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Interview Process

Every interview at Two Sigma is a bit different because we want your experience to be relevant to you, your background, and the roles we’re considering you for. To help you get ready to come see us we’ve outlined how to prepare and what to expect.

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Logistics

Confirm Your Interview Location

Double check your interview confirmation for address and timing. (Two Sigma New York has two buildings on opposite sides of the street).

Be Mindful Of Time

Leave yourself some cushion time to account for bad traffic or unforeseen delays.

Bring Your ID

You’ll be required to show ID at the reception desk when you check into the building, so make sure to bring one and allow for extra time.

Have Your Resume Handy

If you update your resume just prior to your interview, make sure to email it to us in advance or bring copies.

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Be Yourself

We want to get to know the real you.

Dress Comfortably

We don’t have a dress code. Folks come to work in anything from a suit to jeans and a t-shirt – the same goes for you. We recommend wearing what you feel is appropriate and comfortable.

Think Through Your Story

We want to hear about your failures just as much as your successes. In both cases we’re most interested in what you’ve learned from them.

Be Prepared With Questions

Interviews are a two-way conversation, so feel free to bring questions and look forward to a good discussion.

Relax

We know interviewing can be a nerve-wracking experience. If you’re nervous, just tell us. We want you to feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible.

Interview Experience

Check-In At The Front Desk Before Joining Us In Our Space

When you get to our office, you’ll first be greeted by reception in the lobby of our building. They’ll let our Candidate Experience Coordinator (or “CEC”, for short) know you’ve arrived. The CEC will meet you on our Two Sigma reception floor, show you around, and serve as your guide throughout your day. Please let your CEC know if you have any time constraints that your interviewers should be aware of.

Different Interview Approaches

Everyone has their own interview style; some of the people you meet may ask more behavioral-based interview questions, while others may prefer to work through a case study or problem.

Thirty Minute to One-Hour Interviews

If your interviews cumulatively stretch for more than three hours, we will make sure you get a break to recharge, stretch your legs and get a snack from our kitchen. If you need to use the restroom at any point, just let your interviewer or CEC know and excuse yourself.

Respect For Your Time

If after a few interviews we feel we don’t have the right position for you at Two Sigma, your time with us may be shorter than the slot originally allotted. Don’t find this discouraging. While we may not have found a fit for you now, we will keep your information on file and contact you in the future should a more suitable position present itself.

Clarity On Next Steps

We’ll try to let you know about any next steps at the end of your interviews and when you can expect to hear from us. Always ask us any questions you may have.

Technical Interviews

How to prepare for technical interviews in software engineering or quantitative research & modeling. *Note, timing may vary by location.

Software Engineering

A FEW MORE THINGS TO EXPECT:

Plan for a full day: We cover a lot of material, so plan to join us from 9am to 5pm.

  • The morning is technically focused: The first half of the day is very technical in nature and is broken up into three, hour-long interviews. You will be asked technical questions covering a range of computer science topics such as data structures, algorithms, and object-oriented design patterns. You will definitely be asked to write code on the desktop and may be asked to take part in a systems-design exercise on the white board. Other CS areas that we may cover could include concepts such as: big O notation, tree/graph traversals, recursion, searching/sorting, hash tables, concurrency, and other similar topics.
  • Lunch is to get to know each other: After the morning session, we’ll take a break and you’ll go to lunch with a few Two Sigma employees. During this time, we’ll compile the feedback from your morning interviews and make a recommendation on whether or not you’ll be continuing along in the process.
  • If you join us for the afternoon, we’ll cover the rest: Your afternoon will consist of additional interviews that cover a wide variety of topics to further gauge your technical skills, previous experience and interests. These meetings typically last around 60 minutes and you will likely be asked to discuss specific projects and contributions you’ve made in previous roles.

Our interviews are practical: We want the interview experience to give you a sense of the work environment here. Throughout the day, you could be coding on the computer or “whiteboarding” alongside your interviewers. You’ll work together with your interviewer to think through problems and best approaches to solve them. Remember, your interviewer is there to guide and brainstorm with you, so please ask questions when you need clarification and be receptive to hints and feedback. Communicate your thought process as you work through the problems so that your interviewer can better help facilitate the discussion. Collaboration is very important at Two Sigma, and we want to see that you can contribute in this type of environment.

We evaluate you in a few areas: The areas we grade for include: coding ability, computer science knowledge, testing, design/architecture, and general problem solving ability. The reason we test for these things is not to try to prove we are smarter than you or intentionally trip you up on things you may have learned years ago in CS 101- it is because we truly believe in writing clean and scalable code.

HOW TO NAIL YOUR SE INTERVIEW:

  • Stop and think: Think about and analyze the problem before diving right into coding. Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer to clarify the question.
  • Consider a variety of factors: The brute force solution is not always the best. Think about memory constraints and performance.
  • Take hints: Our interviewers want you to do well and are happy to give you hints if you get stuck while developing your solution.

BRUSH UP ON THE BASICS:

  • Work through a few practical examples: Try looking at or completing sample coding challenges on sites such as HackerRank, CareerCup or TopCoder.
  • Do some reading: Check out samples of books such as Elements of Programming Interviews (geared more towards Java) and Cracking the Coding Interview (geared more towards C++) * We’re not affiliated in any way with these authors and please don’t feel compelled to purchase either of these books, but they are written by respected members in the tech world who have conducted many Two-Sigma style interviews. These titles may give you a refresher on concepts we cover in our interview sessions.
Quantitative Research & Modeling

Quantitative Research & Modeling covers a diverse set of disciplines, ranging from simple statistics, to complex theoretical mathematics, to cutting edge machine learning techniques.

A FEW MORE THINGS TO EXPECT:

Plan for a full day: We cover a lot of material, so plan to join us from 9am to 6pm.

  • The morning is more technically focused: In no particular order, we’ll discuss most of the topics mentioned below, though the depth expected in each is dependent on your background. We always cover data analysis- how you understand and analyze data sets, and generate and test hypothesis. Then, we’ll usually dive into statistics and math, discussing topics like point estimation, regression techniques, machine learning algorithms, and probability. Not to be forgotten, we’ll always spend some time learning about your familiarity with coding and algorithm development.
  • Lunch is to get to know each other: After the morning sessions, we’ll take a break and you’ll go to lunch with a few Two Sigma employees. During this time we’ll compile the feedback from your morning interviews and make a recommendation on whether or not you’ll be continuing along in the process.
  • If you join us for the afternoon, we’ll cover the rest: Your afternoon will consist of additional interviews that cover a wide variety of topics to further gauge your skills, previous experience and interests. You’ll meet any hiring managers that had an interest in your background. These meetings typically last an hour each and you will likely be asked to discuss specific projects and contributions you’ve made in previous roles.

Our interviews are practical: We’ll explore areas of your knowledge and experience through discussion and problem solving. You’ll work with your interviewer to think through problems and best approaches to solve them. Remember, your interviewer is there to guide and brainstorm with you, so please ask questions when you need clarification and be receptive to hints and feedback. Communicate your thought-process as you work through the problems so that your interviewer can better help facilitate the discussion. Collaboration is very important at Two Sigma, and we want to see that you can contribute in this type of environment.
We’re keen to know what you’re interested in: We’ll ask about your experience and passions (academic and/or professional). What better way to find out about you than to ask about something you’re invested in? If we ask you to discuss something that’s confidential don’t feel pressured. Just let us know and we’ll ask a different question, we understand.

HOW TO ACE YOUR MODELING AND TRADING INTERVIEW:

  • Stop and think: Think about and analyze the problem before diving right in. Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer to clarify the question. Check in as you begin working on the question so you know you’re headed in the right direction.
  • Don’t be afraid to give a “first pass” solution and then iterate: If you have an approach that’s not great, share it with us and discuss why it’s not the best. You can work from there to improve your answer.
  • Show us your thinking: Your thought-process matters to us, and we can’t see you think. Use a pen & paper, a whiteboard, or simply talk it through.
  • Take hints: Our interviewers want you to do well and are happy to give you hints if you get stuck while developing your solution.

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