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PayPal Interview Experience for SDE 1 | On-Campus 2021

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Eligibility criteria:

  • Percentage Criteria in X and XII: 85% or 8.5 CGPA
  • Pursuing Degree: 85% or 8.5 CGPA
  • No Standing Arrears

Round 1: Online Assessment

Time: 2 hours

This was a coding round conducted on the HackerEarth platform. It consisted of 2 coding questions.      

  • Given a n*m chessboard and each non-empty cell contains either of the three pieces B, R and Q. B can move diagonally, R can move horizontally or vertically, Q can move in any direction in which  B and R can move. Find the total number of valid chess moves possible. This can be categorized as an EASY level question.
  • Given a string with lowercase letters and “?” where each “?” can be replaced by any lowercase character, find the total number of strings such that the first and last characters are the same and no adjacent characters are the same. DP approach was required to solve this. This can be categorized as a hard-level question.

Out of 427 students, 31 students were shortlisted ( Cutoff was one question ).

Round 2: Technical Interview 1

Time: 1 hour 

There were two interviewers. They started by asking me to introduce myself and asked me to explain any one of my projects in my resume and after that, they asked me about the ML algorithms used in my project and about the difficulties faced. This took around 10 minutes.

  1. First coding question was to find the mutual friends between person A and B, after I coded this using graphs and BFS traversal, I explained them through a dry run, then they added a constraint to suggest the mutual friend who is closest in terms of cultural aspects or common interests. I coded that as well by assigning a numerical weightage for the common interests. This question took 45 minutes because every time I coded and explained them they added more conditions.
  2. The second coding question was “Anagram”

I coded this in 5 minutes, explained them through a dry run, and was asked about the time complexity.

Round 3: Technical Interview 2

Time: 1 hour 

  1. My interviewer started with my projects and asked about the algorithms used. Next, he displayed a tree and an output of the traversal and asked me to code that to get the output. This was the vertical order traversal of a binary tree
  2. Next, he asked me to get the quotient without using the “/,*,%” operators. I coded that by using the “-” operator then he asked me to decrease the time complexity is when the dividend is much greater than the divisor, then this method consumes a lot of time. He helped me reach the proper approach and then I coded that as well.

Round 4: Hiring Manager Round 

Time: 30 minutes

  • I was asked to introduce myself and then he showed a puzzle where n-balloons were there and I had to burst maximum balloons using an arrow. This was basically finding a maximum number of points in a line. I coded that but he wanted an improved solution. He told me to assume the positions of balloons in a matrix where 1 represents if the balloon is present and vice versa. Then I had to find which row or column or diagonal had the maximum number of 1’s. Later he asked me if I had some questions. Then I asked about the work culture and about the role.

I was offered  FTE+Intern  and a total of 8 people were selected for FTE + internship, and 5 people were selected for internship only.


  • Generally, they ask questions based on DBMS, OS, OOPS too but for us, they only asked DSA questions(DP, Graphs, Stacks, Heaps, Linked List, Trees) and logical questions which we had to code. It’s always better to dry run the code and explain them through comments and proper variable names.
Last Updated : 03 Sep, 2021
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