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Navigating our backend technical interview process

11 October 20233 minute read

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Ben Settle, Staff Backend Engineer at NatWest Boxed

At NatWest Boxed, we aim to have a simple, candidate-friendly backend technical interview process. We understand that finding the right fit is a two-way street. In this blog post, we'll provide an overview of our two-stage backend technical interview process, shedding light on what candidates can expect and what we're looking for.

Stage 1: The Ice-Breaker (30 minutes)

Our interview process begins with a 30-minute chat that serves as a friendly ice-breaker. This initial interaction is essential to get to know each other better, introduce you to our company, and hear about your unique experiences and projects. This first stage is more about mutual discovery and ensuring that there's a cultural fit between you and our organisation.

Here's what you can expect:

Casual conversation

We believe in building rapport before diving into technical questions. During this phase, you'll have the opportunity to learn more about our company culture, values, and the projects we're passionate about. It's also a chance for you to share your experiences and career goals.

Textbook-style questions

We'll introduce a few textbook-style questions to assess your knowledge in backend technologies. These questions help us gauge your understanding of key concepts, ensuring a strong foundational base.

Candidate questions

Towards the end of the conversation, we allocate time for any questions you may have. We believe in transparency and want you to have a clear understanding of who we are, what we expect, and how your role aligns with our company's goals.

Stage 2: The Deep Dive (2 hours)

After the ice-breaker, successful candidates proceed to the second stage, which is more formal and comprehensive. It lasts for two hours and involves two interviewers. This stage is designed to assess both your problem-solving skills and practical coding abilities.

Warm up

We'll start off by introducing ourselves, and in a similar vein to the first interview stage, have a brief conversation about any interesting projects you’ve worked on recently as well as a few more textbook-style questions.

Systems design white-boarding exercise

This exercise is an opportunity for us to understand how you think and break down complex problems. We'll present you with a real-world scenario and, together, we'll explore the architecture, scalability, and design considerations involved. We're not looking for a perfect solution; we're interested in your thought process, ability to identify trade-offs, and communication skills.

Coding exercise

In this segment, we'll assess your practical coding skills. You'll be given a coding challenge relevant to the role you're applying for. This exercise helps us gauge your coding proficiency, problem-solving approach, and coding style.

Candidate questions

Just like in the first stage, we allocate time for your questions. This is your chance to dive deeper into the role, ways of working, and any other aspects of the company or position that you'd like to know more about.

We are excited to hear from you...

At Boxed, we're on the lookout for candidates who share our passion for solving challenging problems and thrive in a collaborative team environment.

Our goal is to find individuals who not only have the technical expertise but also possess a genuine enthusiasm for tackling complex issues. We value team players who can effectively communicate their ideas, work cohesively with colleagues, and contribute to our mission.

Remember that this interview journey is not just about us evaluating you; it's also an opportunity for you to assess if we align with your career aspirations and values. We look forward to meeting candidates who are ready for new challenges and becoming a key part of our team.

Make sure you check our open roles here and set up job alerts for future opportunities!


Ben Settle, Staff Backend Engineer at NatWest Boxed

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