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Big Tech Company Interview Advice Thread

aspittel profile image Ali Spittel Updated on ・2 min read

Inspired by some of the comments in the thread about people's worst interview experiences about big tech company interviews, I thought that it would be a great idea to start a conversation with questions about interviewing at the big tech companies and answers from people who have interviewed with them.

I've only done one "big 5" interview, I'm more of a startup person and can't see myself working at one! That being said, here are some notes that I took while prepairing for that interview almost two years ago! I would also highly advise you to get really comfortable with graph traversal problems because those seem really popular now. That being said, it was my first experience with technical interviewing (went straight into the deep end!) and didn't make it too far!

I've gotten recruited a few times from a couple of the big 5 companies as well. One was (I think) because I did okay in Google's Code Jam competition (that was the one time I accepted an interview), I've also gotten invited to FooBar through searching Python stuff so if I wanted I could have completed the challenges and interviewed through that I think. I've also been recruited by other big 5's through my LinkedIn, because of my blog, and due to open source contributions.

Again, I'm probably not the best to give advice here, but I will where I can and hope that others will chime in too!

Ask questions and leave your thoughts about big tech company interviews below!

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Ali Spittel

@aspittel

Passionate about education, Python, JavaScript, and code art.

Discussion

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Hi, Ali, thanks for this thread, it can really be helpful for some of us.
Let me tell you a little about my experience in interviews, and then I'll ask for some advice.
Two months ago I had the chance to interview with one of "The Big Ones". I'm a self taught developer with roughly 2 years of experience, so I when I was told that I was getting a chance to interview I began studying like crazy some things that I was not very famliar with yet(Big(O), some common algorithms and data structures, etc.) I became able to solve a lot of easy and difficult problems (froms sites like Leetcode and HackerRank) and did some Mock Interviews with firends.

Made it to the final round, a series of 4 interviews of 45 minutes each in one day. I really felt good in the 4 of them, even though I couldn't finish two of the problems (which might've affected me, even though the inteviewer told me at some point that it didn't matter, that comming up with several posible solutions and picking the best one would do). I got a no-hire at the end, however I didn't felt as discouraged as I thought I would, it was a pretty good experience and I got to learn a lot in the preparation process.

Now I got another chance at other of the big ones in one month, and I'll keep reviewing, practicing and trying to cover more content. However, something that I didn't had in my previous experience was a phone technical interview, and I'm kind of nervous about it, because being in the same room as your interviewer helps a lot, talking directly, expresing yourself and watching his expressions to what you're saying(thinking out loud), etc.

Is there any special comments or recommendations you (or anyone reading) could give me regarding phone technical interviews? How has your experience been in an interview like this?

And is there any preparation method or resources you can recommend for a better preparation? (aside from Cracking the coding interview and Programming Interviews exposed)

Again thanks, cool post :)

 

Hey! They had me writing code via Google Doc in my phone interview, so I haven't done one without any writing of code, not sure how that ends up looking!

I also used CTCI and this Udemy course. In addition, they gave me an outline of what to study, and I wikipedia'd the ones that weren't in either resource!

 

Thanks for your response! I will be writing code, I just wanted to know if a special code editor was used, but apparently I'll be using a Google Doc as well...

Thank's for the resources. :)

 

Recruiting and interviewing should be very human processes, but due to the scale of these big companies, they are replacing more parts of the hiring pipeline with computers and AI applications. I understand this is needed to scale, but it takes some of the personality out of the company, and usually makes me feel like just #123442 out of ten million, even though I probably am 😅

I have started recruiting for my company (which is a well known, competitive tech company) and we still have a 100% human process. Even though mistakes happen, such as miscommunication, mischedulings, and other issues, we guarantee that every resume is looked at and reviewed by humans, specifically by the software engineers the recruits would work with.

I feel as though this helps us have better interactions with candidates and pull in a more diverse pool of candidates versus if we had some resume application searching for keywords.

 

As someone without a computer science or software engineering degree(s), is it worth entertaining the notion of ever applying to "big tech"/FAANG?

I know there's a perception that everyone should be able to code at any level without any formal education, but it seems like the only way anyone gets an offer from those sorts of places is if they cram a 4-year degree's worth of technical info in the months leading up to applying and interviewing.

I'd rather not apply anywhere I have to study to pass at. Research the company and the job, sure, but not straight up study and rote learn textbooks.

 

Yeah, I think unfortunately everybody has to study a ton for these, even if you know the stuff already (or at least I would guess) since a lot of it isn't used that much on a job day to day.

 

Codejam or kickstart? which one