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The Square Interview Process for Software Engineers

Square, Inc. (now Block, Inc.) is a listed financial services and payments company. The company has a challenging interview process for software engineers that fundamentally evaluates one’s coding and systems design skills. Besides good technical skills, Square particularly looks for engineers who can offer unique perspectives to the company’s vision of helping businesses grow and succeed.

The interview process at Square is a direct reflection of the company’s core values - collaborative, transparent, and mindful. If you’re appearing for an interview at Square, we’ve detailed the Square interview process to give you an understanding of what to expect at your interview.

Square offers medium and large-sized businesses an array of products and services to help them facilitate sales, merchant transactions, and more. If you specifically want to explore challenging and high-paying career opportunities, Square, Inc. is definitely a company you should interview.

The company offers excellent salaries to software engineers, not to forget the stimulating work environment and exciting company culture. For an L3 (entry-level) software engineer, Square offers a total compensation package of around $162K. The Square software engineer salary for the L7 (experienced position) is about $631K. (Source: levels.fyi)

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready!

Having trained over 12,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the most challenging tech interviews. Our alums consistently land offers from FAANG+ companies. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $1.267 Million!

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Let’s take a look at the Square interview process in detail. Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  • What Does Square Look for in Software Engineers?
  • Eligibility Criteria for Software Engineers at Square
  • The Square Interview Process
  • FAQs on the Interview Process at Square

What Does Square Look for in Software Engineers?

The interview process at Square is fundamentally designed to evaluate the analytical problem-solving and design skills of software engineers. As the company offers services that directly contribute to economic development, it often looks for software engineers whose motives are aligned with the company’s vision and mission.

If you are prepping for an upcoming interview with Square, knowing exactly what recruiters look for is key.

Here’s what Square looks for while hiring software engineers:

  • Solid command over an Object Oriented Programming Language
  • Strong domain-specific knowledge - in case of domain interviews
  • The ability to brute force problem solutions from multiple angles
  • Strong analytical skills and the ability to ask sound, clarifying questions
  • A firm grasp of systems design concepts
  • Proven ability to write error-free code and carefully consider time and space complexities
  • The ability to provide good answers to behavioral/leadership questions

Eligibility Criteria to Appear for the Square Interview Process

As a software engineer wanting to land a job at Square, you must meet the eligibility criteria.

Below are the criteria to be eligible for the Square interview process:

  • BS, MS, or Ph.D. in Computer Science, Information Science, or a related field.
  • 2+ years of experience in developing dependable and scalable platforms. 
  • Proficiency in one of the following languages: Java, Go, or C++ with working knowledge of Python and SQL.
  • Experience in developing and designing distributed systems.
  • Experience in solving impactful problems.
  • Experience in select developer tools (for certain positions)

The Square Interview Process - Know What to Expect

Now that we know what Square looks for in potential recruits, let’s take a deeper look at the interview process at Square.

The interview process at Square comprises rounds that are very similar to interviews at FAANG+ companies. The process can be categorized into three main stages:

The Recruiter Screen

The recruiter screen is essentially an informal round where recruiters from the HR department assess if your skills and experience meet the requirements of the role. This is a telephonic round where recruiters ask you questions about your experience, skills, and why you think Square is the right company for you.

Here are some questions you can expect in the recruiter screen of the Square interview process.

  1.  Why are you interested in working at Square?
  2.  What made you decide to apply for a position at Square?
  3.  Briefly describe two of the most important technical projects you worked on during your stints at past companies.
  4.  What do you know about Square’s company culture?
  5.  What are your compensation expectations?

The Technical Screen

After your profile is shortlisted, you’re invited to a remote technical interview, popularly known as the technical screen. This round is fundamentally a coding interview conducted via a remote interviewing tool. It typically lasts for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

A committee hiring manager driving your role's recruitment process conducts this interview. If you appear for a managerial position at Square, you can expect questions in scalable systems design (Low-level Design) and 1-2 behavioral questions aside from the coding assignment.

To thorough yourself for the technical screen, below are the topics that you should be thorough with:

The In-person Interview

Besides evaluating your technical skills, the in-person interview also gives you an idea of the team you’ll be working with, core responsibilities, workflows, and growth opportunities. Preparing yourself to speak in detail about past projects, collaborating with peers to achieve impactful results and your career goals should be an integral part of your prep strategy.

The In-person interview has multiple rounds where hiring managers assess your problem-solving, design, and general behavioral skills. As mentioned earlier, they also gauge the depth of your past project experience.

The In-person interview at Square consists of these rounds.

1. Coding Round 

This round typically lasts for 30-45 minutes. You’re asked 1-2 problems in core Data Structures and Algorithms and write SQL queries for a wide range of tasks. Hiring managers evaluate your ability to:

  • Brute-force solutions
  • Approach problems from multiple angles
  • Accurately account for time and space complexities 
  • Write error-free code

The coding round at Square is a pair programming process where you interview along with a code editor. The Pair process encourages collaboration and leaves lesser room for error, allowing you to alleviate interview-related stress and anxiety. 

The process is fun and exciting, unlike coding interviews at other companies.

Check out the Problems page to practice common FAANG+ coding interview questions.

<h4>2. Design Round 

In the design round, hiring managers look to understand your approach to designing scalable systems with low latency. Preparing low-level and high-level design concepts is key to succeeding in this round. 

You can also expect many questions on how to improve system performance, security, and design case studies. These are the crucial systems design topics that you should prepare for the Square system design interview:

  • Databases
  • Network protocols
  • Systems processing
  • Systems design case studies
  • Caching and sharding
  • Concurrency
  • API modeling

Read these interview prep tips to nail system design interviews. 

<h4>3. Behavioral and Cultural-fit Interview

This interview mainly focuses on why you want to join Square, your core values and whether they align with the company’s mission, and how you collaborate(d) with peers on challenging projects. You should prepare answers to Square behavioral interview questions on:

  • Leadership
  • Workplace relationships and conduct
  • Past experiences
  • Ethics and morality

Now that you have an idea of what to expect in the interview process at Square, you can go ahead and practice some of the most common Square Interview Questions that are asked in the coding, system design, and behavioral interview rounds.

We hope this article has helped you to prepare for your Square interview process. To ace the Square software engineer interview process, your prep has to be top-notch. Start your prep well in advance and practice as many interview questions as possible. Knowing the core concepts on which these interview questions are based will be helpful.

FAQs on the Interview Process at Square

Q1. What is the pair programming task at Square interviews?

The pair programming task is a programming assignment designed to encourage collaboration. Developers are paired with code editors to design a workable solution to the problem. The idea behind the task is to help candidates embrace different perspectives and reduce the probability of errors.

Q2. What is the average software engineer salary at Square?

The average software engineer salary at Square, Inc is $164,361 per year.

Q3. How many rounds does the Square interview process have?

The number of rounds can vary depending on the role. But typically, the Square interview process has three main rounds - i) an initial screen, ii) a technical interview iii) an In-person interview comprising 3-4 rounds covering coding, design, and past project experience.

Q4. What are the important systems design concepts to prepare for the Square interview?

The important design concepts to prepare for the Square interview include - concurrency, system performance, databases, network protocols, sharding techniques, and API modeling.

Q5. What is the coding interview like at Square?

The coding interview is usually a pair-programming task where you work with a code editor to write error-free workable code for the problem. These coding interviews typically last 45 minutes to an hour.

<h2>Gear Up for Your Next Technical Interview

If you want to crack your next technical interview, register for our free technical interview webinar to find out how we can help you. Interview Kickstart is the gold standard in tech interview prep. Our programs include a comprehensive curriculum, unmatched teaching methods, FAANG+ instructors, and career coaching to help you nail your next tech interview.

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