Is there better way to hire than leetcode?

Oscar 🐨koala
Mar 5 236 Comments

In particular I don’t see anything else to replace leetcode from big companies’ PoV. They are simply too big to have people submit homework lol. Thoughts?

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TOP 236 Comments
  • Apple JuicyBae
    None. Leetcode is the surefire way to figure out if a senior engineer absolutely know their stuff.
    Mar 5 19
    • Uber zuckerr
      But the superstar junior engineers on your team won't respect you if you couldn't pass LC.
      Mar 12
    • Microsoft blinkd182
      Lol. I hope you’re trolling otherwise I really hope the attitude of software companies in regards to this changes.

      The stuff they ask in white board interviews vs the stuff I’ve done in the real world is very different.
      Mar 14
    • CACI / Eng MaknBombs
      @blinkd182 honestly if you're not spending at least 30 hours a week at work reversing strings, finding the second biggest string in an array of strings, and converting decimals to roman numerals what are you even doing with your life?
      Mar 14
    • ConsenSys / Eng dackjorsey
      Time for my daily leet standup
      Mar 15
    • Pinterest Dhdjdnnfux
      One good thing about data structures and algo questions is there is no room for interpretation. Either you can code something you know or you can’t. However, this has gotten out of hand with leetcode, but in general algos remain a very good way to test someone’s coding ability. The take homes, white board or pair programming assume too many skills.
      Jun 3
  • There is only a small set of people who will grind away at leetcode. If you use the same hiring practices, how can you hire diverse people?

    Not many of the people I know will sign up for months of leetcoding on ends just to pass onsites. They have better things to do w their time.

    If you’re using Leetcode to hire, don’t complain that you cannot hire. Thousands of startups out there don’t hire leetcoders and they’re doing just fine.

    Also, junior engineers tend to be better Leetcoders than senior ones because they’ve had 4 years of practice, whereas senior engineers did it 10 years ago
    Mar 5 27
    • Other people have different goals than you so don’t question others priorities. Some don’t have the goal to leetcode because they don’t perceive it as useful. They would rather take time to do practical engineering work. They simply don’t care about leetcode because they want to learn things they want to learn.
      Mar 16
    • Uber ipoer
      No one has goal to do leetcode. It is just a small hop you are asked to jump. You don't have to jump through it either. Tech companies sometimes skip / downweight leetcode if you are established / talented enough in your field. The question is whether you are good enough to warrant that from the get go. If you aren't and still refuse to do what us mortal engineers do, then the leetcode does exactly what it is supposed to do, either filter out people who won't function well in a tech team environment.
      Mar 16
    • Splunk KE94107
      Many of us senior-level SWEs came into the industry without a CS degree, back when landing a job required no whiteboarding of algos. A friend of mine was surprised to hear that I don’t have a CS diploma: he says passing interviews is easy for him because he just needs a couple of weeks of self-study to refresh his recollection of CS coursework from over a decade ago.

      Ironically, he’s a CS graduate at a hardware company. My own non-CS degree? EE. It’s become impossible for me to pass the hiring bar elsewhere, just in the few years I’ve been at my current job.
      Mar 17
    • Amazon _binch
      @domin8
      According to me, you fail at basic reading comprehension and inductive reasoning.
      However, I'm feeling charitable so here is a longer explanation broken down into small and easily digestible words:
      * Leetcode "proves" competence for a very narrow set of skills
      * Being good at leetcode is not an indicator of being a good software dev
      * Job seekers know how companies interview
      * Companies optimizing for leetcode proficiency will result in job seekers optimizing for being good at leetcode
      * Companies will hire a bunch of leetcoders who can't design their way out of a wet paper bag

      Leetcode is like standardized testing. When the only measure of competency is the test, teachers will "teach the test" and students will prioritize passing the test above all else.

      This is how we end up with "intelligent" students whose only skill is passing tests by ingesting and regurgitating information by rote. In other words: developmentally stunted automatons incapable of innovation or novel problem-solving.
      Does this describe you? 🤔
      Mar 18
    • Uber domin8
      @_binch according to me, you must be working at the warehouse as you failed to pass the actual interview 😂😂😂.
      You sound like sour grapes. 🍇🍇🍇
      Those, who actually passed the hiring bar, know that whiteboard interviews are just one type of interviews people go through.
      I hope these diapers don't feel tight for you.
      Mar 18
  • Uber C H O N K
    I’ve heard internal grumbling around Leetcode questions with some managers opting for “easier” coding questions and focusing on discussing good coding practices (less rote memorization, more discussion). Also, more focus on design and behavioral questions. Some still hammer Leetcode though :/
    Mar 5 5
    • New / Eng pHXp44
      My Uber phone screen was a LC extra spicy. Brute force was sliding window matrix. Optimal was dynamic programming. I was like “come now!”
      Mar 5
    • Slack doesn’t ask algorithms in their hiring process.
      Mar 6
    • Apple / HR SnVL04
      Slack 1, Uber 0
      Mar 10
    • Microsoft
      tech.ladki

      Microsoft

      PRE
      Google
      tech.ladkimore
      Most good companies have a generalized interview process, and HM has little role to play, especially in the questions being asked.
      Mar 10
    • General Motors / IT sMIL78
      I think with leetcode you get a candidate that prepared himself with a lot of hours doing problems.

      Anyway in my opinion Is better to hire but culture fit than skill.
      Mar 10
  • There’s actually a very famous guy Nicolas Zakas who’s considered to be a Frontend guru. He interviewed at Google and got rejected bc he doesn’t know algorithms. If you apply one type of filter to hiring you cannot expect all good engineers to pass.

    The way around this is have multiple ways to bring people in, not to weed potential good people out.
    Mar 6 31
    • Google / Eng BSkU48
      People should read what Max replied on quora before debating here. His whole point is that computer science has little to do with app development. He was not inverting binary tree😂😂😂
      Mar 10
    • New / Other
      Reigen

      New Other

      BIO
      4 years teaching cs looking for first real swe job.
      Reigenmore
      @inf0secguy how do you get good at system design as someone trying to get their firsr software gig
      Mar 10
    • New CAWz16
      @Reigen start by going through the "Grokking the system design interview" course online. Just Google it and you'll find it.
      Mar 10
    • New / Eng
      inf0secGuy

      New Eng

      PRE
      Oracle
      BIO
      Security guy working as a swe ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
      inf0secGuymore
      @Reigen https://github.com/donnemartin/system-design-primer it's a good place to start but the key is practice, in my case I started freelancing at 18, creating simple php monolithic applications, 10 years later I learned a thing or two about designing systems 😊, more like I remember all the mistakes I made in the past, and also have experience with most popular frameworks. You can start by trying to create a simple blog application from scratch using different technologies (php, python, r&r,.net, nodejs, etc) so you will learn their limitations
      Mar 10
    • New / Other
      Reigen

      New Other

      BIO
      4 years teaching cs looking for first real swe job.
      Reigenmore
      Thanks a lot man! I've been through the primer and the course but I've found it's only good for kind of knowing the ecosystem/jargon for things.

      I.e. I don't think it really helps you build the intuition for building real life systems.

      Your advice is really really helpful.
      Thanks!
      Mar 11
  • Pinterest bdiaxbebs
    leetcode is like SAT or GRE or even school GPA

    it doesn’t mean shit except that someone can tell you “hey, if you wanna get in, study for this shit”

    it cuts out people who are unwilling and / or incapable of straightforward studying related to CS

    “but like coding bootcamps prove that a cs degree is optional” - yeah, but fuck off, i’ll take the top 10% of cs degree earners over the top 1% of coding bootcampers any day of the week, it’s a more reliable, consistent, well established way to filter people out

    is it stupid? sure. so is school. so is society.

    leetcode is one of the few straightforward, guaranteed ways to get into the top 1% of the world economically with just a few months of studying. nothing comes even remotely close in terms of opportunities
    Mar 5 15
    • Amazon / Eng slosh
      I'm tired of explaining to sde1s why writing readable, maintainable code, beats bare-metal speed scripts for tasks that don't require it. Thanks, LeetCode.
      Mar 10
    • Microsoft
      MP3

      Microsoft

      BIO
      Troll living under the I-5 overpass
      MP3more
      @slosh:
      In a place where I interned ($15/h), the intern before me was tasked with wiring a Perl script that created a time lapse of graphs using the provided data and graph API. His script worked perfectly well, so his team put it in automation and forgot about it. Few months after the intern left they had to change a couple of parameters on the graph. What they discovered was that the intern must have been a fan of Perl Golfing which is when you reduce Perl script to the smallest possible size by using every hack imaginable. Needless to say, there were no comments and the entire script was a single line of unintelligible code deviously hacked together with such dedication and precision that it sent chills down your spine the moment you realized this wasn’t a damaged file but working code. The team could not figure anything out, so they had to write a new script from scratch.
      Mar 10
    • Nvidia gvshater
      ^^
      No wonder MSFT products are shitty then, there are no code reviews at MSFT!!
      Mar 10
    • Microsoft
      MP3

      Microsoft

      BIO
      Troll living under the I-5 overpass
      MP3more
      @gvshater: Did you recognize your own work? 😉
      Mar 11
    • Uber ipoer
      Gvshater makes the perfect point. Don't blame leetcode for your shitty practice.
      Mar 15
  • DigitalOcean loveberlin
    One solution is if both interviewer and interviewee don't know the question before interview. When interview begins, a random question pops up on screen and both interviewer and interviewee discuss the solution with interviewee driving most of the talk.

    That way, interviewer can evaluate the candidate based on his/her own skill level. Like if they are struggling to find a solution, its fair that candidate is having hard time as well.

    That's how real world problem solving is in everyday work. You get a problem, you discuss it out with the team.
    Mar 6 13
    • Shutterstock kudabobb
      Here's why it's flawed: the interviewees are the ones who are supposed to be in interview mode, not the interviewers. You can't expect someone (who has other responsibilities) who's running interviews at a variable cadence to bring the same heat to an interview consistently as the guy who's been locked up in his room for the past 6 weeks grinding for this moment and is more than likely on amphetamines.
      Mar 12
    • DigitalOcean loveberlin
      @shutterstock There should be no interview mode. Both interviewer and interviewee have other responsibilities. What makes you think every one has time to lock themselves up and prepare for interviews for months ? Some people have work, family and life.

      Also, aren't interviewers being paid for that hour ? Why would they not bring same heat to an interview if those problem solving skills is their daily job ?
      Mar 13
    • Shutterstock kudabobb
      @digitalocean Trust me, the guy who's actively looking for a job will be more prepared than the guy who already has a good job (the interviewer).

      Since when were leetcode problems relevant to the day-to-day job? I thought that was the whole point of this thread.
      Mar 13
    • DigitalOcean loveberlin
      @shutterstock I agree person looking for opportunities will be more prepared. LC is just short cut for interviewer to skip preparation on their part.
      Mar 14
    • Uber ipoer
      This is one of those ideas that sounds brilliant but will fail miserably during execution.

      You identified the problem. The interviewers want a systematic and relatively quick process to evaluate the candidates. Some of them are lazy (interviewing people is very low in the "help my promotion" department). So you can leetcode harder and fool the lazy interviewers with arcane optimal solution. But at least, their lazy evaluation is consistent from candidates to candidates. Your proposal of making interviewers work harder will add too much variation to the process. Whether the interviewer is more technically capable than the interviewee is irrelevant. You don't want a process where you have to send in your superstar engineers everytime to do the interview.

      A good hiring manager knows how to interpret the interviewer's feedback and recalibrate the decision. They won't reject you because you don't know some arcane leetcode solutions if you can show a good thought process and coding practice.
      Mar 16
  • Microsoft microshit
    Real mini project that can be completed within an 8 hours (a day of work), will tell you alot about the code quality, design, cs fundamentals, innovation and many many other things that leetcode will never be able to scratch.
    Mar 5 12
    • Uber / R&D jidao
      Yeah the problem with project is if you only have a few hours available for it, you're competing against someone using a couple of days...
      Mar 11
    • Expedia bucketOf$s
      Uber, yeah, but with leets you’re competing against someone with no responsibilities and possibly no life outside of work. Kind of hard to do when you have kids or don’t lead a shut in life.
      Mar 11
    • Uber / R&D jidao
      I'm not too worried about that, I'll do just fine at leetcode, I got good basis at the University
      Mar 11
    • Expedia bucketOf$s
      . My last uni class was a decade ago 😂. Though I belong to the no kids , no responsibilities camp.
      Mar 11
    • Uber / R&D jidao
      Yeah was close to a decade ago for me too, but I don't forget about it, I'm using from time to time at work
      Mar 11
  • Flagged by the community.

    • Amazon Xode
      Or a manager to hire all his friends working at Mc Donalds
      Mar 10
    • Amazon Beff-Jezos
      Wow, this is so damn true...
      Mar 10
  • Microsoft / PR
    qwerky

    Microsoft PR

    PRE
    Kroger, UPS, NASA, Pray.com, Christ Church Ann Arbor
    qwerkymore
    I hear there’s a new tool people are using to evaluate candidates: Super Mario typing
    Mar 5 3
    • LinkedIn tendies
      They really need to start doing mortal Kombat. That would change the game
      Mar 5
    • Yahoo / Eng verve
      Literally
      Mar 10
    • Tableau x-dev
      I mean, that's what I used back in the day to start out. That and my trusty TruBasic 3.5" floppy.
      Mar 11
  • Microsoft KBlA86
    Many leetcode problems are tricky, if you didnt meet it before interview, you're doomed
    Mar 6 2
    • Vistaprint GGLQ22
      Almost all
      Mar 10
    • Pinterest PVQy30
      “here is an application of a well known and well studied algorithms 101 question”

      “nooooo it’s a trick! my EE phd and 100 fpga publications never taught me how to apply basic algorithms fundamentals, therefore i deserve special treatment!”

      there are like 5 core concepts you need to grok to figure out the “trick” in just about any leetcode question
      Mar 20
  • Google Uvor31
    All I can say Leetcode must have some pro PR people that get everyone convinced they're the only way to get a job. I've been an interviewee and interviewer at a few of the fangs, and Leetcode really doesn't come into play.
    Mar 10 16
    • Microsoft zombielif
      if you are ioi medallist or acm icpc finalist, yes. Otherwise, I doubt anyone can solve leetcode hard without preparation. But this only means you prepared in a different way.

      More realistic stories I heard were people who got strong recommendations or hot skills can pass the interview without preparation because they were asked easier questions. This usually requires a PHD from prestige schools.
      Mar 11
    • Uber / R&D jidao
      Plenty doesn't mean the majority, it just means enough to fill most of the openings at top tier company. Recruiting at Uber is much harder than recruiting at Google, you want to see them? Go to Google...

      Also there are 150 medals in IOI each year, add to them all those who didn't qualify from China because they can only have 4 participants, and you have thousand each year that will fall in your bucket. That's not much for the industry but that's plenty enough for the tier 1 companies.
      Mar 11
    • Cruise Automation ElopedMusk
      I recruited for google for years and saw an acm medalist once (new grad). He bombed non coding portion and was passed on
      Mar 11
    • Cruise Automation ElopedMusk
      Actually now that i think of it his coding sucked too - very sloppy but he put it together super fast (shocker here)
      Mar 11
    • Shutterstock kudabobb
      Lol @domin8 you funny bro 😂
      Mar 12
  • Qualcomm / Eng
    Tintontun

    Qualcomm Eng

    PRE
    Qualcomm
    BIO
    Embedded software engineer
    Tintontunmore
    Leetcode exists so people with kids can't change jobs. 🤷🏻‍♂️
    Mar 10 1
  • Salesforce Sadforce
    The biggest thing in this industry is capacity and ability to learn. I had an interview 10 years ago, which was amazing:

    1st interview of the day: Manager told me about the product and its features and how some of then worked.

    Discussion Interviews about code, systems, behavior followed after that.

    Last interview: How do you think feature x from interview #1 work?

    Basically, they where testing my capacity to learn the whole time. Most of the interviewers didn't expect right or wrong answers; it was mostly a test of a) do I listen? b) am I eager to learn? c) am I capable of thinking through problem?
    Mar 10 2
    • Lawrence Livermore National Lab / Eng
      Ron Swan

      Lawrence Livermore National Lab Eng

      PRE
      Agilent Technologies, Bank of America
      Ron Swanmore
      What an enlightened and thoroughly thought out hiring processes. Passing arbitrary barrier to entry like leetcode is fine for hiring cogs in a machine for contributing to the vision of those in positions to affect change. Going deeper and finding / evaluating those who can answer questions and provide perspective outside of the status quo actually move that barrier for the cogs.
      Mar 10
    • Oscar 🐨koala
      OP
      Shut up and take my resume!
      Mar 10
  • Amazon Beff-Jezos
    The Amazon way makes sense to me: much easier to get in (easy-medium coding questions, plus a lot of behavioral questions), and those who cannot get shit done are pipped out.
    Mar 10 2
    • Amazon / Eng kwq7812
      Hate to say it, but I agree.
      Mar 10
    • Amazon toreador
      Yeh. And those who are piped out Interview the next bunch of idiots. Circle of life.
      Mar 11
  • Booking.com brbrb
    Asking from Leetcode is way better than asking how many tennis balls fill an airplane.
    Mar 10 4
    • Microsoft not-a-dev
      I am a fan of questions such as “how many cellphones do you think are sold in Seattle each year?” These kind of questions probe for critical thinking - the answer is totally irrelevant (I don’t even know it myself), but I want to see your reasoning.
      Mar 10
    • Pinterest PVQy30
      ^ can you define how to objectively judge someone’s performance on this? how can you do better than “my gut tells me this person is smart enough”?
      Mar 20
    • Microsoft not-a-dev
      Simple. If I see you completely lost and struggling then you failed the question. If you show that you make an effort and are thinking of a way to solve this problem that makes sense, then you passes it.
      Again, the answer doesn’t matter. It’s just about seeing your problem solving skills and creativity.
      Mar 21
    • Microsoft not-a-dev
      In general, however, nothing in job interviews is objective :) candidates are ALWAYS hired or rejected based on gut feelings. That’s why you interview with multiple people.
      Mar 21
  • Walmart.com / Eng review
    Sure. There are better ways, better questions... but for that the interviewers also need to be of higher intellect.

    Anyone can ask some LC hard and give some hints on the way. What is difficult is to ask a seemingly easy problem and make it difficult by introducing real world constraints. That takes years of experience.
    Mar 10 0
  • Parsons Corporation bAGA64
    When I do interviews of SW engineers for my company, I generally ask a relatively simple coding question toward the start of the interview. I accept pseudo code examples but ask them to explain their thinking as they solve the problem. Then once they have solved it we move on to other things for a bit and let the code sit there. Later in the interview I circle back to their solution and ask questions about how they would test the code, including what they would test for and what tools/methods they would use to test it. Then I let it sit again for a little while, and then toward the end of the interview I ask them to look at their code from an outsider's point of view and tell me what it's strengths and weaknesses in implementation are, and how they would modify it to improve it.

    I find this is a programming language neutral way to test their coding thought processes, their problem solving skills, their knowledge of test tooling and methods, and their ability to depersonalize and analyze the code to find ways to improve it. All of which are critical skills (IMO) for an effective SW engineer to have mastery of.
    Mar 10 0
  • CallRail CBAiejRX
    Have someone who knows what they’re doing have a 45 minute conversation with them. That’s all you need.
    Mar 10 0
  • IBM qdeye
    My manager focuses on coding philosophy. He asks about certain coding "basics" and slowly builds from there. If the programmer can hold a conversation and demonstrate good coding philosophy, that puts them on the short list.
    Its about knowing what you're code is doing, not how to code.
    Mar 10 0

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