If you have an upcoming interview with Spotify (or want to know about the questions they ask), read this first.
So you've landed a job interview at Spotify — or you're just curious what questions one of the world's most popular streaming services asks in their interviews. After all, the Financial Times named Spotify one of the top 100 companies prospering during the pandemic. It boasts more than 130 million subscribers — that's up 31 percent from last year.
Whether you are looking to work for them or not, there's a lot to be learned from studying these common Spotify interview questions. Take a look.
How to answer Spotify interview questions
When you look at Glassdoor's round-up of Spotify interview questions — as reported by those who've been through the actual job interview process — you can see the company asks a lot of skills-based and technical questions.
These are questions directly related to the job responsibilities and your hard skills, so you'll have to answer to the best of your ability. For instance, one interviewee was asked, “How do you delete a linked list?” And if you don't know the answer, you can work around it by explaining how you'd find the answer. See more examples of these types of questions below.
The Spotify team also likes to ask a lot of behavioral interview questions (also known as situational interview questions). The purpose of these questions is to help the interviewer better understand who you are, your work experiences, and what skills you bring to the table.
This means there's an underlying purpose to each question, whether that's to better understand how you manage stress, work in teams, problem-solve, or handle other job-related situations.
When answering these real world interview questions, the best way to prepare and structure your answer is by using the STAR method. Here's what that looks like:
Situation: Think about a situation or challenge you've faced at work that directly relates to the question at hand. This might include working with data, managing projects, communicating with difficult clients, or leading a team.
For example, one Glassdoor user said they were asked, “How do you rely on data in organizing projects?” during their Spotify interview. In that case, you'd want to think about a time you've used data to help organize your project, and give the interviewer a general overview of the situation.
Task: Talk about the task at hand and the role you played in handling the situation. For example, maybe your manager assigned you to reconfigure your team's workflow to eliminate some major inefficiencies.
Action: Here, you'll explain exactly what steps you took to carry out the task. If you used data to help organize a project, explain what programs you used and how you leveraged the data to offer project-management insights.
Result: Finally, describe the result. What impact did you make by using data to organize your projects? If you can, get as specific and concrete as possible, and use numbers to show your success.
If you follow the STAR interview method, you can answer just about any competency-based or situational interview question thrown your way.
3 common Spotify interview questions
To get a better glimpse into an interview at Spotify, here are three common questions frequently asked by hiring managers and recruiters.
1. Why do you want to work at Spotify?
This question is simple enough, right? But if you're not adequately prepared, your answer could come off relatively shallow or one-dimensional.
To answer this question, you won't need to use the STAR method. Instead, just be honest and authentic and explain why you want to work at Spotify.
To add some structure to your answer, choose two to three top reasons you want to work at the company, keeping them specific to your field and your career goals. And make sure to do some research on the company, its culture, and its values.
You don't want to simply say, “Because Spotify is one of the companies actually prospering during the pandemic.”
Here's an example of how you might answer this question:
There are a couple of big reasons I want to work at Spotify. First, it's no secret Spotify is an innovative company full of passionate and driven employees. As a product manager, that's essential — I need to be surrounded by people willing to experiment and try the next big thing. That's something I've been looking for in an employer.
Second, I love Spotify's “Band Manifesto.” I've worked in teams since the start of my career, and that's where I thrive. When everyone is willing to work together and collaborate, it makes creating and innovating fun, so I love that Spotify emphasizes this, and I want to bring even more of that energy to the team.
Again, focus on being genuine — and a little bit of research into the brand can help add substance to your answer.
2. Tell me about your previous experience
This is another question that seems straightforward enough — no STAR method needed — but you should answer strategically.
Think about your previous job experiences and how they'll help you do this job. There's no need to rattle off every position you've held; after all, they've seen your resume. Instead, pick and choose parts of your resume that relate most to the position you're interviewing for.
Here's an example of how you could answer this question if you were applying for an editorial role:
For the past five years, I've been a freelance music writer. I've written for dozens of publications across the world and brands, including Rolling Stone, Variety, Stereophile, and Relix. I've covered a variety of genres and artists and have built connections with and interviewed top artists, music producers, songwriters, and agents.
Not to mention, I've also been running my own music blog for the past 10 years. It's something I started back in high school and have been passionate about ever since.
With this question, there's no need to connect the dots and explain why this experience makes you a strong job candidate. The interviewer can do that just fine as long as you keep your answer specific and relevant.
3. How do you manage conflict?
Ah, a classic behavioral interview question; Spotify seems to ask a lot of these questions, so this is something you'll likely encounter in your interview.
Remember: For these, you'll want to use the STAR method to craft your answer. Use a past situation, task, action, and result to help frame your answer. For this specific question, you'll want to think about a time you've managed conflict on a team. Here's an example answer:
In my role as a marketing manager, I oversee a team of individuals with a lot of strong opinions. I value this, and I encourage them to speak their minds — but in a way that's respectful. During one of our team meetings, we were discussing our latest social media campaign, and two team members were clashing on ideas. They both felt strongly about their concepts, and they weren't willing to budge.
That's when I had to immediately step in as a manager. I listened to each of their pitches, and I asked them questions. I wanted them to know I valued their ideas. Rather than choosing sides, I found a healthy middle ground. We were able to combine the best elements of both ideas and execute a powerful social campaign that garnered more than one million impressions on Facebook.
Again, reflect on a time you've had to manage conflict, and use the STAR method framework to help inform your answer.
28 more questions from Spotify
The questions you'll encounter will ultimately depend on the position you've applied for, but here's a good sampling of other Spotify interview questions.
1. How would you launch a new product in a new market?
2. What are some things you could've done better in your data projects?
3. Describe a research project and the impact it had on the company.
4. How have you used data in your design process?
5. Can you describe a previous relationship with a tough client? How did you handle it?
6. Tell me about yourself.
7. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
8. How do you handle people criticizing your work?
9. Describe a time you went above and beyond for a client.
10. How comfortable are you working out of your comfort zone?
11. Tell us about a time you showed leadership skills.
12. What's your approach to managing people?
13. What's your project management philosophy?
14. How do you build team morale?
15. How does goal-setting work on your team?
16. What do you do if your team members have a conflict?
17. Why do you think you're suited for this position?
18. How do you delete a linked list?
19. What is your experience with music licensing?
20. Explain how JVM works.
21. Tell us about some of the technologies you've used.
22. Write a function to manipulate a pandas.DataFrame.
23. What tech stack does your company use?
24. Are you familiar with our product? Tell us about it.
25. What artists are you listening to now?
26. What can you bring to Spotify others can't?
27. What would you change about the brand of Spotify?
28. What would you do to improve Spotify?
Questions to ask the interviewers
When you're preparing for your interview with Spotify, don't forget to have your own list of questions to ask the interviewer. The “Do you have any questions for me?” question is inevitable, and it's a great way to show your interest in the job.
Now, you'll want to tailor these questions to Spotify and the role you're interviewing for, but here are some examples of questions you could ask:
What do you expect from someone in this position?
What is a typical day like at Spotify?
Where do you see the company in five years?
What would you want to see me accomplish in the first six months here?
What opportunities will I have to learn and grow?
What are the next steps?
Don't get caught up in how many questions to ask — you don't have to get through your entire list of questions. Simply consider the purpose behind each question, and flag the ones most important to you, skipping over any that have already been addressed in the interview.
If you have an interview for a job at Spotify, you may be feeling especially nervous because it's such a big, impressive brand, but remember: At the end of the day, this is like most other job interviews.
Since you'll likely encounter a mix of behavioral and skills-based questions, all you can do is prepare for the interview and answer the questions honestly and confidently.
Want some professional help brushing up on your interviewing skills before the big day? Connect with an interview coach today.