Tik Tok Software Engineering Interview Guide

Interview Guide Jan 16

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

The role of a Tik Tok Software Engineer

The responsibility of a software engineer is to research, design, implement, and support software solutions. The vast majority of software engineers spend a great deal of time researching both programmatic solutions and technical documentation in order to resolve a problem. The creative skills of software engineers are always demonstrated in the way they develop technical solutions; after all, many powerful technologies become proprietary due to this very skill. 

TikTok is an app and social networking platform that lets users share short videos. With its mission, the company captures and presents creative content, knowledge, and precious memories directly from the mobile phone. Through TikTok, anyone can be a creator and share their passion and creativity.

Roles and responsibility

As a software engineer at Tik Tok, you’ll be leveraging your software engineering expertise to develop software platforms and tools to optimize the operational and engineering efficiencies of complex systems at scale, with a particular focus on improving the systems' observability, performance, and maintainability.

Key responsibilities:

  • Identify what's wrong with the code by debugging.
  • Fix the core problem by implementing high-quality fixes.
  • Test the code (unit tests and functional tests) to ensure it is working properly.

Skills and qualifications required

  • Coding skills of the highest order: anyone reviewing your work will agree that it is of excellent quality.
  • Experience of at least six months in writing code for a software service or product. Internships can count towards this experience.
  • Proficient in at least one of these languages: Java, JavaScript, C++, or C#.
  • A computer science degree or its commercial equivalent.
  • Experience in centralized or shared-service environments.
  • Experience in cloud development, particularly with Amazon Web Services.
  • There are also often role specific requirements; eg. if you're an engineer in a security team then you'd be expected to know how to apply advanced concepts in various disciplines, such as threat intelligence, identity, and access management, key management systems, data security, application security, web application, and browser security, security protocols and operating system internals, network security, vulnerability management, or applied cryptographic concepts.
  • Effective communication skills; ability to work in a team and be super versatile since you're going to encounter a range of situations

Tik Tok Software Engineer salary

The average annual pay for a Tik Tok Software Engineer job is $1,06,555 per year.

The following interview guide will guide you through the steps of interviewing at Tik Tok for a software engineer position and contains several suggestions along with practice questions for you to stand out from the crowd.

Tik Tok Software Engineer Interview Guide

The interview process consists of a number of steps that are followed once your application is shortlisted. They are:

  • 1-2 phone screen rounds with HR or someone from the future team.
  • 2–6 Zoom sessions (Onsite Round) depending on the seniority of the role
  • Technical round
  • The final Zoom session for discussing the job offer

Relevant Guides

TikTok SWE - Phone Screen Round


The interview procedure begins with a phone screen round with HR. We recommend that you go through the software Tik Tok develops, its background, values, and impact, before preparing your answers to the screening questions. In addition to your previous employment history, your recruiter will inquire about your domain expertise. This is your opportunity to show the interviewer your skills and how you could benefit the company. This round will last about 25–30 min.

What the interviewer will assess

  • Your eligibility for the role
  • Your knowledge of the company
  • Your past experience and success rate
  • Your knowledge of the domain


  • If you have any questions in regards to the job, use this opportunity to ask them.
  • Keep a record of your past achievements and emphasize them whenever necessary.

Interview Questions

  • How would you describe yourself?
  • Do you have any interests outside of work?
  • What brought you to our company?
  • Which of our products are you familiar with?
  • Can you tell me what you know about the software that our company develops?
  • What is your current role?
  • In your current role, what are the most common tasks you perform?
  • What is one professional goal you are currently working towards?
  • Can you tell me about some of your strengths that you believe will help you succeed in this role?

TikTok SWE - Onsite round (Zoom Session)


On clearing the phone screen round, you will be called for the onsite round, which will include a technical assessment. The onsite round for the software engineer role at Tik Tok consists of 2–6 interviews, each lasting an hour. When reviewing your résumé, the hiring manager is looking for leadership and problem-solving skills, as well as technical and collaborative abilities. You should discuss previous projects you've worked on and the progress and outcome of those projects. This interview will take about 30–45 min.

What the interviewer will assess

  • If you understand their values.
  • The level of your leadership skills.
  • The ability to work in cross-functional teams.
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Cultural fit in the workplace. This is something common with the theme that you'll face even with the Google Software Engineering Interview.
  • Your technical abilities


  • When composing your response, remember to use the STAR method. Prepare for your reaction by considering a past event, task, action, and outcome.
  • Prepare a few questions ahead of time and brush up on your Tik Tok knowledge. Make sure you study the kinds of technical questions you might be asked during an interview to stay one step ahead.

Interview Questions

  • What do you mean by software re-engineering?
  • Has any of your work experience been outside of engineering?
  • Which software types are most important?
  • What are the qualities of a good software engineer, according to you?
  • Tell me about a project that makes you proud.
  • What are the two tools for monitoring software requirements?
  • Do you remember a moment when you and a teammate had a dispute?

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TikTok SWE - Technical Round


Once you have completed the onsite round, you will be directed to an online technical assessment and interview round. The technical coding section of the exam will be conducted using the HackerRank platform. If you want to prepare, complete a few examples of coding problems beforehand. It is likely that you will be tested on essential topics like data structures, algorithms, and bit manipulation. Tik Tok prefers the following programming languages: C, C++, Java, Javascript, and PHP. However, you may take the test in whichever language you choose.

Four rounds of technical interviewing will be conducted. Each round is an elimination round, so if you are dismissed before the end of the round, you won't be offered a position.

The technical rounds typically consist of:

  • Two rounds of coding
  • A system design interview
  • An object-oriented design interview (questions can also be asked on a random topic such as coding, system design, Object-Oriented Design, and background projects)

What the interviewer will assess

  • Core knowledge of your area of expertise
  • Coding abilities
  • Programming efficiency in a variety of languages

As per folks who have already cracked or experienced this interview, you can find some similarity with the Uber Software Engineering Interview.


  • Interviews primarily involve whiteboard coding, so prepare to explain the reasoning behind your choice of programming language, the options discarded, and how you resolved the problem.

Interview Questions

  • Create and navigate a binary tree; only explore the right side of the tree.
  • If you have an enemy, every hit you give reduces points in different ways. Find all the possible ways to kill the enemy.
  • Allocate the minimum number of pages.
  • Given an array of non-negative integers (nums), you are initially positioned at the first index of the array. Each element in the array represents your maximum jump length at that position. Your goal is to reach the last index in the minimum number of jumps. You can assume that you can always reach the last index.


Input: nums = [2,3,1,1,4]

Output: 2

  • Given two sorted arrays nums1 and nums2 of size m and n respectively, return the median of the two sorted arrays. The overall run time complexity should be O(log (m+n)).


Input: nums1 = [1,3], nums2 = [2]

Output: 2.00000

  • Design a HashMap without using any built-in hash table libraries.

            Implement the MyHashMap class:

  1. MyHashMap() initializes the object with an empty map.
  2. void put(int key, int value) inserts a (key, value) pair into the HashMap. If the key already exists in the map, update the corresponding value.
  3. int get(int key) returns the value to which the specified key is mapped, or -1 if this map contains no mapping for the key.
  4. void remove(key) removes the key and its corresponding value if the map contains the mapping for the key.

Example :


["MyHashMap", "put", "put", "get", "get", "put", "get", "remove", "get"]

[[], [1, 1], [2, 2], [1], [3], [2, 1], [2], [2], [2]]


[null, null, null, 1, -1, null, 1, null, -1]

  •  In which language do you prefer to write programming algorithms?
  • How can software projects be estimated?
  • Develop software that calculates the nth term of the Fibonacci series.

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Frequently Asked Questions