Staff Engineer interviews are not dissimilar from Senior Engineer interviews. There will likely be a coding exercise, and there’s less room for error on the coding exercise than there would be for a Senior Engineer. You’re expected to make short work of the coding exercises. There will also likely be culture fit interviews with Product Managers or similar.
The biggest difference is the system design interview
. Staff Engineer interviews often involve either walking through a system you’ve designed, or walking through designing a hypothetical system like “how would you build your own Slack clone?”
Pro tip: be able to go beyond building a simple REST API. Have an example of a system you’ve designed that is “at scale” in terms of both complexity and number of users. For the “how would you build your own Zoom” type questions, you’ll need to talk about services, tradeoffs between different ways of communicating between services (Kafka
), scalability, and durability.