Ruthless market or bad luck?

New XTnK45
Sep 18 16 Comments

Hello everyone,

After a few years (+8) in startup world, some recruiters from FAANG companies started reaching out so I decided to give it a shot. I leetcoded for a few weeks at nights and weekends when I was able to find some time (juggling family, kids, kids school activites, work, and a sort of obligations) and started replying when I felt I was doing Ok (not perfect but reasonable) with easy/medium questions. After a few interviews (Fb, Google, and the like) I’ve experienced that interviewers are really pushing for perfect efficient answers that run all tests and beyond, all in 15min or so to move to the next question. Really reminded me ACM-ICPC competitions in terms of expected speed and accuracy. Back in ~2011 my experience was that you could know the answer approximately well, code something that make sense with reasonable complexity, explain well enough some modifications to your code so it handles some new variants, and you were “ok”. Now, while coding something reasonable and being able to explain most of what was asked, but not delivering the expected efficiency and speed, I still seem to visibly annoy my interviewers.

Is this how it is now? Is the craze for leetcoding 24/7 for months (as I’ve seen people is talking here, blogs, and specially youtube videos) making everyone more competitive, hence interviewers expect much more from candidates today vs what was expected in the good old days? Or is it just bad luck and the interview loops have a high variance in roughness and I will eventually get an interview that seems more reasonable?

Really interested to hear from FAANG interviewers to understand my options, thanks!

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TOP 16 Comments
  • Salesforce / Eng Full-Send
    Well worded question would love to see what others say. 🍿
    Sep 18 0
  • Apple woodkid
    It's demand and supply.
    At top companies there's limited demand (number of roles) and almost endless supply (of engineers).

    Eventually, only the best (at clearing interviews) get hired. Given the rise of leetcode and competitive programming, it's getting increasingly hard to clear interviews.

    One minor correction though - your code has to work for all edge cases. You can't have code that works for 99% of the cases and call it correct. Most interviews are designed such that you can fully solve the question and code, test it in 45 min.

    You could try interviewing at non faang / hot companies (Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, Pinterest, stripe etc) and my guess is you'd have an easier time clearing them.
    Sep 18 3
    • New XTnK45
      OP
      In general the code has worked well for all edge cases, but when the interviewer changes the problem for a more intricate variant, sometimes I can’t find the right answer, and I end up bombing the interview.
      Sep 18
    • Apple woodkid
      Without knowing the question, I really can't comment on it.

      Most questions start out with an easy/medium proposition, followed by a small constraint that makes it harder. The expectation from the candidate totally depends on the question, and how historically other candidates who went on to work for the company had performed.
      Sep 18
    • New XTnK45
      OP
      Exactly: “how historically other candidates ... performed”, I think after most answers, there’s no way around this whole situation without really hitting LC harder and longer. Which is ok, just more time investment. Good to know to adjust my expectations and priorities 👍
      Sep 18
  • Unity antique
    Your story is a sad truth that is happening in the industry (especially in the Silicon Valley) due to lower average age of engineers in tier-1 companies compared to few years ago. Either you play the leetcode / hacker rank game or sit out and miss. ☹️.

    I am sure companies will soon realize this is a broken process to hire “good” engineers and it’s better to hire few good engineers than to hire tons of so called “great leetcoders” who can code at the speed of light and need tons of them to support the product and codebase in long run due to multiple re-writes.
    Sep 18 0
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Schonfeld / Eng
      9527

      Schonfeld Eng

      PRE
      Intel, morganstanley, citadel, etrade
      BIO
      coding monkey
      9527more
      After you get in one of FANGs and want to jump ship again, what will the plan be?
      Sep 18
    • New XTnK45
      OP
      Haha I’d looove to do that, but with bills and mortgage (specially in the bay area + kids) it’s just impossible to take that much time without a salary (or burning savings which I refuse to do even thinking on the potential ROI)
      Sep 18
  • LinkedIn brooklin
    Your experience has only been at FAANG. 5 companies do not make up the whole software engineering market.
    Sep 18 1
    • New XTnK45
      OP
      Not only explicitly FAANG, but smaller (IPO’ed) companies as well. Haven’t tried LinkedIn though. Thanks for the comment.
      Sep 18
  • Schonfeld / Eng
    9527

    Schonfeld Eng

    PRE
    Intel, morganstanley, citadel, etrade
    BIO
    coding monkey
    9527more
    Yes it’s true, bcz they don’t care to raise the bar crazily high as there are way too many applicants. If you want to get in, play their game.
    Sep 18 0
  • Microsoft / Eng kwodk
    Welcome to the extremely competive job market, LC harder.
    Sep 18 1
    • New XTnK45
      OP
      Thanks! Will hit LC as hard as I can 💪
      Sep 18
  • Cloudera itqw43
    I think it depends on level. At higher levels, your personal connections matter more than coding skills. What level did u interview for?
    Sep 18 2
    • New XTnK45
      OP
      Varies a little bit per company, but aiming ~L6 at Google (for example)
      Sep 18
    • Cloudera itqw43
      Interesting. I thought for L6 level the focus would be on leadership and system design skills. Did u confirm with the recruiter that interview loop is for L6? May be they put u under L4/L5 band where coding interviews matter more...
      Sep 18

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