Acing Your Technical Interviews at Reddit (2024)

Elena Sparger
Recruiting Coordinator

At Reddit, we understand that interviewing can be nerve-wracking, and that’s why we’ve created this guide to help you navigate our process. You wouldn’t walk in to a final exam without studying, right? Well, we hope you wouldn’t walk into an interview without preparing either. Think of this as your study guide to acing your interviews.

Acing Your Technical Interviews at Reddit (1)

By now, you’ve probably already finished your introductory phone interview with someone on our recruiting team, so congrats on moving forward! Next, you’ll be diving into your first technical interview — this time over the phone with one of our engineers.

The Technical Phone Screen

This interview is more of a general aptitude test meant to map out your technical abilities against some basic concepts about the web and its security vulnerabilities. It will be roughly half Q&A-style, half coding exercises. You might not know the answer to every question, and we’re okay with that. The idea is to get a sense of your boundaries so we can determine if your expertise fits in with our team’s needs.

As you work through the questions, be sure to explain how you got your answer and why you took that approach.

Tip: Have your laptop powered on and ready for your interview. Make sure you’re either plugged in to the internet or connected to a reliable wifi network, and double check that you get a strong cell signal in the location from which you plan to take the call.

The Onsite Interview

If you made it this far, you’re almost there. Your onsite interviews will be broken down into three technical interviews and three Q&A-style interviews. All in all, it should last about 5 hours (give or take), so come in well-rested.

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Your interviews will take place in a room with a whiteboard, which you’ll make good use of during your technical interviews. You should also bring your laptop, or let us know if you’d prefer we provide one. Your technical interviews will take place either on the whiteboard or via coderpad on your laptop (which your interviewer will share with you when you meet).

Given the nature of our work, we’re generally a casual office (within reason, of course!). There’s no dress code; we recommend coming in whatever you feel comfortable wearing.

Technical Interviews

Your technical interviews will take up the bulk of the time you spend onsite with us, about three hours total (one hour per technical interview). We ask you to bring your laptop because we’d like to see you actually code in real time. While these interviews will focus heavily on your technical abilities, your interviewers will also be evaluating for other important factors like work style and team fit.

  • Coding/Algorithms. You’ll complete two coding interviews while onsite, one focusing on general software engineering concepts, the other delving deeper into your area of expertise (whether that be frontend, backend, machine learning, etc.). For the general coding interview, we encourage you to solve in whatever language you feel most comfortable using. The questions you’ll encounter during this part can usually be solved in lots of different ways, using recursive or iterative techniques.
  • System Design. Unlike your other tech interviews, this one will not be code-focused, but you’ll most likely make good use of the whiteboard. You should expect to encounter questions along the lines of “How do you build a service that does X?” and “How do you scale said service?” You should also come prepared with a solid understanding of how the internet works.

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Some things to keep in mind

Don’t neglect the conversational aspect of interviewing. The goal of our technical interviews isn’t to see whether or not you can get the right answer, but to test how well you work with others. Just as you would think of a teammate, it’s important to consider your interviewer as someone who’s there to help you solve the problem. We understand that no one person can do everything, and that’s why we intentionally build our teams to have diverse backgrounds and skill sets. We’re more interested in finding out where your skills lie than trying to find the perfect engineer. If you forget everything else from this guide, taking these three points to heart will put you well ahead of the pack in your tech interviews:

  1. Listen to and really consider your interviewer’s advice. They’ve probably asked each question a hundred different times and they’ve seen many ways to solve it. Their job is to help you find the best way.
  2. Communicate your thought process out loud. Be able to explain the pros and cons of your approach. We care a lot more about how you came to a solution than whether you actually got there.
  3. Don’t jump into writing code before you’ve thought through how you’ll get to the solution. As one of our engineers once told me, you wouldn’t start building a work bench without thinking about the dimensions of the wood and how to fit each piece together; likewise, you should know how you’re going to solve a problem before you start to write code.

Q&A Interviews

At Reddit, we’re all about empowering people to be their true selves. While your technical interviews are likely to be somewhat mentally demanding, your Q&A interviews are meant to be more relaxed. These are usually conducted by someone who’s not on the team you’re interviewing for, and the idea is for us to get to know you better beyond your technical abilities.

  • Candidate AMA. The goal of this interview is to get to know you on a personal level since most of your interviews are more focused on what you can do on a computer. That said, the best way to approach this interview is just to be ready to talk about yourself. It will be the most unstructured interview you’ll encounter here, but hopefully it will give you more insight into how we work, and vice versa.

Tip: Come prepared with questions about our culture, guiding principles, and day-to-day life at the office. You should be able to draw parallels between what really gets you going and our company values.

  • Cross Functional Interview. As you could probably tell from the title, the goal of this interview is to get a sense of how you work with other teams. Unless you’re in an infrastructure role, you’ll be working closely with our product team, so we need to make sure you can interface well with skill sets different from your own. This means being able to communicate fluidly and resolve conflict effectively. You’ll be meeting with one of our product managers for this interview, which makes it the ideal time to ask questions about how Reddit works and what’s on our product roadmap this year.

Tip: To prepare for this interview, come up with a few professional anecdotes that will help you show off your interpersonal chops. Think ahead about how you would tell those stories to convey certain behavioral attributes in your interview.

  • Hiring Manager Interview. This interview will most likely be the last one of the day (hurray!). Your prospective manager will review your work at a high level, delving into specific projects you’ve worked on to try to get a sense of how you’d fit into their team. It’s a great opportunity for you to ask any lingering questions you have about what projects you’d work on, organizational structure, and the team’s roadmap for the rest of the year.

What happens next?

So you made it through the onsite — great job! We know it wasn’t easy. Now that you’ve finished the hardest part, you can expect to hear from your recruiter about how things went within a week of your interviews. Got questions in the meantime? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We’re here to support you every step of the way.

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Further Reading

I'm Steve Huffman, programmer and Reddit CEO. AMA.
by u/spez in cscareerquestions

Interested in joining Team Reddit? Check out our list of open positions on our Careers page.

Acing Your Technical Interviews at Reddit (2024)


What are the red flags in tech interviews? ›

Red flags in a tech professional's résumé or interview responses that may indicate they are not a good hire include a lack of relevant experience or skills, poor attention to detail, a lack of proactivity or self-motivation, and poor communication skills.

Is 30 minutes enough for a technical interview? ›

If your interview was 30 minutes long, then it was just long enough. Hiring managers will generally schedule about 30 minutes to interview a candidate for most position levels. If you lasted the full 30 minutes, you know that you answered the questions well.

How to crack technical interview in one day? ›

Although, cracking a technical interview needs practice but here are a few steps to crack a technical interview in just one day:
  1. Ask questions before solving a code.
  2. Be clear with your answers.
  3. Try new ideas for solving a problem.
Jul 3, 2023

Is it hard to pass technical interview? ›

Candidates undergo a rigorous and specialized technical interview process to test their coding skills, problem-solving abilities, and aptitude. Technical interviews, however, are more than a tough challenge where developers are put through a full day of coding evaluations and tests.

What not to ask in a technical interview? ›

Never ask for information you could have easily found with a quick Google search. Never ask if you can change the job details, the schedule, or the salary. Never ask many questions about the interviewer's background. Never ask about pay, time off, benefits, etc.

What is the biggest red flag to hear when being interviewed? ›

Inappropriate or offensive questions are sure to stand out as interview red flags. In a recent SHRM survey of more than 1,000 recruiters, 24 percent said it was somewhat or very common for hiring managers to ask inappropriate interview questions during the hiring process.

Can you look at notes during an interview? ›

Yes! It is totally acceptable to carry notes with you to the interview.

How to crack a technical interview? ›

  1. Step 1: Practice on paper. ...
  2. Step 2: Collecting the best resource for learning. ...
  3. Step 3: Do Mock Interviews. ...
  4. Step4: Write down your mistakes. ...
  5. Step 5: Work on Software Design Skills. ...
  6. Step 6: Listen to every detail. ...
  7. Step7: Company-specific preparation. ...
  8. Step 8: Speak your thoughts.

How many rounds of interviews is normal for tech? ›

You can expect to have anywhere between two and four interviews before receiving a job offer. If you are interviewing for a high-level executive position, though, you may need to go on more than four interviews. If you are interviewing for an entry-level position, you may only need to go on one or two interviews.

Why do I fail technical interviews? ›

Failing at technical interviews can be for a lot of reasons - some identifiable, and some not. For instance, an obvious lack of preparation is an identifiable reason for failure, while a certain form of conduct in your behavioral interview can be an inconspicuous reason for rejection.

Can you Google during coding interview? ›

Answer: During the General Coding Assessment (GCA), you are permitted to search for syntax-related questions online. However, the tasks might go more smoothly if you to have these answers fresh in your mind already (you may choose which coding language you would prefer to use).

How can I impress a technical interview? ›

How to prepare for a technical interview
  1. Prepare a 30-second to 1-minute elevator pitch for the “tell me about yourself” question and examples/stories for other interview questions. ...
  2. Before you go, study up on the most important CS fundamentals. ...
  3. Pick one programming language and know it really well.
Feb 8, 2022

Can you fail technical interview and still get the job? ›

Interviewing is storytelling

But there's more to interviewing than the technical piece alone. If you flub a technical interview, you can still get hired. But if you fail the narrative part of the interview, you will not get the job.

What is the hardest technical interview company? ›

10 IT companies with most difficult interview
  • 2/11. ThoughtWorks. ThoughtWorks is a global IT consultancy company that provides custom software, software tools, consulting, and transformation services. ...
  • 3/11. Google. ...
  • 4/11. Unisys. ...
  • 5/11. Rackspace Hosting. ...
  • 6/11. Cypress. ...
  • 7/11. Sapient. ...
  • 8/11. Bazaar Voice. ...
  • 9/11. Juniper Networks.
Dec 12, 2012

How do you deal with anxiety in a technical interview? ›

Embrace the challenge of every question and always have a go! Successful interviews can sometimes evolve into a back-and-forth that is more conversational in tone than you might expect. To release anxious energy, treat the interview as an opportunity to find out more about the tech company.

How do you stand out in a tech interview? ›

How to make a great impression in a technical interview
  1. Focus on the details: “Be prepared to talk in detail about technical skills and knowledge listed on your resume.”
  2. Stick to what you know best: “Code in the language you are most comfortable in, whether that's Python, R, SQL or something else.”

How do I know if a candidate is tech savvy? ›

Ask them to give an example of a time they had to use a new software program, perform an unfamiliar task, or troubleshoot a program that wasn't behaving. Then have them explain how they attempted to solve the issue and at what point, if applicable, they sought outside help.

What is red flag technical due diligence? ›

IT Red Flag Due Diligence is an upstream investigation of the target company. It is more cost-effective and identifies the most critical issues. This also makes it possible to decide whether a subsequent comprehensive due diligence is worthwhile at all.

How do you ace an interview at a tech company? ›

How to Prepare
  1. Lock in the Fundamentals. ...
  2. familiarize yourself with the format and types of questions. ...
  3. How to Practice. ...
  4. Don't Dwell on Mistakes. ...
  5. Use the Interview to Show Your Passion for Tech. ...
  6. Be Prepared for a Lengthy Interview Process. ...
  7. Don't Forget to Prepare for Traditional/Behavioral Questions.

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