Rant over the interview

Aug 15, 2018 37 Comments

So I was interviewed by one of the fangs. Interview asked me a question which I solved recursively. Then dude asked me to solve the question iteratively.

I explained the solution to him however (my bad) I couldn't complete the code correctly. (It was not even coderpad or hackerrank). Just a plain editor. I'd no chance to execute the code.

He didn't really test me on other skills I have. Now had I seen that question during practice and solved that question iteratively and recursively, I'd have aced.

I am just upset at some interviewers who happen to not really know how to interview, IMHO. I know I'm no saint and perfect. But really this is how you interview?

How common it is for other fangs and fang-likes?

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TOP 37 Comments
  • Avegant / Eng
    Zilla T

    Avegant Eng

    BIO
    Bring Back Hardware Jobs
    Zilla Tmore
    Idea is not to practice every qn out there and “ace” through it, rather it is to see if you can think on the spot about problem at hand and reach a solution. Almost every time I interviewed at FANG, even though I never saw the qn before and was able to solve it, test it for cornercases, I did not make the cut, simply because there is too many “Acers” out there. I just sucked it up and I am happy interviewing at Startups that test you on real skills. FANG money will be always there but you don’t want to define your life by mere TC
    Aug 15, 2018 1
    • OP
      Yes. Exactly. For the love of God, can't agree more.
      Aug 15, 2018
  • Amazon / Eng tyuikjjg
    Yes, you fail if you can not code correctly. In a plain editor or whiteboard.
    Aug 15, 2018 3
    • New pePy35
      Seriously, is it same in Amazon?
      Aug 15, 2018
    • Amazon / Eng tyuikjjg
      For L5 job, you will fail if you did not check invalid input and edge case
      Aug 15, 2018
    • OP
      Dude... That's not the point. I know I failed. The point I'm making is "please interviewers, know what you're trying to test the candidate for. Be prepared to understand their thought process. And just try to be smart about it. Think of the thought process of them rather than just being an A*hole about one particular solution and relying on the cache hit or cache miss".
      Aug 15, 2018
  • Microsoft
    Yup that is how it's done. You were lucky to use a computer at all, a lot is done on whiteboards.
    Aug 15, 2018 0
  • Capital One / Eng MewTwo
    I understand your frustration. The same thing happened to me at an Amazon on-site. I was given the Coin change problem. I solved it recursively, walked through all test cases, then last five minutes interviews asks me to optimize it. I suggest adding memorization, but make some errors because I don’t want to erase beautiful written code on the whiteboard and fail. I think it would have been better to spend the time writing the most optimal case first, if it’s necessary. I like talking and walking through the recursive implementation because it’s easy to explain your thoughts and then you can go ham on a super optimized approach. I’m just going to write the DP approach first going forward.
    Aug 15, 2018 8
    • Microsoft Hdwt42
      As TCTL, said adding memo to recursive is 3 lines of code (maybe 4). I always start without memo and add the memo at the end.
      Aug 15, 2018
    • Capital One / Eng MewTwo
      I had written the recursive method with a void return type instead of list, which made it a little more complicated than 3-4 lines. I’m so embarrassed 😭😭😭haha.
      Aug 15, 2018
    • Google TAP failed
      Lol
      Aug 15, 2018
    • Capital One / Eng MewTwo
      https://pastebin.com/zYJFeG5b the question was write a method to return the change with the fewest number of coins. This is what I had on the whiteboard.
      Aug 15, 2018
    • Barclays PLC Pwyr9saF
      So you got rejected?
      What were other questions
      Aug 15, 2018
  • Netflix / Eng BlndrThngs
    “I'd no chance to execute the code.
    ...
    Now had I seen that question during practice and solved that question iteratively and recursively, I'd have aced.”

    Is this how it is these days? Maybe I’m getting old but I’ve only had whiteboards interviews and with many new questions. (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Netflix, ...)
    Aug 15, 2018 4
    • Avegant / Eng
      Zilla T

      Avegant Eng

      BIO
      Bring Back Hardware Jobs
      Zilla Tmore
      Yep. Read my comment
      Aug 15, 2018
    • Capital One / Eng MewTwo
      I think Google has a policy about not asking questions that have been posted on LeetCode etc. I was shocked by the quality and uniqueness of all of my Google interview questions and so I just asked the interviewer and that’s what he told me. So it probably varies by team and company.
      Aug 15, 2018
    • OP
      Yes... Believe it or not. I feel my chances are slim because I just haven't don't a particular problem in my past, rather than seeing the thought process of the candidate.
      Aug 15, 2018
    • OP
      I mean.. I feel better at solving a problem when I've not seen the question. So that I can think genuinely about it and use my basics to come to the optimal solution.

      On the other hand if I've seen it in the past then I feel like I'm just doing a cache hit and I'm in. That's my problem. You interviewers are not really testing the thought process of the candidate. You just expect best optimal solution from the candidate's cache and be happy.

      But life on the other hand works differently.
      Aug 15, 2018
  • LinkedIn ogacihc
    Sometimes it’s just luck or not a fit that time around. Don’t sweat it - interviewing isn’t a perfect process.
    Aug 15, 2018 1
    • OP
      That's what I'm telling myself. There's some truth to it.
      Aug 15, 2018
  • eBay / Eng
    Cfc

    eBay Eng

    PRE
    eBay
    Cfcmore
    Which of the FANGs was it?
    Aug 15, 2018 2
    • Oracle / Eng
      pycharm

      Oracle Eng

      PRE
      Stealth Worker
      BIO
      Control over your own life is an illusion.
      pycharmmore
      The canine
      Aug 15, 2018
    • OP
      I don't think it really matters now...
      Aug 15, 2018
  • Oracle caesar
    Wild guess — it’s Amazon. Sounds like you failed at a simple question and couldn’t correctly use a queue. Need more practice.
    Aug 15, 2018 1
    • OP
      Lol... Sure. That's so helpful.
      Aug 15, 2018
  • Microsoft ftetf
    Explain the question to us
    Aug 15, 2018 1
    • OP
      I can't without giving too much information.
      Aug 15, 2018
  • Dell Rorschach
    If this happened to me, I’ll be glad that I didn’t get hired. Iterative solutions are so dirty that I wish was a TPM rather than a dev.
    Aug 15, 2018 3
    • Uber TCTL
      😂😂😂😂
      While there are use case where iterative is the way to go to optimize for memory or speed, in general I find the recursive solution (when it makes sense) much more natural. So gotta agree
      Aug 15, 2018
    • Dell Rorschach
      OP. You should have told the interviewer “go back to C++. Homeboy!!”.
      Aug 15, 2018
    • OP
      @dell I don't agree. I think whatever solves the problem best should be the idea.
      Aug 15, 2018
  • Salesforce ©️opy
    If you practice the interactive solution, they will ask you the recursive or even another solution. It seems to be an easy question that is used to test your thinking and coding
    Aug 15, 2018 0
  • VMware Bay2018
    Depends on the question. Simple example: tree traversal recursive - cs 101 question. Iteratively- many folks fail writing that in interview.
    Aug 15, 2018 0
  • New pePy35
    This happened to me few months ago. Give it few days and you will realized how organized and cleverly answered the questions and nailed the interview. But for the next anxiety again :)
    Aug 15, 2018 0