Airbnb’s Interview Process & Questions
The info below is based on conversations with Airbnb engineers in 2023.
Mid to senior-level engineers interviewing at Airbnb can expect the following process
- Recruiter call (30 minutes)
- Technical phone screen (1 hour)
- Onsite (5-7 hours)
- Team matching
Airbnb’s interview process is fully centralized, which means that everyone enters the same standardized process, and team matching happens at the end.
For most levels of engineering at Airbnb, the process and questions are the same, but your answers are graded differently depending on your level. There is also a huge emphasis on culture fit, much more so than at most other companies of their size and stage.
Airbnb’s recruiter call lasts 30 minutes, and it’s pretty standard fare – they’ll ask you about your previous experience, why you’re interested in Airbnb, and what you’re looking for moving forward. They’ll also review the specific role you’re applying for to make sure you understand the expectations and requirements.
It’s really important, at this stage, to not reveal your salary expectations or where you are in the process with other companies. We’ve written a detailed post about salary negotiation that lays out exactly what to say if recruiters pressure you to name the first number.
Generally, there’s only one technical phone screen, but if your interviewer didn’t get enough signal in the first one, you may be asked to do one more. Airbnb uses CoderPad to conduct technical interviews, and in these interviews you’re expected to write working code and run it – pseudocode is not allowed, and the expectation is that you’re extremely proficient in your language of choice.
The onsite at Airbnb consists of 5-7 interview rounds with the following steps:
- Coding (1-3 hours)
- System design (1 hour)
- Behavioral (1 hour)
- Culture Fit (2 hours)
As with the technical phone screen, you’ll have to write working code and run it (no pseudocode). The number of rounds is dependent on your level, so more senior engineers will have less coding interviews, but more system design.
This interview is similar to Google’s system design interview.
This interview will touch on your past projects, contributions, how you work in teams, and so on. The core engineering culture at Airbnb is all about making your mark and owning your impact.
Airbnb calls these “Host interviews”, and they’re conducted by non-engineers. These interviews are very important, even if you do well on the technical portion, fail these and you won't get an offer. They'll be evaluating whether or not you’d be a good culture fit with everyone at Airbnb, and how you embody their values:
- Champion the mission
- Be a host
- Embrace the adventure
- Be a cereal entrepreneur
Once you’ve passed your onsite, you can expect to speak with anywhere from 1 to 4 hiring managers. The hiring managers will try to sell you on joining their team, but will also use the time to decide if you’re ultimately a good fit for their specific org.
Airbnb asks LeetCode-style questions, ranging from medium to hard difficulty.
To figure out what types of questions to expect in your Airbnb interviews, we did two things. First, we spoke to some current and former Airbnb interviewers in our community. Then we cross-referenced all the anecdotes we heard with Glassdoor data AND our own data-set of mock interviews. Based on all of the above, here are the types of questions you’re likely to encounter:
You may get low-level or high-level questions in this round. Examples include:
- Design a cache system
- Design a voting system
- Design Twitter's trending topics
- Design a load balancer
- Design Facebook Messenger
- Design an auth platform
Below are common questions that interviewers from Airbnb ask on our platform. Since our data comes from mock interviews, questions may not be exactly the same as what you'd see in real interviews.
Given an array of integers, return the indices of the two numbers that add up to a given target.
Find the Missing Number in an Array
Given an unsorted array of unique integers (size n + 1) and a first array identical to the second array, missing one integer (size n), find and output the missing integer.
Write a program to reverse the given string.
There is a hiring committee for engineering positions at Airbnb, who will ultimately decide on leveling, but whether or not to extend the offer falls to the hiring manager. You can expect an offer to come within a week or so of successful team matching.
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