Google phone interview coming up

Gap / Eng randUser
Oct 2, 2018 24 Comments

Should I pay for leetcode premium and focus on that? I'm going to also reread crack the coding interview. Or should I focus on the interview prep materials the recruiter sent? Or all of the above?

Someone mentioned on here Google has a list of banned interview questions and those are the ones that end up on leetcode. Not sure how true that is.

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TOP 24 Comments
  • BuzzFeed / Eng
    0xdead

    BuzzFeed Eng

    PRE
    BuzzFeed
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    leet hax u fr00bs
    0xdeadmore
    Yeah, the Google recruiters send very general prep material. I’m in the middle of the process (passed two screens, next is on-site), and I basically asked around for prep tips and read up on the data structures discussed in CTCI. The LeetCode array/list questions seems to help, but it also seems like they ask anything and sometimes aren’t even looking for an answer. One interviewer wrote 3 LoC and told me to tell them how the code works and how I’d modify it for edge cases, and I think he wanted me to expound on higher order functions (shit you never think about but just kinda feel/have an intuition for, hopefully, and that’s probably what got me through up to this point because there’s no way in hell I’m this academic.). I’d say be super vocal about questions you have, and have a purpose for asking every question you ask. The second screen was similar, except instead of 2 questions, it was 1, and it was very open-ended, had to do with DS/algorithms AND operating systems. Took basically the whole 45 minutes. I’m still lost as fuck.
    Oct 2, 2018 7
    • Can you recommend an operating systems book/material?
      Oct 2, 2018
    • BuzzFeed / Eng
      0xdead

      BuzzFeed Eng

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      leet hax u fr00bs
      0xdeadmore
      I don’t have one. I started writing code when I was 12, back in 2002, and I developed a very random base of knowledge in my head that I’m feverishly trying to wrangle. What’s in my head is a culmination of fuck-ups doing shit I wasn’t told to do by teachers nor textbooks. It’s a shit situation being self-taught in this industry.

      A googler told me to implement common Linux programs like ‘ls’ and ‘cat’ from scratch. I’m about to do a bunch of that to practice.
      Oct 2, 2018
    • Thanks ... ( in C , Python... or doesn't matter ?)
      Oct 3, 2018
    • BuzzFeed / Eng
      0xdead

      BuzzFeed Eng

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      leet hax u fr00bs
      0xdeadmore
      Doesn’t matter, but know the language you choose. During the second screen, I mentioned “we could use <some shit from the Python standard lib>, but I don’t remember its params and what it returns...” and the interviewer vocally lit up, and he happened to have a copy of the documentation for that function at hand for my specific situation. So that’s when I at least knew some of my questioning/intuition was right. I also got a lot of “that’s a great question” and “that’s a great assumption to make” and “oh, why did you consider that? interesting?” So just know the language you choose—I wouldn’t recommend using a language you’re new to/unfamiliar with, in other words. There’s already a whole bunch of other shit you can get stuck on, like actually solving the damn problem.
      Oct 3, 2018
    • Intel goforitt
      Nice .. are these type of questions only for SRE ? Does Google have different style for SWE vs SRE
      Oct 3, 2018
  • Amazon / Eng jNeo42
    I’m bombing phone screens left and right, and so far I’ve been awarded one on-site: Google (SWE). For my phone screen, the interviewer was clearly pretty new at it, and somehow failed to give me a coding problem. He ended up asking me theoretical questions about API development, I don’t even remember because it wasn’t even a design. My recruiter called a few days later, a little embarrassed, and asked if I did any coding. I immediately said no and that I found it strange. He set up another phone screen. That time I did code, but it was exactly the kind of screen that I want. It started out with a basic problem (find the most common character in a string), and I coded that. But then the scenario was gradually pushed: you now have a quad core machine to use, and finally that the string may be in a file instead of memory. The latter parts were discussion only, just making reference to my code (a dream come true for a phone screen!). I was concerned that maybe the interviewer dumbed it down because I was an idiot and he didn’t want to waste time (though he didn’t act that way). But I was wrong and got the on-site. Was it just luck of the draw for me, and the on-site will correct that? I just failed an Uber screen with a medium problem that I didn’t quite solve — but could have if I were coding alone with an IDE (I know I know, we need to succeed under poor conditions). I badly bombed Airbnb with a knapsack/traveling salesman scenario — I talked through the problem and its complexity, wrote code to set it up, but froze at the algo and gave up 5 minutes early and didn’t ask any questions. (To my surprise Airbnb wrote back 30 minutes later to schedule another 45 minute tech screen — who does that??). So after all of my grief so far, my ONE on-site I’ve earned is Google. I can only assume that success will be impossible given that nobody else is interested in even looking at me in person — I just got lucky with the phone screens, but that luck can’t last.
    Oct 2, 2018 6
    • BuzzFeed / Eng
      0xdead

      BuzzFeed Eng

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      0xdeadmore
      Same here for ALL of this. I almost want to meet you and shake your hand for telling your story.
      Oct 2, 2018
    • Amazon / Eng jNeo42
      It’s a mix — many are recruiters contacting me, like Google, Uber, Lyft. But Airbnb and Square were my applications. I have my first “pair programming” with Square soon, I’m most interested in that one so I hope I don’t fuck it up. Having Amazon in your history will get you a screen interview with the good tech firms, but that’s it. You’re on your own from there, and your status with a top company means nothing.
      Oct 3, 2018
    • Intel goforitt
      Thanks the detailed write up... for the follow up, did you talk about multithreading, synchronization and locks? How did you approach the problem. . Just curious
      Oct 3, 2018
    • New EVlp62
      Goforitt, in my Google onsite, I had a question on multithreqding on when you should put the lock when updating a var; it needed some thinking because you had to lock minimally to prevent deadlocks. I dont recall clearly but the correct ans was to lock it twice in the fucc call
      Oct 3, 2018
    • BuzzFeed / Eng
      0xdead

      BuzzFeed Eng

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      leet hax u fr00bs
      0xdeadmore
      I don’t know shit about any of that. That’s all I’ll say.
      Oct 3, 2018
  • Google / Eng Neopets😍
    Dude seriously? If you’re worried about the phone interview you’re way behind.
    Oct 2, 2018 6
    • Google / Eng Neopets😍
      Because beyond preparing, it’s luck of the draw. You can get something totally off key. You really can’t help with this, that’s why.
      Oct 2, 2018
    • Gap / Eng randUser
      OP
      What do you mean behind? I haven't really been actively studying for interviews, at least since I graduated two years ago, the Google recruiter contacted me.

      I asked for a month to prep. That should be enough right?
      Oct 2, 2018
    • Google / Eng Neopets😍
      It really depends on the person. But don’t waste stress over a simple phone screen was my point.
      Oct 2, 2018
    • Gap / Eng randUser
      OP
      Ahh I see. Thank you!
      Oct 2, 2018
    • Bosch OpxD24
      Does the same apply when you are having a phone call with an engineer and they have a google doc where they want you to write code in front of them?
      Oct 16, 2018
  • Oath Mothra
    Do Leetcode, ctci and dust off your old algos, OS textbooks and read through them. Also, I paid for Leetcode, don’t regret it.

    In short, if you’re asking if only doing google tagged Leetcode questions is enough for flawless interviews, the answer is no.
    Oct 2, 2018 0
  • Oscar / Eng tc / gtfo
    Whatever they sent to you is too generic. Which role are you applying? I paid premium for a while - the no limit execution is worth it I think. Maybe for a month?
    Oct 2, 2018 0