Preparing for the Stripe software engineering interview? Read this guide to understand what to expect in the Stripe interview process, what types of questions to practice, and how Stripe makes its hiring decisions.
Founded in 2010, Stripe is now one of the fastest growing and most valuable private financial startups. Stripe is famous for its developer-first approach to building products as well as its strong engineering culture and hiring bar. Their interview process is notoriously practical rather than academic like other tech companies—but rigorous nonetheless.
Learn more about how to ace the Stripe software engineer interview in the rest of this guide.
Typically, there are four stages to the software engineer interview at Stripe: recruiter screen, 1-2 phone interviews, and then an onsite with about half a day of technical interviews. Although there is one 'software engineer' role at Stripe, in practice there are four different interview loops that you can apply through: frontend, full-stack, backend, and infrastructure. The interview process is similar for each but may involve different types of questions and influence the teams you'll ultimately be able to join. Note: All interviews are being conducted virtually in 2020.
The recruiter phone screen is meant to help the recruiting team learn more about your background and résumé, understand your interviewing timeline, and help you learn about the different interview tracks.
This technical interview is a coding question asked virtually via Coderpad or a similar platform, where you'll be expected to solve a coding problem in a reasonable amount of time. Depending on the interviewing track you've applied for, this could either be an algorithms question or a UI challenge.
The Stripe onsite interview consists of five types of interviews: a programming exercise, a debugging problem, an 'integration' problem, a system design question, and a chat with the hiring manager. Each of these interviews lasts between 45 minutes and an hour. If you're visiting an office, you'll also have lunch with an employee in the middle of the day. After the onsite, you'll typically hear back within a few days from the recruiter.
Next, we'll look at the types of questions Stripe asks in more detail, along with practice questions to help you prepare.
The Stripe programming exercise is a 45-minute interview focused on a practical coding question. Although it's always good to think about performance and runtime, the emphasis in this interview is not on algorithmic complexity but rather on finding a solution that works and writing tests.
The system design interview at Stripe consists of a 1-hour interview with another engineer, where you'll typically use a whiteboard to diagram different parts of the system. Remember that system design interviews can be intentionally vague. It's best to lead the conversation rather than rely on the interviewer to provide you with instructions, but make sure you understand the full problem and engage the interviewer to flesh out the requirements at the beginning. In a virtual interview setting, your Stripe system design interview will use a virtual whiteboard, so you may want to practice beforehand using a tool like Whimsical.
For a review of system design principles and interview examples, check out the complete System Design Interview Course and review our list of commonly asked system design questions.
Behavioral interviews are used most often to assess cultural fit and your level of experience based on prior work. Be prepared to cover topics on your résumé, your motivation for seeking a new role, and your previous job. You may also be asked to discuss a technical project you've worked on and your leadership experiences. For these, we recommend reviewing this module on Project Retrospectives and this list of behavioral interview questions for more practice.
This interview is a hands-on coding task where you'll be given an example codebase in a language of your choice and asked to fix a bug that is causing a test to fail. While part of the interview is about finding and fixing the bug itself, it's also about the methodology and approach you take to investigate the underlying issue, so don't forget to communicate your thought process!
This interview type is another distinctly Stripe-style question where you will be given an existing codebase and set of APIs, and then tasked with integrating them and testing how they work together. It's helpful to be familiar with how API requests work in practice at companies like Stripe.