Phone screen is hard nowadays

Jul 30, 2019 406 Comments

I got about 4 rejects from top tier fanng companies recently. All the interview questions are answered as well as follow up questions but still got reject.

Btw I have solved around 400lc, and can solve most lc medium in 10 minutes.
Few lessons:
1. Maybe the competion is too fierce, in order to secure the onsite you need to solve 2 lc questions in 30 minutes bug free plus optimal time optimal space. Too crazy hard.
2. The question itself is too simple, everyone solved it, then its a game of luck. Like give you a list remove an element inside it. Whats the fuck of this kind of questions....
3. Female interviewer intentionally setup a lot of traps and very tough in general....


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TOP 406 Comments
  • Oracle


    Me thinks poor communication skills. Female judger?
    Jul 30, 2019 98
    • Walmart raise in my Google onsite, the interviewer would have failed in communication for sure. He could not understand what I was saying and he could not describe his thoughts as well. The shadow interviewer had to explain many things.
      Aug 3, 2019
    • Square SQRT
      I’m just surprised that not a single googler commented on Hooli’s post. Communication should be a part of interview evaluation, no doubt. But if the rejection criteria is just thick accent, it points to some extreme cases where the communication is excellent barring the fact that the interviewer is no used to the accent.

      In that case, it does point to bias and I would be sad to see either google not explain their interview rubric clearly or google heading down this road.

      All you gotta do is make sure the candidate understands you are having a hard time with the communication and if it gets to a point where you can’t deal with it, let the interview panel know that the issue was accent. Your generic feedback about continuous poor communication gives a very misleading signal.
      Aug 4, 2019
  • TrueCar / Eng Twhh78
    Maybe the sexism doesn’t help?
    Jul 30, 2019 19
    • ICU Medical / Mktg

      ICU Medical Mktg

      Trying my own thing but doing something for someone else. 🤷🏼‍♂️
      Aug 4, 2019
    • Verizon HelloMoon1
      That lying SOB
      Aug 5, 2019
  • Truly mean this as a compliment: look at yourself in the mirror and realize you work at Microsoft, I'd love to be in your shoes. I know maybe someone will tell me the same about IBM and I'll strongly disagree, but my point is, you have more than most and it's ok to take a step back, be grateful and try again tomorrow. Good luck with interviews, the key is consistency and perseverance.
    Jul 30, 2019 8
    • Expedia Group / Consultant

      Expedia Group Consultant

      Layoffs? uBetcha!
      Larry spotted
      Aug 2, 2019
    • Reliable Software / Eng YonkoKaido
      @ibm you are so lucky to be at ibm. You have so much more than so many others.

      LOL so don't try to leetcode anymore ok? 😂 Just kidding
      Aug 2, 2019
  • Amazon 6ahr7e
    You leetcoders have made it hard for yourself, everyone prepares, bar of questions rises and more and more questions become known.
    I personally never prepared for interviews and never will. If a company is asking Leetcode questions which has nothing to do with the job, then it's a bad company to work for anyway because it's interviewing is broken.
    Jul 30, 2019 17
    • Airbnb


      Then why the heck u r in Amazon?
      Aug 3, 2019
    • Splunk / Eng ImaRainbow
      Bottom line is you’re frozen out of this industry if you don’t comply with the interviewing process that Google has spread throughout the industry. Maybe you can get a second-tier job in Raleigh-Durham without that, but good luck finding a startup or major employer willing to interview you in the tech mecca cities of SF, Santa Clara, Seattle, Portland, Austin or Boston.
      Aug 4, 2019
  • Amazon Gjdyveycc4
    I had similar experience as well. Also Asian ppl tend to hire Asian is also what I have seen
    Jul 30, 2019 11
    • Amazon xmmsn
      u get to travel to them or stuck in Seattle?
      Aug 2, 2019
    • HERE Oquz23
      Depends on what project you are on. Some of my colleagues didn't even travel once for 10 odd years, some did quite often. So, there's really no rule of thumb there.
      Aug 3, 2019
  • You could be like me, pass all my phone screens (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Tesla, Microsoft, Robinhood, you name it)... and only get one offer because you’re old :(
    Aug 2, 2019 13
    • Workday / Eng Rekt_
      @Uber-MnkyDLuffy: lol. I am not justifying anything. I am on the same boat. All I am saying is ageism does exists.
      Aug 3, 2019
    • You said “new grads” are “more favorable”. I know you probably didn’t mean anything by that except you’re pointing out the truth (and it is true that companies think like that) but I think it’s also critical that ageism is called out. It’s too often ignored or just laughed at or we blame the old people. People feel ashamed to say they are victims of it, or they proudly say it didn’t happen to them as a point of pride. We should all be fighting it together, even the 20 year olds, because as @facebook said nobody is 20 forever.
      Aug 3, 2019
  • Facebook Ladee
    I feel like you just suck. I recently had a set of companies I interviewed with and wasn’t rejected at phone stage by any. I thought they’ve gotten easier actually.
    Jul 31, 2019 5
    • Kabbage / Data fxnM15
      And you probably come across as a dick irl too
      Aug 2, 2019
    • Moz hNvf01
      @op try joining toast Masters and maybe also hire a language coach? You already have an idea a problem you can fix and it's totally in your control. All the best.
      Aug 2, 2019
  • Amazon yioggt53
    Hmm pretty sure they were filtering out sexists. Guess it worked.
    Aug 2, 2019 16
    • I was not rejected by women either (I asked the recruiter).
      Aug 2, 2019
    • Facebook / Eng lkj630
      As I said, damn men! Wish we all got more women interviewers, since that seemed to work out well for you.
      Aug 2, 2019
  • Microsoft msafet
    Dude. I'm not a Rockstar, I'm a pretty average coder. I prepared for two months, I didn't solve 400 LC questions. More like 50 or so.

    And I passed on Google and Facebook. I definitely passed the phone screening with flying colors. I'm not bragging, I'm saying knowing the right solution is not the hardest part.

    Your problem is likely not on coding the right solution. Being an interviewer as well, let me give you some advice.

    If may think your solution is correct, but you're not testing it properly, and you may be leaving a ton of off by one errors everywhere. Algo is right, code is wrong.

    You may be really bad at explaining your code, or on writing clean code on the first place. Do some mock interviews with friends and try to get some feedback.

    You may be, I'm sorry, an unpleasant person. I've rejected people I don't like. They coded well, they explained their solution well, but they were dripping arrogance and self righteousness. I wouldn't want to work with them.

    In the end, my advise is focus a little bit less in getting the right answer, and do some mock interviews with friends and get some feedback.

    Best of luck!
    Aug 2, 2019 8
    • MassMutual / Eng

      MassMutual Eng

      Lead Software Engineer
      Rejected people you don't like = I don't want a jackass on my team. What's wrong with that?
      Aug 3, 2019
    • Amazon / Eng nutboy39
      It’s more about which phone screener you get, what types of questions they ask, what they’re looking for, and whether you click. Basically, a lot of luck. For example, I’ve done ~100 phone screens and I don’t look for testing and don’t care if there are small code issues. I’m more focused on problem solving, thoughtfulness, communication, and history of exhibiting strong ownership.
      Aug 3, 2019
  • NewRelic / Eng grock
    "Female interviewer"? You mean, a woman? You sound like a fucking idiot.
    Aug 2, 2019 6
    • Amazon hydfb
      "Woman interviewer"? That sounds even more idiotic
      Aug 4, 2019
    • MassMutual / Eng

      MassMutual Eng

      Lead Software Engineer
      Could have just said "woman" ... or "interviewer".

      The fact that it needs to be qualified is - if somehow it were man who interviewed- it would have been different.

      Same with women who point out that the tech jobs all go to men.

      The dept director where I work is a woman. She's inspiring, brilliant, respected, and very accomplished.

      I have no problem being led by a great person.
      Aug 4, 2019


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