THE stripe INTERVIEW
Looking to land a job at Stripe but don’t know what the process looks like?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. Detailed in this post is a look at the timeline of the interview process, preparation guidelines, and what's different or unique about Stripe's interview process as opposed to other tech companies.
Before you interview at Stripe, you may want to check out how to work with their API. Here's a great refresher course on working with their API:
THE stripe INTERVIEW explained
Typically, there are four stages to the software engineer interview at Stripe: recruiter screen, 1-2 phone interviews, and then an onsite with about half a day of technical interviews. Although there is one 'software engineer' role at Stripe, in practice there are four different interview loops that you can apply through: frontend, full-stack, backend, and infrastructure. The interview process is similar for each but may involve different types of questions and influence the teams you'll ultimately be able to join.
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
update your RESUME
Make sure you’ve updated your resume and in particular your LinkedIn profile; use deliverables and metrics when you can as they are concrete examples of what you’ve accomplished. Make sure to be as specific as possible.
Here is our guide on how to prepare for the coding interview with a 12-week plan.
CHOOSING YOUR LANGUAGE
Stripe does not require that you know any specific programming language before interviewing for a tech position. However, you should be familiar with the syntax of your preferred language such as Java, Python, C#, C/C++. You should also know some of the languages’ nuances, such as how memory management works, or the most commonly used collections, libraries, etc. Choose one you’re most comfortable with and stick to it.
Prescreen with recruiter
The recruiter phone screen is meant to help the recruiting team learn more about your background and résumé, understand your interviewing timeline, and help you learn about the different interview tracks.
Technical phone interview
This technical interview is a coding question asked virtually via Coderpad or a similar platform, where you'll be expected to solve a coding problem in a reasonable amount of time. Depending on the interviewing track you've applied for, this could either be an algorithms question or a UI challenge.
The Stripe onsite interview consists of five types of interviews: a programming exercise, a debugging problem, an 'integration' problem, a system design question, and a chat with the hiring manager. Each of these interviews lasts between 45 minutes and an hour. If you're visiting an office, you'll also have lunch with an employee in the middle of the day. After the onsite, you'll typically hear back within a few days from the recruiter.
The Stripe programming exercise is a 45-minute interview focused on a practical coding question. Although it's always good to think about performance and runtime, the emphasis in this interview is not on algorithmic complexity but rather on finding a solution that works and writing tests.
The system design interview at Stripe consists of a 1-hour interview with another engineer, and you would typically use a whiteboard to diagram different parts of the system. Remember that system design interviews can be intentionally vague. It's best to lead the conversation rather than rely on the interviewer to provide you with instructions, but make sure you understand the full problem and engage the interviewer to flesh out the requirements at the beginning. In a virtual interview setting, you'll use a virtual whiteboard or drawing app, so you may want to practice with one beforehand.
Behavioral interviews are used most often to assess cultural fit and your level of experience based on prior work. Be prepared to cover topics on your resume, your motivation for seeking a new role, and your previous job. You may also be asked to discuss a technical project you've worked on and your leadership experiences.
This interview is a hands-on coding task where you'll be given an example codebase in a language of your choice and asked to fix a bug that is causing a test to fail. While part of the interview is about finding and fixing the bug itself, it's also about the methodology and approach you take to investigate the underlying issue, so don't forget to communicate your thought process!
This interview type is another distinctly Stripe-style question where you will be given an existing codebase and set of APIs, and then tasked with integrating them and testing how they work together. It's helpful to be familiar with how API requests work in practice at companies like Stripe.
THE OFFER / NO offer
From on-site to offer will take about another week or two. This is so management can either evaluate other candidates or to draft up your offer letter along with other logistics.
In the event that you don’t receive an offer, you’ll most likely have to wait six months to a year to re-apply. Don’t expect any feedback after your interview, but you can conclude that you either didn’t have enough experience or that it just wasn’t a fit culturally.
If you do receive a job offer, the hiring manager will call you to discuss salary, start date, etc.
Less focus on leetcode
A lot of the bigger companies (you can think FAANG) require you to answer LeetCode style questions. While you may see a few, the focus is more on problems that you'll face day-to-day.
Need help preparing for the interview?
Check out the Definitive Interview Prep Roadmap,
written and reviewed by real hiring managers.