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Philadelphia Media Network Analytics Team - Interview Questions

Analyst Interview Questions

A collection of questions we typically ask job applicants during analyst interviews.

Scenario

The date is January 4. You are well rested after a festive holiday season. 🎉

We're gearing up to launch a new product, and we need your help.

Let's begin.

Question 1: Market Definition
  • Here's what you know about the product:
    • We want to grow and monetize our food audience.
    • We think there may be a paid product here, but first we need to understand the audience.
    • We want you to help us put some definition around the current and potential audience.

What questions do you have to start?

Question 2: Segmenting
  • Great. So let's start making some segments to explore this audience's behavior.

What are some segments you could make to help deconstruct the larger audience?

Question 3: KPI Identification
  • We noticed some surprising patterns when we looked at segments.
  • The readers who were subscribed to our weekly food email over-indexed in every on-site engagement KPI.

Knowing that our immediate goal is demonstrating we have the ability to identify, grow, and retain this audience, what would you suggest as the KPI?

Question 4: Growth Hacking
  • We've successfully demonstrated the link between email signup and audience engagement/retention.
  • The product team is working on the new venture. In the meantime, we want to help grow the top of the funnel.
  • You've been asked to help frame the problem and advise on an A/B test.

Wha questions do you have to start? How would you proceed?

Question 5: Pushback
  • The new email signup UI is working great. But alas, maybe too great!
  • An editor complained that the element was having a depressing effect on content engagement.

How could you investigate? What can we do to measure or explore unintended consequences?

Question 6: Reporting
  • Congratulations, your astute insight was more than enough to quell the editor's fears.
  • Now we are pushing the project into maintenance mode.
  • To enable that, we want to setup some automated reporting for the food product manager to receive while we continue working on the new product.
  • The goal of this reporting is to give the product manager weekly insight into how well we are growing, engaging, and retaining this audience.

What questions do you have? How would you proceed?

Fun Questions

  • What's a cool project that you've recently worked on?
  • What are some things you like about the developer tools you use?
  • Do you have any pet projects? What kind?
  • What's your favorite feature of Internet Explorer?
  • How do you like your coffee? ("I don't" is a valid answer!)

Technical Interview Questions

A collection of questions we typically ask job applicants during technical interviews.

Scenario

The date is January 4. You are well rested after a festive holiday season. 🎉

Your team has 30 days to launch an MVP daily analytics email that draws and synthesizes data from various sources.

You are technical lead. You are working with an analyst and have access to UX resources.

Let's begin.

Question 1: Product Definition
  • Here's what you know about the product:
    • We have a list of email addresses.
    • Each morning we want to send those addresses an email.
    • The email will contain a set of modules related to digital publishing, mostly our own analytics info.
    • This info is available through a variety of 3rd-party API's, which are well supported by official and unofficial libraries.
    • We will start with a module that summarizes top-line key perfomance indicators and then add modules in subsequent cycles.
    • At some point we may want to personalize email contents to the recipient based on the email address or another unique identifier.

What questions do you have to start?

Question 2: Architecture
  • The external API's are all RESTful.
  • For the initial module, the amount of data we need will be limited, but future modules may be representing up to 30 days worth of data.
  • We think we may need a database or data warehousing solution, but we don't have a great framework right now to answer this question.

What architecture/technologies would you lean towards? Describe your thought process.

Question 3: Infrastructure
  • We have a co-located data center as well as access to AWS or Heroku.
  • The data center has a sysadmin who can help if we go that route.
  • Otherwise you assume devops responsibilities.

Where would you want to host the stack? Describe your thought process.

Question 4: Defensive Programming & Testing
  • We know we want unit tests and functional testing on the application.
  • However a lot of the application depends on external API.
  • This means we think that in addition to testing, traceability will be important.

How would you approach testing and monitoring for this product? Describe your thought process.

Question 5: Engineering Collaboration
  • Your junior engineer has been making pull requests that are rough around the edges.
  • You get the sense when talking to the engineer that she views code review as a chore.

Describe your philosophy on code review. What would you tell the junior engineer? Describe your thought process.

Question 6: Bug!
  • Ok, so you've launched an MVP. Cool! Except wait...
  • This morning's email failed to send at its normally scheduled 6am delivery time.
  • You check your logs, and you can see that one of your 3rd-party API endpoints randomly failed with a 500 error and so the email failed to send.

It's 8am and you just got into the office and checked the logs. Describe what you would do next. How would you prevent this from happening again?

Fun Questions

  • What's a cool project that you've recently worked on?
  • What are some things you like about the developer tools you use?
  • Do you have any pet projects? What kind?
  • What's your favorite feature of Internet Explorer?
  • How do you like your coffee? ("I don't" is a valid answer!)

Preliminary Interview Questions

A collection of questions we typically ask job applicants in their preliminary interview.

  1. What interested you about this position?

  2. Talk me through a recent project:

    • What were the requirements?
    • What issues did you run into and how did you overcome them?
    • How did you arrive at the final solution(s)?
  3. If you get stuck on a problem what do you do? Where do you go to find help?

  4. Describe your ideal working environment.

  5. What technologies, tools, programming languages, etc. do you like to work with?

  6. What technologies, tools, programming languages, etc. do you not like to work with?

  7. Describe a recent collaboration with a colleague that you feel went successfully.

  8. Do you have experience working with newsrooms?

    • If yes, what are some challenges you’ve encountered and how did you overcome them?
    • If no, how do you imagine working with newsrooms might differ from working with other organizations?
  9. What are your short and long-term career goals? What about this position do you feel will help you to attain them?

  10. What are your interests and hobbies, relevant or otherwise, outside of work?

  11. Do you have any questions for me?

Thanks to INN, whose open source interview questions inspired our own list.

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