Mad about Google and Facebook

Sep 1, 2017 274 Comments

I've around 2 years experience in soft dev and have failed Google phone screen twice and fb's once. Not just failed but did terrible in all 3 interviews. I did go to onsite for other top companies like Microsoft, Amazon n LinkedIn but didn't perform great.

I have both my bachelors and masters in computer science and I love coding. I see people from different background join some bootcamp or prepare for couple of months and get into top companies. I being from computer science background and working as SE in bay area finds it so difficult.

Its my dream to work for those companies. Not just dream I'm actually obsessed about it. I understand all the basics of algos n ds. I'm motivated but I don't work much for it.

I am looking for some advice here. I know those two companies are not the end of the world or even the fact that I may not like it after joining. But that's my dream I just want to work for one of the two companies.


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TOP 274 Comments
  • Microsoft mossit
    Did you practice the problems on leetcode on a whiteboard at home for 3 months?
    Sep 1, 2017 19
    • Rackspace / Eng

      Rackspace Eng

      Very true. But the interviewer can still pay attention to all of that. It's easy to observe the difference between someone who uses SO to understand their problem, and someone who blindly copy and pastes from it.
      Sep 3, 2017
    • Airbnb pklP73
      I've worked at both Google and Facebook and this is the best response I've seen to a question like this so far. I practiced coding questions for 3 months on a whiteboard that I bought for my home. That's it.
      Sep 15, 2017
  • Apple ierE46
    I posted the following in a separate thread where somebody that was an Apple fanboy had a dream of working at Apple and wanted an internal referral. I suspect that some of my points might apply to you, so I am reposting, but I have not edited the content to include the companies you're interested in.

    "I've always been an apple fanboy" - as someone that has interviews candidates, I would like to advise you to temper your fanboy-self during the interview process and really try to understand why you want to work at Apple. There are some things I watch out for with fanboy candidates:

    1) what aspects is it about Apple but the fan boy loves? If it's just because "Apple is cool", "I love all Apple products" or "i've been dreaming about working at Apple since forever", it raises a huge red flag for me. It's not that I think the candidate will be bad at the job, I am worried that the candidate will become disillusioned with Apple once they are on the inside and grow very bitter and depressed about working at Apple (sort of like the old saying "never meet your heroes"). If their reasoning is more about the type of work and the type of problems that they will be working on at Apple, I'm a bit more settled by someone that describes themselves as a fanboy.

    2) can the fanboy be critical of Apple. A big part of the job is to make amazing products that people will love. There's a lot of R&D that goes into that. I'm not saying you should shit talk Apple product in your interview, but if you get a question about a product, be prepared to discuss constructive criticism's rather than just accepting that "there's not a flaw with it because Apple is awesome."

    3) Whether the fanboy can back up their skills for the job required/appropriately market themselves. This seems like a no-brainer, however I've been in interview situations where the candidate only talks about their enthusiasm and fanboy-isms related to Apple and fail to discuss their actual skill set that would be good for a team. Sometimes the interviewer won't probe that much, so if you missed your opportunity to discuss your amazing skills because you only discussed your love, the interviewer may be mused by your optimism, but come out of the interview thinking you have nothing to offer.

    4) Is the candidate asking appropriate questions related to the job they are applying for. Another red flag for me is when a candidate asks more questions about Apple lore, Cook, Jobs or Ives. this may not always be something that indicates you lack skill, but I want candidates to also be interested in the work they're going to be doing.


    In addition to these points that I discussed with the Apple fanboy, I have additional advice for you.

    A) You wrote "Not just failed but did terrible in all 3 interviews. I did go to onsite for other top companies like Microsoft, Amazon n LinkedIn but didn't perform great."

    This is a red flag for me. My question for you is why are you performing poorly?

    If you have the skill set to do the work and do it well and you are still failing the interview, it might be a poor personality fit. Alternately, the way you are presenting yourself might be unlikable - there's a fine line between being a confident candidate and a smug unlikable asshole.

    B) Are you coming across as too desperate to your interviewers?

    From what I read in your post, I sense desperation - desperation is terribly unattractive in a candidate.

    Do not over-pester the recruiting team. When one door closes, take whatever advice you were given, and any timeframes you were told about reapplying and do your best to abide within reason. For instance, if you fail one interview with Google, don't reapply one month later or hit up a different recruiter on LinkedIn hoping for a different outcome. Recruiters talk and the last thing you want is to become known as a little cockroach that won't accept no for an answer, or doesn't seem to be trying to take the time to develop their skills set further before reapplying.

    Related: Don't beg for internal referrals - have coffee dates with your contacts first, and if they are impressed with your skill set and offer advice or offer to give you an internal referral, then take it. But never beg, it's a sure fire way to either be ignored or have your resume passed along with a note to "do not contact". Also, if you don't like the outcome you got from a recruiter or the folks that interviewed you from the team, do not try to contact team directors or managers directly begging for a job or trying to get another interview. I see both these cases with surprising frequency. Directors and managers tend to trust that their people have already made the right call, and it just makes the candidate appear pathetic.

    C) Are you over-valuing your credentials?

    "I have both my bachelors and masters in computer science"
    I frequently see candidates that think their University Pedegree speaks for it self. It may be a good foot in the door to get the initial interview, but I am going to want to see how you back this up. I don't care where you worked, or where you went to school, I want you to market what you can do for me and my team.

    D)you wrote: "I'm motivated but I don't work much for it."

    This is another red flag. A lot of work requires champions and people that are willing to go out and find problems to solve and take the initiative. If you're a fast learner, but come across as someone that has to be told what to do (I.e. You are reactive, not proactive) you may not be a great candidate for these companies.

    Take a look at your current work portfolio. How many of the projects you are working on are projects that you were involved with from inception and are the lead on- and how many of these assignments were simply given to you. How many times have you found a problem that needs to be fixed at your current job and you volunteered to tackle it – and how many times have you seen a problem and thought "someone else will deal with that" and you ignored it.

    E) Re-evaluate why you want a job at these places.

    You have a gig at PayPal. What are you not getting at this job that you think you will get at the others?
    I play devils advocate on the reasons people give me. Just a few examples.
    -Prestige? - Remember this is a job, not a Coco Chanel handbag.
    -Dream? - that's interesting, what is your expectation on the internal working environment? What aspects about 'company x' make it a dream company?
    - Career growth? - great answer, but what kind of career growth do you want and why do you think you're not getting it in your current position? How do you plan on getting this career growth? What steps have you taken to be your own champion of your career growth?
    -More money/benefits? - well everyone wants this, what are the other things that you require to be satisfied in your line of work?

    Find what is right for you long term and 😉
    Sep 1, 2017 21
    • Nextdoor e7gb3r
      @chancellor yeah it’s pretty clear why you’re not getting hired. It has nothing to do with coding just have a shitty attitude. I don’t want you anywhere near my teams.
      Sep 2, 2017
    • Wow... I can only hope I don't encounter anyone like you on my future teams. You have some issues to work out, and they're far more extensive than just technical practice.
      Sep 2, 2017
  • Eigen / Eng

    Eigen Eng

    Its not only you many has this problem Cracking Interview for Top 4 requires massive amount of luck..

    And No leetcode wont help.. In my 3 encounter so far, the closest question I ever got matched with Ctci and Leetcode is 1.. Every freaking time I get new questions..

    I haven't mastered leetcode but have seen almost all question and solve 40-45 % of them..

    Telling you when luck is against you, nothing works
    Sep 1, 2017 18
    • Microsoft / Eng

      Microsoft Eng

      Programmer w 17years experience in services and big data
      You don't get it, the point is not to memorize solutions from some exercise website or book , the point is to see if you can come up with your own solution. Your education failed you, it seems your education rewarded memorized solutions and you still are trying to mimic that.
      Sep 4, 2017
    • Boeing / Eng TinFoilHat
      How would you propose I break that habit then? I'm very much into continuing my education so you have any suggestions?
      Sep 5, 2017
  • Amazon / Eng Aeofel
    While you could and definitely should practice questions on leetcode or interviewcake or some site like that, I'd like to offer another point of view.

    Phone screens are a little harder as you can't see the person face to face. But on site's the rub:
    I think you might want it so badly that you end up in a knot and then all your skills work against you instead of working for you. As silly as it sounds, try not to write code next time. When the coding question comes up, be yourself. Talk about the problem. Look for the story behind the problem and talk about it with the interviewer. Then, by the time you write some code you might be a little more relaxed, you might get a little more help or nudges along the way and you might get the result you dream about.

    Don't stop dreaming, the dream is there and you can make it happen. Just don't give up!
    Sep 1, 2017 1
    • Intel radio1
      @Aeofel great job encouraging this guy.
      Sep 2, 2017
  • Memorizing leetcode won’t help; understanding leetcode will. — That is a subtle and important difference.
    Sep 1, 2017 4
    • Uber / Eng

      Uber Eng

      Jesus yes thank you. It's even better because since you're learning instead of memorizing, it actually makes you better at your job.
      Sep 2, 2017
    • Google smoothie
      Agree, I honestly had a good time. Learned tons about graphs, recursion, bitwise manipulation and dynamic programming.
      Sep 2, 2017
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Microsoft


      Manager of small dev team in Azure
      What a dick!
      Sep 2, 2017
    • Salesforce unclebeny
      Not all of Salesforce is like lyXQ11.
      Sep 2, 2017
  • Micro Focus / Eng

    Micro Focus Eng

    It's who you know.
    Sep 1, 2017 3
    • Facebook wrxXv73V8k
      Who you know may get you the interview but it won't get you the job.
      Sep 1, 2017
    • Uber aUKs78
      The Facebook folks are correct. Top companies fail if they don't get top talent. I've done over 500 interviews at various top companies in the last 10 years. Pretty much always an attempt is made to be objective and merit based. maybe 2 or 3 times I felt someone pulled rank based on a connection.

      I will say that a lot of interviewing is random and there are a lot of dumbshit interviewers that look for the wrong things.
      Sep 1, 2017
  • Microsoft c:
    Fuck Google and Facebook and their leetcode interviews. Does not really determine a person's capability. Publish your own app on both app stores and let your work speak for itself. Contribute to open source.
    Sep 1, 2017 6
    • Microsoft 3doors
      So let me get this straight, essentially you know where the questions are coming from yet you don't study it but complain? This is not the right mindset, do your HW before complaining
      Sep 7, 2017
    • Microsoft Harambe01
      There are 600 questions. It would take you atleast a year to master the
      Sep 7, 2017
  • Facebook / Other nvm
    You're motivated but don't work much for it?... If taken literally, what do you want us to do? You don't put in actual effort then too bad.
    Sep 1, 2017 3
    • Amazon ratnutz
      Yeah that is a strange comment the OP said. He seems to "want" to work there but his actions don't indicate a true motivation.
      Sep 1, 2017
    • Google smoothie
      He clearly has a L7-9 vision
      Sep 2, 2017
  • Boeing / Eng TinFoilHat
    Why not SpaceX? You're obviously a fan of The Musk and you're in PayPal
    Sep 1, 2017 3
    • SpaceX interview is for very few ones. This is obviously MS material.
      Sep 1, 2017
    • Amazon / Eng jskskd
      I'm a huge spacex fan but 60+ hour work weeks for mediocre pay is not worth it.
      Sep 2, 2017


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