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Pinterview Pro: Machine Learning

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Written by Life at Pinterest Team

Pictured above: Members of the Pinterest Recruiting team 

Become a Machine Learning Pinterview Pro with this exclusive guide from members of our Talent Acquisition team. They’ll share their favorite pieces of advice and recommendations for your interview prep and learning journey. We’re joined by Santosh Alex, Recruiting Lead, Stacie Kaiser, Sr. Sourcer, and Ali Khan, Sr. Recruiter. 

Starting your learning journey

Here’s how to find more information about Pinterest Engineering:

Stacie: I always encourage candidates to do their research. That includes looking at our Pinterest blogs and also taking a look at our most recent publications from conferences such as KDD or CVPR. It’s a great way to understand where our team’s focus is and what you can be potentially working on.

Santosh: Follow engineering blogs of companies you are interested in. For example: the Pinterest Engineering Blog has a wealth of info on how our engineering works. Develop clarity on your arc of search or what you want from your next employment experience.

Ali: Without a doubt, I encourage candidates to stay up to date with our recent research and news and, more importantly, network with current engineers on LinkedIn. It's a fantastic way to keep up-to-date with Pinterest news and build connections.

Preparing for your interview 

What’s important to know before meeting with the team? 

Stacie: Before you interview, it’s important to prepare. One thing I always suggest for candidates is to look over your own resume with the job description. Think about past projects you have done and experiences that align with the role you are interviewing for. Be able to connect what you have done with what the team is working on. Practice by outlining the key points of what you would like to touch on during the interview. 

Santosh: Understand topics that are relevant to Pinterest within Machine Learning: GenAI, LLMs (Large Language Models), Transformers, Recommender Systems, Inclusive AI and Ranking. Read recent papers published in these topics and your thoughts on what you find interesting. This helps for interviews beyond Pinterest.

Pieces of inspiration 

What is one piece of advice from our Tech Recruiting team?

Stacie: Remember not only are we interviewing you, you are interviewing us. Come prepared with questions to make sure it is the right fit in turn that also will highlight to your interviewer your interest level and how engaged you are with the opportunity. Also never forget the team is rooting you on, the interviewer is on your side and wanting to see you succeed.

Santosh: Collaboration, receptiveness to feedback, and ability to think from first principles are key to being successful in our interviews. This translates to asking more questions to ensure you have considered all edge cases. Pay attention to feedback and be open to switching direction (interviews are stressful and we often miss feedback or prompts from the interviewer). Lastly, do not purely rely on solutions that might have worked for you in the past. Try to approach every question from first principles while applying knowledge from solutions that have worked in the past.

Ali: Remember to ask clarifying questions during your technical interviews, it truly helps throughout your technical rounds. For your behavioral rounds, remember to utilize the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Response) when answering questions, we want to see your high impact with your experiences.


We hope this helps during your Pinterview experience! Good luck and reach out to your recruiting partner if you have any questions. 

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