My first fang phone interview experience

New b00
Oct 12, 2018 35 Comments

Had a phone screen with Facebook last week. Want share some of what I learned with anyone new to the process.

I got a DP problem. It could be solved without DP but it would be very slow. I started by solving it the slow way. I'm not sure if there would have been another question as I ran out of time just as I solved it the slow way. I had no time to add DP.

First thing I learned is that time is your enemy. 5 minutes for intro, 5 for questions at the end and 5-10 for questions/clarifications. So u'll have less than 30 minutes to design and and solve 1 or 2 questions.

Next, I learned that talking while figuring out a solution is hard. Probably requires either a lot of practice and/or that you have seen the question before. I'm leaning towards u need to have seen a very similar question. But I could be wrong/slow at solving.

Funny thing is that Facebook has a workshop and they give a demonstration where the guy gets a problem and solved it perfectly in 5-10 minutes. That problem was much easier than what I got. And they probably have done it before.

Similarly, just talking about your solution after you gave figured it out is time consuming. For this, practice is definitely the key.

On the positive side, I learned that I can learn. I did like 70 leetcode, like 90% easy. And I watched a lot of YouTube examples. So I wasn't very prepared but the topics start to stick after a while. So I hadn't seen the question before, but I was able to use the methods I had learned to figure it out. And so I think that if I leetcode more and practice some mock interviews, then my chances of getting an offer are pretty good. I used to think this leetcode stuff was crazy and a waste of time. Now I'm all for it. And I just failed lol

So my advice, keep leetcoding and time yourself on problems. I think once uve done a few hundred and you feel comfortable with medium, you should be ready. I'm still a bit uncomfortable with medium so I was definitely not ready. But it was a good learning experience.

Yoe 15 TC 200

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TOP 35 Comments
  • Microsoft tingtang
    Yep! The key is basically to have seen the problem before. Remember they are not testing your ability to code. I struggle because I keep wanting to show I can code great things. They are testing your memory. You need to be able to recognize problems fast and regurgitate a solution.
    Oct 12, 2018 5
    • Microsoft Tychus
      I respectfully disagree. While you might be able to pass using that method, what they are really after is to understand how you think and how you solve problems.
      Oct 12, 2018
    • Microsoft tingtang
      Sure that’s the intent but the reality is that giving someone a dynamic programming problem which they haven’t been actively thinking about and practicing and then expecting a bug-free perfect solution in 20 minutes likely means the person looked at a bunch of similar problems beforehand and knows roughly what the answer is.

      I get the intent is to find those few people who really are that gifted analytically but that’s not what winds up happening in real life.
      Oct 12, 2018
    • New b00
      OP
      Maybe some interviewers are interested on how you think. This one was not. And that's ok...maybe they leave that for on site.
      Oct 12, 2018
    • Apple Vhff45
      What’s the old adage, “when the measure becomes the target, it ceases to become a good measure”... LC grind FTW!
      Oct 12, 2018
    • New b00
      OP
      To be honest 90% of the people I work with have no interest in studying hard to interview for a new job. So the leetcode requirement ensures they don't apply/get in. That's not a bad thing since I work with a lot of people who wouldn't cut it at fang. Sure, a few good ones will be casualties of the system as well, but it's worth not hiring the majority of them.
      Oct 12, 2018
  • Uber makepeace
    I respect time. Whenever I do interview I just start with question and tell the candidate that lets leave last 10minutes for any questions. This way some candidate takes 45, 50, 55 minute to complete the question and based on how much time left we do other intro talks. I feel we should give ample time to candidate rather than just assume that it should be solve in 20-25 mins and if it is prepare one more question.
    Oct 12, 2018 0
  • Gusto G_M
    70 Leetcode? Try 700
    Oct 12, 2018 0
  • Twitter Amoonarriv
    First phone screen with fb and they DPed you? I doubt it. You probably read the problem wrong. There is probably a more efficient solution w/o using DP.
    Oct 12, 2018 6
    • Just had a Facebook phone screen and got word break from leetcode. Easy DP
      Oct 12, 2018
    • New b00
      OP
      Hope you passed! Was there a second question?
      Oct 12, 2018
    • New / Eng ufJz68
      Cheater me uses @lru_cache(maxsize=None) and tells the interviewer to put that in their pipe and smoke it
      Oct 12, 2018
    • Thanks, second question was 3Sum (sadly not involving two gorgeous women)
      Oct 12, 2018
    • New b00
      OP
      I'll have to try those two questions. Looks like I would of needed a ton of time to solve those two questions. Even knowing them it seems long. We're you rushed at all? How did you get your speed up?
      Oct 12, 2018
  • Cruise Automation / Other MensaKyle
    I don’t wanna know what fist fang means.
    Oct 12, 2018 3
    • Sirius XM WjKdd23
      Get your mind out of the gutter and punch a wolf in the mouth.
      Oct 12, 2018
    • Cruise Automation / Other MensaKyle
      Okay
      Oct 12, 2018
    • Microsoft / Other Grrrrrrl
      I do
      Oct 12, 2018
  • Nvidia {Empty}
    Very helpful !
    Oct 12, 2018 0
  • Amazon LostIn
    Congrats, most people don't even ever have one fisting experience
    Oct 12, 2018 1
    • New / Eng
      ➿➿

      New Eng

      PRE
      Yahoo, TiVo
      ➿➿more
      Let alone fisting with DP.
      Oct 12, 2018
  • Insureon / Eng MrCoder
    Better luck next time! Was that question from Leetcode?
    Oct 12, 2018 0
  • Amazon Deaf Bezos
    I would never ask a dp question over the phone period.
    Oct 12, 2018 2
    • New b00
      OP
      Well maybe the guy would of been satisfied with just the brute Force and mentioning DP. Didn't get far enough to find out.
      Oct 12, 2018
    • Amazon Deaf Bezos
      You can always fail a person in an interview because you never try and find out who they really are. You can ask a simple question and find much more about a person than asking a complicated one.
      Oct 12, 2018
  • Microsoft / Other Grrrrrrl
    Read this thread over with dp = deep penetration. I did and it's hilarious.
    Oct 12, 2018 1
    • VMware / Eng op1
      Lmao
      Oct 12, 2018
  • Dell dot123
    I totally agree with the need to practice or having seen a similar problem argument. Its possible that a miniscule portion of programmers can do these on their first go without any practice whatsoever.But I think that's what these interviewers are actually after.. but in the process they don't have a good way to assess rest of them. I have been working for past 10 years and in a few companies and at work my managers and peers always seem to give me the best reviews.But when I start interviewing I always struggle. I think real work and Interview process are 2 different things..We are better of not fighting that and keep practicing and give our best in interviews.. Good luck !
    Oct 12, 2018 1
    • Microsoft tingtang
      Yep. Interviewing is a separate skill than programming. It’s really weird to think that the interview wouldn’t be assessing on the job expertise but that’s the world we are in.
      Oct 12, 2018
  • Google / Eng Neopets😍
    I think sometimes you do get shitty interviewers. Why ask a DP question over the phone?

    Honestly I hate the interview process for FAANG companies. It’s total trash but i get why it’s necessary...doesn’t make it any less garbage.
    Oct 12, 2018 0
  • Vertivco / Eng
    Fast Papua

    Vertivco Eng

    PRE
    YouTube, American Bureau of Shipping, Facebook
    Fast Papuamore
    Yes. Those 1st party interview videos are 100% bullshit or more. No one asks those questions.
    Oct 12, 2018 0
  • New hwUn20
    All the very best in your interviews!!
    Oct 12, 2018 0
  • Gigamon / Eng klmno
    What was the question
    Oct 12, 2018 0
  • VMware / Eng op1
    I had a similar experience with OP and felt exactly the same. I also got a DP in the initial screening
    Oct 12, 2018 0

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