VMware’s Interview Process & Questions
The info below is based on conversations with VMware engineers in 2023.
Mid to senior-level engineers interviewing at VMware can (usually) expect the following process:
- Recruiter call (30 minutes)
- Technical phone screen (1 hour)
- Onsite (5-6 hours)
That said, VMware’s interview process is very decentralized. You interview for a specific team from the get-go, and not only the content of the interviews, but the types of interviews themselves, vary significantly from team to team, so take the list above with a grain of salt.
One other somewhat unique aspect of VMware’s process is their commitment to the Rooney Rule, i.e., committing to interviewing at least one woman and one minority candidate for every open position. In practice, sometimes the entire process for a role will get stalled until recruiting can find those candidates, and all candidates who are not from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds may end up in an indefinite holding pattern.
Finally, a word about VMware’s eng culture. VMware wants to find very technical people who are interested in solving hard problems but also want to go home at the end of the day. VMware’s sales cycles are slow – there’s just one big release every year, so they don't need to find people who are willing to work really long hours or people whose job is to make sure that the build tool chain is on the cutting edge (and in fact, most of their customers, who tend to be huge enterprise organizations, don't want cutting edge).
This is a typical recruiter call, where they’ll ask about previous experience, relevant projects, and why you’re interested in VMware. They’ll also elaborate on the role and confirm that your experience and expectations are a good match.
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.
This is a 1-hour long algorithmic interview. You will likely be using CoderPad in your technical phone screen, but tools vary from team to team.
Depending on the role, you may have a virtual onsite or an in-person onsite. In either event they follow similar formats. The exact composition will vary not only with the team but with your seniority – if you’re a mid-level engineer they will be more focused on coding. If you’re very senior, your interview will be much more about what you’ve done in the past — your work history, your work style, technical decisions you’ve made and so on. At the highest levels, the interview will feel more like an exchange of stories rather than vetting for a specific skill.
Some of your questions will invariably involve VMware-specific products and knowledge, so make sure you do some background research before heading in.‘
That said, VMware’s onsite lasts between 5 and 6 hours and consists of the following rounds:
- 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 VMware’s interview process is centralized, you generally won’t be interviewing with engineers or managers from the team you’ll end up on.
At minimum there will be two algorithms and data structures interviews in your onsite loop. Your interview will happen in CoderPad if it’s remote, but if it’s in person, it’ll be on a physical whiteboard.
There will be one or two design rounds depending on your specific role and focus.
The main purpose of this round is to chat about your past projects and work experience, and they’re very focused on your ability to communicate technical details clearly and concisely. Try to come prepared to talk about projects that are relevant to VMware and its values.
This call’s aim is to assess your fit for VMware and will focus heavily on the company’s values and mission.
Coding questions will focus on algorithms and data structures, and while the questions asked can vary depending on the role, you’ll likely see medium to hard-difficulty LeetCode style problems.
To figure out what types of questions to expect in your VMWare interviews, we did two things. First, we spoke to some current and former VMWare 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:
These rounds tend to ask you to build or design something team-specific, and they’re really looking at your ability to clearly explain your approach and choices.
Below are common questions that interviewers from VMware 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.
Intersection of Linked List
Given the heads of two singly linked-lists headA and headB, return the node at which the two lists intersect.
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