing space for technical questions. You should plan to be on a computer in a quiet area for your interviews.

The onsite

The exact details of our onsites vary by team, but when you’re confirmed for an onsite you’ll get more details about your day (including the names and roles of people you’ll be talking to). We want to respect your time by making your interview day to be concentrated while meeting as many members of your potential team as possible.

A typical onsite at Strava includes about 3 hours of technical interviews, one or more non-technical interviews, a chat with your potential manager, lunch, and a 15–30 minute break somewhere in the middle.

We want you to be able to focus on what you’re doing, so if you’re thirsty or need to use the bathroom, please let us know (your interview schedule can flex to accommodate). Also, please wear clothing that you’re comfortable in — there’s no need to wear a suit or tie when interviewing here.

During interviews

Take your time

Don’t worry about the clock — take your time on the problem in front of you. We’re more interested in your thought process than completing problems.

Ask for clarification and talk through solutions before committing

If the question is ambiguous to you, ask for clarity before jumping in — it’s easier than backtracking later.

Example cases are great

Examples of input and output can help you check if you and the interviewer share the same interpretation of the problem, and help figure out corner cases that your solution might have missed.

Get something up on the board

You might have an inclination that there’s a more efficient-but-complex solution to the question asked. It’s usually better to get a simple solution down first. Your interviewer may then ask you to go deeper.

“Bad” interviews often aren’t as bad as you think — let the previous interviews go

I’ve heard more than once “I didn’t think I’d get hired after my interview with you” from people who actually performed well. Because interview answers are calibrated against others’ solutions, it’s often hard to know how you’re doing. So, focus on the current interview! (Plus, one bad interview doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t move forward!)

Do you have any questions for me?

Interviewing is a two-way street, you’ll have time with each interviewer to ask anything you’re curious about: our technology, what it’s like to work here, how we build software, how teams work together, what we could do better, why haven’t we built this obvious feature you want, or why should you want to work at Strava!

After the onsite

You should hear back after every stage within one to three business days — if you don’t hear back, feel free to reach out to your recruiter. After an onsite, we’ll also give feedback on how your interviews went.

Thanks for interviewing with Strava! We hope you have a great experience, and we hope you join the team! (Oh, and if you’re reading this and haven’t already applied — we are hiring!)