We sat down with solutions architect interviewers from some of the top tech companies including Amazon, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more to clarify what's actually asked in the solutions architect interview and how to prepare.
As a solutions architect, you're the main technical resource for your company's sales team, and can provide a critical job function in a company's growth.
Successful solutions architects and solutions engineers have a highly valuable skillset with a mixture of
The solutions architect interview or solutions engineer interview has the following interview stages at most companies:
In this 30-45min interview, your recruiter will ask questions about your resume, light technical questions to gauge your domain knowledge of solutions engineering, and behavioral questions to assess your culture fit at the company.
In general, try to be authentic and genuine, while also showing that you've done research on the company and are genuinely excited to work there.
We often recommend looking up your interviewer on LinkedIn to understand them a bit better, and reviewing public vision documents produced by the company.
In this interview, you'll speak with the hiring manager about your technical skills and domain knowledge.
Expect to talk through why you're the best candidate for the solution architect job and how you'd add value to the company. This is a great time to mention previous experience you may have as a solution architect or your hope for joining a growing team of solution architects to better your skills.
On-site interviews for the solutions architects also vary, but they follow a predictable structure. Typically, you’ll interview for 3-5 hours total with a lunch break midway through. You’ll go through many rounds, each 30 - 60 minutes long.
Technical Concepts Interview
One of the interviews will be a technical concepts interview, where you'll be asked questions about how to explain technical concepts like APIs (a common topic in solutions architect presentations and calls).
You'll also have an interview that takes the format of a presentation. In this interview, you'll showcase a mock customer demonstration of a product you're familiar with.
Interviewers are looking for your skills in presentations and objection handling (thoughtful responses to a customer's questions when potentially out of scope or incorrect).
The rest of the interviews will focus more on behavioral skills, and is more in a discussion format. Gather as much information as possible about the exact structure from your recruiter.
Spend time reviewing our list of solutions architect interview questions below.
While this is a generally universal structure of the interview process, the interview stages can vary across different companies.
This is especially true since the term "Solutions Architect" can change from company to company.
Some companies call the role Solutions Engineer, Cloud Architect, or Solutions Consultant.
Keep in mind your recruiter is on your side–they can answer questions you have about the interview loop before you go to your on-site. They can even help provide clarity about the growth of the solutions architect role and how your team may look.
Solutions architect interview questions can vary widely from company to company.
Here's a list of questions we've seen most frequently asked at tech companies over the last twelve months.
These solutions architect questions were compiled from our own database of questions that candidates report being asked.
Not all solutions architect interviews will involve system design interview questions.
Check with your recruiter if this is the case at the company you're interviewing with. These questions are more common in AWS and GCP interviews.
To be successful in the solutions architect interview, we strongly recommend reviewing system design and technical fundamentals.
It's almost guaranteed that some of your solutions architect interview questions will be focused on system design. Some of the fundamental pieces of knowledge you'll want to review includes this glossary below:
Solutions architect interview questions are often multi-part, so be sure to feel comfortable explaining your thought processes. You don't always have to present an innovative solution, but rather one that makes sense for the project at hand.
Each company has its own process for interviewing candidates and evaluating candidates along different core values—do your homework!
If you understand the mission and core values of the companies you're applying to you'll understand more about the company's culture and goals. You'll also be better prepared to demonstrate those values and principles during the interview.
We've put together an extensive catalog of interview guides that give you an inside look at the interview process and criteria for most tech companies. Here are a few examples:
Be sure to focus your preparation on the role you're applying for as well. Not all solutions architect interview questions are structured the same. One company may play more emphasis on a particular concept than others.
The customer presentation interview starts with you sharing a customer-facing presentation and the interviewers will ask follow-up questions. Some companies will assign specific presentations they would like you to give, while other companies allow you to pick a product to present on.
To prepare for these presentations, practice in front of a live audience or book a technical mock interview session online to get ready!
In these presentations, your interviewer will be looking for how you handle objections and communicate through challenging problems. These are the types of problems you'll likely come across on the job.
In many interviews, you may be asked to perform simple coding tasks in an IDE. For instance, Stripe's interview asks you to create a simple checkout page using their IDE.
Prepare for these solution architect interviews by reviewing the company's API and crafting some small projects that would help you get familiar with their codebase.
Practice getting answering solution architect questions and smooth out your responses.
Practice listening actively. Effective solutions architects and engineers listen to their teams.
Listen carefully to interview questions. Solution architects must manage inputs and priorities without jumping to conclusions.
This means asking follow-up questions and repeating what you hear to clarify. Reflect on what you did well and where you can improve after each practice.
List common weaknesses as you practice — spot patterns and improve.
Practice on a peer-to-peer mock interview website like Pramp to get feedback on your answers and sample questions from your peers.
Ultimately, the best way to prepare for the solutions architect or solutions engineer interview is to get out there and practice. Here are some resources that could be helpful in your preparation:
👯♂️ Practice your behavioral and system design skills with our interview practice tool.
👨🎓 Take our complete System Design interview course.
Good luck with your interview preparation journey!
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