LinkedIn’s Interview Process & Questions
The info below is based on conversations with LinkedIn engineers in 2023.
For a mid to senior-level software engineer, LinkedIn’s process (usually) looks like this:
- Recruiter call (30 minutes)
- Technical phone screen (1 hour)
- Second recruiter call (30 minutes)
- Onsite (5-6 hours)
- Team matching
LinkedIn’s interview process is centralized, which means that you don’t interview with specific teams and do team matching after the fact.
The first recruiter call lasts 30 minutes. Its purpose is to check qualifications, hear about past projects, and find out what you’re looking for from LinkedIn and in general. It also acts as a culture fit check, so they’ll want to see how your communication and personality align with their values. Make sure you’re up to date on LinkedIn features, blog posts and news. Finally, your recruiter will make sure you understand the role you’re applying for and clarify next steps in the process.
It’s really important, at this stage, not to reveal your salary expectations, your salary history, or where you are in the process with other companies. We wrote a detailed post about salary negotiation that lays out exactly what to say when recruiters pressure you to name the first number. Just don’t do it – when you give out information this early in the process, you’re painting future you into a corner.
The technical phone screen lasts an hour, and interviews at this stage (and beyond) will usually have two interviewers, the primary interviewer and a trainee interviewer who’s shadowing.
You’ll be given 2-3 algorithms and data structures questions, structured as follows:
- If you’re applying for a niche role (e.g., mobile), you’ll get a 10-minute domain-specific question. This question is meant to quickly gauge your expertise on your niche subject and screen out generalists.
- 15-minute small problem
- 30-minute medium problem
If you pass the technical phone screen, a recruiter will reach out again for a 30 minute call. Having a second recruiter call in the middle of the process is unusual, but LinkedIn does it for a good reason: they have historically lost a lot of good candidates to FAANG, and so this call is their way of playing defense to get ahead of attrition. In this call, they’ll re-ask about whom you’re in process with and will try to make sure that they don’t lose you by moving too slowly.
Though our advice about not revealing your hand stands, in this call, if you do have any tight timelines from other companies, it’s good to let them know because, according to our sources, they are indeed able to speed things up and move quickly.
LinkedIn’s onsite usually lasts 5-6 hours and includes the following steps:
- Coding (1 hour)
- (For niche roles) Domain-specific coding (1 hour)
- System design (1 hour)
- Technical communication (1 hour)
- Behavioral (1 hour)
The order of these rounds can vary, as well as the number of coding interviews required. Depending on your score for various portions of the onsite, you may be required to complete an extra system design, object oriented design, or algorithms interview. There may be extra rounds for certain teams and roles as well. Given that LinkedIn’s interview process is centralized, you generally won’t be interviewing with engineers or managers from the team you’ll end up on.
This interview will generally be one question or sometimes two, depending on how quickly you work through the first one.
If you’re applying for a niche role (e.g., mobile), in addition to a general coding interview, you’ll have to do a domain-specific interview as well.
The system design interview will cover general system design knowledge and will focus on building large-scale systems. Make sure to communicate clearly and often during this interview and substantiate your design choices as well as your choices of specific technologies.
This interview will evaluate your ability to communicate and collaborate. You’ll be asked about one of your past projects and then walk your interviewer through it, with an emphasis on the technical aspects of your projects. Make sure you explain what the project was, why it mattered to the business, and what you did specifically. They’re expecting you to be able to dive really deep into the project you choose, so be ready to answer anything and everything about it.
The behavioral interview at LinkedIn is very conversational. They’re looking to assess your culture fit and will ask you ad-hoc questions rather than preset or typical behavioral interview questions. Despite it being conversational in nature, it’s important to find ways to tie your answers to LinkedIn’s values:
- We put members first
- We trust and care about each other
- We are open, honest and constructive
- We act as One LinkedIn
- We embody diversity, inclusion and belonging
- We dream big, get things done and know how to have fun
Assuming all has gone well to this point, you’ll be contacted by hiring managers for a team matching call. These calls are for the hiring managers to sell you on joining LinkedIn, and to create excitement about their specific orgs. It’s important to use this time to ask any questions you have about LinkedIn, the role or the process so far, and find out as much as possible about your team options.
Once you’re matched with a team they will extend you an offer. If you are far along in the process with other companies, make sure that you let them know that they should move quickly. This is another stage where LinkedIn loses a lot of candidates to FAANG, so they’re ready and able to speed things up.
In the event you’re unable to be matched with a team, your onsite results are valid with LinkedIn for 1 year, so they will continue trying to find a team for you.
LinkedIn has a company-wide question bank, though interviewers have a bit of wiggle room to change them up. We’ve heard from several sources that the question bank is fairly small (compared to other companies), and that the questions haven’t changed much over the past 7 years or more.
To figure out what specific types of questions to expect in your LinkedIn interviews, we did two things. First, we spoke to some current and former LinkedIn 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:
Typical system design questions include:
- Design a system that will determine trending posts
- Design a system that will log requests
- Design a system that will show client feeds
- Design an API for some specific use case
Below are common questions that interviewers from LinkedIn 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.
Subarray Sum Equals K
Given an unsorted array of integers and an integer k, find the number of subarrays whose sum equals k.
Find Leaves of a Binary Tree
Given a binary tree, extract all the leaves in repeated succession into a list of lists by starting at the bottom and working your way upwards.
Given an array of integers, return the indices of the two numbers that add up to a given target.
LinkedIn grades each onsite round on a 4-point scale, where 3 is passing. If your aggregate score after the onsite is borderline, you may get asked to do another interview.
Candidates who end up over the line get passed to the hiring committee, who make the final decision about both hiring and leveling.
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