The Top 10 Xandr Interview Questions and How to Ace Your Interview

If you want to work at Healthfirst, read these great tips that will help you get ready for your interview.

Watch this video from Healthfirst to learn how to prepare for your interview. At Healthfirst, Zoila Nuñez is a Senior Talent Acquisition Partner. She talks about what it’s like to apply for a job there.

Get ready for your Healthfirst interview right away: Zoila wants to see a professional resume and thoughtful answers to the questionnaire in the applicant’s first application. Some roles will require you to provide additional information around your experience and skillset. Zoila strongly suggests that you learn about the company before the interviews; knowing what they do and who they are is just as important as going over the job duties and responsibilities.

It’s important to remember this before your HealthFirst interview: be ready to talk about your experience that fits the job. Healthfirst conducts behavioral-based interviews, utilizing the STAR method, which simply translates into Situation, Task, Action, and Results. Speak to the situation at hand. Describe the task you completed. Talk about the actions taken and also share the results of your work.

Xandr, formerly known as AppNexus, has quickly become a major player in the digital advertising industry. Acquired by AT&T in 2018 and then by Microsoft in 2022, Xandr operates the one of the largest independent advertising exchanges and provides a sophisticated platform for programmatic advertising

With its cutting-edge technology and innovation-driven culture, landing a job at Xandr is highly coveted. However, Xandr’s interview process can be quite rigorous. To help you prepare, here are the top 10 commonly asked Xandr interview questions along with tips on how to craft winning responses:

1. Walk me through your experience with real-time bidding (RTB) platforms.

Real-time bidding enables the programmatic buying and selling of digital ad impressions on an impression-by-impression basis. As a core component of Xandr’s product offering expect interviewers to probe your hands-on experience with RTB.

Tips for answering:

  • Specify your experience level with various RTB platforms and frameworks (e.g. Xandr, Google DoubleClick)
  • Demonstrate your understanding of core RTB concepts like auctions, ad exchanges, DSPs, SSPs etc.
  • Discuss any optimization techniques you’ve implemented to improve campaign performance
  • Quantify your contributions and impact e.g. improvements in click through rates, conversion rates etc.

Example response:

“I have over 5 years of experience working with various RTB platforms including Xandr and Google DoubleClick. I understand all the core concepts of RTB – how auctions enable advertisers to bid on ad impressions to target specific users, how ad exchanges connect publishers and advertisers, and the roles of DSPs and SSPs in the ecosystem.

At my previous role, I optimized over $2 million in annual ad spend on the Xandr platform, implementing tactics like dayparting, device targeting, and keyword optimization. This improved campaign click-through rates by 12% and decreased cost per conversion by 20%.”

2. How would you improve the performance and scalability of a programmatic platform that serves billions of ad impressions per day?

Xandr operates at huge scale, processing over 100 billion ad impressions daily. Interviewers want to assess your skills in designing and optimizing systems for massive workloads.

Tips for answering:

  • Discuss relevant architectures like microservices, horizontally scalable systems
  • Highlight specific techniques e.g. caching, async processing, database optimization
  • Reference technologies like Kubernetes, Kafka, Redis that enable scale
  • Emphasize metrics monitoring and measurement for continuous improvement

Example response:

“For a platform with billions of daily ad impressions, I would optimize for horizontal scalability and high availability. A microservices architecture allows different components to scale independently. Message queues like Kafka enable asynchronous processing and decoupling.

For the data layer, a distributed NoSQL store like Cassandra can handle immense write loads efficiently. In-memory caches like Redis are critical for low latency reads. Load balancers distribute traffic across instances. Monitoring tools like Prometheus provide visibility into performance metrics.

I would also implement robust CI/CD pipelines to rapidly deploy updates. Following cloud-native patterns and leveraging container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes enables seamless scaling.”

3. Our engineering teams follow agile principles. How would you contribute to an agile environment?

Agile methodologies like Scrum and Kanban are popular in tech companies like Xandr. The people who hire you want to see that you can work well with others in fast-paced, iterative settings.

Tips for answering:

  • Demonstrate understanding of agile values like responding to change, team collaboration etc.
  • Highlight experience actively participating in agile ceremonies like standups, sprint planning etc.
  • Provide examples of how you’ve delivered incrementally, solicited feedback, engaged cross-functional partners etc.
  • Emphasize willingness to adopt processes that maximize productivity
  • Avoid simply listing theoretical knowledge – relate your experiences

Example response:

“I’m very familiar with agile methodologies, having worked in Scrum teams for over 3 years. I understand the values of the agile manifesto like collaborating closely with business partners and embracing change.

As a developer, I regularly participate in sprint planning and retrospectives. I’ve contributed as an engaged team member – providing task estimates, reporting progress in standups, reviewing pull requests etc. I also proactively seek feedback from product managers and designers to ensure alignment.

By delivering incrementally and frequently inspecting results, I’ve helped my teams rapidly incorporate changes. For example, when new design specs forced a UI overhaul, we re-prioritized stories to immediately update the most impacted flows and gather feedback. This kind of agility is something I’m eager to bring to Xandr’s teams.”

4. How would you go about debugging a problem in a large, complex system with incomplete information?

This question tests your analytical abilities and problem-solving approach in dealing with complex systems like Xandr’s platform. The ambiguous nature mimics the challenge of debugging real-world production issues.

Tips for answering:

  • Demonstrate a structured, methodical debugging process
  • Emphasize techniques like log analysis, monitoring, instrumentation to gain more insight
  • Discuss ways to reproduce the issue with limited information e.g. with synthetic tests
  • Highlight the importance of collaboration and asking team members for help when needed
  • Convey your persistence in resolving production issues despite unpredictability

Example response:

“Debugging ambiguous problems in large systems requires diligence and creativity. My first step would be gathering as much relevant information as possible – checking application logs, monitoring dashboards, and code commit history. If the issue is intermittent, I would attempt to reproduce it by simulating production data and load in staging environments.

Instrumenting the code with additional telemetry via logging or metrics can also expose more insights. I would collaborate closely with other developers and ops engineers who may have witnessed similar issues before. We can hypothesize potential failure points through whiteboard debugging sessions. If the root cause still proves difficult to pinpoint, I would advocate for introducing resiliency patterns like circuit breakers that mitigate impact while allowing further investigation. With an incremental and collaborative approach, complex issues can be tackled even with incomplete information.”

5. How would you improve the usability of an analytics dashboard UI?

Xandr provides extensive analytics and reporting capabilities to customers via dashboards. This question gauges your understanding of effective data visualization and UI design principles.

Tips for answering:

  • Discuss minimizing visual clutter, choosing appropriate charts, using colors effectively
  • Suggest enhancements like custom filtering, saved views, scheduling for heavy reports
  • Highlight the importance of soliciting feedback from business users
  • Share examples of how you’ve improved dashboard UX in the past

Example response:

“Some ways I would enhance an analytics dashboard UI include:

  • Carefully curating displayed metrics to focus on critical KPIs and minimizing clutter
  • Using charts appropriately – bar charts for comparisons, line charts for trends, pie charts for parts of a whole etc.
  • Limiting color usage and employing color strategically to draw attention to important elements
  • Building reusability via features like saved custom views, shared dashboards, scheduled report delivery

Most importantly, I would gather feedback from business users to understand their goals and pain points. By empathizing with their perspective, you can design the most intuitive workflows. For example, on a past project I added preset date filters based on user research with analysts. This small tweak noticeably increased dashboard engagement by facilitating quicker insights.”

6. Describe a time you overcame an engineering challenge through collaboration.

The ability to work cross-functionally is key in an agile environment like Xandr. Interviewers want to understand how you leverage your team’s expertise to overcome obstacles.

Tips for answering:

  • Provide a specific example demonstrating collaboration – simply saying you enjoy working with others is insufficient
  • Explain how you identified domain experts and solicited their input
  • Share how you incorporated feedback from collaborators
  • Emphasize positive outcomes through combining diverse perspectives
  • Focus on your own contributions while remaining team-oriented

Example response:

“Recently, my team was struggling with slow response times due to inefficient database queries. I collaborated closely with our DBA to analyze explain plans and identify optimization opportunities. We met to review complex joins and aggregation patterns that could be simplified.

I also solicited advice from senior backend engineers to explore if denormalization could improve read performance in certain areas, even though it might complicate writes. By remaining open-minded to suggestions from my colleagues with more SQL and scaling experience, I learned better ways to structure queries. Together we delivered a solution that allowed 3X faster responses despite increasing data volumes. This really demonstrated the power of close cooperation across disciplines.”

7. How do you stay up-to-date with the latest developments in programmatic advertising?

The digital advertising space evolves rapidly. Interviewers look for proactive learning practices to gauge your ability to innovate and solve tomorrow’s technical challenges.

Tips for answering:

  • Demonstrate a continuous learning plan – reading blogs, taking online courses, attending meetups etc.
  • Specify resources you leverage to stay updated e.g. AdExchanger, AdMonsters
  • Discuss how you apply

Xandr (Formerly Appnexus) Platform Walkthrough Course 6 Lesson 1

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