Shopify’s Interview Process & Questions

The info below is based on conversations with Stripe engineers in 2023.

Published: June 27, 2023

Shopify's Interview Process for Software Engineers: 4 Steps

For a mid to senior-level software engineer, Shopify’s process (usually) looks like this:

  • Recruiter call (30 minutes)
  • Technical phone screen (40 minutes)
  • "Life Story" interview (1 hour)
  • Onsite (3-4 hours)
Shopify’s interview process: Recruiter call, Technical phone screen, Life Story interview, Onsite

Shopify’s process is decentralized, which means that you interview for a specific team out of the gate.

Step 1: Recruiter Call

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 Shopify 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 Shopify 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.  

This is a typical recruiter call, but shorter. It’s primarily meant to gauge your interest in Shopify and lay out the rest of the process. There will be a more detailed recruiter call, called the “Life Story” interview, later on.

That said, it’s still really important not to reveal your salary expectations or your salary history. 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.

Normally, we’d also advise you not to reveal where you are in process with other companies, but we’ve heard from our sources that Shopify is very good at moving quickly if you’re getting close to offer stage with other companies, so if you need them to move, make sure to mention that in this call (you don’t have to go into detail about which companies you’re talking to, just that you’re getting close to offers or have some already).

Step 2: Technical Phone Screen

The technical phone screen at Shopify is a data structures/algorithms interview conducted via CoderPad. There will likely be 2 interviewers conducting this round.

Step 3: "Life Story" interview

This interview is conducted by a recruiter, who will be asking you questions about your past to see what motivates and drives you: is there some common thread that’s been a theme or shown up in multiple places in your story and your career to date? Their goal is to suss out whether you’re a “3D person” who can communicate effectively with others, instead of just someone who’s technically gifted. Because Shopify is fully remote, they place extra importance on having employees who are personable and able to have a chat.

You may also be asked to sign Shopify’s code of conduct (we were able to find this copy from 2019; please email us to let us know if it’s no longer valid).

Step 4: Onsite

Shopify’s onsite lasts roughly 4 hours and includes the following steps:

  • Pair programming (2 hours)
  • Technical deep dive (1 hour)
  • Possibly system design (1 hour; usually just for senior/staff-level engineers)

Pair Programming/Coding

You’ll have two separate pair programming sessions as part of your onsite.

In these interviews, you’ll be using your IDE of choice and sharing your screen.

When you practice for this interview, get in the habit of talking out loud about what may work even if it's not ideal, and explain to the interviewer what you would do differently, or how you would improve it if you had more time. The goal isn’t just to solve the problem, but to show that you know what you’re doing and are able to consider the long-term effects of your design decisions.

Technical Deep Dive

In this interview, you’ll be doing a deep dive on a project you worked on, why it mattered, your contributions, how you overcame challenges, and so on. Be prepared to discuss technical details in depth.

System Design

You may not get a separate system design interview in your loop – those are reserved for senior (and sometimes staff-level candidates). There will be a system design component in your pair programming sessions, however.

Types of Interview Questions to Expect at Shopify

Coding/Pair Programming

You’re more likely to get LeetCode-style questions in the technical phone screen, rather than the onsite.

To figure out what types of questions to expect in your Shopify interviews, we did two things. First, we spoke to some current and former Shopify interviewers in our community. Then we cross-referenced all the anecdotes we heard with our own data-set of mock interviews. Based on all of the above, here are the types of questions you’re likely to encounter:

During the onsite, you will not get LeetCode-style questions. Rather, you will iteratively build something with your interviewer. You’ll start with the simplest possible implementation and then add features to it, testing as you go. Depending on how the interview is going, your interviewer will likely add on up to three additional layers of complexity, and what started as a simple problem will end up with a system design component as well.

Example questions include:

  • Design and implement an LRU cache
  • Given a list of products with a price and popularity rating, order them based on price and use popularity as a tiebreaker
  • Implement a discounting feature for retail

System Design

If you do get a system design round, be prepared for high-level system design questions that will likely expect a tie into a feature/design relevant to Shopify’s product.

Common Shopify Interview Questions

Below are common questions that interviewers from Shopify 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.

Shopify Interview Replays

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