Nailing the Pathrise Interview: How to Prepare for the Top Questions

Your interview is coming up! Whether it’s in person or online, this is probably the last thing that stands between you and the job. As a way to help you prepare for your interview, we put together a list of 88 software engineer interview questions from the best tech companies. This way, you can get ready by practicing the kinds of questions you might be asked. We also included tips to keep in mind in your sessions so you are confident and successful.

If you’re interviewing at Pathrise a leading provider of 1-on-1 mentorship for tech job seekers you’ll want to be ready for thoughtful questions that assess your problem-solving skills, passion for their mission, and ability to help clients succeed.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the Pathrise interview process, typical questions asked, and tips to craft winning responses With smart preparation using examples provided, you’ll demonstrate the technical expertise, coaching abilities, and collaborative spirit needed to thrive at this people-first organization. Let’s dive in!

Overview of the Pathrise Interview Process

Here’s what to expect during the Pathrise interview journey:

  • Pre-screening call: 30-minute phone chat with recruiter about your resume and interests.

  • Technical interview: 1-hour call focused on data structures, algorithms, system design, and debugging skills.

  • Case interview: 1-hour problem-solving discussion focused on both analytical thinking and communication.

  • Culture interviews: 2-3 one-hour meetings with different team members to assess culture fit.

  • Final interview: Discussion with department head to tie everything together.

The process is rigorous but collaborative. Overall time frame is 2-3 weeks from initial screen to final decision. Now let’s look at some frequent questions and strategies to ace your responses.

10 Common Pathrise Interview Questions and Sample Answers

1. Tell me about yourself.

Typical in first interviews, this open-ended prompt allows you to introduce your background and strengths. Structure your answer to highlight:

  • Relevant work experience and technical training
  • Your approach to mentoring and coaching others
  • Passion for empowering career growth and development
  • Why the Pathrise mission resonates with you

Keep it concise and focused on selling yourself for this specific role.

Example: “With a computer science degree and 3 years of experience as a software engineer, I’m drawn to Pathrise’s mission of democratizing access to tech careers through hands-on coaching. I love mentoring junior developers and helping unlock their potential, which I’ve done through initiatives like our women-in-engineering group. Combining my technical expertise with passion for nurturing talent, I’m confident I could help Pathrise clients master the skills needed to advance their careers.”

2. What excites you about Pathrise?

This allows you to show you’ve researched Pathrise and are aligned with their values. Discuss:

  • What draws you to their mission and approach
  • How their culture and work environment appeals to you
  • Specific initiatives or values you’re excited about
  • How your background suits the role and company

Convey genuine enthusiasm and purpose-driven motivation.

Example: “What excites me most about Pathrise is the dedication to empowering individuals from all backgrounds to thrive in tech. The hands-on coaching model is unique and creates meaningful impact at scale. Beyond helping democratize access to high-paying careers, Pathrise builds supportive communities focused on continuous learning and growth, which strongly resonates with me. My experience directly mentoring new engineers would allow me to pay it forward and help clients unlock their potential.”

3. How would you handle a client frustrated with their job search?

This tests your empathy, listening skills, and ability to motivate. Discuss how you would:

  • Listen actively to understand their challenges
  • Identify root causes of frustration and validate their feelings
  • Collaboratively brainstorm potential solutions
  • Provide encouragement and outline a plan to move forward

Show you can understand perspectives, build trust, and coach through obstacles.

Example: “First and foremost, I would listen closely to understand where the frustration is coming from and show empathy for their situation. Once I have context, I could dig deeper into any resume gaps, interview skills, or other factors we can directly improve on together. If it seems like more of an emotional burden, I would validate those feelings before reframing things positively and outlining actionable steps we can take. My goal would be to rebuild momentum and confidence by highlighting their strengths, outlining resources available, and setting micro-goals. I would lean on the supportive Pathrise community while creating a customized plan tailored to their needs.”

4. How do you stay up-to-date on the latest job market trends?

Here, show you actively enrich your industry knowledge and coaching skills. Discuss:

  • Online resources like job sites, industry reports, and tech blogs
  • Professional networks, conferences, and local tech events you participate in
  • Courses, certifications, or training programs you complete
  • Ways you incorporate the latest trends into mentoring

Demonstrate proactive learning critical for effective career coaching.

Example: “I make it a priority to stay on top of the latest developments through resources like the NACE Job Outlook Survey, TechCrunch’s hiring articles, and Hired’s salary reports. I also have built relationships with recruiters at top companies to get insider perspectives. Within my professional network, I participate in industry Slack groups and Meetups to exchange ideas and strategies. Additionally, I regularly refresh my skills by taking courses on subjects like people management and emotional intelligence. I incorporate these insights into customized plans for clients, ensuring they present themselves effectively and strategically during the process.”

5. Tell me about a time you successfully coached someone through a challenging situation.

Use a real example that shows your mentoring abilities in action. Discuss:

  • The context and specifics of the challenge they faced
  • How you built trust, listenened, and identified potential solutions
  • Actionable steps you outlined for them
  • How you provided ongoing encouragement and support
  • The eventual outcome

Show through a story how you empower others to overcome obstacles and upskill.

Example: “When an engineer I managed was struggling with imposter syndrome, I listened to understand her concerns about owning a product module. To build her confidence, we reviewed examples of her accomplishments, identified her transferable skills, and reframed anxieties as excitement. I had her shadow senior peers to learn their mindset when tackling ambiguity. We then outlined actionable milestones toward leading the module, with my support for anything she got stuck on. When roadblocks occurred, I validated her feelings while reinforcing strengths. Seeing her own progress build self-assurance. Within 6 months she successfully launched the new feature, a huge win for her confidence.”

6. How would you explain a complex technical concept or system architecture to someone with a non-technical background?

This assesses your ability to translate complex technical topics in simple, accessible ways. Discuss strategies like:

  • Using analogies and metaphors to explain challenging concepts
  • Beginning with the “big picture” before getting into specifics
  • Asking probing questions to understand their knowledge level
  • Incorporating visuals, diagrams or sketches
  • Encouraging ongoing feedback and refinement of the explanation

Show patience, adaptability and commitment to demystifying technology for all skill levels.

Example: “Making technical concepts accessible to non-technical audiences is crucial for me as an educator. For example, to explain web servers and databases, I may liken them to a kitchen staff and food storage room in a restaurant – distinct components that must work together for the business to run smoothly. I’d start with the high-level workflow before delving into specifics around request handling and data queries. Throughout the explanation, I’d invite questions to tailor accordingly and use diagrams to illustrate relationships. I’d also solicit ongoing feedback on clarity and elaboration needed, adapting my approach to different learning styles. My ultimate goal is creating ‘aha!’ moments that break down barriers to technology.”

7. How have you handled a conflict with a colleague before?

This evaluates your maturity, empathy, and ability to resolve interpersonal challenges. Discuss a real example where you:

  • Listened to understand all perspectives of the conflict
  • Found common ground through open communication
  • Compromised or identified a creative solution
  • Maintained a professional, diplomatic approach
  • Achieved a positive outcome through collaboration

Show you can navigate differences and strengthen relationships.

Example: “When a colleague and I disagreed over feature priorities for a product roadmap, there was tension. I set up a 1:1 where we had an honest yet empathetic discussion on each person’s rationale. I sought to understand my colleague’s perspective first, and then clearly communicated my reasoning while finding common goals we shared. We brought in our manager for guidance, who helped facilitate a compromise: implementing both sets of features in phases. Because we kept an open dialogue, we not only resolved that conflict but formed a stronger working relationship built on trust. Maintaining professionalism and focusing on shared objectives is key.”

8. How would you support a client who was struggling with the job search while also dealing with personal issues outside work?

This assesses your empathy and ability to coach holistically. Discuss how you would:

  • Listen closely to understand challenges and validate emotions
  • Encourage them to openly share only what they are comfortable with
  • Explore options for addressing external issues, involving HR if needed
  • Reframe positively while setting reasonable goals
  • Provide ongoing encouragement and moral support
  • Customize the plan based on their

Software Engineer Interview Questions

About half of your software engineer interview questions will be technical–the other half will be common behavioral questions. Most tech job interviews ask a lot of technical questions, but to get hired as a software engineer, you’ll still need to show that you fit in with the company’s culture and have good people skills. Even at a final onsite interview, you’ll still get plenty of behavioral questions. There is only one difference between behavioral interview questions and software engineer interview questions: software engineer interview questions are more likely to be about how the candidate has used software in the past. For some questions, you may also need to know at least a little about the company, like what it does and what its products are. Prepare details from past software projects to answer using the STAR method. You should also review the company’s mission, values, and key facts.

  • Airbnb question: Tell me about your favorite software project.
  • Amazon question: How would you improve Amazon’s website?
  • Talking on Slack, how would you deal with a team member who has a different opinion on a project and wants to use a different programming language or architecture?
  • What would you do if you were given a project that required a technology you don’t know much about?
  • These 15 most common behavioral interview questions

They will give you a technical problem to solve in front of the interviewer and ask you to write your answer on a whiteboard. This is called a “whiteboard” interview. Sometimes, you’ll present on an actual whiteboard. But whiteboarding interviews can be virtual, too.

Generally, you’ll get about an hour for the coding challenge. When you’re finished, you’ll discuss your problem-solving process and any solutions you’ve come up with. While getting the right answer matters, the interviewer wants to see how you think. Whiteboarding will assess your technical skills, but also your communication and general problem solving skills. Even if you make a mistake, you’ll earn points for clearly communicating your reasoning to the interviewer.

Any of the following technical software engineering interview questions in this list could be used as whiteboarding questions. Algorithm and system design questions are especially common. You can use our guide to whiteboarding interviews along with those software engineer interview questions to help you get ready.

  • List all the ways that a string can be put together in lowercase and capital letters. For example, string “ab” “ab”, “Ab”, “aB”, “AB” .
  • When you answer the Airbnb question, you will be given a list of positive integers. Each number is the number of nights that a user has asked Airbnb to hold their listing. com. If you are a host, you need to come up with and use an algorithm to figure out how many nights you can hold guests. One restriction is that you must wait at least one day between requests so that the room can be cleaned. You will choose 1 and 3. Input: [1, 2, 3]; output: 4; you will choose 5 and 6; input: [5, 1, 2, 6], output: 11; you will choose 5 and 6; input: [5, 1, 2, 6, 20, 2]; output: 27; you will choose 5, 2, 20
  • Implement a circular buffer using an array.
  • Make a function that checks if a string is a palindrome.
  • If you have an n-by-n matrix, each cell has a value of either 0 or 1. A cell indicates a wall if its value is 1. Find the shortest way to get from M[0][0] to M[n-1][n-1]. You can move either up, down, left or right.
  • How do you reverse a linked list?
  • Let’s say you have a function called magicNumber() that returns a random integer between 1 and 0. Write a new function that uses magicNumber() to make a random number.
  • Intel question – Given an array of n integers. Find an array where the value of the element at index i is the sum of all the elements in the given array that are not element i. The complexity should be O(n).
  • Microsoft questionRemove duplicates from an integer array (unsorted)
  • Come up with a way to find the middle of a linked list. Use it to perform merge sort on a linked list.
  • If you have a long list of integers, write an algorithm that checks to see if any two of them add up to zero. What is the algorithm’s “Big O”? Come up with faster ways that don’t involve brute force.
  • Give an array of values that are the same, find the duplicates, get rid of them, and keep the order without adding any extra space. Put in [1, 3, 2, 3, 3, 4, 2, 1, 2] and get [1, 3, 2, 4] back.
  • Intuit question: If you are given a string representation of a mathematical expression, you should return an integer that represents the expression’s value. Ex: 1+3-6 = -2 .
  • Palantir question: You have a list of pairs of times and values. In the time range [a, b], how can you find the first and last values?
  • If you have an integer with bits that represent valid days of the week, you need to turn it into a string of valid days.
  • Document question: Write a function that checks to see if there is a way to win a game of tic-tac-toe.
  • Coinbase question: Given a list of transactions between a group of friends (one person can pay multiple people, multiple people can pay one person, and so on), figure out how much money each person owes each other and print it out. (Venmo essentially).
  • There are two starting points and an ending point on a chessboard. If you can only walk diagonally, how many steps do you need to take to get to the ending point?
  • Intuit question: Given a list of possible meeting times, find the one that works for everyone.
  • What’s up with Dropbox? You have a bunch of meetings that start and end at different times. You need to use the fewest rooms possible to make the schedule. Return the list of meetings in every room.
  • Amazon question – Given a matrix of numbers. You begin at the top left corner and end at the bottom right corner. You can only move right or move down. Maximize the minimum number in the path.
  • Facebook question: Find words in a dictionary that match a subsequence of characters in an input string. For example, if you type “ABAT,” words that match could be “BAT” or “TAB,” while words that don’t match could be “BART” or “BAR.”
  • Given a list of event attendees, find the date when the most people from one country could make it to the event.
  • An SQL query has two types of keys: primary key and foreign key.
  • NCR question – What is the difference between union and union all in sql?.
  • For different types of lookups, what SQL columns should you index, and how would you change the indexing?
  • That’s the difference between “group by” and “order by.” That’s also the difference between “normalization” and “denormalization.” What are the pros and cons of each?
  • Answer the VMware question: Make a data structure that can store 50 integers. How would you set up this data structure to see if an element is present and get rid of the oldest element if it’s already full?
  • LinkedIn questionImplement a HashMap from scratch.
  • Find the shortest path between any two nodes in a tree.
  • Apple question: In a tree, find the node that two parents share the least with another parent.
  • Detects a loop in a linked list.
  • IQ question: How do you move through a timing graph starting from the input nodes? The data structure of the graph’s nodes is given. Write a C program for it.
  • How does a hash table work?
  • Snap questionDetermine whether a graph is bipartite.
  • What is a concurrent hashmap, and how does it work?
  • Facebook question: What is the best way to store a vector of integers that doesn’t use a lot of memory? Follow-up question: Using your proposed data structure, find an algorithm that can find the dot product of two vectors while using no memory at all.
  • What is the difference between thread and process?
  • Intel question: Give a detailed explanation of cache coherency in both single-core and multi-core systems. Also, explain how you will fix the issue of inconsistent data in both of these cases.
  • What is virtual memory?
  • VMWare question: How can TCP sliding windows make the network work better?
  • HubSpot question: Name and describe the most common types of HTTP requests
  • Question for Spotify: Build a distributed system that can handle event processing in real time.
  • Google question: Make an online battlefield game. What would the protocols be between the server and the client? What would the algorithms and game flow be? What are some basic networking rules?
  • Netflix question: What is the best way to send a 1GB file over the internet?
  • Stripe question: How would you plan, build, and code a system that developers can use to check for validity and correctness in real life?
  • Uber question: Come up with a way for the app to automatically suggest the driver’s orientation when the user opens it.
  • Google question: Since Google doesn’t own the cell tower, how would it move data from a phone to its cloud?
  • Docusign question: Write a way to run elevators in a 10-story building.
  • Groupon question – Design a mobile app for college grades. How do you make it scalable?.
  • Uber question: Come up with a way to raise prices, both in terms of how it works and how it looks.
  • Amazon question: If you are in charge of a website and it gets “N millions” of hits all at once, how do you keep the servers from going down?
  • Dropbox question – Design a link shortening URL system. Discuss the tradeoffs of different approaches.
  • Question from Groupon: How do you get information about new customers when you open a new business?
  • Write a script to delete data from a location that is more than x days old and send a confirmation email to the user group. This is a Red Hat question.
  • Dell questionImplement a distributed lock for large-scale clusters.
  • Google question Design an access card system.
  • Question on LinkedIn: Plan the home screen (feed) for the LinkedIn mobile app.
  • MS question: Make an old-fashioned cell phone and use key presses to look up different names.
  • Netflix question: How would you make the best use of network traffic to get the best screen resolution?
  • Oracle question: Come up with a way for banks in New York, Tokyo, and Bangalore to handle transactions. Some of them have databases that can only be accessed by servers in the same place. All of the information in the three databases is always copied in some way. Make a system that can handle problems that happen when all three servers get a request from the same user at the same time. Constraints: The servers cannot forward requests to each other. They cannot access (or lock) each other’s databases. We cannot add more servers. We are not allowed any global timestamps.
  • Salesforce question: How would you make a client-side app that works with streaming services for movies?
  • What is the best way to find out how many cars are going over a busy bridge on Facebook?
  • TripAdvisor question: You have log outputs that could be very big or not in the right order. Only keep errors and count how many times they happen every minute. Output timestamps for up to minute counts.
  • Question from Autodesk: How do you code and fix a calculator?
  • Intel questionWhat are object inheritance and object composition?
  • What is the difference between interface and abstract class?
  • Think about how you would rotate a picture in Java.
  • Adobe question: come up with an object-oriented design for the board game Connect 4.
  • HubSpot question: Create an API for a URL shortener that collects metrics and gives tips on how to make it work better.
  • Slack question: Make a one-page app that reads data from an API, shows it on the page, and changes things without refreshing the page. The person should also be able to click on an entry to see more information. The only technical limitation was to not use any frameworks.
  • Stripe question: Make an API that can keep track of events in multiple clients.
  • How do you keep APIs safe? What should you think about when it comes to API security?
  • Salesforce questionWhat is a RESTful API?
  • Question about Pinterest: Talk about how you would write the infinite grid UI that Pinterest uses on its home page by hand (using CSS, JavaScript, or HTML).
  • Slack question: How do I make a gallery app that only has one page, connects to a public API, and adds a lightbox? Make it performant and cross-browser compatible.

If the job calls for fluency in a certain language, you may be asked software engineer interview questions that are specific to that language. But these kinds of language-based questions don’t come up very often at top tech companies like FAANG, where knowing more than one language isn’t as important.

  • Autodesk question – Why can ++i be faster than i++?
  • Teradata question – Are memory leaks possible in Java?
  • Question from Workday: How do you do garbage collection in Java?
  • In Python, what is a generator?
  • What’s the difference between an abstract class and a sealed class?
  • What is a seg-fault and how does it happen?
  • Dell: How many basketballs do you need to make the room full?

Every so often, as a Pathrise mentor, I meet really smart and accomplished software engineers who are having trouble with their technical interviews, especially with whiteboarding questions. These tips can help you if you are struggling during the interview as well.

Sometimes, interviewers ask intentionally vague questions. Always take about 15-30 seconds to think about clarifying questions. Some examples are: “Are repetitions allowed?” or “Do you want to return permutations or combinations?”.

This is a strong move made by candidates who want to cut down on the chances of sending a bad message. The tradeoff is time, of course. But, in general, including 30 second “tidbits” of knowledge bodes well. For example, talk about runtime and space complexity proactively, but only if you are confident.

Context statements are the difference between doing something and providing the reasoning before doing something. If you give proper context. you can change the way you are interpreted for the better. So, if you are doing something that is opinionated action, provide the rationale behind it.

Some interviewers just hate the word, “hint” so a better approach is to ask around the word. Instead, try saying, “my assumptions are X and Y, I’m thinking of doing Z. But I’m struggling with solving [problem]. ” You can also ask collaborative questions like,.

  • I was wondering if you had any thoughts.
  • Do you think I’m going down the right direction?
  • Do you think my assumptions are incorrect?

When you need permission to do something, like “Can I look up the syntax online?” or “Is it okay if I write down some ideas on paper?” It’s also better to ask closed questions like “Should I code this solution or think of something better?” instead of “What should I do next?”

These are the questions Feel like you need more help? Check out these resources to practice more software engineering interview questions.

Pathrise helps students and professionals get their dream tech job by working with them one-on-one until they get it. With these tips and guidance, fellows have seen their interview scores double.

Do you want to work one-on-one with one of our mentors to get help with your software engineer interviews or any other part of your job search? Become a Pathrise fellow.

pathrise interview questions

pathrise interview questions

Brian Wong is an experienced senior software engineer and has worked at top bay area startups and organizations. Brian works with Pathrise SWE fellows in his spare time to help them get their dream job and learn how to do well in technical interviews.

Webinar: Software engineering interview questions and tips


What’s your weakness answer interview?

Answer “what is your greatest weakness” by choosing a skill that is not essential to the job you’re applying to and by stressing exactly how you’re practically addressing your weakness. Some skills that you can use as weaknesses include impatience, multitasking, self-criticism, and procrastination.

Why should we hire you?

A: When answering, focus on your relevant skills, experience, and achievements that make you the best fit for the role.You should hire me because I am a hard worker who wants to help your company succeed. I have the skills and experience needed for the job, and I am eager to learn and grow with your team .

Why do you want this job?

“I am excited about this job because it allows me to be part of a company culture that values teamwork, collaboration, and open communication. During my research about [company name], I was impressed by the positive work environment and the emphasis on fostering creativity and diversity of thought.

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