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Ellie Mae Interview
Questions

27 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner

Published January 28th, 2020 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Question 1 of 27
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?
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How to Answer
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.
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Top 25 Ellie Mae Interview Questions with Full Content
1.
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."
2.
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?"
3.
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."
4.
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."
5.
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."
6.
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."
7.
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."
8.
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."
9.
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?"
10.
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."
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