How we interview API Engineers

Here at Scalyr, we value honesty and transparency. As part of living those values, we’re excited to share more specific details about our interview process for the API engineering team.

handwritten attributes for success

Our goal with this post is to give you an understanding of the interview steps, the types of questions you’ll be asked and what we’re looking for so you can come prepared. So inside Scalyr, we’ve designed our process to resemble the work you’ll actually do on the job. You won’t find whiteboard coding problems or a CS pop quiz in our interviews, but rather a process designed to show your skills as they relate to the day to day of the role.

Below is an overview of our process:

Phone Screen:

As a first step in the process, you will be scheduled for a 60-minute phone call with one of the engineers on your prospective team.

The question

You’ll work with a member of the Scalyr team to come up with an approach to manage API traffic. The first half of this question will be an informal discussion where you’ll explore various ways of doing this, and the second half of the interview will be working on some pseudo code in a HackerRank notepad to sketch out one of the approaches discussed.

What we’re looking for

This problem will help us evaluate candidates that are able to think holistically about the application, communicate their thought process and make use of common data structures to address the problem.


If the phone screen goes well, we’d like to bring you on-site to meet more of the team in person. Our goal is to give you a sense of what it’s like to work at Scalyr while also learning more about your background and skills.

Pair programming exercise (2 hrs)

Most of the onsite is designed around a  pair programming exercise where you’ll work with some members of the team. We encourage you to bring your own laptop and keybindings along so you’re working in a familiar environment. You are encouraged to use your preferred programming language and can use Google for any questions around syntax or documentation.

The question

You’ll be developing a simplified file search system with specific feature requirements. We’ll be looking for your ability to implement a solution with minimized latency and resource consumption. It will be useful to review basic File I/O concepts and primitives available in your chosen programming language before you come in.

Lunch (30 mins)

After the pair programming exercise in the morning, you’ll have a lunch break. The lunch session is a time for you to take a breather and get a chance to meet more of the team in a casual setting. Feel free to ask them about Scalyr, or just chat about your interests and hobbies. Your call, you run the lunch agenda.

Technical Interview (60 mins)

After lunch, we’ll give you a multifaceted coding challenge where you will simulate the behavior of a cache. This won’t be a brainteaser or require any arcane knowledge, but it will test your ability to use common data structures and test edge cases.

Manager chat (45 mins)

Bill Farner leads our engineering team and is the manager of the API engineering team. In this session, you might discuss Scalyr’s architecture and plans, or run through a high-level system design question. For Scalyr, we are looking for people who are motivated to tackle hard problems. I have a lot of hands-on experience building high-scale systems and love deep technical discussion. This is a good time for you to ask about the team, culture, and engineering plans to get more insight into what your day-to-day would be like.

After the Onsite:

We’ll follow up with you a day or two after the interview to discuss feedback and next steps. If things went well you may expect a short call with someone from our leadership team to dive into any unanswered questions you might have as well as give you further information about Scalyr.

We hope this gives you better insight into our process for hiring on the API Engineering team. We pride ourselves on designing a process that will be as close to the job you are interviewing for as well as give you insight into the team and culture. If this sounds interesting to you, apply today!