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Scribd 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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Scribd Interview Questions

  1. 1.

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

      As a software engineer for Scribd, 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 Scribd, it will be very important for you to research as much as you can on the work environment at Scribd so you can match your priorities to that environment. If you have the opportunity to speak with an employee at Scribd 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 Scribd 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 Scribd was hiring because I believe our styles will fit perfectly together."

  3. 3.

    What do you consider to be a good litmus test for when you would automate a test process for a new system versus testing manually?

      As your role with Scribd will look to help further their automate testing processes for new systems, you will need to have a good sense for when automation makes sense and when it does not. Reiterate your sense for this to your interviewer by sticking to the high level response that repetitive tasks, as are common with large software companies, are prime candidates for automation whereas one time test cases are not.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Having been in automation in both manufacturing for many years and now software for the last three years, a common misconception among people is that automation can help improve any situation and that couldn't be further from the truth. The amount of time, effort and resources that goes into an automation process makes it ideal for repetitive tasks and tests that have multiple data sets. If a testing process calls for unique and one time process, it would make the most sense to run that process manually."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I"n my current position, most of the automation testing that I design is in program sanity testing. These automated tests work great because they run on similar systems following changes in code to ensure that no bugs remain in the system. If our group of engineers are working on unique, one off type projects, my automation processes are not utilized."

  4. 4.

    How do you stay organized and on track when working on multiple projects or duties at the same time?

      In this role with Scribd, you will likely be expected to manage multiple projects at the same time. Your ability to plan, manage deadlines and handle high needs items that come up on a regular basis will be essential to your success in this role and your interviewer is looking to hear how you plan for success. Whether you utilize an electronic tool or a written list, there are no right or wrong answers as long as you can prove in your answer that this method works out great for you.

      Ryan's Answer

      "With any project that I am working on, I make sure to set benchmarks to meet deadlines ahead of time and set early personal deadlines to allow for some wiggle room. To do this, I am a proponent of using the Microsoft Outlook calendar and tasks functions to help keep me organized. I find that this method helps me stay on track with multiple projects while also leaving me wiggle room each day to fight the high needs fires that do come up in this job."

      Ryan's Answer

      "For me to stay on track, I make sure to take ten minutes at the end of each day to recap what was accomplished, what new came up on my task list and re-prioritizing my work for the next day. Then, upon arriving the next day and working through emails from the previous evening, I can adjust my task list for the day if needed. I tend to set aside two hours per day to work on long-term project needs while focusing a majority of my time on the short-term needs."

  5. 5.

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

      Because parcelable is optimized for Android to be faster and more customizable, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are willing to put in the extra work to utilize the parcelable method to achieve better performance within the software that you design. Give your interviewer your thoughts on the differences between the two methods of passing object references to activities within an app that you design and make sure that they understand that you are ready to perform the work to utilize the parcelable method when necessary.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Having written code for Android apps for many years now, I am very familiar with both serializable and parcelable methods. In my first hand experience, parcelable provides a much faster and better user experience so I will always strive to take the time to write custom code for marhsaling and unmarshaling to create less garbage objects within an app."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Due to it being a standard Java interface and its ease of implementation, serializable interface is pretty commonly used. But, because it uses reflection, many temporary objects are created within Android apps and this creates a very poor user experience. When the parcelable interface was introduced for Android systems, I have extensively focused on its use and finished products have benefited greatly."

  6. 6.

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

      While your interviewer has shown confidence in your technical abilities to succeed at Scribd as a UX designer, this question is helping them gain insight into your ability to see the big picture in the work that you do. As you think about the unique personal values that you would bring to the role, try and paint a picture of your work tying to the end user and how you can help make it more productive, enjoyable and satisfying for them.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I have really taken pride in my ability to add value to the business needs of the customers that I work with. During any design project, I take the time to work with end users to find their wants and needs out of the program. Then, as I create the UX design, I keep their needs at the forefront and do anything possible to exceed their expectations."

      Ryan's Answer

      "As you can see from my resume, I have formal training and experience in user experience research and I know that this would benefit the work that I would be doing here at Scribd if hired for this position. I pursued this additional training in my career because of my passion for the customer journey in the programs that I design."

  7. 7.

    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 Scribd 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

      "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

      "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 Scribd."

  8. 8.

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

      As a reputable provider of software, Scribd relies on their software testing engineers to both test and debug their products when necessary. Make your interviewer aware that you are knowledgeable on both processes by briefly explaining each process as you've worked on them in the past. Then, talk about your openness to working both testing and debugging processes if hired for this position.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Yes, I definitely would consider myself proficient in both testing and debugging software. My current role that I've held for four years since graduating from college has exposed me to both processes. In testing, I use known conditions and predefined methods to test for expected outcomes to find errors within the system. I utilize testing prior to new software rollouts. The debugging process happens to already released software that has had issues and comes with unknown conditions and unpredictable outcomes. In this process, my goal is to find the cause of the error to fix it efficiently and effectively to roll an updated program back out to end users."

      Ryan's Answer

      "While a majority of my career has been focused on software testing, I am very familiar with debugging processes as well. If hired for this position, I would take the time to focus on debugging processes to bring myself up to speed while being able to hit the ground running on testing processes."

  9. 9.

    Software technology continually changes. How do you stay current on new technologies and sharpen your skills?

      As technology needs rapidly change for each company, the interviewer would like to know how you adapt to new technologies. This question also gives the interviewer an opportunity to hear more about your learning style and how you take the initiative to learn new things. Interviewers like to hear about specific courses or training, but try to keep them as recent and relevant as possible.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I enjoy learning about new technologies in the software space both personally and professionally. I like to read software and data related articles, and I recently completed an 'Introduction to Python for Data Science' course to help build my skills, even though my current employer didn't require it."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I define success by what we achieve as a team. The project, as a whole, needs to deliver on expectations before I consider the job a success."

  10. 10.

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

      This question allows your interviewer to assess your technical knowledge and skills in designing apps for iOS products in a very simple way. To successfully answer it, make sure that you can speak knowledgeably about the swift programming language and using closures to capture and store references within the software. To piece together everything for your interviewer, give a clear understanding of why retain cycles must be avoided in your processing.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Because ARC handles most of the memory knowledge in Swift, I know ARC is prone to memory leaking and this can cause major issues in apps over time. The fix that I've used in my career to avoid retain cycles is using weak references in my coding."

  11. 11.

    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 Scribd 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 Scribd."

      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 Scribd, 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."

  12. 12.

    Talk about a time when things didn't go as planned on the job. What was the situation and what allowed your to persevere in that situation?

      As a professional in the tech industry, you have likely had a project that failed, a promotion that passed you over or a meltdown occur at some point in time. Realizing that your interviewer fully understands and expects that failure happens, talk openly and honestly about a situation where you experienced failure or failed plans. Most importantly in your answer, focus on how you overcame the particular situation and discuss lessons that you learned moving forward that you can bring to this role at Scribd.

      Ryan's Answer

      "A couple of years ago in my first role as a UI designer out of college, my team was tasked with coming up with a very short notice proposal for a potential high end customer. With a week turnaround time, I set right to spending my time gathering information on the company to build a mock design. When the proposal was submitted, I found out that the potential customer scoffed at my idea and the customer went with another organization's proposal for their use. The biggest piece of feedback that I got was that the UI design just wasn't conducive to the type of customers they were expecting. From that point forward, whether it has been with short notice or long-term products, I take the time to communicate with key decision makers from clients to gather information for making my design as user friendly as possible."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Last year, I was working on a large scale project that put me face to face with a key customer. After traveling onsite with the customer to spend time with them, I exchanged contact information with two of the key decision makers. In the weeks following, I was sending them follow up emails with our business proposals and was getting frustrated at the lack of response from the clients. After my manager had questioned the viability of the potential customer, I picked up the phone and called them directly. It turns out that their responses back to me were being sent to a junk email folder that I neglected to consider. I apologized for the mistake, took action quickly and we came to a great agreement on future business together. After having a laugh about it with my boss, I now incorporate diligent communication follow ups both by phone and email with customers while also regularly checking all email inboxes."

  13. 13.

    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 Scribd works in, you may likely score some bonus points with your interviewer.

      Ryan's Answer

      "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 Scribd, 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

      "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 Scribd and working in the financial industry, how have you seen this need for real-time data impact your products?"

  14. 14.

    Tell me about your problem-solving skills. Do you enjoy analyzing and solving complex problems?

      Software developers spend a great deal of time debugging programs. It is essential for Scribd to have someone experienced in quickly identifying problems and responsive in providing solutions. The interviewer would also like to gauge how you work with internal and external customers when problem-solving.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my last development position, I was responsible for front-line communications with end users. Third tier helpdesk staff would contact me with software bugs, and I was able to quickly and professionally respond to problems. I was able to reduce the bug backlog by 70%."

      Ryan's Answer

      "If you did not have a good relationship with your previous boss: "I have had healthier relationships in the past with previous employers, but we did the best that we could. Our communication styles were very different which made it challenging at times."

  15. 15.

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

      In the team based atmosphere at Scribd, 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 SDLC models are you familiar in working with?

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  17. 17.

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

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  18. 18.

    At Scribd we value organization. Tell us about a time when you were particularly effective on prioritizing tasks and completing a project on schedule.

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  19. 19.

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

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  20. 20.

    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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  21. 21.

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

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  22. 22.

    At Scribd, 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?

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  23. 23.

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

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  24. 24.

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

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  25. 25.

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

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  26. 26.

    Would you say that you are a goal oriented on the job? What would I be able to do as your manager to help you achieve your goals if hired here at Scribd?

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  27. 27.

    Here at Scribd, we ask our test engineers to follow specific QA protocols. What role do you feel QA plays in software development and testing?

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