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Pinterest 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

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

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Pinterest Interview Questions

  1. 1.

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

      As a software engineer for Pinterest, your interviewer wants to hear that you have experience in utilizing tools that you make you more proficient in your work. Dig back on your past experiences and talk openly about your experiences with the different analysis and design tools that are available to help you be better in the work that you do. In the end, make sure that your interviewer understands that you are proficient in the use of these tools and open to learning and using new tools as well.

      Ryan's Answer

      "As my career and experience in software engineering has grown over the years, I've come to really appreciate and utilize these tools that are available. A great example of this would be my recent education and use of Structured English for designing insurance claim software for a large auto insurer. The simplicity of the structured decisions in the program were a perfect example of a program that could utilize the tool and the end product ended up very functional for our customer."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I have great working knowledge in creating and reading data flow diagrams. To help with both our own sales staff and with customers, DFD's have been super helpful and I consider myself very proficient in creating them. I've also recently been introduced to decision tables to aid in product testing. I was working on a new system that involved some very complicated business rules and the decision table helped outline everything perfectly for our testing."

  2. 2.

    As you reflect back on your career to this point in your search for a new position, what would you say is your ideal work environment or culture?

      While using this question as a key indicator on how you'll fit with the team and the organization at Pinterest, it will be very important for you to research as much as you can on the work environment at Pinterest so you can match your priorities to that environment. If you have the opportunity to speak with an employee at Pinterest prior to your interview, that can shed valuable information. In the end, the culture and value of an organization are often a key indicator of long-term success in a job, so make sure that you reflect your values into what the company values.

      Ryan's Answer

      "As I begin this job search now 15 years out of college, I'm looking for an employer that promotes and encourages innovation, new ideas and collaboration among all members of the team. From what I know about Pinterest from speaking with others, you sound like a perfect match for what I am looking for in a career."

      Ryan's Answer

      "With all of the companies that I have both worked for and consulted with in the past, I realize that a company culture is basically the personality of the company and I am looking for a new organization that really meshes well with my personality. I am a casual person that believes in hard work, teamwork and having fun on the job. As I embarked on a job search, I was so happy to see that Pinterest was hiring because I believe our styles will fit perfectly together."

  3. 3.

    Do you consider yourself stronger in C++, C#, Java, or Python?

      Before your interview, do some research to understand what tech stack Pinterest uses so you can best prepare and highlight your expertise. If you aren't as strong in one of the skills you feel is necessary, be sure to explain how you've used it and how you are growing your knowledge to become better. Be sure to be honest in your answer, as the company will likely test your strengths.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my last company, we had a bit of an outdated tech stack and used C# and .NET. I found myself fully immersed in those technologies, but had a strong desire to learn more and become more familiar with modern technologies and how I can apply that in my career. That's what has me so interested in this role. Over the last year, I've taken courses in Java and C++, which I noticed you prefer. I've become proficient in the skills and in side projects, applied my increasingly strong knowledge. I'm probably strongest professionally in C# as that has been where my experience lies, but my passion and dedication is on the Java and C++ side, as I feel that's the more modern alternative. I'm excited about the possibility of applying that knowledge in a role at Pinterest."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I am motivated and excited about this new opportunity because it will challenge me to grow in my (X) skills. I love soccer and enjoy spending time with my teammates. I am interested in continuing my education by studying (Y) to further my career."

  4. 4.

    If hired here at Pinterest and tasked with helping design a UI for a new mobile app, what important factors would you consider in that design?

      With consumer mobility being at an all-time high and only increasing year after year, just about every industry has entered the mobile app game and life at Pinterest is no different. For this question, it is important to have a good understanding of the different mobile UI designs and your job for this question will be tying the business needs of Pinterest into an effective mobile app. In your answer, talk about what you know about the business needs of Pinterest and then explain to your interviewer how you would build those into a great mobile app for their future.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Here at Pinterest, I envision users of your products in the banking industry to want security and ease of use in their products. In looking to design a UI for a new mobile app, my considerations would be a secure log-in screen and user profile section of the app. As well, I would put an automatic log out into place within the app. On top of these security items, I would prioritize ease of placement for a contact screen, services screen and an aesthetically pleasing home screen."

      Ryan's Answer

      "In the private insurance industry, I can imagine that an onboarding tutorial screen would be very beneficial to users using the app for the first time. I have experience designing these for a few different mobile apps. Other factors I would consider would be prioritizing the important information to have laid out within the app and how to best lay it out. If a menu will be utilized, I would work with key decision makers on what would make the most sense for a menu layout within the app."

  5. 5.

    How do you feel cloud computing has positively impacted the software industry?

      While the reasons are plentiful as to how cloud computing has had a direct impact on developing and refining software for organizations, your interviewer is looking to hear which reasons you are willing to speak most passionately about. However you answer this question, try to either focus on the ease and accessibility for end users or cost savings for organizations in your answer.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Being in the software industry for over 20 years, I feel like the biggest impact that the cloud has had reflects directly to our customers in the software industry. In days of yore, we spent years working through software updates and releases. And now, I look to how we are continuously rolling out small scale, yet impactful, updates through the cloud and end users are able to see that impact the next day!"

      Ryan's Answer

      "One commonly overlooked area where I feel cloud based systems have brought a major improvement is in analytics. Ten years ago, it took a lot of time and resources to pull relevant data to build analytics and visualization tools. Today, information can be automatically built to pull in the snap of a finger and that is something that I never take for granted in my work."

  6. 6.

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

      While this position at Pinterest 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

      "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 Pinterest 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

      "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."

  7. 7.

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

      As a skilled software engineer, you have all of the necessary tools in your bag to be a successful engineer at Pinterest. This question is allowing your interviewer to get a better sense of your project management skills and people skills if you were to join the team at Pinterest. In your answer, talk about your ability to estimate the time and cost of a project, the staffing needed and the overall scope of planning for a particular project. If you have direct experience in being the lead on a large development project, be sure to discuss that experience with your interviewer.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Looking to join the team here at Pinterest directly out of college, I feel very confident in my abilities to manage the entire scope of a new development project. I have leadership experience as my campus' president of the software engineering club. In that role, I developed skills that would help me utilize staff and resources in the best way possible. During my internship, I was exposed to the planning stages of new projects and I have a very good feel of estimating the budget and length of time needed to have a fully functional system."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I would absolutely be comfortable if tasked with project manager duties here at Pinterest. In my last two roles, I have led successful projects that started with great planning and budgeting process and went through to completion with great people and processes in place under my leadership. While it's not a regular duty for me in my current role, I always welcome leadership duties."

  8. 8.

    At Pinterest, we rely on a full team effort to deliver top quality products to our customers. Tell me about a time that you worked well as part of a team. Are you comfortable in a similar role here?

      While this potential role with Pinterest will require your to be an independent worker that can think on your feet, you will also need to work as part of a larger team that is working toward one common goal. Because of this fact, your interviewer will want to hear that you thrive in an environment where you work with team members from other disciplines than you are trained in. In your example, stress to your interviewer that you have excellent communication skills and that you fully understand that every person on a team plays a vital role in the organization's success.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Throughout my career, I've always enjoyed working as part of a larger team on the job and this personal enjoyment started with my love of and participation in team sports like baseball and basketball. Growing up playing sports, I learned that each team member brought a unique skill set that could help us achieve our goals. Through a great coaching staff that knew how to make these individual skills shine, this same philosophy holds true for a team that is looking to design a new software system. I know that my skills as an engineer are just part of the final product and I work very well with designers, architects, analysts and sales to help build the greatest system possible."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I am a people person by nature and my current role has me working very closely with our engineering and design staff on writing technical manuals for our products. While I certainly can handle long days at my computer in solitude, my desire to work hand in hand with others really sets me apart from my peers in this field. I have excellent verbal, listening and written communication skills that, if hired here at Pinterest, your entire team would appreciate from my first day on the job."

  9. 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 Pinterest by asking your interviewer which model they work off of.

      Ryan's Answer

      "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

      "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 Pinterest, can you expand on what models you use here in your software development life cycle?"

  10. 10.

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

      Over recent years, more and more companies are converting to cloud based computing services because the conversion allows them to save money and have better auditing trails. As a prospective data engineer with Pinterest, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are at least familiar with the concepts of working with cloud based data. Talk in details about the experiences you have while keeping your mind open to working with more in the future if hired with Pinterest.

      Ryan's Answer

      "My current organization has been using Apprenda, a PaaS, that allows us to develop, test and maintain our software projects. I also have experience mining and converting data off of public, community and private cloud networks. If hired here at Pinterest, I think I would bring a wealth of cloud based experience to the data engineering team."

  11. 11.

    What experience do you have in the different types of software maintenance?

      As a reputable company, Pinterest takes their software maintenance processes seriously and your interviewer is looking to hear that you are familiar with the four different types of software maintenance. Talk to your interviewer about any work you have done in the past with corrective, adaptive, perfective and/or preventative software maintenance. Use specific examples and make sure that your interviewer walks away from your conversation knowing that you understand the importance of proper system maintenance.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Being familiar with all four types of software maintenance, my most used method of maintenance in my current role is corrective. Based on bug reports from end users, I work through coding and logic issues to resolve issues in a timely and effective manner. In the maintenance I perform, I never hesitate to pick up the phone and contact customers to hear first hand about what they are experiencing. By doing this, they feel like they are an important part of the process and it reflects well on me and my organization."

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my current role, I'd definitely say that a majority of the maintenance work that I do is adaptive maintenance. Working in banking software that is used around the globe, I help perform system maintenance for changes in currency on a pretty regular basis. This work requires research and talking with end users to help adapt the programs for their use. If hired here at Pinterest, I also have experience performing perfective, preventative and corrective maintenance on software as well."

  12. 12.

    What programming languages would you consider yourself fluent in?

      While this question gives your interviewer insight into the diversity of your programming language experience, they most importantly want to know that you are adaptable and able to learn on the fly if needed. Talk about the different languages that you consider yourself fluent in and, if possible, do as much research into Pinterest as you can prior to your interview and try to speak to the specific languages that they work with.

      Ryan's Answer

      "From the start of college, where software engineering grew into a passion for me, I've become very fluent in Java, JavaScript and C++. My current role has me working primarily with C++, but I pride myself on my ability and passion to learn new programming languages and would be able to do so if hired for this role with Pinterest."

      Ryan's Answer

      "During my training to be an engineer and then in my current role since graduating, a majority of my experience falls within Python. My current role delves deeply into artificial intelligence and Python is awesome with this advanced technology. As I understand it from talking to another engineer here at Pinterest, a requirement would be for me to learn Scala. Though I haven't worked directly with Scala, I believe my experience and willingness to learn would have me up and running in no time if hired for this role."

  13. 13.

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

      While your interviewer can get a good sense of your experience from your resume, they are looking for you to talk in details about your experiences in UI design in your previous work. While explaining your previous experience, be sure to highlight the skills that you developed that will help you be successful in designing new products with Pinterest. Prior to your interview, be sure you research and are family with the products that Pinterest puts out.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Ten years into my career out of college, I consider myself very blessed to have such a well rounded background in user interface design. I have experience designing cutting edge mobile app designs, website design, video game design and software design. Here at Pinterest, your education software would greatly benefit from my creative designs to be user friendly and appealing to educators, parents and students and I'd love to bring these skills to work for you."

      Ryan's Answer

      "While my experience in user interface design has really focused on web design over the past five years, I think my current skill set will benefit the team here at Pinterest greatly. In my web design, I prepare mockups and wireframes for customers and have experience utilizing a lot of different resources in doing these. In the software world, I would love to use these same principles. As well, my web experience has really driven me to be user focused. In this role, a more user focused drive is required out of your user interface design and I would be able to bring that to the team here."

  14. 14.

    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

      "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

      "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."

  15. 15.

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

      In the team based atmosphere at Pinterest, 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

      "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

      "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."

  16. 16.

    What do you feel are the primary features and benefits of the Java programming language?

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  17. 17.

    As a machine learning engineer, how do you avoid the curse of dimensionality in your designs?

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  18. 18.

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

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  19. 19.

    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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  20. 20.

    If hired here at Pinterest to develop iOS and Android software, when would you use a fragment rather than an activity?

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  21. 21.

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

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  22. 22.

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

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  23. 23.

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

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  24. 24.

    How would you say that you would help bring sound data governance philosophies to this role at Pinterest?

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  25. 25.

    A huge part of our business here at Pinterest is designing software for iOS. In this role, how would you steer away from retain cycles when using closures in Swift programming language?

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  26. 26.

    If you were confronted with a time where you wouldn't be able to meet a deadline here at Pinterest, what steps would you take when you made that realization?

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  27. 27.

    In designing Android software, what is your experience using parcelable versus serializable within an app?

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