March 25, 2022
Life at Cleo

How we do engineering interviews at Cleo

Interviewing can be scary ☠️ And we want you to have everything you need to help you showcase your skills in the best way. 

Interviewing can be scary ☠️ And we want you to have everything you need to help you showcase your skills in the best way. 

Here’s an overview of our interview process for Engineers, as well as some tips 💡 

We’re looking for Engineers who care about fighting for the world’s financial health. If our values and our engineering principles ring true for you, we’re off to a really strong start. Technical skill is important too, and we test that, but it’s lower on our list.

Intro: Meet a Talent Partner  ⏰ : 30 mins

Zoom  💻  or 📱 Phone

We’ll get feedback to you within 1–2 working days.

We’ll cover:

  • The role, our company, and our engineering team.
  • Your notice period, visa sponsorship/relocation, and salary expectations. Check out our salary bandings.
  • We’ll make sure your skills and experience meet the requirements for the role.


  • Take a look at the Cleo website and get an understanding of what we do.  
  • Feel free to prepare some questions.
  • Make sure you are free to talk openly in a space with few distractions and a good phone signal/WiFi signal.

Stage One: Technical Discussion ⏰ : 30 mins

You’ll speak with two Cleo Engineers about our mission, values, and engineering principles. We’ll also explore your technical knowledge and ways of working, your previous experience and where you want to go in your career.

We’ll cover:

  • Projects you’ve worked on, what you were proud of and what was challenging.
  • Your career aspirations and how you hope to achieve them at Cleo.
  • Our engineering principles. 


  • Be ready to go deep and technical with your answers. Focus on your impact in the work you talk about, be specific and detailed.
  • Read our engineering principles and think about work you’ve done that’s relevant to them even when you didn’t have them. You could also think about how you might have done past projects differently had you had these. 
  • Think about times when you’ve demonstrated our values.
  • Why are you excited about working at Cleo? Hint: our mission is a big deal.

Stage Two: Practical exercise  ⏰ : 90 or 120 mins

We have different exercises for Frontend and Backend Engineers, designed so you can show us how you’d work on day-to-day activities at Cleo.

This will show us your coding skills, how you approach problems, how you communicate and explain your decisions. We don’t just watch (awkward), our Engineers will work together with you on the exercises. 

Pair-coding preparation:

  • You’ll share your screen for some of the session, so turn on “do not disturb” mode / turn off notifications.
  • Make sure you have access to whatever tools you prefer for writing code (e.g. IDE, terminal, editor, etc.).
Backend: Design, scoping, and pair-coding session  ⏰ : 120 mins

Split into two sessions via zoom. 

With two Engineers, you’ll do some exercises that you’d come across at Cleo. We use this exercise to gauge what level on our engineering progression framework you’d be at.

We’ll cover:

The interview is structured as 3 exercises, all based on designing a complete system.

  1. High-level domain design of the system — this shows us if you can identify core concepts in a system and design the behaviours between those concepts that create the system, they’re part of.
  1. We break that design up into chunks of work for a team to execute — this shows us if you can split a system up into small chunks of work that can be iterated on to deliver value quickly
  1. We pair on implementing a small part of that system in code — this shows us if you are able to express ideas as code and communicate your coding practice to another engineer.

We’ll share the problem statement with some requirements at the start of the interview and give you time to read through and ask clarifying questions. At the end of the session, we give you the opportunity to interview us.


The first two parts are done in Miro. You won’t need an account but if you’ve never used it, it’s a canvas-style application. Don't worry, we won't assess your Miro skills! 

For the final part, we will ask you to write code so you should have a working dev setup on your machine.  What that means is:

  • git - we give you a repo to clone to start you off
  • ruby - 2.7+, we work in ruby, so we want to see you do so too
  • bundler - 2.1+, the repo has a handful of dependencies to install

We won’t need a database or server or any other infrastructure.

As a successful candidate, you will have shown us what it is like to collaborate with you on some of the things we do every day as engineers at Cleo. You may have finished all the exercises, but completion is not all we’re looking for.  An incomplete exercise with lots of discussion about why's and trade-offs are as informative as a complete exercise with no discussion.


Frontend: Pair-coding session  ⏰ : 90 mins

You’ll work with 2 Cleo Frontend Engineers to implement some changes on an existing small React application. We’ll send you instructions to get your environment and repository set up ahead of the interview.

We’ll cover:

We are attempting to recreate a realistic product engineering team environment and we’ll use a team project board to guide our work. We’ll pick some feature tickets from that board and implement them together, guided by a reference UX design. You’ll need to understand the key requirements of each, so feel free to ask questions.

There’s no requirement nor expectation to get through all the cards. We’re looking to understand how you work most effectively and give you an understanding of how we work. That said, a big part of writing code at Cleo is ensuring we have tests that cover our changes, so we will be looking for you to add tests for the added features.


We’ll send you the repository and instructions on how to get your environment ready.

We’ll work on a React application. You'll need to these dependencies:

  1. Node.js
  1. Git (plus a Github account)
  1. Yarn or NPM

We also recommend you come prepared with your preferred IDE set up to your liking.

Stage Three ⌚️ : 75 mins (Total)

Meet the Team  ⏰ : 30 mins

You’ll meet two Cleo people outside of Engineering. They’ll think about how you could contribute to Cleo’s culture, focusing in particular on behaviours which closely match our core values.

We’ll cover:

  • Why you’re interested in Cleo.
  • What motivates you and what you hope to achieve at Cleo.
  • We’ll dive into each of our core values and check for alignment on each of them:
  • Make it happen
  • Learn at speed
  • Bring good vibes


  • Have some questions ready.
  • Understand our values give examples of why you’re aligned with them.
  • Reflect on what you’ve learned about Cleo so far.
Meet the Engineering Leaders  ⏰ : 45 mins

Congratulations on making it to the final stage! You’ll meet an Engineering Manager or two.  They’ll look at how you could help move us forward in our mission to fight for the world’s financial health. They’ll also ask some behavioural questions to understand what kind of coaching and support you’d need in the role.

We’ll cover:

  • Why you want to join Cleo and your longer-term career aspirations.
  • Alignment with our engineering principles and product engineering.
  • Your strengths and areas for growth and find out what you’d want to get out of your first week.
  • We’ll ask you for feedback on the interview process.


If you have any questions about any stages of the process or feedback, please send them directly to your dedicated Talent Partner at Cleo - we’re here to help! 💙

Also, check out our open roles. 

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How to Keep Your Bank Balance at a Non-Panic Inducing Level

You know what sucks? When you really want to buy that new jacket but your bank balance tells you it’s a bad idea. You know what sucks even more? When rent is around the corner and you’re not sure if your bank balance is even going to cut it this time around. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was just like, infinite money in there? We’d have to rework the whole capitalist society thing and our big unfortunately misplaced sense of purpose, but it’d probably be great in the end. The point is, life is better when you’re not worried about your bank balance. But how do you get your sh*t together enough to literally not have to think about it? With Cleo. Here’s how to keep your bills in check and maybe even manage a treat-yourself budget too. Tips incoming.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

signing up takes
2 minutes

Talking to Cleo and seeing a breakdown of your money.