We have already covered the interview questions on specific topics like machine learning, puzzles, statistics etc. in other posts. This post is for general questions on background, analytics process, business and product related questions, basic software engineering etc.
We have posted the links for the indicative answers for most of the questions. We keep updating these answers from time to time. If you know a better answer or you want to write an answer and send us the link we’ll be happy to post it.
Product Related Questions
Which part of our product you dislike most?
Can you think of the reasons why we decided to make it that way?
How would you quantify its badness (goodness)?
How would you fix it?
What challenges you might face in fixing it?
How do you test a website feature i.e. given a set of webpages and few changes, how will you find out that the change works positively?
Real life business problems
How many bars of soap does Kroger sell in a year/ Estimate daily number of fries sold at Wendy’s?
What types of data are important for a particular set of business needs? How you would go about collecting that data?
The business wants to take advantage of all its data and build a super predictive model. What should they know about using a large feature space?
The business wants to build a classifier. They do something really easy and find that they correctly predict the labels 99% of the time. What might be wrong here?
Background Related Questions Based on Resume
Usually, interviews start with resume based questions that focus on your background like your education previous work experience, interests, past projects etc. In this post we’ll primarily focus on such topics.
What are the companies that you worked for in the past? What was your role in XYZ company?
Have you undertook any internship? What was your learning from it?
Summarize your experience in XYZ company
Why did you leave XYZ company?
What projects you implemented there? Discuss some of them in details
What were the biggest challenges you faced in XYZ company?
I see there’s some gap in your work history. Why?
Is there anything that you do not like about your last or current job?
These questions can be tricky. Never blame your boss or colleagues for any of the hurdles you faced. Not even if they were truly responsible. Try to narrate the circumstances and what you did to handle the situation.
A follow up question on your project can be: If you were to undertake such a project again what would you do differently?
For graduating students: Tell me about your master thesis. What were the challenges you faced?
What was your primary learning from this thesis?
Instead of speaking about theoretical learnings discuss about the insights you were able to draw from the project.
For aspiring data scientists: Why do you want to switch to a career in data science?
It’s always better if you can site examples of your analytical skills gained from your previous job(s) to demonstrate how your experience will be valuable in this kind of a job.
What are your career goals?
Be clear about your goals and be able to illustrate with facts from your experience etc. how you have worked towards that goal.
Questions on your thoughts and opinion
There also be some questions not directly related to the projects you did, but rather to yourself like the decisions you made, your strengths and weaknesses etc. For example:
- Describe to me a Data Science project that you led/participated?
- Tell us about an instance you had to make a difficult decision.
- Tell us about an instance you worked on a dysfunctional team.
- Tell us about an instance when you tried to convince someone of an idea you come up with.
- Tell us about an instance you had to convince people you were right for a leadership position
- Tell us in detail about your former experiences that can be relevant to this job.
- Are you specifically interested in the product/company/space you’d be working in?
- What’s a project you expect to work on at our company?
- Are you willing to get your hands dirty (with messy data and stuffs)?
- Don’t you think, you are overqualified for this position?
- How will you approach a problem at hand?
- What data do you need to find a solution to the problem?
- What unique skills do you think you’d bring to the table?
- How would you improve upon our product/ company?
- How I would create/design/implement a certain algorithm from start to end?
- Talk about a product that you want to build in this company.
- How would you like to use data to change the world.
- Why have you decided to take up data or analytics as your field?
- What have you done to improve your data analysis knowledge in the past year?
- Have you attended any conference/seminar on big data or data science?
- What is the latest paper or book you read? What was your take away from that book?
- What data science blogs do you follow?
- Have you taken any data-science-related online courses? If yes, how many did you complete with a certificate?
Questions on Group Dynamics
- What teams are you interested in at this company?
This should come from your research on the company
- Are you someone the team will be happy to have around on a personal level?
You may give some examples from past that goes to prove that you are a team player.
- Have you ever had a problem with your peer? Can you give us an example?
Prepare a scenario where you had a difference of opinion with a colleague on implementing an idea and how you resolved it. Also add what lessons you draw from that incident.
- Can you tell us something about your previous boss?
All my bosses possessed certain skills worth learning. I have always tried to learn something new from all my bosses including my previous boss.
- Have there been instances, when your decision was challenged by your colleague or manager?
You may state an example where you were too ahead of the time with an idea or you had came up with a solution that was farsighted but the company was not ready to promise the resources required.
Other Generic Questions
What do you think a data scientist’s job comprises of?
Read the post on analytics job description
What do you think are the most important skills a data scientist should have?
Read the post on qualities of a data scientist
What is the biggest data set that you have processed and how did you process it?
the questions have been collected from many different sources like actual interview experiences of data scientists, discussion on quora, facebook and other forums, collection of questions at itshared etc. to contribute to this page please feel free to post your questions in the comments section of this blog.