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Ellie Mae Interview
Questions

27 Questions and Answers by
| Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.

Question 1 of 27

As the onsite consultant for our clients here at Ellie Mae, you may be privy to confidential information or data. How can we ensure that you will hold client data security in the highest confidence?

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Ellie Mae Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    As the onsite consultant for our clients here at Ellie Mae, you may be privy to confidential information or data. How can we ensure that you will hold client data security in the highest confidence?

      The consulting world at Ellie Mae will put your in a position to have access to client databases, applications and directories that could potentially contain sensitive data. Consultants have a responsibility to their clients to maintain that privacy. Be sure that your interviewer understands that you adhere to that responsibility by talking about past experiences where you have been exposed to and kept sensitive data confidential. It is important to talk about your own personal morals and values in your answer to this question.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Having worked as a consultant for a large healthcare medical record software organization, I had access to thousands of medical records with each new client that we brought aboard. While often required to sign confidentiality and HIPAA agreements with each client, my own values would never allow me to compromise the secure data of a patient. If hired for this role, I would hold the confidential data with your clients in the highest regard and wouldn't hesitate to take all measures possible to ensure that data is secure."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Successful consulting relationships with customers are built on trust and I value and respect the trust that my customers show my by maintaining all policies on confidentiality with each customer. My current role in the banking industry allows me access to the software of many banking institutions when I am onsite with them. When working with staff at bank branches, I don't discuss any personal financial data that I have access to even with them."

  2. 2.

    The next cloud engineer that we hire here at Ellie Mae needs to be able build a system that can handle a high amount of traffic. How would you test our system's ability to handle large amounts of traffic?

      This question allows your interviewer to gain insight into your thought process and ability surrounding building a cloud network that has an architecture that can handle large amounts of traffic without failure. Some key points to focus on your answer are your ability to match capacity to system demand and use horizontal scaling in the design of the system.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Cloud computing has certainly revolutionized the storage of high amounts of data and a key piece that cloud based systems bring to the table are their elasticity for handling large amounts of traffic. I see my job as building a cloud based system to scale horizontally to be able to handle the most data and traffic possible. To test systems, I've used a few different tools that were all very accurate prior to go-live."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my current position as a cloud engineer, I have utilized internet scale services like Amazon S3 and Elastic Load Balancing to ensure that our cloud systems could handle large volume that fluctuate seasonally. Because of the great functionality of the internet scale services, internal testing wasn't necessary as we knew we were in good hands through those services."

  3. 3.

    If hired here at Ellie Mae, what do you feel would be the biggest hurdle for you to overcome from the start?

      The key to answering this question with confidence starts with understanding that you are interviewing with Ellie Mae because your interviewer feels that you are a strong candidate for this position. What your interviewer is focusing on with this question is how they could be of most help to you if hired for the job. So, take the time prior to your interview to think about an aspect of the position that would be the most difficult for you to overcome to be up and running at full speed and then take time to explain how you would plan to overcome that hurdle if hired. This structured answer will tell your interviewer that you have put thought to your potential shortcoming with a plan of action.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As you can see from my resume, I don't have any direct working experience with the financial industry and I would see that as my largest learning opportunity if offered this position. Like I did with my current job in the healthcare industry, I would take the time to learn the basics of the industry that would help me design the most intuitive user interfaces in the products here at Ellie Mae."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Being a team player by nature, I've always considered my first challenge at any new company to be the task of getting to know my colleagues, their work preferences and their work styles. In the same breath, I want them to know who I am and how I best work as part of a team with them. To accomplish this, I would take the initiative to set one on one meetings with individuals that I didn't get to touch base with during my orientation process to get to know them better."

  4. 4.

    Do you have experience working with different CASE tools? If so, what do you have experience with?

      The world of software engineering has greatly benefited from advancements in computer aided software engineering tools. Because Ellie Mae is at the forefront of the industry, your interviewer will be looking to hear which tools you have experience with. Make sure not to concern yourself with providing a correct answer here, but rather focus on your flexibility to learn new aides when needed while explaining what you have experience with.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, I regularly utilize both diagramming and web development tools. The diagram tools assist our software projects by outlining the system data and components in a graphical form for us and this saves us a great amount of time while also being very reliable. The web development tools greatly help me visualize site changes that I am making because I don't have a deep background in web development. If hired for this position, I'd look forward to learning other CASE tools for prototyping, quality assurance and maintenance."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "During my career and in my experience with CASE tools, most of my experience is in the lower CASE elements that focus on coding and testing the software after initial development. CASE tools have certainly made life as a software engineer more efficient and effective and I'd look forward to learn any new CASE tools if hired for this position here at Ellie Mae."

  5. 5.

    What skills do you use to cope with the day to day stress and pressure on the job?

      In modern technology industries, consumer demand has led to high volume of work and high pressure situations to work on tight deadlines. To prove that you are able to handle high stress, high pressure situations on the job, your interviewer is looking to hear first hand how you handle this type of environment in your own words. As you answer the question, try to turn potential perceived stress into a positive by highlighting your personal skills that enable you to perform well in those situations. If possible, try to use specific examples in your answer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Where many others get overtaken by stress to the point that they can't function in this field, high pressure situations sharpen my focus and that helps me work through them with ease. Last year, I was assigned a high priority, short notice project for a high profile customer. My manager gave it to me because of my proven success in those situations. From the start, I created a timeline for completion and mapped out a plan to make it happen. While staying in communication with my leaders and the client, I was able to create a great system update in just a few short weeks."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I am confident in high stress work situations because of my ability to adapt, communicate and be organized in my work. These skills came in very useful a few weeks ago when our support staff were experiencing an extremely high volume of help desk calls. My adaptability helped me go with the flow and handle items on at a time. My communication skills enabled me to quickly and efficiently call on needed support. My organization skills helped me be prepared for anything on that day and enabled me to work through tickets in a quick and efficient manner."

  6. 6.

    Our implementation consultants here at Ellie Mae often face conflicts with our customers while onsite during implementations. What interpersonal skills do you use to handle conflicts with clients?

      In the software implementation process for large customers of Ellie Mae, you will be working with top level managers and key decision makers onsite and more often than not, issues can arise. In your role as the implementation consultant, these issues come directly to you and your interviewer will be looking to hear how you will handle these issues to maintain both a great relationship with the customer and honor to the Ellie Mae. In your answer, focus on finding solutions to issues that benefit both parties and talk about the important communication skills that you possess that will make this possible in any situation that you may face.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Any time that I face a conflict in the workplace, I maintain my own personal composure by not taking things personally and keeping a smile on my face. After setting myself, I look to gain insight into the potential conflict by using my reflective listening skills and then problem solve from there. In this role, I would listen to the needs of the client and be empathetic in my approach with them. My ability to creatively problem solve would take over from there to help find a solution for the client."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "The biggest skill that I would bring to the team here at Ellie Mae as a consultant to clients would be my ability to express mutual respect to all that I work with. As an organization, Ellie Mae has their own goals that I will be vital in helping to achieve. Your clients also have their own goals that can offer different greatly from yours. A sense of mutual respect allows me to put myself in the shoes of all involved and that really helps me find solutions that work for everyone."

  7. 7.

    Give an example of a time that you used a universal design practice in your work as a UI or UX designer. Why was it important to do this?

      In the technology, software and mobile app fields today, accessibility is a huge topic. As a designer with Ellie Mae, you will be expected to help create products that are as accessible as possible to as many end users as possible. In this two part question, talk about why you feel that universal design is important in the work that you will be doing with Ellie Mae and then really sell your ability to do this by giving an example of a time you used a universal design in your previous work.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "From a very high level, the business success of a program really relies on being universally designed. If we pigeon hole ourselves, a product will only reach a very limited group of end users. But taking that a step further, universal design is the morally right thing to do to help reach people that may not have access to the average program design. Last year, I was part of a project that utilized a voice user interface for users that were deaf or hard of hearing. This simple yet effective design was a huge win for our current customers and in helping drive new business with our groundbreaking software."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Early in my career, the best piece of advice that I receive was from an experience designer and she said that when UX doesn't consider all potential users, we are no longer working on the user experience. We live in a very diverse world and the programs that I've designed for in the past have certainly had the goal to reach a wide audience. With your financial products here at Ellie Mae, this same philosophy applies. Last year, based on some feedback from current customers, we switched our design to include a strong color contract to make the system much more user friendly to color blind users. This was both a simple and very effective change to enhance the look of the program."

  8. 8.

    What do you feel is one of the top issues that is faced by data engineers today?

      Being in the midst of the greatest technological revolution in the history of man, data engineers face many difficult issues in the work that they perform on a daily basis. While there are many directions that you can go with this question, be sure to focus your answer on something that you can speak passionately about. If you can research a common issue in the industry that Ellie Mae works in, you may likely score some bonus points with your interviewer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Over the past couple of years, I've come to realize that one of the largest issues we face as data engineers is the large amounts of data that are needed to store and then draw information from. Here at Ellie Mae, I can only imagine how big of an issue that is in the healthcare industry. I have a lot of experience with cloud based data storage and also server based storage."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my recent experiences, continuous, real-time integration is an issue that we will face each and every day moving forward. The need for fast paced information is certainly to blame for this. To stay on top of the continuous integration landscape, I am happy to hear that new and improved systems are being created to stay more real-time and up to the minute. Here at Ellie Mae and working in the financial industry, how have you seen this need for real-time data impact your products?"

  9. 9.

    How would you handle a situation where a colleague was being very difficult to work with?

      In the team based atmosphere at Ellie Mae, departments with different skills and backgrounds can often see things from different points of view and these situations can cause some internal conflict between coworkers. With this question, your interviewer is looking to hear how you handle situations where you are working with someone that can be seen as difficult. To give them the sense that you are able to work through conflict in a professional and sensible manner, try to talk through how you handled a conflict at work previously in the past and highlight the interpersonal skills that you used to help make it a positive situation.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In all honesty, any great work atmosphere that I've been a part of in the past has involved conflict between colleagues. In situations I have witnessed, conflict has stemmed from very open-minded people giving their two cents in particular situations and two people not seeing eye to eye. This happened recently to me in the planning phases of a new project. On of our UX Designers and I had a disagreement on the final layout of a new software roll out we were planning. It worked best for both of us to talk about our ideas and list the pro's and con's for our ideas. I kept an open mind to learn from her point of view and she did the same to me on my end. This led us to come up with a great compromise in the end."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Last year, we had a new engineer join our team that was hired on from his internship with us. From his first day, he made it very evident that he would only handle certain tasks within our team and only work on certain projects. As his mentor to help get him up and running, I sat him down and discussed the expectations of each of our engineers as part of our larger team. I explained to him that our approach was not to pigeonhole ourselves into smaller tasks, but rather be well rounded engineers that could handle any project and be able to cover for each other if needed. He really appreciated this approach when I explained the benefits for his long term career goals with this approach. This example shows my approach to being very direct with people that I have a conflict with in the workplace and doing so in a very professional and educational manner."

  10. 10.

    If hired for this position at Ellie Mae, what leadership skills would you bring to our team?

      While this position at Ellie Mae may not hold the title of manager, supervisor or director, the organization firmly believes that employees that demonstrate key leadership qualities are better set for future career success. Aside from that, leadership skills help you work better as part of a larger team and with potential customers as well. Prior to your interview, think about one or two leadership qualities that you possess and talk in detail about how you've exemplified those qualities in the past.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I would say that my credibility is my best leadership skill. My openness and honesty suits me well when working among a team of individuals and this helps them gain trust in following my lead when working on projects. Another skill I would bring here to Ellie Mae would be my ability to lead by example. I'm not afraid to take a risk in seeking innovation and I've been commended for this trait many times by my current manager."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "If you were to offer this position to me, you'd quickly find that my positive attitude is an inspiration to those that I work closely with. In my current job, we work under the constant stress of tight deadlines and my positivity can be infectious to help others maintain their focus when negativity can easily take over in most situations. I would say that my other strong suit as a natural leader is my ability to be fluid on a day to day basis. Sometimes our world can be monotonous and when change comes, most resist that change. For me, change is a chance to break the current mold and grow as an employee."

  11. 11.

    What is one unique personality trait you possess that would help you be successful in this role with Ellie Mae?

      This question is allowing you to have the floor during your interview to wow your interviewer with something they might not know about you yet from your resume or time so far during the interview. Think about a strong, unique trait that you have that has led to prior success in your field and explain in detail how this will help further you in your career with Ellie Mae. If possible, be very unique in your answer to draw a direct line between your personality and success in this role.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "From what my parents have told me about me as a young child, passion has been a personality trait that has driven me my whole life. When I tackle something in life, I need to be passionate about it for it to be a success. From my time as a young child up to today, I have been passionate about physical fitness and this has driven me to participate in running and biking races across the country. This same passion in the pursuit of excellence has translated into my career as a software engineer. From tinkering with computer hardware at a young age and learning the internal components of a system to learning how to create and design software, you'll quickly find that my passion to engineer the most unique software here at Ellie Mae will be extremely beneficial to your team."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I would have to say that my humility has been instrumental in getting me to where I am at today in my career. Having worked with one of the largest software companies in the world, egos were certainly high with a lot of my teammates and I have always used my humility to let my work do my talking for me while remaining a friendly and curious colleague to all."

  12. 12.

    Tell me about a time that there was a delay in the project and how did you handle that delay?

      In your answer, be sure to tell your prospective employer why there was a delay, but most importantly, how you handled it and got back on track. It's important to use the STAR format for questions like these: situation, task, action, result. Situation: the delay. Task: resolving it quickly and getting back on track. Action: how you went about executing the task. Result: how the steps you took to resolve it led to the effective and successful resolution of that delay.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I was working with my team on the configuration of the new HR system we were rolling out and the HR team asked for a new module that we thought would significantly delay the launch. In order to meet our internal client's needs, we offered to add the new module, but to avoid delays to the project, we reallocated a resource to work exclusively on the module. We all chipped in extra effort on the major project parts to make up for our coworkers' absence as he was working on the module. The coworker who did the module did a fantastic job which didn't require many changes from the group. Through all this, we were able to roll the product out on time and within budget."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I am motivated by knowing something about the end customer and being able to relate to them as a person. A personal touch is always helpful for me."

  13. 13.

    What SDLC models are you familiar in working with?

      As a software engineer, you are very familiar with the software development life cycle. For this question, your interviewer is looking to hear what models you have worked on in the past. While there isn't necessarily a right or wrong answer to this question, try to show your flexibility to working with different SDLC models by bringing up your past experiences. Then, show you have knowledge of different models like the waterfall model or agile model. It is also a good idea to use this question as an opportunity for you to learn more about Ellie Mae by asking your interviewer which model they work off of.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "During my training in software engineering and in my early career, the waterfall model was the standard. In this model, each phase of the development process happens in a set order and projects using this model are easily managed. But over time, as the development projects that I have led have become more complicated and intricate, I have implemented the spiral model. This model has allowed the ability of end users to give feedback early on and often during development and helps to build a more customized product to our customers."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my current position with XYZ Company, my department utilizes the agile model in development life cycle. Since our products are so tailored to the needs of our customers, we get a working product very early on in the process and then I work hand in hand with customers to fine tune the software moving forward. It is a very effective model that has built a great reputation for our software among customers. I also have familiarity working with the iterative model and it has similar advantages to the agile model. If I were hired here at Ellie Mae, can you expand on what models you use here in your software development life cycle?"

  14. 14.

    How do you ensure that you have a healthy work-life balance in your career?

      In the fast paced world in software and technology development, heavy work loads and potential on-call duties have created a lot of burnout in professionals. Your interviewer is looking to hear that you are cognizant of the risks of burnout and that you do what is necessary to maintain your own personal health and well being and that of your family as well. While you can use this time to talk about personal interests or hobbies outside of work, try to focus on how these items help keep you refreshed for the work that you'll be doing for Ellie Mae.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As I am passionate about my career as a UX designer, I am also passionate about my family. Any moments outside of work are spent coaching my kids traveling baseball teams in the summer months and then spending as many weekends as possible on the ski slopes. These activities help keep me active, physically fit and keep my mind centered on what it truly important in my life when work weeks get stressful."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Having watched many of my senior colleagues over time suffer from work burnout that has caused marital issues and health issues, I make it a priority to maintain a healthy balance between my work and my home life. My free time is spent in the outdoors with my wife, whether that be on the lakes and rivers fishing or biking around town. I consider myself fortunate to be considered for a position here at Ellie Mae because I know that you put a focus on your employees maintaining this healthy balance because the organization realizes how important this is to be productive."

  15. 15.

    If you were asked to review a colleague's code that they had written, what key things would you look for?

      For this question, your interviewer will obviously be looking to hear that you have adequate knowledge when it comes to coding processes. But most importantly, your interviewer will be looking to gauge your ability to be a team player and focus on the bigger picture when working on a project. In your answer, focus on your attention to detail and your ability to help others when needed.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As an experienced software engineer, I fully expect my colleagues to reach out to me for my insight and I never hesitate to provide open and honest feedback. When asked to do this, my main focus is ensuring that the code is readable and functional. If there are lines of code that need to be removed, I don't hesitate to let my colleague know that while also giving them feedback on why I feel it is unnecessary."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "When I'm asked to do this in my current position, my main focus is on regulatory requirements that were put in place for the project and security issues. I work with a team of great engineers that are very efficient coders and these two areas are most often overlooked."

  16. 16.

    In a technical support role here at Ellie Mae, we expect that you would be able to bring great customer service skills to the role. Describe your customer service philosophy in the support that you would provide.

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  17. 17.

    What unique values can you bring to Ellie Mae in your user experience design skills?

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  18. 18.

    Talk about your previous user interface design experience in detail. Why do you feel that this experience will translate well to this role with Ellie Mae?

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  19. 19.

    Do you have any unique skills or past work experiences that we can't see on your resume that would benefit the team here at Ellie Mae?

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  20. 20.

    What methods do you use to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in tech?

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  21. 21.

    In your experience in software testing, would you consider yourself proficient in both testing and debugging processes?

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  22. 22.

    In SQL, how do you explain the differences between clustered and non-clustered indexes? Can you name a time that you used each?

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  23. 23.

    Do you have experience working with data in a cloud computing environment?

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  24. 24.

    What software analysis and design tools do you have familiarity working with?

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  25. 25.

    Culture fit is important to us at Ellie Mae. How would you describe your personality?

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  26. 26.

    What data cleaning methods are you familiar with and comfortable using if hired for this role at Ellie Mae?

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  27. 27.

    If hired for this position here at Ellie Mae, would you be comfortable handling overall project manager responsibilities for new software development?

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