Interview prep

PayPal Interview Process & Questions

Insider information on the interview process, including extra tips to get ahead.

PayPal finds itself in a pantheon of pandemic-proof tech companies that have seen a “tremendous surge” in demand because of COVID-19, according to CEO Daniel Schulman. As consumers pivot towards more online purchases, they’ve relied heavily on online payment providers like PayPal.

The Palo Alto-based company recently added a QR code feature in response to COVID-19, which enables sellers to receive contactless payments without needing to purchase dedicated equipment. The company also announced a hiring surge in March.

In 2019, PayPal ranked #5 on Forbes’ list of the 250 best regarded companies, which rates how firms do as employers as well as their trustworthiness, product quality, and social conduct. PayPal has over 23,200 employees in 50+ global offices. The company does not disclose its acceptance rate for job applicants, unlike Goldman Sachs and Apple. 

We'll break down the following in this article:

  1. The interview process
  2. The offer: including salary and benefits
  3. Extra tips to land a role
  4. Example interview questions
  5. Culture and work-life balance
  6. What refreshers look like

The Interview Process at PayPal

How long is the interview process?

The hiring process at PayPal is unusually swift for a tech company. A combined 51% of respondents on Indeed said the process took between two days to one week, while just 11% reported waiting over a month. 

According to the same data, the interview experience is favorable overall. Interview reviews claim the process is moderately difficult, and very few interviewees reported negative experiences.

👉 Want a job at PayPal? Make sure your LinkedIn profile is top-notch. Find out how here. 

Phone screen with a recruiter

The initial phone interview assumes a typical format, but be prepared to do most of the talking. While the recruiter will provide a rundown of the role and requirements, PayPal wants to know your story and where you see your career going.

Discuss your current work, past experiences, and what you seek in your next role. You may find it helpful to prepare a two-minute elevator pitch summing up your past, present, and future career trajectory. If the recruiter thinks you’re a good fit, they’ll recommend you to the hiring manager.

Technical phone screen with a hiring manager or team member

The second phone screen focuses more on the candidate’s expertise. You’ll likely be quizzed on your technical knowledge: if you’re interviewing for an engineering role, be prepared to answer questions that test your familiarity with data structures and algorithms.

PayPal refrains from brain teaser-type questions and doesn’t play ‘gotcha’ games.

If you get stuck working on a Java problem, the interviewer will work through it with you -- just be sure to talk through your thought processes and ask clarifying questions about constraints and parameters.

Employees report that the technical phone screen questions tend to be quite standard. What’s more important is talking through tangible examples of what you’ve accomplished and establishing your unique area of expertise. Discuss your current or past work with an emphasis on process and results -- or, if you’re a student, discuss a passion project or capstone project.

Onsite interview (up to five rounds)

PayPal extended work-from-home options for employees at the start of the pandemic, so onsite interviews are presumably being held remotely. Candidates who are invited to an onsite have already been deemed technically qualified, so the company is looking for culture fit. However, you should still expect to answer technical questions as well as behavioral ones. 

Candidates for technical roles typically undergo the following:

  • A two-hour session consisting of two coding questions
  • At least two technical interviews -- one a quiz-style interview consisting of questions about data structures and algorithms; the other a whiteboard exercise where you walk the interviewer through your solution while solving a problem
  • A third technical interview, if deemed necessary, which assesses your leadership traits

PayPal focuses on a candidate-friendly approach to interviewing. While you’re selling yourself as an applicant, the company is also pitching itself to you. PayPal aims to hire for mutual fit and wants to make sure you understand its value proposition as an employer, so make sure to discuss how the role and company can help you grow professionally. The onsite is a streamlined process which, under “normal” pre-pandemic circumstances, includes a tour of the campus and the chance to meet all the team members you may work with. 


If you pass the onsite, you’ll receive an offer by email or phone. The average salary at PayPal is $110,043, according to PayScale. To find average the average salary for your role, level, and location, check out our offer review community.

You can also expect benefits such as:

  • Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Free access to a licensed mental health provider through Optum
  • ESPP at 15% discount on up to 10% of base salary
  • 401k match up to 4% of salary
  • Unlimited PTO (how much you can actually take is team dependent)
  • 1-month sabbatical every 5 years
  • 8 weeks paid parental leave (this is pretty lower compared to others in the industry)
  • $5,000 learning budget with manager approval
  • Subsidized meals in the office
  • Onsite gym

Employees generally seem really happy with PayPal's benefits package. You can read more about PayPal's benefits on its website.

Extra Tips To Land a PayPal Role

Interview your interviewer

PayPal hiring managers want candidates to interview them as well, otherwise they run the risk of hiring someone who’s not a mutual fit. Ask in-depth questions about company culture, diversity and inclusion, and your day-to-day work. Even if you have certain preferences or workstyles that don’t necessarily gel with the company, mention them in a tactful way, if they come up. Hiring managers value transparency and sincere interest during the job interview. Candidates that don’t ask probing questions may be disqualified.

Show that you have an innovative mindset

As a disruptor in the online payments space, PayPal wants to hire innovators who challenge the status quo. Show tangible examples of your work that demonstrate how you decided to do things a different way or experiment with a quirky idea, even if others said it wouldn’t work. Examples include your GitHub repo, contributions to open-source projects, a passion project, or ongoing endeavors at your current company. 

Mentioning these accomplishments in your resume and cover letter will get you noticed, but be sure to mention these projects first round and onsite interviews as well. Choose projects that showcase initiative and creative thinking, even if you’ve never been in a position to implement your ideas. 

👉 Learn how to build the perfect GitHub portfolio here

Observe PayPal’s One Team behaviors

PayPal’s abbreviated culture deck reads like the code of conduct for a grade school classroom: it’s simple, concise, and defined by principles of tolerance, collaboration and mutual respect.

  • Create amazing customer experiences
  • Respect and value uniqueness
  • Execute and win as one team
  • Care for yourself and each other

Whether you're a software engineer intern or a C-Suite executive, you're expected to take these principles to heart. 

PayPal Interview Questions

Sample technical interview questions

  1. Given a number n, find integral pairs of x,y such that 1/x + 1/y = 1/n!
  2. How do you reverse a string?
  3. How do you generate permutations of an array?
  4. What is polymorphism? What is a deadlock?
  5. What is the difference between an array list and a linked list?
  6. What are the challenges of developing web services?
  7. How do you shift an array or find a needle in a haystack?
  8. What technology stack did you use at your last job?
  9. Create a jQuery implementation for adding and removing classes to a DOM element.
  10. Write an algorithm to convert roman numerals into integers.

Pay attention to these when interviewing for software engineering positions, java developer roles, and more. To see more technical questions at PayPal, click here

Sample behavioral interview questions

  1. Why do you want to work at PayPal?
  2. Tell me about a time when you used your negotiation skills?
  3. Describe a project where you had to take the initiative?
  4. What was the biggest mistake you made in your most recent job? How did you handle it?
  5. Describe a time you went above and beyond for a customer.
  6. Why did you leave your last job?
  7. What is your greatest weakness?
  8. Have you ever had to contact PayPal customer support? If so, describe your experience. 
  9. How would you rate your performance in this interview so far?
  10. What was the biggest change you’ve had to deal with in your career?

Pay attention to these when interviewing for any role, especially those with an emphasis on customer service or relationship building. Even manager interviews may involve these ideas. To see more behavioral questions at PayPal, click here.

What should you expect from the job?

Reviews about culture and work-life balance are VERY mixed

Employees overwhelmingly explain that culture and work-life balance are team-dependent, and this checks out — both are frequently listed as pros for some employees and cons for others.

When discussing culture specifically, a lot of people claim that favoritism and politics are ingrained in PayPal's culture, while others claim the environment is supportive and inclusive. This PayPal employee explained on Blind:

"It really seems to depend on the department and team, varying from great to Amazon level toxicity."

Another employee on Blind highlighted the sentiment that WLB is very mixed:

"PayPal is totally org dependent. I know people working 60 hours and others working less than 35, both delivering and performing well."

Almost Everyone Gets Refreshers

Refreshers at PayPal are dependent on your team and manager; they're typically based on a number of factors, but the 2 big ones are: your performance and the amount of unvested RSUs you're currently holding. They are not based on your initial grant.

Based on PayPal employee reviews, here are the average refresher amounts for tech positions:

  • T23: around $25k in annual refreshers
  • T24: around $20-40k in annual refreshers
  • T25: around $40-75k in annual refreshers
  • T26: around $65-10K in annual refreshers

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