Coinbase’s Interview Process & Questions
The info below is based on conversations with Coinbase engineers in 2023.
Coinbase’s process is almost completely decentralized, with each team typically running its own hiring funnel. This means you can interview with multiple teams although they sometimes allow you to skip stages if they feel like they’d be duplicating their efforts. There doesn’t seem to be any downside to interviewing for more than one role at a time. In fact, if you end up interviewing for multiple teams, you may be able to skip steps (e.g. not have to repeat CodeSignal).
A good way to get into the process with Coinbase is to find a role you like and then track down the lead recruiter or hiring manager aligned to it on Linkedin. Recruiters will also share candidates they like with other teams if they don’t have a slot open on their specific team.
General tips for your Coinbase interviews:
- It’s OK to reach out to your recruiter or hiring manager contact to ask questions
- If you feel like there was some miscommunication during an interview, be proactive and reach out to the recruiter afterward to clear things up
- Apply for the right level and don’t be too aggressive – it’s better to secure a role at a lower level than to fail out of a higher one.
Mid to senior-level engineers interviewing at Bloomberg can expect the following process:
- CodeSignal assessment (70 minutes)
- Recruiter call (30 minutes)
- Onsite (3 hours)
This is an asynchronous challenge focused on data structures and algorithms. As of the date of publication, it includes 4 questions for you to work on. The first one is usually a warm-up. The others are LeetCode medium-level.
Coinbase’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 Coinbase, your understanding of Coinbase’s value proposition, 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 and go over the hiring process. Once you pass this stage you’ll enter the team pipeline.
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.
The Coinbase onsite is usually done over two days and includes three, one-hour long interviews. You’ll do two technical interviews and one final call with a hiring manager. For the technical portions, you can use your own IDE with a screen-share, or they can provide tooling.
- Technical interview (1 hour). For more detail about the kinds of questions to expect, see the “Types of Interview Questions to Expect at Coinbase” section below. You can typically use whatever language you want, although a few teams do require you to use a specific language.
- System design interview (1 hour). As above.
- Interview with a hiring manager (1 hour). As above
Each team has its own questions, but there are consistencies in the type you will encounter at each stage.
This round is a “pseudo project” – you’ll be asked to build a feature, and you’ll get input data in the form of a mini database. You will have one hour to get as far as you can.
System design questions at Coinbase tend to skew practical. Many questions involve setting up microservices and then showing the network topology of your chosen architecture. Basically, they will want to test your understanding of microservice architecture but through the lens of building a product.
This will be your final interview, and it will be conducted by a hiring manager. You’ll likely be asked some culture fit/behavioral questions, but at this point, the hiring manager will also be trying to sell you on the role.
Their interviewing team will all meet after the onsite and give their feedback to the hiring manager, who will make the decision. A director will then review the decision and has the power to veto, but this very rarely happens.
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