Flexport Software Engineer Interview Guide

Interview Guide Jul 22

Detailed, specific guidance on the Flexport Software Engineer interview process - with a breakdown of different stages and interview questions asked at each stage.

The role of a Flexport Software Engineer

Flexport is a major platform that facilitates global trade in an industry that constitutes 12% of the world's GDP. To fulfill its mission of improving the user experience in global trade, the company actively recruits extremely high-quality and well-paid software developers.

Flexport is considered a highly sought-after employer in the tech industry. As an SWE (Software Engineer) at Flexport, you will work on products that are literally reshaping the logistics and supply chain industries.

In terms of compensation, Flexport offers competitive salaries, equity packages, and a comprehensive benefits package, which includes health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks. The average salary for software engineers at Flexiport ranges between US$207.58K to US$480.83K per annum:

  • Software Engineer I (Entry Level): US$207.58K
  • Software Engineer II: US$257.65K
  • Senior Software Engineer: US$344.73K
  • Staff Engineer: US$480.83K

Flexport Software Engineer Interview Guide

The Flexiport software engineer interview process is pretty comprehensive and includes the following 5 rounds:

  • Online Assessment 
  • HR Phone Screen
  • Technical Screen
  • Coding/Technical Interview
  • Hiring Manager Interview

Let's look at each of these in detail.

Relevant Guides

Online Assessment

Overview

The initial phase of the interviewing process involves an online assessment that consists of approximately five questions. These questions are about evaluating your proficiency in various computer science concepts but aren't particularly challenging. If you spend enough time-solving Leetcode questions, you should be able to get through this round smoothly.

It is essential to note that the online assessment doesn't just cover traditional LeetCode-style problems but also extends to front-end and SQL-related questions.

HR Phone Screen

Overview

This 20-minute HR phone screen typically includes standard "get to know you" questions aimed at understanding the candidate's past experiences and motivations for choosing Flexport.

You can expect questions regarding your graduation status, preferred start date, current location, and willingness to relocate, among other things. 

The wait after the phone screen may be long, as reported by previous candidates.

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Technical Screen

Overview

This third interview round is with the hiring manager; it typically involves questions related to CS fundamentals like data structures and algorithms, and system design. The stage often includes a coding challenge (a Hackerank or Leetcode medium) designed to test your coding proficiency. However, you don't need to worry; the challenge is usually straightforward with questions like "implement a checkerboard" and such. You will be expected to solve the problem using a shared code editor, allowing the interviewer to observe your coding skills in real-time.

A recent candidate reported being asked the following question, for instance:

Given a shipping yard with infinite capacity for containers and has clients who would like to store their containers. Design a system which can manage the operations of the yard.

  1. Start with a client intending to add or remove containers, i.e. (containers, amount)
  2. Improve functionality by extending the system to buying and selling operations, maintain a order book where logs of each buy and sell order requests are 
  3. Introduce bidding for each buy and sell request, based on the best offer, make the transaction.

The candidate was asked to explain the complexity of the solution as well as whether they could still improve the solution if they had more time.

Technical/Coding interview 

Overview

During the on-site technical/coding round of the software engineer interview process, you can expect to undergo an architecture interview and several coding interviews on a whiteboard. These interviews will likely test your understanding of OOP concepts, data structures, algorithms, and system designs.

The coding questions that you will encounter are typically at the easy/medium level on LeetCode, as the interviewer will be more interested in evaluating your thought process rather than your ability to solve difficult problems. 

In fact, you may be asked to describe verbally the steps you would take to solve a coding problem, such as determining if horizontal and vertical letters are the same, or answer a recursion question.

Tips

To prepare for this round, it is recommended that you review fundamental programming concepts, practice coding problems, and be able to communicate your thought process clearly and concisely. You'll need to demonstrate a deep understanding of how these concepts work and how to use them effectively to solve challenging problems. If you have gone through other interviews that similar, i.e. Google Software Engineering Interview, you would realise that system design questions are important too.

For the system design questions, you'll be expected to provide a high-level architecture and describe the components and interactions between them. You may be asked to consider scalability, fault tolerance, performance in your design, as well as explain the trade-offs and considerations that went into your design choices.

Remember to stay calm, ask questions, and think through your solutions carefully.

Participating in mock interviews with an experienced software engineer can be a highly effective way to prepare for the on-site technical/coding round.

Mock interviews provide an opportunity to simulate real interview conditions and receive feedback on your performance. The expert may ask you coding questions, provide guidance on your problem-solving approach, and offer tips on how to communicate your thought process effectively. This can help you refine your skills and ensure that you are well-prepared to tackle the real interview with confidence.

Booking a 60-minute session with a Flexport Full Stack Software Engineer expert here.

Interview Questions

  • Implement a sorting algorithm (e.g. quicksort, mergesort) from scratch
  • Implement a graph traversal algorithm (e.g. BFS, DFS)
  • Given a set of meeting times, find the minimum number of rooms required to schedule all meetings
  • Given a set of n intervals, find the maximum number of intervals that overlap at any point in time
  • Design a distributed file system
  • Design a recommendation system for e-commerce
  • Design a fault-tolerant messaging system
  • Design a social network with millions of users

Final Round: Hiring Manager Interview 

Overview

In this final round, you can expect to face a series of behavioral questions that give insight into your work ethics, problem-solving skills, and ability to think critically. The interviewer may ask you to share specific examples of how you dealt with certain situations or challenges in the past, and how you approached them.

It also involves a deep dive into one project of your choice where you'll have the opportunity to display your technical skills and expertise, and demonstrate your ability to work independently and collaboratively. 

The above interviews are followed by live coding using a shared code editor; previous candidates were reportedly given debugging challenges, and you can expect to be presented with similar challenges, which will test your ability to think logically and systematically.

Interview Questions

  • Tell me about a time when you had to make a compromise
  • Describe an aspect of your role you learned at your former job that you feel will be beneficial to your future role at Flexport.
  • What about the Software Engineer role at Flexport excites you the most?
  • What makes you a great fit for Flexport?
  • Why work at a startup?
  • Can you explain the architecture of the project you chose for the deep dive?
  • During the development of one of your previous projects, you encounter a bug that prevents the application from functioning correctly. Can you walk us through the debugging process you would use to identify and solve the issue? 
  • How would you optimize the performance of a slow running application?

Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities that Flexport looks for in a software engineer are:

  • You'll be responsible for leading complex product initiatives and seeing them through to completion with minimal supervision.
  • You'll be expected to design code that is flexible, maintainable, and meets industry best practices and coding standards.
  • You'll be responsible for ensuring the quality of your team's code by reviewing it with an eye for performance and maintainability.
  • You'll be expected to help build scalable programs that standardize information flow and increase operational capacity.
  • You'll be part of a close-knit engineering team that ships new code every day.
  • You'll be empowered to identify critical projects, strategically prioritize them, and execute them.

Skills and Qualifications

Here are the skills and qualifications that a Flexport Software Engineer must have:

  • A Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or equivalent practical experience is expected.
  • You should have at least one year of professional full-time work experience to be considered.
  • A strong grasp of programming languages such as JavaScript, HTML/CSS, SQL, Python, React, and Ruby on Rails is required.
  • In addition to technical proficiency, you should possess a deep understanding of the business domain and competitive landscape, and be able to think holistically about the business.
  • You must have exceptional analytical and problem-solving skills to effectively tackle complex issues.
  • Effective communication and advocacy skills are crucial, as you will need to promote best practices in team meetings and across the organization.
  • Experience working in a fast-paced environment with a bias for action is essential, as you will be expected to deliver quality code quickly.
  • A product-first approach to building software, with a strong emphasis on the real-world functionality of your programming, is a must-have trait.