SpaceX Interview Questions | Glassdoor.co.uk

SpaceX Interview Questions

Updated 13 Aug 2018
561 Interview Reviews

Experience

Experience
69%
18%
13%

Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview
51%
17%
15%
10
4
2
1

Difficulty

3.4
Average

Difficulty

Hard
Average
Easy

Candidate Interview Reviews

Filter

Sort: PopularDateDifficulty

Filter

Sort: PopularDateDifficulty
  1.  

    Computer Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Hawthorne, CA (US)
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at SpaceX (Hawthorne, CA (US)) in January 2017.

    Interview

    An online coding challenge
    A phone interview
    Another phone interview
    A 48 hour coding challenge
    They fly you down to Hawthorne, CA to give a presentation on your final challenge/project. You get a chance to explain how and why you did it the way you did.

    Interview Questions

    • "What is the size of an integer on a 32-bit system?"   5 Answers

  2. Helpful (1)  

    Planner Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at SpaceX in June 2017.

    Interview

    Started with a phone interview, then a half day in person with a 20 minute presentation. I ended up talking to a few different groups that had openings that the original manager thought I could be a good fit for as well.

    Interview Questions

    • Casual conversation for the most part, nothing unexpected for the role.   Answer Question
  3. Helpful (10)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 days. I interviewed at SpaceX in April 2014.

    Interview

    I applied online on the company website. I received an email almost the next day with an invite to take 45-minute multiple choice C/C++ quiz. All questions were about finding the potential error in a short snippet of code. I finished the quiz quickly and got a reply 2 days later asking me to setup a time for a phone screen....

    Then, poof ! Nothing !! No reply from HR! Silence! I checked back twice, asking what happened. And nothing!! As if I applied to a fake company! Very unprofessional and rude! Well, thankfully I am employed so I don't need to work for these clowns. My advice is not to take employment at this company too seriously.

    Interview Questions

    • When is the best time to contact you. That was difficult to answer because there was nobody from HR to arrange a phone interview with. They just ignore candidates.   2 Answers

    SpaceX Response

    15 Apr 2014 – Lead Recruiter

    Thanks for your message. We are very sorry to hear you had a negative experience. I believe this may have been caused by some email issues we experienced over the last couple weeks. Sporadic email... More


  4. Helpful (6)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX.

    Interview

    I went through multiple phone interviews, multiple choice coding quiz, plus a 6 hour coding project test. Passed them all very well. Was ready for on-site interview and they bailed because they couldn't pay my market value. This was a sad waste of time.

    Interview Questions

    • Multiple choice 'what's wrong with this code' sort of test had multiple defects in the code and the choices didn't always match the situation well. Pick the one you think they want to hear and you'll do fine.   Answer Question

  5. Helpful (8)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Hawthorne, CA (US)
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Hawthorne, CA (US)) in August 2013.

    Interview

    Tech screen by HR, 2 technical phone interviews, 6-hour on-site interview with 5 one-on-one sessions (2 tech, 3 not) and provided lunch.

    Phone interviews are to establish proficiency and basic coding approach.
    In-person technical sessions were split: one more daily-problem oriented, the other about known algorithmic solutions.
    Non-technical interviews were personality / philosophy / social.

    Feedback time between each step was 1-2 days.

    Interview Questions

    • Some questions about framework internals, not generally relevant to day-to-day.   1 Answer

  6.  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Hawthorne, CA (US)
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Hawthorne, CA (US)) in June 2013.

    Interview

    I applied via their website. One of their recruiters responded within a couple of days. Next was a 60-minute online multiple-choice quiz covering the basics of C++, C#, and SQL. It had 14 questions, and these could easily be answered in a small fraction of the total time given. I had plenty of time to double- and triple-check my work. Then was a phone interview with their recruiter, in which he asked about some things on my resume and asked me some more technical questions centering on data structures and algorithms. He wasn't a developer himself, but it seemed like their developers had provided these questions. Then were two more phone interviews, each with a different developer on their staff. These were done with a live collabedit.com session where they asked me to develop various algorithms live while on the phone with them.

    Interview Questions

    • "Write a function implementing the _________ data structure" (various kinds including Stack and Binary Tree). Followed by, "Now rewrite your work without using loops", e.g. recursively.   1 Answer

  7. Helpful (7)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Los Angeles, CA (US)
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Los Angeles, CA (US)) in August 2013.

    Interview

    I submitted my resume and some work examples through their website. The position I applied to was focused on Python software development in support of the Avionics hardware team. A few days later I was contacted by a recruiter saying there was interest. The first step was take an online C/C++ programming test. Initially I was worried because my background is much more Python-oriented. I should not have worried. The test was stuff that any serious programmer should know.

    The second step in the process was a technical interview with the software engineer who headed up this particular software team. It's been quite a while since I've done an interview (10+ years), and the "technical" part of this interview caught me a little by surprise. I have done more homework on this topic since then and I think the questions I was asked are probably typical. I fumbled around on a few, the rest I think I gave good answers. When I was uncertain, I made sure to talk through my thought process as I tried to find a solution.

    Towards the end I got somewhat negative feedback that my work experience might be too "researchy" for the position in question.

    The third step was a week-long programming challenge assignment. The topic was not at all technical or work related. I basically had to create a simple text console application in Python given a handful of requirements. I spent sooooo much time on this task! It was frankly a lot of fun. On the last day I misjudged my time and I was not able to meet all the requirements. I feel quite strongly that the work I put into that task very clearly shows my Python programming strengths. Given the earlier doubts I think they had about, I think this (small?) error on my part gave them an easy way to tell me "thanks, but no thanks."

    The recruiter told me that the only feedback he received from the engineer about my programming test was that it was incomplete, with no further details. My application was closed.

    The entire process took about a month. Many days would go by when I thought I was waiting for them to make the next step happen. When I would get in touch with the recruiter, it would turn he was waiting for info from the engineer, who in turn thought her part was done.

    Interview Questions

    • I basically had to create a simple text console application in Python given a handful of requirements.   Answer Question
  8. Helpful (6)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Colorado Springs, CO (US)
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at SpaceX (Colorado Springs, CO (US)) in April 2012.

    Interview

    Applied on line for a software engineer position in their simulation group. Since I work on spacecraft simulation software for a living, I thought I'd be a good match. I received a quick response after applying and was asked to complete an online C/C++ programming quiz.

    Quiz consisted of low level programming questions (pointers, memory management, etc.), and was fairly easy. After completing the quiz, I received another email from a SpaceX recruiter telling me that I did well and he'd like to set up a phone interview with me. We agreed on a date and time, and when the appointed time came... no phone call. I attempted to call the recruiter and got sent to voicemail. I also sent an email. No response. I made a few more attempts over the next several days to communicate with this person (and another recruiter at SpaceX) to no avail.

    Fortunately I'm employed and have no shortage of prospects with the more established companies in the aerospace industry, so this is more annoying than anything else.

    What a bunch of disorganized clowns this company is. Don't waste your time with SpaceX.

    Interview Questions

    • Would you like to set up a phone interview?   1 Answer

  9. Helpful (15)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied in-person. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX.

    Interview

    The interview was definitely more advanced than for any other place I have applied for. Guidance was excellent throughout the process. My recruiter always communicated with me in a timely manner and clearly described the next steps. Here is an overview:

    * Call with recruiter
    Not technical, discussion on possible fit in the company.

    * 30min quiz
    Basic technical questions, really should not be a problem if you have the experience required for the job.

    * 60min call with an engineer
    Some advanced technical questions here (in my case, OS, networking, advanced C++), not extremely hard, as most of the answers should be known at a college level if you have taken the aforementioned classes.

    * 6-hour coding test
    This is where the real stuff begins. You have to provide a standalone program that solves a problem. You are in contact via email with an engineer who can review and run tests on your code.

    The problem itself was not very hard, but it's the time pressure that makes it hard. As mentioned in another review here, I definitely recommend coming prepared, so that you can directly attack the problem. I also suggest refreshing your knowledge on data structures.

    While the test focuses on the ability to efficiently design and implement a solution, it also tests your ability to make trade-offs given the tight deadline.

    * Full day on-site interview
    In my case, I was flown in the day before, fare and hotel paid for.

    We started with a tour of the impressive facility (just this part is worth giving your best on the 6-hour test!), before moving to a 30-60min panel interview on the 6-hour test above. This panel was much more technical than I expected, with advanced questions about things that were not in the original problem (eg: how to rewrite your program given a new XYZ constraint).

    After lunch I had three 1-on-1 technical interviews followed by a discussion with the director of engineering.

    We ended the day with a dinner with some members of the team (different than the ones who interviewed me). It was a great opportunity to talk about non-work-related things like housing, etc.

    In addition of being well prepared and being able to show that you love what you do, I would recommend to show that you are curious and professional. For example, if you fail to answer a question at any stage of the interview, you should be prepared to answer it (and more on that same subject) at the next stage.

    Also, have a good night sleep before the 6-hour test and the on-site: you need to be in your best shape to put all the chances on your side.

    Interview Questions

    • What does C++ 'mutable' keyword does?   1 Answer

  10. Helpful (13)  

    Software Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Los Angeles, CA (US)
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at SpaceX (Los Angeles, CA (US)) in April 2015.

    Interview

    The process began with me submitting an application online through the SpaceX careers site. 6 months later, I was contacted by an internal recruiter looking to setup some interviews with me for a Software Engineering position.

    The recruiter started by asking basic experience questions, whether or not I would be interested in interviewing, and then setup a first phone screen interview. The recruiter asked me to provide my expected salary without even describing any position or location that I would be working in. I deflected the question because providing salary that early in the process with no knowledge of the job would only work against me.

    The first phone screen was an hour long and focused mainly on work experience, behaviors on the job, and discussing some basics of the position that is looking to be filled. After this interview, I was contacted by a completely separate recruiter who wanted to setup a second phone screen.
    The second phone screen was also an hour long and involved more work experience questions, more descriptions of the position being filled, and coding in CollabEdit. After this interview, I was contacted by the original recruiter who wanted to setup a third phone interview.

    The third phone interview was identical to the second phone interview except that it focused less on experience and more on questions like, “What’s your favorite programming language and why?” There was some coding in CollabEdit, but again, it was fairly basic stuff. Finally, after this interview, another recruiter contacted me to setup an onsite interview session. Travel was arranged with a third party travel agency to fly from where I was to Los Angeles.

    Before you can interview onsite, you have to fill out an online “formal” application on Jobvite.com. Again, the salary expectation question was asked. Only this time it was required. I suggest that you either leave this field at an obviously fake number or ballpark on the high side after researching salaries online. If you lowball it, you’re going to get screwed by the offer.

    The onsite process started with a brief tour of the manufacturing and assembly floor area. After the tour, I was lead to a small meeting room upstairs. Five or so different groups of people were ushered in one at a time for an hour at a time to perform various interviews. First it was an interview with some business analysts. Questions revolved around work experience, how you can tackle problems in the workplace, and how you feel about working 55+ hours a week. Red flag #1.

    The second group was two engineers who asked programming questions. No questions regarding work experience were asked. You are expected to write legible code on a whiteboard, ask questions to clarify the problem, and to show that you know how to break down a problem into steps and solutions. This interview was quite awful because the engineers weren’t very personable. One of them said nothing the entire time, and the other seemed like he was trying to show off how smart he was. Red flag #2.

    The third group was another pair who asked more programming related questions. Again, no questions were asked regarding work experience. This interview was identical to the second interview in terms of format. I ran out of time without solving the problem, and I’m pretty sure that went against me. As with the second interview, one interviewer didn’t speak much while the other went on and on with questions.

    The fourth interview was with some sort of project manager or evangelist trying to “sell” the position. I was turned off by a lot of what he said.

    1) Elon Musk seems to be an idol at SpaceX. Decisions at even the most detailed level are sometimes dictated by him. He even has the final say on all applicants. This is problematic since the evangelist said that Elon is sick of “old schoolers” from Boeing and Lockheed Martin applying to SpaceX because he wants a “new generation” company.

    2) The entire office space is one giant open office. The partitions between desks are waist high. No one has their own office at SpaceX according to the interviewer.

    3) People work 50-55 hours on average per week regardless of the position. Engineers will often work more during bug fix rollouts, deployments, weekend duty, and more.

    The final interview was with the hiring manager. He came right out and stated, “I expect you to work 55 hours or more per week. I want you to setup a command center at your house so that you are available after hours and on the weekends if necessary.” Red flag #3. He went on to describe their software development process. It sounded chaotic.

    The process ended after weeks of hearing nothing from the recruiter even though he said he would get back to me with a decision in days. I sent multiple follow up emails and heard nothing. The only email address you get is to Jobvite, so I assume it’s easy for the recruiters to simply ignore or filter out everything you write.

    Interview Questions

    • Why SpaceX?   Answer Question
    • Describe a project that you were proud to work on. How did you overcome a challenge on that project? If you had to do it again, what would you change?   Answer Question
    • Write a function to reverse the words in an array.   Answer Question
    • Write a function to parse a special formatted string to a tree structure.   1 Answer
    • How do you feel about working 60 hours per week?   Answer Question

Don't Miss Out On a Job You Love
Upload a CV to easily apply to jobs from anywhere. It's simple to set up.