Interview prep

Adobe Interview Questions & Process

Adobe's interview process might not be what you expect.

Whether or not you work in the creative field, you’ve likely used Adobe software before. Ever downloaded or created a PDF? Adobe invented the PDF file format in the 1990s. With a mission to “enable creativity for all” Adobe’s flagship product, Photoshop, is so popular it’s become a verb, like Google.

Aside from launching creativity and design software tools used by graphic designers, filmmakers, publishers, and students around the world, Adobe holds plenty of appeal as an employer.

Aside from high employee satisfaction, Adobe offers generous benefits including onsite yoga and cafes, paid family vacations, and professional development resources such as on-demand access to LinkedIn Learning and Harvard ManageMentor.

We'll break down the following in this article:

  1. Logistics: positions, time to hire, and teams
  2. The interview process
  3. Example interview questions
  4. Work-life balance and benefits
  5. Refreshers

Covering Some Logistics...

What positions does Adobe hire for?

The company has over 22,000 employees spread across 70 office locations in 26 countries. In the United States, popular office locations include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Levi Utah, and the San Jose headquarters. 

Adobe hires across a range of categories, from engineering and IT to finance, marketing, and customer experiences. To see what Adobe is hiring for now, check out their careers page.

While certain tech giants like Netflix don’t hire entry-level developers, Adobe hires nine levels of software developers, including level I, with an average salary of $143,664, according to Indeed. Adobe also offers a university program for current students, hiring over 1,000 interns and new grads every year. 

How long does it take to get hired?

The hiring process is fairly quick; just 17 percent of respondents on Indeed report it taking longer than one month. However, be prepared for an intensive, fast-moving interview experience (although things may move more slowly if you’re interviewing towards the end of a fiscal year).

Adobe hires for teams, not centrally

Before you apply for a role, you should understand which product you’re interested in working on and which team(s) you’d like to join. Note also that your interview process may vary depending on whether you apply for Adobe Sensei, Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Creative Cloud, or some other team.

The Interview Process at Adobe

Phone screen with recruiter (30 minutes)

The typical phone screen is designed to acquaint the candidate with the company and the open role and gauge their interest. The recruiter will ask questions about your prior experience as well as your domain knowledge. 

Phone interview with a hiring manager (30-45 minutes)

If you pass the phone screen, you will have a first-round interview over the phone. A hiring manager will dig deeper into your resume, assess your leadership skills, problem-solving style, and ability to work with a team. Be prepared to discuss past projects you’ve worked on and explain the process and outcomes. 

Finally, don’t be surprised if the hiring manager asks you to demonstrate your knowledge of Adobe’s core values (Genuine, Exceptional, Innovative, Involved). If you want to ace the first interview, brush up on practices and culture before the call.

Technical assessment

Successful candidates will receive a link to an online technical assessment, which consists of up to 65 questions split into two parts:

  • Aptitude and logic (45 questions, with 45 minutes to complete)
  • Technical and coding (15-20 questions, with 75-120 minutes to complete)

The aptitude portion tests your quantitative and logic-based reasoning, with IQ test-type questions. Quantitative questions include topics like arithmetic algebra, profit-and-loss calculations, and percentages, while the logic questions consist of puzzles and data interpretation.

Following are two example questions, according to

When a number is divided by 13, the remainder is 11. When the same number is divided by 17, the remainder is 9. What is the number?
‘A’ and ‘B’ complete a work assignment together in 8 days. If ‘A’ alone can do it in 12 days, then how many days would it take ‘B’ to complete the work?

This doesn't mean you're exempt from coding questions. Expect to take the technical coding portion of the test on the HackerRank platform. To prepare, try doing a few sample coding challenges on the site ahead of time. If you’re undergoing the software engineer interview process, expect to be quizzed on key areas like data structures, algorithms, and bit manipulation.

The first seven questions are about coding and the last eight are multiple choice, where you’ll be asked to predict the outcome of the code provided. Adobe’s preferred programming languages are C, C++, and Java, but you can take the test in the programming language of your choice.

Just like the SAT, Adobe’s technical assessment consists of more questions than can be reasonably tackled in the allotted time. You won’t be penalized for unanswered questions; instead, you’ll be rated on your speed and accuracy.

Onsite interview

Adobe’s final-round interviews are being conducted remotely as the entire global team works from home during the pandemic. At a typical onsite, accommodation, daily reimbursement for meals, and transportation to HQ are provided.

These interviews tend to be longer than the onsites for other major tech companies, like Google or Amazon. Expect 6-8 hours of back-to-back sessions, each lasting about 45 minutes. You’ll have four technical rounds of interviews and one final HR round.

Technical interviews consist of the following:

  • Two rounds of coding
  • One system design interview
  • One object-oriented design interview

The interviews will consist mostly of whiteboard coding, so be prepared to explain your thought processes, including why you chose a particular programming language, the alternatives forgone relative to constraints, and the outcome of the problem. Expect to solve recursion problems, serialize and deserialize objects, and design an LRU cache.

The final HR round consists of behavioral and situational-type interview questions. While Adobe does emphasize culture fit, behavioral questions are mostly reserved for the final round. They will try to understand more personal information, like what you value and what kind of employee you are. Prepare to articulate how you handle conflict, what you see yourself doing five years from now, why you want to work at Adobe, and what makes you unique as a candidate.

Adobe Interview Questions

Behavioral questions

  1. What are your short- and long-term goals?
  2. Tell me about some of your recent goals and what you did to achieve them.
  3. Describe a situation where you used metrics to improve or refine a process.
  4. Tell me about an idea you implemented; what was the impact?
  5. Tell me about a time you went above and beyond for a customer.
  6. How would a coworker describe you?
  7. Tell me about a time when you needed feedback from a client and they were not responsive?
  8. Why do you want to work for Adobe?
  9. How would you change our X business unit to capitalize on Y trends?
  10. What has been your biggest success or failure?

Everyone should be prepared for behavioral questions, but roles with lofty soft skill requirements should pay close attention. Example positions include product managers, project managers, human resources professionals, marketing associates, program managers, account managers, and more.

👉 Practice Adobe interview questions with ​Candor

Technical questions

  1. Write an algorithm which multiplies two numbers using the minimum number of additions.
  2. Write a program to calculate the nth term of the Fibonnaci series.
  3. How would you print a list of unique words from a string that contains many repeated words?
  4. How would you execute a stack using a priority queue?
  5. What is stack overflow? What are the remedies?
  6. Write a program to check if a binary tree is a BST tree. 
  7. What is the difference between typedef and #define?
  8. What is a data breakpoint in C++. How do you use one?
  9. What are the shorthand properties of C++?
  10. Explain the term ‘virtual machine’?

All technical roles should be prepared for questions in this realm. Example positions include software engineers/senior software engineers, data scientists, machine learning engineers, computer scientists, and more.

👉 Practice Adobe interview questions with ​Candor

On the Job

Possibly the best work-life balance in tech

Adobe is known for having one of the best work-life balances in tech. While work-life balance depends on the project and team, employees report that it is as good as it gets among most with some saying things like "Never seen a company take WLB more seriously than Adobe" and "Sometimes I wonder if people even work here. Office is empty by 5pm."

An Adobe employee described the WLB in more detail on Blind:

"WLB at Adobe is legit. Whenever I talk to people considering leaving this becomes a gigantic point of emphasis. It is truly ingrained in the culture that time outside work is valued extremely high."

You could find hundreds of reviews echoing this sentiment if you scoured the internet, but you get the picture: Adobe's work-life balance is no joke.

You'll get top-notch benefits too

Adobe is one of the most transparent companies with its benefits. You can find extremely detailed information about every benefit offered on its website, but here's a quick summary:

  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage options (Aetna or Kaiser for medical)
  • 401(k) with 50% match up to 6% of your eligible pay
  • ESPP with a 15% discount and a 2-year lookback
  • Unlimited PTO (and unlike some companies, it's never frowned upon to use yours)
  • 13 paid holidays and 2 company-wide breaks per year: 1 around July 4, and 1 covering Christmas and New Years
  • Up to 26 weeks maternity leave
  • Commuter benefits (vary by city)
  • Professional development reimbursement up to $1,000/year
  • Up to $600 per year in fitness reimbursements

'Check-Ins' and Refreshers

Adobe does not offer performance reviews

Adobe’s much-vaunted ‘Check-In’ process is a key tenet of its core values, so make sure you allude to it during the interview process.

Check-Ins are focused instead on informal, periodic one-on-ones between managers and their direct reports, where priorities are discussed and adjusted regularly. Managers determine salary and equity annually based on performance instead of a formal ranking. The company even offers an open-source toolkit for other organizations that wish to implement Check-In. 

Refreshers aren't given to everyone

Adobe does not guarantee refreshers and the amount you get (and whether you get any at all) is dependent on your org and team as well as your manager.

Unlike many other companies, refreshers at Adobe are meant to retain top performers, so not everyone gets them. Employees generally report that around 50% of people on a given team get refreshers. They're given out annually unless you're promoted mid-cycle as you can receive a grant then.

The amount you get is heavily dependent on your level and performance but is generally around 25-50% of base for those who get refreshers.

The banner image can be found on Adobe's Blog, ​linked here

The information provided herein is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide tax, legal, or investment advice and should not be construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation of any security by Candor, its employees and affiliates, or any third-party. Any expressions of opinion or assumptions are for illustrative purposes only and are subject to change without notice. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results and the opinions presented herein should not be viewed as an indicator of future performance. Investing in securities involves risk. Loss of principal is possible.

Third-party data has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable; however, its accuracy, completeness, or reliability cannot be guaranteed. Candor does not receive compensation to promote or discuss any particular Company; however, Candor, its employees and affiliates, and/or its clients may hold positions in securities of the Companies discussed.