Such a humbling experience with Apple

Jan 10 64 Comments

So I failed an interview with Apple at the non-coding first round.

Interviewer asked me what are the methods that every Object overrides, and turns out it is equal() hashcode() and toString(). And asked me what each of this does.

I program in Java with the current company for about a year, but rely mindlessly on frameworks to do the job that I dont even know the most basic things and what it does..

The inteviewer gave me a link to a Java textbook that I can study with, saying they need people more knowledgable in Java. I feel reallly ashamed that I am even hoping to do well in interviews when I don’t even know the basics of what I do everyday..

I did about 200 medium LC and feel okay with algorithms but I just feel so embarassed about this.. I feel so bad that the interviewer had to give me a link to buy a Java book..


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TOP 64 Comments
  • Google / R&D Dr. Seuss
    Op let me say a thing : mastery of a language is often desired but not required. Unless you are applying for Java code compiler work i don't see how this can be a bar for you to cross. They probably don't have headcount..... What if your team matches you to C++ based team?

    That said, paste the link out?
    Jan 10 11
    • Amazon jаw
      @gandalf Every Java developer should know how to download a pirated book pdf on their own. What has our industry come to?
      Jan 10
    • American Express gandalf$$
      I ask myself this very question
      Jan 10
  • Apple CGEX77
    To be honest, I only give book recommendations to people whom I would like to work with, they just didn’t meet the tech bar yet.

    For consolation my team’s resume screen to hire rate is 0.6%.
    Jan 10 7
    • Hireology / Product Tier1Hope
      So that would be ~ .0017%
      Jan 11
    • lol dude, is 0.17% or 0.0017 (0.0017% is actually 17ppm)
      Jan 11
  • IMHO, this is very much important and this is what separates the cream from the crowd. Crowd knows how to get the problem solved and they can write code. Cream knows why exactly the code was written that way and why not.

    I am not a programmer but, in my world of data, every one uses Amazon S3 left and right but only 1% can answer its behavior because it’s an object store and not a file system.

    The curiosity to get to the bottom of things separates you from the rest.

    It’s like teaching a kid that 5x5 is 25. You can either let the kid memorize it or teach them that multiplication is a repetitive addition.

    Both can answer the problem but one can answer any multiplication problem while the other can only spit out memorized answers.
    Jan 10 0
  • Microsoft Xa10
    First I want to applaud you for your honesty and growth mindset. You have the right attitude. You are bound to succeed. Good Luck.
    Jan 10 0
  • Pinterest hjDl15
    Hey don’t take that as an L! The recruiter cares about you enough to be candid and then gave you some knowledge on why learning Java is so important to Apple. Once you get those skills up you can come back to this person and network again.
    Jan 10 0
  • American Express gandalf$$
    Op, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. I know someone with over ten years of experience who fumbled a similar interview with Netflix. I think the key takeaway here is that while you progress in your career and become more senior, you have to determine what’s important to learn deeply vs shallow. You’ll get better at this over time.
    Jan 10 0
  • Intuit ofjdvdk
    Is he/she pointed you to the “Effective Java”? This happened to one of my friend as well.
    Jan 10 0
  • Amazon cofkdkcjcj
    useless questions, don’t worry about it, it served as rando practice for your real interviews
    Jan 10 17
  • American Express gandalf$$
    This happened to someone that interviewed at Netflix recently. They demand Java experts. I think it’s a fundamental concept any java programmer must know though! The implications of not knowing this can be huge! It’s like not knowing that strings in java are immutable and doing a bunch of string concatenation. It’s always good to learn how a language actually works rather than just the syntax and apis.
    Jan 10 5
    • American Express gandalf$$
      It only does that optimization for very simple cases. If you are concatenating strings inside a for loop, you better be using StringBuilder.
      People who don’t know how hashcode works probably wouldn’t test for that. You seldom deal with in memory collections directly. Everything is in a database. Then you start seeing odd behavior for some edge case in prod and have no clue what’s going on. No wonder Mailchimp is so bananas ;)
      Jan 10
    • Mailchimp / Eng ElroyJet$N
      Lol, you did thorough research and edited your response multiple times as google helped you fill in the gaps of your own knowledge. 🤣. I don’t have time to keep responding to your pissing contest invitation. Enjoy.
      Jan 11
  • Google tLEW85
    I wish every recruiter asked that question. It's easiest question about Java. How one can write Java code and do not know that? How do you store keys in a HashMap?
    Jan 11 3
    • Yahoo ForHighTC
      I know hashkey is used to store objects in a map and we have to choose a good key yo avoid as much collision as possible. I just didnt know you could override equal method and hashcode accordinly yourself. And people do this often. Sorry..
      Jan 11
    • American Express gandalf$$
      The default implementation of hashcode in Object essentially returns the memory reference in integer form. If you are using an Integer or String as the key for example, you don’t have to worry about overriding those methods. But if you use a custom class as the key, you have to make sure different instances of the same key will have the same hashcode so they map to the same bucket in the hash table.
      Jan 11


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