How do I become good at algorithm interviews?

Amazon fICL14
Oct 17, 2017 102 Comments

I always fuck up algorithm interviews and never made it past the first round at prestigious companies. I would do anything to work at google or Facebook. But I'm not smart. I've had my iq measured and it's 126 but my PRI (abstract reasoning) is 105. Therefore novel problems are really hard for me.

I've failed the interviews at google/fb twice. I'm willing to put in all the work possible to get in but only if it's possible. I'm not trolling, I genuinely want to know: is it possible to pass the algos interviews at Google as an sde with an average iq and hard work? I've failed twice before, and I want to make it in, or at least past the first round.

Please no motivational lies. I want honest replies as to whether it's possible or not.

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TOP 102 Comments
  • Microsoft / Eng
    Ex-Msft

    Microsoft Eng

    PRE
    Microsoft
    BIO
    I came, I saw, I left
    Ex-Msftmore
    Well, you passed at amazon
    Oct 17, 2017 2
    • Google arbiterus0
      But it's Amazon
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Amazon new grad bar is really really low. From my college 60% CS grads join Amazon. Some were offered position even without going onsite.
      Oct 18, 2017
  • Amazon / Eng MarioBros4
    If you don't have something to add to Goog or fb it's an automatic no-hire. Googliness similar to amazon LPs is measured in terms of you T shape being an expert in some area. Do something that will make the company want to hire you regardless of the interview. Plenty of people on here SDE3+ have claimed to do perfect interviews at those companies and still get no hire. I have 3 good friends working for G and all are outstanding have passion and have delivered results in one particular area (AI, image proc, networking). They claimed their interviews weren't particularly different from Amazon and gave average performance. Believe me Google doesn't care if you can balance a red black tree, they want your ideas. And they want you to be female.
    Oct 17, 2017 18
    • Square / Eng anon98163
      Anything is possible. A lot of it is luck. Honestly you're looking for an excuse as to why you got rejected. If people say it's not possible, then it's easier to accept the rejection by saying "Genetically, I cannot pass the interview".

      Strictly speaking, Amazon asks a lot of the same questions. It's really a game of chance on what questions they ask and what you prepped.

      You also never stated how much you prepped, how you prepped, etc. Lots of people get rejected from those companies that are capable. You simply didn't study hard enough.
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      My question is simple. Despite my iq, is it possible?
      Oct 18, 2017
    • Square / Eng anon98163
      Yes. Everyone has been telling you that. Yes yes.
      Oct 18, 2017
    • Intel fhdbejf830
      OP where did you get your iq tested. Was it a random online site
      Oct 26, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      No
      Oct 26, 2017
    • Intel fhdbejf830
      Through where did you take the test. I want to know my iq too
      Oct 26, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      You work at intel which is more prestigious than Amazon so your iq is higher than 126
      Oct 26, 2017
    • Intel fhdbejf830
      You have no idea. You work at amazon which is more prestigous so you got to be snarter than me. What was the website. I am going through the same problem like u are
      Oct 26, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      I went to a doctor
      Oct 26, 2017
    • Intel fhdbejf830
      Your a fucking troll lol
      Oct 26, 2017
  • Amazon YLAc73
    Judging by this thread and your other recent thread, it seems you suffer from a high fear of failure and/or lack of self-confidence that you should look into.

    Also, throw all that prestigious bullshit talk out the window. Ain’t nothing prestigious about working at any of these companies.

    Lastly, as others have told you, IQ is only one component in the equation for your success. Does it help? Sure to a point, but the people who are successful in their field are largely so because they have put in the effort to make it happen. There are no shortcuts, just identification of your weaknesses and a laser focus on doing what it takes to improve yourself in that area.
    Oct 17, 2017 5
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      I did identify my weakness. It's that I am unable to solve these problems. I don't want this "prestige is useless" shit. I want to know an honest answer as to whether a guy with average iq can pass the algorithm interviews at google or no
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Google SQaR46
      It's all Cs fundamentals in Google interviews. There's no crazy estimation or anything. You can solve the problem if you can understand the Cs fundamentals. Just go through algorithm design manual then practice all problems on leetcode. You can do it. Anyone can really. Look at the hardest type of problems for you. Say it's dynamic programming. Go through all the common problems. Make up similar problems yourself and code their solutions. Do questions on leetcode and geekforgeek in that area. At some point you will expect to be able to solve the next problem in the set. Once you reach that point, move on to your next weak area. Every time you go to an interview and fail practise problems in the area that you failed until you can pass any similar problems in that area. Keep doing this and your skill builds up. Practice on top coder if it's the time pressure. Most likely you have an unrealistic expecration of how well other people do. Most people don't go from never seen this to perfect whiteboard code with no help. Get better and better and you will get over the bar. If you just say youre not smart enough and use that as an excuse to not learn then of course you will never pass the interviews. Keep practicing and practicing and remove the unrealistic expectation. See if there is a chance to do interviews yourself and then see how other people think and notice there are very few as good as you are thinking Googlers are.
      Oct 18, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      First, thank you SOO much for writing a well thought out reply. Second, I really am not using my intelligence as a crutch. I'm saying that practice does not help me because I am not smart enough to profit from it. I understand the fundamentals, but my problem is applying it to new solutions. I have practiced before but still could not get past the first round. I would love for someone to tell me that anyone can get in with hard work, but do you really believe that's true? Like any average joe could practice and get in?

      You have no idea how badly I want others to think I'm good at interviews.
      Oct 18, 2017
    • Google SQaR46
      Yes I believe it's true but it could require a lot of time for some and guidance would make the process faster. As much as I'd like to think CS classes taught me nothing they did give me a few methods of thinking about problems that allow me to solve them faster.

      Practice does not help is just not possible. If your practice doesn't help you are practicing wrong.

      You need to get past the idea that interviews correctly judge how smart you are and start treating them like a task you must overcome. It's not about how smart you are it's about finding tricks to get through them.

      Have you really done 150 leetcode problems? Have you thought through them multiple times? Have you considered, if you were an interviewer, how you would create variations to disguise that problem in another form?

      Which problems have you been asked and failed at and what did you try to do to solve them?
      Oct 18, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      Itd be hard to type them out here
      Oct 18, 2017
  • Rackspace Yu18fgy
    Can you solve the D2F ratio?
    Oct 17, 2017 2
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      D2F ratio?
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Tesla / Eng
      Talicor

      Tesla Eng

      BIO
      Interested in connecting with professionals involved in AI deep learning, home product placement, automation, robotics, micro energy, micro farming, etc.
      Talicormore
      😂
      Oct 17, 2017
  • Microsoft D.Cutler
    This guy is a fucking troll. He wrote a very similar question on blind about his IQ and getting into Google. He is causing people to waste their time trying to "help" him.
    Oct 17, 2017 9
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      Because no one helped me. I asked 10 times in 1 chain whether that iq was sufficient and everyone ignored it
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Hubspot Csking
      Because iq is literally made up. It has no value in this context (or any really).
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      So if I hit you on the temple with a hammer disfiguring your brain the night before your google interview you'll do fine?
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Microsoft D.Cutler
      Dude. Seriously. You need help! Your obsession with your IQ and how it impacts your interview performance is borderline psycho. Go get checked out.
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      Yeah you're right. Intelligence has nothing to do with it. Google hires retards. Apparently so does Microsoft
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Amazon / Eng
      Karma🥔

      Amazon Eng

      BIO
      Brb bio.
      Karma🥔more
      Says the sde1 who got in at Amazon with an online test and can’t even make it to sde2. Lol.
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      I never said Amazon is prestigious
      Oct 18, 2017
    • Amazon / Eng
      Karma🥔

      Amazon Eng

      BIO
      Brb bio.
      Karma🥔more
      Then it should be easy to make sde2 then 3, right? Oh right.... you got in on bs test and can’t even make it amongst your peers who supposedly got in with no real bar.
      Oct 18, 2017
    • Motorola NgQJ50
      Fuck ur iq. You are relying on a stupid no to dictate your performance. Go and study and keep trying. People with lower iqs than urs with a strong work ethic have gotten into Google/fb while many people with high iqs have accomplished nothing in life.
      Oct 18, 2017
  • Microsoft / Eng /throwaway
    Yes, you can totally pass interviews being dumb if you practice enough
    Oct 17, 2017 0
  • Capital One / Eng KNABRIAF
    IQ? Christ. Fedora alert, guys
    Oct 17, 2017 3
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      If I didn't provide my IQ people would say "how do we know if you're dumb". I'm just presenting all information.
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Capital One / Eng KNABRIAF
      Is this not from you, six hours ago?

      ------
      I'm not saying I'll memorize. I'm asking if someone who is as intelligent as me can learn to solve *new* problems by studying.
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      As intelligent as me meaning as dumb as me. With my iq.
      Oct 17, 2017
  • Weight Watchers elqR15
    I actually found the Amazon interview harder than Google and Facebook because of those behavioral questions like “tell me about a time your manager ****”, but I bombed all three so what do I know.
    Oct 17, 2017 0
  • Oracle bbblinddd
    Only practice will help. You can also check interview preparation bootcamps and have some mock interviews with people from those companies. Make sure everything is fine with behavioral part as well.
    Oct 17, 2017 5
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      That's my question: will practice help? With my iq, and the fact I've failed twice on the first round, maybe I'm just too stupid. Will practice help?
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Oracle bbblinddd
      Yes, it will. With practice you will start recognizing patterns in different provlems and improve code fluency. Mock interviews are also very helpful before actual interviews.
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Airbnb awk
      Yes, practice will help.

      And give up your ego about your IQ. Most people don’t even consider that a valid ordinal metric. Bragging about that is like bragging about your class rank to the rest of the class. There is always someone smarter.
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      I'm not bragging, im saying it's too low. You're at airbnb you couldn't possibly understand what it's like to be not smart enough to work at a prestigious company.
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Amazon / Eng
      Karma🥔

      Amazon Eng

      BIO
      Brb bio.
      Karma🥔more
      Lol what a douche.
      Oct 17, 2017
  • Intel luckyluke
    Can you solve the problems in a non interview setting? In my case, I can solve the problems, but the pressure to come up with a solution quickly is clouding my thinking. If you are a 15K marathon runner, it is very hard to win a 100m race. Interviewing in 45mins is a race. I know it is hard to recreate interview pressure, but you have to practice in the right setting. I am now doing headstands while working on leetcode hard problems.
    Oct 17, 2017 1
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      No I can't. I'm bad at these problems. I'd like to become good though.
      Oct 17, 2017
  • Apple ADSP78
    Watch this talk all the way through. I think it’ll help you. https://youtu.be/9k93uYhg9Xc
    Oct 17, 2017 3
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      That doesn't help me become better at problems
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Apple ADSP78
      If you haven’t watched it, please do so. It’s probably not what you think. As another poster mentioned you’ll get better with practice. The person giving the talk was in a very similar situation to yours, hence the recommendation!
      Oct 17, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      I have watched it. It doesn't help. My problem is literally the problems. I know at a high level what to do. My problem is whether it will be effective for someone like me
      Oct 17, 2017
  • Indeed / Eng Nutella$
    Why do you want to go to G/FB? You are already at Amazon - focus on doing well there.
    Oct 17, 2017 1
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      Because Google/FB is prestigious and Amazon is not
      Oct 17, 2017
  • eBay Modi Ji
    Come and join eBay and you will learn algorithms from Indian aunties .😂😂
    Oct 17, 2017 1
    • Yahoo Hyvv12cxf
      Hahahah LMAO here.
      Oct 18, 2017
  • Amazon / Eng
    Karma🥔

    Amazon Eng

    BIO
    Brb bio.
    Karma🥔more
    Troll or moron. Either way not worth the aggravation.
    Oct 17, 2017 0
  • Amazon theZon206
    I read the entire thread and believe your are as dumb as you claim.

    I think you should be thanking your lucky stars you’ve made it as far as you have.
    Oct 18, 2017 6
    • Intel luckyluke
      He is a lost cause if his dream is to work at Airbnb 😀
      Oct 18, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      What's your problem
      Oct 18, 2017
    • Amazon theZon206
      No problem, honest answer. With your current mindset, you won’t move forward and should consider yourself fortunate.
      Oct 18, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      So why am I so unintelligent then?
      Oct 19, 2017
    • Amazon theZon206
      Perception is reality.
      Oct 19, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      Your comment wasn't saying that I've considered myself stupid so therefore I'm stupid. It was saying that in your opinion you think I'm stupid. So why
      Oct 19, 2017
  • Snapchat / Eng
    quinoa123

    Snapchat Eng

    PRE
    Quantcast
    quinoa123more
    Are you practicing alone ? You will learn a lot if you have a friend who is good at this..
    Oct 21, 2017 3
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      I get very annoyed meeting people who are smarter than me. Like some guy was helping me on reddit then I found out he interned at Snapchat and I stopped talking to him.
      Oct 21, 2017
    • Snapchat / Eng
      quinoa123

      Snapchat Eng

      PRE
      Quantcast
      quinoa123more
      Lol , is this a troll ? Irrespective of the company or people there will be always someone smarter than you... if your frustration is your skill is not improving then learn from someone who has already done it, books are good but it will never be the same .. better if you have close friends who can help you, and work hard
      Oct 22, 2017
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      Just because someone is better at it doesn't mean they can teach me. A lot of people are smarter than me but they can't teach me how their brain thinks about algorithm interview problems.
      Oct 23, 2017
  • Deloitte PVaQ48
    Become an expert at something. If you are an expert FB or GOOG will want you and you won't have to interview. Most likey tho, if you become an expert the last thing you'll want to do is work for someone.
    Oct 21, 2017 2
    • Motorola NgQJ50
      Doesn't even the well known engineers who have a reputation also need to clear the algo interview? Remember that guy who created a library which is being used all over internally in google and yet Google rejected him as he was unable to invert a binary tree in the interview
      Oct 21, 2017
    • Snapchat / Eng
      quinoa123

      Snapchat Eng

      PRE
      Quantcast
      quinoa123more
      Home brew
      Oct 21, 2017
  • Amazon Vpea55
    Why not just do HackerRank problems ? Or LeetCode?
    Oct 19, 2017 2
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      Ok
      Oct 19, 2017
    • Intel luckyluke
      lol. ^ You also have to inhale and exhale to stay alive.
      Oct 19, 2017
  • eBay JpRY63
    First of all. Change your mind set. GOOGLE or FB are not special. When the time comes, they may be begging you. Don't think you are inferior to anyone. In India we have saying "aham bramhasmi"
    Oct 18, 2017 1
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      It's hard for me. They are selective companies and I want to get in. It just bothers me I can't get past the first round.
      Oct 19, 2017
  • Motorola NgQJ50
    My iq is lower than urs and I made it into Amazon on my third try. I think more than Iq you just need to be exposed to a variety of algorithmic problems. This doesn't happen overnight or even in a month. It's can take more than a year, so when you go to interview and see a problem you will reply more on pattern recognition to solve the problem rather than raw intelligence.
    Oct 18, 2017 0
  • Box / Eng jacker
    Practice first 150 leetcode questions 4 times. Memorize the answer or not, just get AC 4*150 times. Then you are good to go. I understand your desperation, but too be honest, algorithms are like lifting, practice enough and your muscle will get better.
    Oct 17, 2017 0
  • Rackspace Yu18fgy
    If you can’t middle-out, just give up.
    Oct 17, 2017 0
  • Amazon kdpdjl
    IQ is subjective. Don't let a number determine who you are. Suck it up and continue to practice until you get it right. This is coming from a person who had a non technical major and is now in an engineer role.
    Oct 17, 2017 0
  • Airbnb pouchsteak
    dabbling in competitive programming would help
    Oct 18, 2017 2
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      But given my iq would I improve? Airbnb is one of my dream companies
      Oct 18, 2017
    • Airbnb pouchsteak
      I’ve never had mine tested and those numbers make no sense to me. once you practice enough, you would learn to recognize patterns. it’s not like anyone expects you to invent graph algorithms during an hour long interview.
      Oct 18, 2017
  • Athenahealth duderino
    I mean it sounds by your description of yourself that you would struggle to stay in these companies after you get in... Working at big tech companies isn't that great, I'd say look for something else.
    Oct 21, 2017 1
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      Idc about after getting in, I just want to get in.
      Oct 21, 2017
  • Apple / Other
    stevejerbs

    Apple Other

    BIO
    Previous CEO @ 🍎
    stevejerbsmore
    lol read ur algorithms book
    Oct 19, 2017 1
    • Adobe / Eng
      inn

      Adobe Eng

      PRE
      Intuit, Autodesk
      BIO
      Keep a left Sucker
      innmore
      Thanks for weighing in. Quite insightful
      Oct 19, 2017
  • Google srp
    When i was last interviewed at amazon 2 years back, they asked me to solve few algorithms. Did they stop that now?
    Oct 17, 2017 1
    • Amazon / Eng
      Karma🥔

      Amazon Eng

      BIO
      Brb bio.
      Karma🥔more
      Based on data, Amazon tested and verified that wasting time on full blown interviews for college hire right out of school resulted in the same long term outcome than an online standardized test. They don’t do it for anyone else or any other level of seniority as they data didn’t establish it was true beyond college hire. But they stopped giving full blown interviews for college hires. Hence OP being all butthurt that an online test could properly evaluate him even though he give credit to a standardized IQ test. Lulz ensue.
      Oct 17, 2017
  • Truckstop.com YkYx22
    I am almost in the same boat. But tbh I started doing more practice and practice and I am improving. If you need buddy for mock interview then please feel free to dm me
    Oct 17, 2017 1
    • Amazon fICL14
      OP
      Thanks dude, I'd like to study with someone but I'm behind
      Oct 17, 2017
  • eBay Soda ji
    If you Learn HTAL algorithms you can clear anywhere
    Oct 17, 2017 1
    • New ruler
      Google does not help deacronym this acronym
      Oct 18, 2017
  • Uber / Eng otter
    Practice practice practice
    Oct 18, 2017 0
  • Credit Karma / Eng yubnub
    Try Outco
    Oct 17, 2017 0

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