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Interview tips

How to prepare for your assessment and interview

As you prepare for your interviews at Coupang, we wanted to provide you with some information to help you perform at your best.

How we hire

Preparing for the interview

At Coupang, we believe every person is a leader. We have 15 key leadership principles that define our culture.

Review the Coupang LPs in detail. These leadership principles form the core of our business philosophy and drive our assessment of you. Think through, in detail, situational examples from your current and previous employment that reflect how you have demonstrated Coupang’s leadership principles.

Click here to learn more about our LPs

When answering situational interview questions, the SBI format is a great way to provide your audience with a structured and succinct response. While an ability to cope with ambiguity is a useful skill at Coupang, our leaders greatly appreciate clarity in interview responses.

  • Situation: Explain the situation. Describe when, where, and what happened.
  • Behavior: Describe the observable behavior, what you did in that situation. You can't predict what the other person has done.
  • Impact: Explain what you thought, what you felt, and what impact you had in your response to the action.

At Coupang, data drives everything that we do. It underscores our thinking and our decision making. Make sure that the situational examples you prepare incorporate data and demonstrate how you have used data to resolve business problems.

Almost every interviewer will provide you with an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. Always take up this opportunity. In fact, we recommend that you prepare questions that you can ask of your interviewer. Write down these questions and bring them with you to your interview. Ask your interviewer business-related questions that demonstrate your knowledge of Coupang and the applicability of your experience.

Tech interview

For tech positions at Coupang, the phone & onsite interviews are also tech-based.

Here is an example of the tech interview process.

  1. Phone interview (or Programmer’s Coding Test)
    • Algorithm/Coding, CS basic foundation (total 1H, with 20-30 min. of live coding
  2. On-site interview
    • Algorithm/Coding (2-3 coding problems)
    • Design/Architecture
    • Leadership principles (questions on experience and performance, etc.)

Questions can include anything related to what is on your resume, in particular, on your expertise. You may be requested to write codes to implement algorithms, analyze the performance of the algorithms, and design data structures or systems, etc. Lastly, questions regarding computer science-specific elements may be asked (data structure, API, object-oriented design and programming, etc.). Basic computer science knowledge is a mandatory requirement for all engineering positions at Coupang.

Evaluation of programming language such as Java, for example, is based on the following:

  • Knowledge on Java and CS foundation and its proper use
  • Clean code, Bug free
  • Code validation, identification of edge cases from other codes
  • Algorithm knowledge (sorting, recursion, dynamic programming, time & space complexity, running time, theoretical limitations, basic implementation strategies, etc.)
  • Make sure you understand the problem clearly: If you don’t fully understand the problem or need further information, ask the interviewer to clarify. Most of the problems given at Coupang interviews are intentionally vague to see how candidates approach the problem. Ask for clarification of the requirements (possibilities/constraints) to grasp the intention of the author of the problem. Interviewers observe to find out which part of the given problem the candidate views most important, on a technical standpoint.
  • Practice: Try testing the online tool environment used for Coupang interviews as it may be different from what you use at work. We recommend you find an isolated space where you can concentrate, especially for phone interviews.
  • Be thoroughly prepared: Candidates should be aware of and able to write codes, algorithms and designs. Interviewers may raise questions on any terms the candidate uses during the interview. Candidates should be able to explain the operation principles, reasons behind choosing a strategy as well as the trade-offs of choosing it over others. We suggest that you review your codes as preparation.
  • Ask questions: At the end of the interview, interviewers will ask if you have any questions about Coupang itself, the work environment or experiences at Coupang. Feel free to ask any questions you may have.

Virtual interview

Coupang is closely following the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and implementing interview processes to ensure the safety of our candidates and employees.

  • Review the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) your recruiting contact sent to you via email. Reply with acknowledgment that you agree to the terms.
  • Re-read the email sent by your recruiting contact. If anything is unclear, please reach out to your recruiting contact for clarity.
  • Test the virtual interview tool from your web browser to ensure it is working correctly on your device. (Your recruiting contact will send a URL prior to your interview. If you are a first-time user, we recommend launching the tool from your web browser.)
  • If a virtual interview tool is not fully accessible for you, please inform your recruiting contact so they can offer alternative accommodation. 

Coupang uses three different software for virtual interviews: Zoom, Microsoft Teams & HackerRank. Please click the link to download our guideline.

  • Find a quiet and well-lit place with limited distractions.
  • Test your internet connection to ensure it's strong and working.
  • Confirm that your webcam, speakers, and mic work properly.
  • Make sure your laptop, mobile phone, or tablet is fully charged prior to the interview.
  • If you experience technical difficulties during your interview, leave and re-enter the browser.

  • If you still have trouble connecting, dial in from your mobile phone using the toll-free number in the interview invite.

  • If you are unable to connect via phone, email your recruiting contact immediately. 

  • We don’t have a dress code. We want you to be comfortable, but appropriate.
  • Position your webcam so that you have a neutral background and you are looking up slightly and centered on the screen — presenting yourself at your best angle.
  • Use body language as you speak to keep your mood upbeat and convey optimism. When you’re listening, don’t forget to nod and smile when appropriate.
  • At Coupang, we use assessments to allow you to demonstrate your skills and abilities. For certain positions, we may ask you to give a brief presentation. If this is the case, your recruiting contact will inform you in advance. Please be prepared to share your screen. It may be useful to practice with Microsoft Teams in advance of your interview. We also recommend having your portfolio handy to show off your expertise and relevant experiences. 
  • You can also check the latest Coupang news from Newsroom and our social channels. We also recommend that you review the job description for the position you're applying for.

Q: Do you treat virtual interviews the same as onsite interviews?
A: Coupang treats virtual interviews the same as in-person.

Q: Do I need to use video for the virtual interview or can it be audio-only?
A: We kindly ask that you use video for your virtual interview. If you do not have access to a webcam, please let your recruiting contact know in advance.

Q: Will my virtual interview be recorded? Who has access to watch my interview?
A: The virtual interviews are not recorded and only the interviewees and interviewers for the interview can access them during the scheduled times. We conduct all interviews from a secure and private account.

Please reach out to your recruiting contact if you have any other questions.