Tech Interviews in Bay Area Q3 2019

OpenTable l33tmonkey
Sep 11 21 Comments

Asking for myself and a couple of friends who are in the same boat:

We have been receiving interview calls and decided to take up a few interviews to get a feel. We have attended 10+ interviews each from the last 3 months. Companies range from PayPal to Google to Facebook. All the companies are based out of bay area.

While a handful of the interviews were fair (where we did well and made it onsite or did not do well due to lack of preparation related to that specific DS or Algo). But over 70% of the phone screening interview we experienced:
- 2 or max 3 questions per hour was normal. We noticed people asking upto 5 questions. (have completed 200+ leetcode)
- Regarding stories, it looks like the expectation is to tell fascinating technical learning which involves cross team collaboration, leadership, ownership and also techinal depth all in less than 60 seconds. (Have read and rehearsed the STAR method)
-Few interviewers are expecting flawless working code which you write and just run should work without any compilation errors. (Seeming not bad, but stressful when you have to do it under tough time lines)
- Expect you to be well versed in the online coding platform and its quirks like coderpad
- Some questions were biased towards Python (seeming doable in 1 hour) but when you try the same thing in Java its not do able in 1 hour. (involved lot of file reads and writes etc)
- A few email/verbal offer were rolled back because or hiring priority changes end of quarter :`(

This has been our collective experience. We just wanted to get your thought to see if you have had similar experience, any cases where switching to python helped. Or over general strategies would be appreciated as I'm a bit demotivated right now due to the above experience.

Completely understand that we need to leetcode more and we do it actively on weekends. but due to all the points mentioned above something does not make sense. Has the bar really raised so much that it melts down to your typing speed. Or are we missing something. TIA for your support and motivation.

YOE : 10
TC: 265k

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TOP 21 Comments
  • Microsoft bigp826
    Interviewers ask 2+ coding questions on phone screens now? Really?
    Sep 11 7
    • OpenTable l33tmonkey
      OP
      Yes Instacart asked 4 (may be python would have helped), 2 is the least I experienced this quarter. If it was only 2 question I'd certainly go out and celebrate with an ice cream or drink that evening. 3 to 5 is very common on an average or if 2 then the second one would be little tricky like infinitely large inputs. Could explain approaches like map reduce and an approach, but they are expecting working code for that as well.
      Sep 11
    • Apple bogle
      3-5 entire LC questions in 1 hour?

      You actually need to do file read/write to handle input/output for these questions? So you need to know the methods to do these? Damn and mapreduce too??

      Is this for regular SWE or specialized roles?
      Sep 11
    • OpenTable l33tmonkey
      OP
      Regular SWE, but digging deeper most of there interviewers where either recent grads or 2 years experience. Or frontend / dev ops engineers interviewing for backend role. Whenever I got back-end developers with 5+ years of experience (I'm a backend engineer as well) the interview experience has been fair and pleasant irrespective of the out come.
      Sep 11
    • Apple bogle
      can you elaborate on what they are expecting you to do regarding the file reads/writes in these questions?

      I've never seen LC questions involving this
      Sep 11
    • OpenTable l33tmonkey
      OP
      @bogle one recent example is Game of life question , follow up with million X million input where the input would be in a text file. From the discussion it looked like working code was expected. Might still be doable in Python for a ninja level code, I just did find it do able using Java in the 12-ish minutes I had left.
      Sep 11
  • Rubrik rubrik one
    In my opinion, software engineering interviews have been deeply deeply flawed. Not just now, but historically have always been. This may be the latest trending version of it.

    Fundamentally, interviewing is much more of an art than science. Judging people and their capabilities quickly and correctly is a skill that most humans never develop, and those who do, do it relatively late in their life.

    But think about when you started interviewing. Probably 2 years into your first job, likely in your early 20s. Likely, you simply didn't (and still don't) have the skills to judge people correctly in a 45 minute interaction.

    So, we do the next best thing. We fall back on science. For the science to work, the more the data, the better the results.

    Leetcode your way to heaven!
    Sep 11 0
  • Microsoft kctc
    I saw the same. It is just getting worse day by day. Another thing which no body wants to admit is how high racism or other form of discrimination happen in these human interviews. If you can look from a third angle, youโ€™ll see how interviewers subconsciously manipulate the same question presentation based on their willingness to give candidate chance or not, how their body language change based on their preference for the candidate. The goal of the human interviews of how people think has become obsolete and people basically checking how quickly they can regurgitate leetcode patterns. This should have been replaced by standard/automatic testing like sat/gre.
    Sep 11 1
    • OpenTable l33tmonkey
      OP
      Thank you @kctc I faced this as well. Half way through or in the beginning itself I could tell you the results based on tone and communication. I was hurt by this but didn't want to touch upon this in this post as it's a sensitive topic. Very good point thank you.
      Sep 12
  • VMware genius1
    that has been my experience as well. some questions are biased towards python. interviewers donโ€™t seem to care that itโ€™s going to take twice as long to implement the same in java. i would chalk it to lack of experience of interviewers. also expectations have been insane. was expected to implement robin karp substring marching for the optimized solution part. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…
    Sep 11 0
  • Visa / QA ;๐Ÿข;
    Yes I also have similar experience. In couple of phone screens I got 3 coding questions. For Lot of questions I found you need to read data from file / api response before using ds/algo..
    Sep 11 0
  • eBay jhdbcni
    ๐Ÿฟ
    Sep 11 4
    • OpenTable l33tmonkey
      OP
      Welcome to the thread eBay:
      In the in person round I was asked 1. Median of Two Sorted Arrays [Hard], LRU cache, System Design (FitBit) all in 1 hour with working code and optimized solution etc.
      Following round was asked a brand new question (google question) from the leetcode discussion thread that was posted 1 hour before the interview. And the interviewer did not know the expected input or output for that question :)
      Sep 11
    • Apple bogle
      2 LC hard and system design in 1 hour for ebay? Holy fck dude

      From your experience, what companies had the easiest interviews? What were their difficulty would you say?
      Sep 11
    • OpenTable l33tmonkey
      OP
      @bogle I'm ok with hard questions you either get the job or end up learning something new. What I am trying to highlight is seemingly insane levels; something that the interviewer himself/herself may not be able to solve. In my experience the best experience were Square, Atlassian, eBay(except for the two bad rounds), Facebook the worst were AirBnB, LinkedIn and Dropbox. Again this just means I got experienced/fair interviewers at Square, Atlassian, eBay and probably inexperienced interviewers who where probably fighting another fire at work at AirBnB, LinkedIn and Dropbox. The AirBnB interviewer was literally waiting to disconnect the call and run :) (had also rescheduled last minute twice)
      Sep 11
    • Apple bogle
      After all this, where did you and your friends get offers from by the way?
      Sep 12
  • Intel / Finance LC_ups_TC
    Man this is scary, I have around 150 leetcode questions, 70 of them are mediums but I cannot do more than 3 questions per hour.
    Sep 11 0
  • Chase / Eng Sha_
    Another ๐Ÿฟ
    Sep 11 0
  • Publicis Sapient / Eng LCdebugger
    Holy crap, this is insane.

    Itโ€™s seems strange, Dropbox Airbnb etc should have well established interview process. I canโ€™t imagine myself doing 4 questions in 1 hr
    Sep 11 0

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