Getting discouraged

Microsoft sfBb37
Dec 5, 2017 58 Comments

I have about 5 years work experience and L63 at MS. Recently I've been interviewing in the bay area. I've spent almost 2 months now preparing for interviews (EPI book most problems chap 5-15 and recently started leetcode). I can solve many problems at home but getting rejections! I know 1 interview I did terrible on system design, but since then I prepared well for those and think did fine on it. My coding onsite has been ok but suspect it's not fast and error free enough for Bay area standards.

Rejections
- Square (1 bad coding round and bad system design. 2 good coding rounds)
- Pinterest (really good phone screen and good on coding. But I think I didn't have data background they wanted)
- Amazon twitch video infra. Did well on coding and systems was ok. For my level I thought coding was enough but still no offer.
-Box ( had terrible onsite. I was sick and very off. Totally understand this decision by them)

I had Google recently and thought it went well. Google was very different than others. Less emphasis on leetcode but they ask many problems per interview and asked for solution sketch (which I did fine). My system design went well.

Still have Apple, Twitter and Stripe but very discouraged and thinking about just canceling these on-sites.

Any advice? I'm thinking it will study leetcode for 3 months hard and read about system design in spare time. Try again in 3-6 months.

Tldr I suck

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TOP 58 Comments
  • Microsoft Bldm26
    If you take a break now and promise to study 3-6 more months, there is no guarantee that you will actually study thoroughly for next 3-6 months. Also you need to get comfortable at failing in life in general. A few bad interviews don’t mean that you are bad at what you do. It means the stars were just not aligned on that day but on another day, you could do better.
    Dec 5, 2017 1
    • Salesforce / Eng dltrr
      Great advice
      Dec 5, 2017
  • Microsoft VWXzy
    Keep going, dont give up. Even if you tank all interviews, you can reapply everywhere in 6-9 months. No better interview prep than the interview itself.
    Dec 5, 2017 0
  • Travelers HHen56
    Have you melded well culturally during your on sites? That can be just as important as its fairly easy to tell who can code / understands system design... nobody wants to work with a great technical candidate who... sucks...
    Dec 5, 2017 4
    • Microsoft sfBb37
      OP
      Honestly don't think this a problem. I don't come off as cocky or hard to work with. I might be showing some lack of confidence though. That might be giving them doubt
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Google tcCd20
      In my case, I strongly believe lack of confidence was a leading cause of not getting an offer from Lyft. It was my first on site and I was extra honest and unintentionally ended up highlighting areas where I lack experience and gave interviewers doubt as a result. I was having high imposter syndrome symptoms at the time. Normally I'm a very confident person. I was nervous and wasn't confident enough during on site. Once I realized that mistake I adjusted and kept reminding myself that I got where I am for a reason and obviously companies kept promoting me for value I added even though I under sold my achievements.

      It was a big turning point for me. After that realization and changing how I carried myself during interview I got 2 offers out of the next three on-site with G, Fb, LinkedIn.

      Good luck, I hope this helps you
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Microsoft sfBb37
      OP
      Thanks, thats very helpful.
      Dec 6, 2017
    • Cisco BBD
      tcCd20 - nice to know I’m not alone in feeling as you did. Am interviewing now and working through exactly what you described. I have to mentally check myself from being too honest about areas where I feel less confident, which is hard because I’m used to be honest and straightforward.
      Feb 1, 2018
  • LinkedIn / Other
    Demogorgon

    LinkedIn Other

    BIO
    From the Upside Down
    Demogorgonmore
    You are getting onsites. Keep going at it. Give it your best. A break right now will only help you collect more self doubt.
    Dec 5, 2017 1
    • Microsoft / Eng ergosculpt
      Also, it'll break the momentum.
      Dec 5, 2017
  • Microsoft / Eng engineer_j
    Have someone do mock interview for you (free via Pramp or pay $160 through Gainlo). Probably they will spot some of your weakness.

    As of getting discouraged, the time hasn't just come yet for you. Keep yourself motivated in some way. Currently I'm in position where I think my manager would let me go at some point (bad performance, zero stock this year) and I have a family of three to feed. I tanked most of the phone interviews and still green on system design, I solved most of leetcode popular questions but I think I'm sloppy when coding. I have some low moments but totally giving up is not an option for me. Tech industry keeps changing, life is hard, people commit suicides but we have to keep working to achieve our dreams and have a lot of grit. Hopefully things will work out for you as well as for me.
    Dec 6, 2017 0
  • Yelp
    Ub^s7yKz

    Yelp

    PRE
    Microsoft
    Ub^s7yKzmore
    The first 10 interviews per new job are bullshit and you shouldn’t count them. Just get through them and see how you do on the eleventh!
    Dec 5, 2017 0
  • Google / Eng
    mitr

    Google Eng

    PRE
    Microsoft
    mitrmore
    Great pieces of advice from everyone. I went through something similar back in 2010. I was at msft and wanted to move to Bay area and pretty much failed every interview I gave (fb/G/Apple/VMware and Netflix). I realized that I was slow in coding and also generally slow in committing to a design choice during interviews (I blame this on Microsoft to some extent. I was a Dev at Microsoft for 8 years and changed teams 3 times and interviewed several times during that process. The general culture at Microsoft is that they value detailed/methodical approach to problem solving and are a bit more tolerant to you not completely answering the questions / coding your answers etc).. interviews at FB and Google felt more like they value Bias towards action..and expect you to complete the task (coding/system design). Anything else you do on top of it is for bonus points..

    Anyway, this realization helped me quite a bit. I started practicing a lot more questions..more importantly I started to commit many conclusions / observations about data structures or some system design approaches or some standard code segments in algorithms in to my memory (instead of trying to evaluate things on-the-fly all the time)..this made me better and faster.

    I reinterviewed again in late 2011 and this time had a much better success rate! (Got in FB, Twitter, LinkedIn and Apple. Was too afraid to interview at Google :). Joined FB and now am at Google)
    Dec 8, 2017 4
    • Microsoft happyhour
      Hack coding interview and do well in real jobs are different skills.
      Dec 8, 2017
    • Microsoft sfBb37
      OP
      Thanks. That's very inspiring. So much of what you said resonates with me. System design I'm trying to come up with approach and design on the fly. Then I get tripped up when interviewer finds flaw in approach. It feels like yo really need a bag of tricks ready even for system design.
      Dec 8, 2017
    • Microsoft PinkFloyd7
      Hey OP, how much time did you spend on the latter part? Specifically revisiting concepts once you realized that speed and completeness matter a lot more? I'm in the exact same spot as you
      Jan 30, 2018
    • Capital One / Eng MewTwo
      Thanks for sharing this! I’m super depressed and reading this made me feel better.
      Aug 23, 2018
  • Deutsche Bank LPeJ52
    2 months or the time specifically does not matter - your preparation should be adequate to quickly solve leetcode simple/medium questions in 15-20 mins. For some people this will take 15 days of preparation - for some 4 months.
    Also my take is that there is no point of going to these interviews without having close to perfect preparation - it's just almost a waste of time
    Dec 5, 2017 2
    • Microsoft realhash
      Disagree with the last point. Real interview experience is the BEST preparation you can find, as long as you don’t let them discourage you.
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Deutsche Bank LPeJ52
      You can have real interview experience but not in the companies you really want to join - for your dream companies you need to prepare to the point of perfection
      Dec 5, 2017
  • Amazon / Eng
    Hooliganss

    Amazon Eng

    BIO
    Engineer at AWS
    Hooliganssmore
    If you can get onsite, they’ve already deemed you a good candidate. Why would you cancel at that point?
    Dec 5, 2017 2
    • Microsoft sfBb37
      OP
      I've already taken so much time off work. It feels like a wasted vacation day at this point
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Amazon / Eng
      Hooliganss

      Amazon Eng

      BIO
      Engineer at AWS
      Hooliganssmore
      Fair enough, I just know from experience that when I do get an on-site interview I have pretty good chances of getting an offer.
      Dec 5, 2017
  • Microsoft sfBb37
    OP
    Just an update. Seems like I'm going to get an offer from Twitter which makes this whole process worth it in some sense! I will also hopefully wait for Google and Apples response before making a decision.
    Dec 8, 2017 1
    • Microsoft realhash
      Big congrats OP!
      Dec 8, 2017
  • Microsoft sfBb37
    OP
    So I've managed a counter offer from Ms. It's comparable to my best offer and they are promoting me to level 64 effective now. So overall it was a great learning experience and I learned my value to Ms.
    Dec 19, 2017 2
    • LinkedIn / Other
      Demogorgon

      LinkedIn Other

      BIO
      From the Upside Down
      Demogorgonmore
      Congratulations. It's good to end the year on a winning note. Also no nervousness of a new job.
      Dec 19, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng
      Lehsjfiens

      Microsoft Eng

      BIO
      Hate coding quizzes but studying hard for better future!
      Lehsjfiensmore
      Wow, lvl 64 in five years? It cannot be better than that. Congrats! It is actually better than moving as 63. May I ask you what division you are in?
      Dec 22, 2017
  • Deutsche Bank LPeJ52
    Don't get involved in too much talking - I had too much of discussions with my interviewer and finally realized that I did not have time to complete code
    Dec 5, 2017 2
    • Apple / Eng “-I-“
      Who cares about finishing the code? If you are talking about professional stuff, it’s time well spent.
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Deutsche Bank LPeJ52
      Yes , but not for the standardized tests where you need to finish the code. In this case the interviewer also seemed to be repentant about it
      Dec 6, 2017
  • Microsoft / Design 206wrkr
    Use each interview as a classroom lesson. Learn about what they are asking, research it, learn it and with each interview, you’ll get closer to landing one.

    Next time you are sick, reschedule it, that was a waste of an on-site opportunity.

    I might consider taking an interview break, you can always spoil that engine back up after a recharge.
    Dec 5, 2017 0
  • Google king_op
    Google less emphasis on leetcode? Lol wut? Are you interviewing for SWE?
    Dec 5, 2017 5
    • Microsoft sfBb37
      OP
      Yeah swe position. But we did more talk and real problems. But my panel was very Senior. Every interviewer seemed to have 15+ years experience.
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Google CDKo70
      He he. Mine was entirely from leetcode :D
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Google tcCd20
      Mine had no leetcode
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Riverbed Technology WAWX65
      Leetcode has 200 google questions and lot of them are really hard . Am I expected to solve hard problems ? Or easy and medium are enough . In my LinkedIn interview problems were from easy to medium
      Dec 15, 2017
    • Google LtcodeKid
      You need to be able to solve hard problems
      Dec 17, 2017
  • Microsoft / Eng
    AppleAWS

    Microsoft Eng

    BIO
    Hate coding quizzes but studying hard for better future!
    AppleAWSmore
    May I ask you why you are trying to leave? Lvl 63 in five years means you have been on a fast promotion track. It is obvious you have bright future at MSFT. By leaving, you actually risk and might do well or not at a new place. After certain level of competency, many things depend on luck so you could very well be receiving poor review if you move. Many people I know who moved to G and FB were not high performers. Some high performers leave but generally they don’t if they been receiving constant promotion. You could become principal soon which will be very hard in other companies. Even if you get an offer from G and FB, I doubt they will give you senior title. You are risking of being down leveled.
    Dec 8, 2017 2
    • Microsoft sfBb37
      OP
      This is something I haven't considered. I've been pretty fortunate because the org I'm in has lots of work going on but has a poor culture with lack of accountability (lots of people doing nothing). I've been overperforming at true I've been on fast track. Another aspect is my manager left recently so I'm not as optimistic about future promotions (my previous manager was awesome and fought for his top reports).
      Dec 8, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng
      AppleAWS

      Microsoft Eng

      BIO
      Hate coding quizzes but studying hard for better future!
      AppleAWSmore
      Then it makes sense. Good luck! Buy leetcode premium and focus on frequent problems for each company. At least, that is what I would want to do if I do it again (already moved).
      Dec 9, 2017
  • Deutsche Bank LPeJ52
    Tell Google and Apple about the Twitter offer which makes their offer all the more probable
    Dec 8, 2017 2
    • Microsoft sfBb37
      OP
      Interesting. I will definitely update them. But didn't think it will have much impact on decision?
      Dec 8, 2017
    • Deutsche Bank LPeJ52
      It definitely expedites and might improve your chances also - that's my perception. Someone from Google/Apple might confirm
      Dec 8, 2017
  • Microsoft / Product
    Karsa

    Microsoft Product

    PRE
    startups
    Karsamore
    Imo, if you really only have 5 years experience and no PhD I think you might be overleveled unless you're a Rockstar. (if you're a Rockstar you shouldn't be having any issues with interviewing)
    Dec 5, 2017 1
    • Microsoft Bytecoin
      Yeah I’m a 63 with 17 years experience!
      Dec 27, 2017
  • Microsoft / Eng Pillow
    TLDR should be on top, not at the end.
    Dec 6, 2017 5
    • Microsoft / Product
      Karsa

      Microsoft Product

      PRE
      startups
      Karsamore
      This isn't true. Tldr is often at the bottom for some reason.
      Dec 6, 2017
    • Apple / Eng Blorch
      There’s that poor design again.
      Dec 6, 2017
    • Microsoft / Product
      Karsa

      Microsoft Product

      PRE
      startups
      Karsamore
      Poor design? Were we talking about High Sierra?
      Dec 6, 2017
    • Apple / Eng Blorch
      High Sierra is poor implementation... scratch that... god awfully painful and embarrassing implementation. The design is pretty nice.
      Dec 6, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng Pillow
      Lol what's the point of having tldr at the bottom? 😂 it's always at the top.
      Dec 7, 2017
  • Microsoft RzqF23
    5 years in industry, 63 dev, you should be in Bing team. Then everything makes sense. You cannot compete with 61 dev in WDG.
    Dec 15, 2017 0
  • Microsoft sfBb37
    OP
    Thank you for the advice and encouragement. I will finish out the remaining interviews and regroup after that.
    Dec 6, 2017 0