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thredUP Interview
Questions

28 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 28

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

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thredUP Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    If hired for this position here at thredUP, 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 thredUP. 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 thredUP. 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 #1

      "Looking to join the team here at thredUP 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 #2

      "I would absolutely be comfortable if tasked with project manager duties here at thredUP. 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."

  2. 2.

    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."

  3. 3.

    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 thredUP as you can prior to your interview and try to speak to the specific languages that they work with.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "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 thredUP."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "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 thredUP, 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."

  4. 4.

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

      As a reputable company, thredUP 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 #1

      "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 #2

      "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 thredUP, I also have experience performing perfective, preventative and corrective maintenance on software as well."

  5. 5.

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

      thredUP uses indexes to improve query performances within their software and for this question, your interviewer is looking to hear that you have a basic understanding of both clustered and non-clustered indexes. Explain the differences between the two types of indexes and be sure you can either speak to relevant times that you've used each or when would be the appropriate application to use each.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In the simplest of terms, a clustered index order records in a table the way that they are physically stored. There can only be one clustered index per table. Non-clustered indexes do not store data to match the physical order that it is stored. Rather, it can hold up to 249 indexes per table. Both types come with their own benefits over the other. In my experience, clustered indexes are suited best for programs that use primary key as an identity integer column. On the other hand, non-clustered make the most sense for programs that need JOIN and WHERE clauses within them."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my experience, clustered indexes are faster to read but very slow when it comes to update data within. Non-clustered indexes are just the opposite in that they are slower to read but much fast to insert new data into them. In my current role, I mostly use clustered indexes when large numbers of rows need to be retreived and when insert operations are important. Most other times, I will use non-clustered as the standard."

  6. 6.

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

      In the development of apps for both iOS and Android, using code to create an activity versus a fragment is a highly debated topic to this day. For this question, your interviewer is looking to hear that you understand what the differences between the two are and when you feel that using a fragment is the proper direction to go. Make sure to speak to the high level overview of what an activity does to an app versus fragments.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As a best practice in my development of Android apps in the past, activities are really the complete screen that a user experiences as part of the app. Fragments are really small sub activities that take place within the activity. Because fragments within an app have their own life cycle and receive their own input events within the app, there are specific times where fragments make the most sense to use in development. In my experience, I always use fragments when the app is working with UI components that are going to be uses across multiple activities within the app. As well, fragments have also served very well when using swipe views within the app."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In the past year, I honestly don't recall designing a new app that ran solely on an activity alone. The fragments are almost necessary today to bring life to an app. I use retained fragments to persist across activity restarts within the app and this helps make a user friendly experience for our end users."

  7. 7.

    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 thredUP, it will be very important for you to research as much as you can on the work environment at thredUP so you can match your priorities to that environment. If you have the opportunity to speak with an employee at thredUP 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 #1

      "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 thredUP from speaking with others, you sound like a perfect match for what I am looking for in a career."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "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 thredUP was hiring because I believe our styles will fit perfectly together."

  8. 8.

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

      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 thredUP. Prior to your interview, be sure you research and are family with the products that thredUP puts out.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "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 thredUP, 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 #2

      "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 thredUP 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."

  9. 9.

    A huge part of our business here at thredUP 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."

  10. 10.

    Here at thredUP, we have adopted the cleanroom software engineering philosophy. Are you familiar with this philosophy?

      Whether you do or don't have formal experience with the cleanroom philosophy, it is important to know the history and the basics of the philosophy to best answer this question. The cleanroom name comes from the semiconductor industry, where units are manufactured in a super clean environment to prevent defects. In software development, cleanroom refers to the use of of formal methods of development and strict inspection processes to avoid software defects. Make sure that you reiterate to your interviewer that you believe in the philosophy to show that you will fit in the team at thredUP.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "While my current organization doesn't formally call our process a cleanroom process, I am very familiar with the philosophy and I think the processes I have worked on in my career really mirror the thought process of cleanroom. I am a firm believer in the incremental development of new software and utilizing a structured programming processes. Both of these processes are a staple of the cleanroom process. If hired for this position, you can be comfortable in knowing that I would be a firm advocated of the cleanroom process."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I am very familiar with the cleanroom philosophy as my current employer utilizes the entire process in our development of banking software. While a part of the entire development process, I lead our certification team as part of the process. As part of that team, we are responsible for developing the testing of the system after it has been developed."

  11. 11.

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

      To effectively answer this question, it is important to first understand what dimensionality means in reference to machine learning and how it can curse a project. As the number of features increases in comparison to the number of observations within a data set, some algorithms struggle in pulling correct data. Your job on this question is to talk about ways that you can avoid the curse in your designs. Some possible things that you may mention and describe are feature selection, correlation thresholds and variance thresholds.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "A common example that I use with people to explain complications in dimensionality is dropping a pin on a 10 foot straight line. This would be relatively simple to find. Next, if you dropped the pin in a 10 foot by 10 foot square, the task of finding the pin becomes more difficult. Adding a third dimension to make a 10 foot cubed area makes it all the more difficult to find the pin if placed within it. In bringing this back to machine learning, my job is to somehow make the three dimensional field that the machine will pull from easier to pull from. Last year, I was part of a team that developed a system for pulling public health data. We were able to set many variance thresholds that removed values that didn't change much from observation to observation. After careful testing, the system was able to pull information quickly and accurately based on these thresholds."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "As you can see from my resume, I've spent the last six years working in the electronics industry. Most of my machine learning work has focused audio data. To avoid the curse of dimensionality within the systems I've designed, autoencoders have been tremendous in pulling information. While a great amount of time and effort was needed to effectively train the systems, the work was well worth it in the end."

  12. 12.

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

  13. 13.

    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 thredUP.

      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 thredUP 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."

  14. 14.

    If you were faced with a situation that you didn't know the answer to or understand, what would your next steps be?

      Work as an IT support specialist in the software industry could potentially put you in a situation to handle a question or issue that leaves you scratching your head. While explaining to your interviewer that you have the ability to take a methodical approach to getting a problem solved with the help of others, make sure not to lost sight on what is important to the customer. Talk about how you will put the customer at east by considering their needs as part of your process.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In times where this has happened in my current role, I have explained to the customer that an advanced issue like theirs needs to go to one of our subject matter experts to ensure that they get the best support possible. I explain that I am going to put their call on hold and reach out to the department that I need to. If possible, I connect them immediately. If not possible, then I walk through our protocol of submitting a help desk ticket to the appropriate group while explaining to the customer that our expectation is a 24 hour turnaround. I am very appreciative of these protocols because they set very easy to follow standards for our customers and help to avoid unnecessary follow up calls."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "My first step would be to ask for help from my lead in the department or my supervisor. I would let the customer know that I would be putting them in contact with another person that has more expertise on their problem and doing so was best to help problem solve in this case. If hired for this role here at thredUP, would that method meet the expectations of the department?"

  15. 15.

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

      At some point in any person's career, the inevitable happens and an important deadline needs to be missed. With your interviewer fully understanding this fact, they are solely interested in how you react to this situation and what you do to make the situation right. In your answer, focus on the refocused planning and communication needed while also avoiding blaming others for the situation. Your interviewer holds accountability as a desirable virtue, so be sure to take accountability for actions in your response.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current position, I am very used to handling multiple tasks and projects on a day to day basis. Last year, my team was tasked with what started as a low priority project. After assembling a team to initially discuss the details and set a deadline for completion with our management, the project unfortunately fell off the radar of everyone on the team with many more high priority projects coming up each week. As the initial project's deadline was within a week of being due, our CEO reached out to me for a progress report. I immediately took full responsibility for letting this fall off the radar and I ensured our CEO that we would have an updated timeline set by the end of the week. In doing this and completing the project to his satisfaction, this was really the tipping point in our department moving forward utilizing a detailed project management tracking system. To this day, I can't say enough about how appreciative I am about utilizing this awesome system. Moving forward, you can rest assured knowing that I take full accountability for my actions and do what is necessary to communicate new expectations and meet them fully."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Having been in this situation before, I would first sit down to gather all the facts possible in the situation. What was the deadline, why wasn't it met and what can be done are all important questions moving forward. From there, communicating to all key parties is extremely important and doing so in a timely manner is critical. In this communication, taking accountability and setting new expectations for delivery in a concise and tactful manner will most often put stakeholders at ease and allow for successful completion."

  16. 16.

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

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  17. 17.

    If you can, please provide your thoughts on the function of managed object context in developing iOS apps and software.

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  18. 18.

    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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  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 thredUP?

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  20. 20.

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

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  21. 21.

    What is one thing that really tests your patience when dealing with your coworkers?

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  22. 22.

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

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  23. 23.

    What do you know about our products and how do you think you'll be able to handle a support role surrounding them?

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  24. 24.

    If hired here at thredUP 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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  25. 25.

    Who would you say inspires you?

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  26. 26.

    When do you consider a project to be finished?

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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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  28. 28.

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

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