FB onsite Interviewer 100% incorrect

Dec 9, 2018 32 Comments

So I recently had my FB onsite, didn't get in. One coding round was a strong hire, the other was a weak no hire. In both rounds I optimally solved two questions. In the round in which I didn't pass, the second question was the issue. I solved that question in O(n) which I know was optimal for that question. It involved a sliding maximum range window, as in the right and left continually go to the right whilst forming the maximum length window given the constraints.

The interviewer tried to get me to optimize further, I was confused and rattled. Could not figure out what improvement he wanted. At the end, he reveals that perhaps I could slide the right side to the left at certain times (I had no time to explain why that wouldn't work). I thought about this later, and realized he made a basic logical mistake, the same I did when I first saw these sliding window max problems. That because sliding the right over could fix the constraint faster than sliding the left, that might be a better idea. Nevermind it would take you back to a previous state and completely goes against the spirit of the algorithm which is to make your way across the array by only moving right.

I have some more FANG interviews lined up most likely, but this is highly discouraging. How can one expect to succeed when the interviewer wants to improve a completely correct, clever answer in O(n), with what is essentially a rookie level misunderstanding. (he didn't even consider what would happen next after sliding the right over, and I assume didn't bother going over the code he took a picture of later). And that leads to a no hire !? Honestly I am kinda disgusted. And I know some people will mention "who wants to work with a know-it-all" and "culture-fit" but I was completely respectful and didn't argue at all during the interview (probably could have done more of that), I was simply screwed over by incompetence. Unreal.

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TOP 32 Comments
  • Groupon beewax
    Interviews are 30 percent preparation and 70 percent luck. Luck includes what questions you will be asked and whether your interviewer will be an asshole or not
    Dec 9, 2018 0
  • Microsoft yOII70
    Smartest thing you can do is forget about it and prepare for the next interviews.
    Dec 9, 2018 0
  • Gusto Bnbnb
    For all you know it could have been something else, like your attitude or communication skills, that caused the reject
    Dec 9, 2018 3
    • OP
      I was told my communication was good in all the interviews. Again, the recruiter was refreshingly detailed in reporting the feedback. As for attitude...if my attitude was a problem, we might as well start ascribing fails to making too much eye contact, or having pointy elbows. It's pretty clear what the no hire was due to.
      Dec 9, 2018
    • Uber kPCK48
      I don't believe any recruiter would be as detailed as you are saying. Maybe you read into what they were saying out maybe you're just lying. And if you think your attitude shouldn't matter, then you shouldn't interview places where attitude is explicitly something that they rate in a standard rubric.
      Dec 9, 2018
    • OP
      The recruiter and I spoke for several months before setting up the interviews, so she was more eager than typical to leave me with useful feedback. Your prerogative whether to believe me or not.

      You're putting words in my mouth, I didn't say attitude shouldn't matter. My implication was if the attitude I displayed at the interview (open to suggestions, nervous yet cordial, very little arguments) was not sufficient, then the interviewer would need to be extraordinarily judgemental to the point of inferring I'm an asshole based on micro-movements.

      I think some people on here just like blaming attitude when someone posts one of these stories on here, it's a fun self-righteous quasi-sadistic little move. Funny you don't realize making blanket generalizations on someone else, when they have done nothing of the sort towards others, is an asshole move.
      Dec 9, 2018
  • Google TK .
    You sound like an arrogant asshole. Sounds like Facebook dodged a bullet.
    Dec 9, 2018 1
    • OP
      Calling someone an arrogant asshole in a civil conversation says more about you than the person you're insulting.
      Dec 9, 2018
  • LinkedIn IshrbdkkHs
    We have answers to the interview questions. And we usually use the questions more than once as interviewers. So it’s hard for me to imagine the interviewer would give incorrect suggestions on improvement.

    Btw, even if you are right, your words suggest a guy very difficult to work with to me. I will give a no hire if I read this from a candidate.

    Good luck.
    Dec 9, 2018 4
    • Uber kPCK48
      Exactly. It's about more than just getting the best solution, and sometimes it's even more about the other indicators than technical ability.
      Dec 9, 2018
    • OP
      We can go over the problem in dm's if you'd like. It's pretty cut and dry, sliding window max range.

      The tone of my post sounds bitter I'm sure. However, can we put an end to the cliche of telling a disappointed reject on teamblind that based on their post they sound like a difficult asshole? Like if we can't vent here...
      Plus it's cringe and self-righteous to make a blanket judgement of someone's personality based on a post about something that would clearly cause anger, as in preparing for many months and losing due to judge incompetence. Like the Tyson Fury vs Deonte Wilder fight, of course Tyson Fury will be upset after.
      Dec 9, 2018
    • Uber kPCK48
      I'm not making a judgement of your personality, I'm using the facts you provided to deduce the likely cause of your rejection. You are adamant that your technical ability is unimpeachable so it must be something else.
      Dec 9, 2018
    • OP
      Nevermind, confused you with the other Uber poster. My bad.
      Dec 9, 2018
  • Microsoft Wks
    This sounds similar to what happened to me. I actually told the recruiter before I left my onsite and a employee a level up met with me, got my side and than went and talked with the original interviewer, corrected that employee. In the end I received an offer and declined partially due to that experience.
    Dec 9, 2018 0
  • VMware Cashcw
    Your win their loss. Would you like to work with that interviewer?
    Dec 9, 2018 1
    • Robinhood hood
      I don’t think the chance of working with those algo/coding interviewers is high in FAANG. Quite often they come from just any teams.
      Dec 9, 2018
  • Amazon awssdm
    Your post is barely comprehensible to me. I suspect no hire was due to how you answered, not because the solution was deemed imperfect
    Dec 9, 2018 2
    • OP
      Well he verbalized understanding of my algorithm, just suggested an improvement on my O(n) solution. I was being a bit vague about the problem so as not to violate NDA. Sorry for the ambiguity.
      Dec 9, 2018
    • Microsoft kpdq55
      It made sense to me.
      Dec 9, 2018
  • Uber kPCK48
    How do you know that interviewer was the one who gave the "no hire"? I doubt Facebook provides feedback that detailed.
    Dec 9, 2018 2
    • Groupon beewax
      Good point. Based on my experience, they only tell you if they are interested in having a follow up interview with the candidate
      Dec 9, 2018
    • OP
      I was told specifically by the recruiter. She was particularly open in feedback.
      Dec 9, 2018
  • eBay / Eng
    tcyoegtfo

    eBay Eng

    PRE
    eBay
    tcyoegtfomore
    Why did not you tell him right there that what he was asking for would not lead to an optimal solution?
    Dec 9, 2018 3
    • OP
      I could not tell what it was he was trying to get at. He only revealed it at the tail end of the interview. By then I was thoroughly frazzled as I could tell getting stuck on something for 5 minutes was a bad sign, worried that I'd be one of those fluke 2 correct no hire cases.

      I suppose my inability to infer his incorrect thought process shows some kind of weakness in my comprehension abilities, there have been times at work someone says something somewhat incorrect, and they lose me. But it seems pretty harsh to lose due to this issue. Like not only do you have to be correct and efficient, you have to be able to infer half-verbalized misconceptions of the interviewer.
      Dec 9, 2018
    • eBay / Eng
      tcyoegtfo

      eBay Eng

      PRE
      eBay
      tcyoegtfomore
      Correct me if I am wrong, but what I think happened was you already knew that you had come up with an optimal solution, which did not let you focus to what he was trying to ask you to do as an improvement. Even if the suggested improvement was wrong, you could have made a better attempt at understanding him and then explained to him after implementing that part that it is actually incorrect. Would have made you look even better.
      Dec 9, 2018
    • OP
      I'd say you're assuming a bit. I don't take anything for granted or get overconfident with these interviews, this is my second FANG reject (I was a bit underprepared first time around). I desperately tried to understand what it is he was saying, I even offered to code an alternate DP solution as time was running down, out of panic (maybe this cost me a bit too, but I doubt it, he told me my logic was fine for my current code, just he thought it could be improved).
      Dec 9, 2018
  • Microsoft Wks
    They didn’t provide in my case. But I had that feeling that’s what was coming. Which is why I spoke up. In my case it was a good call. I have leveraged that offer for a few negotiating tactics despite it being old and declined already.
    Dec 9, 2018 0
  • Uber / Eng oOBb03
    Talk to the recruiter and give them feedback. They can talk to the hiring manager. Mistakes happen.

    Also, sometimes I suggest offering an incorrect solution to see if they can detect and explain why it could work against being an ideal solution even though somebody "above" them offered it -- to see if they are willing to challenge me and are skeptical. It sounds like you found the correct answer after the interview.

    I don't insist on going the wrong way, as I ask it as a simple follow up question with a partial explanation for how it could help. Did you get an insisting vibe?

    Proving me wrong gets extra credit.
    Dec 9, 2018 1
    • OP
      Yes, he would not allow the interview to proceed until I understood what he wanted. And at the end, he told me "maybe you don't have to do what you did here, but could instead move the right over", as in - that would be the better algorithm.
      Dec 9, 2018
  • Bloomberg / Eng iVX372
    My advice: write up a clear and concise explanation of your thinking on the problem, with an example instead of the incoherent rambling in your post. Then ask the recruiter to forward it to the interviewer. I did this once with a similar situation in a phone screen question, and landed the onsite.

    Before you do that: assume that what the interviewer suggested is possible and try to do it on your own time. That was the only reason I succeeded in the above strategy. You may realize that the interviewer was right after all.
    Dec 9, 2018 0
  • Microsoft Fifndk
    I totally feel you OP. Sucks but luck is a factor, nothing you can do.
    Dec 9, 2018 0