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How I got offers from Amazon, Microsoft, and Bloomberg

Lucas
Computer goes brrrr
Originally published at heylucas.net on ・2 min read

This post is an excerpt of my YouTube video:

Intro

Last year I decided it was time to switch jobs. Interviewing is always a hassle, so I decided to keep track of what worked for me. I'm sharing this in the hopes someone else might benefit from what I've learned.

How I prepared for the phone screens

I kept it simple: LeetCode for practice problems. I didn't aim for an arbitrary number of questions to "be ready".

Practiced each day for a few hours and used space repetition. I'd cover multiple topics each session. That prevented things from getting too boring.

How I prepared for the onsite interviews

Since I had practiced a lot of coding for the phone screens, I put coding in the back-burner.

Instead, I focused on system design and behavioral questions.

For system design, Grokking the System Design Interview was pretty useful. To supplement that, I also watched YouTube videos to see how different people approached different problems.


When it came to behavioral prep, I used Anki flashcards. I went through all of Amazon's leadership principles, researched common behavioral questions, and created the cards with my answers. I also made sure to include any follow ups I could think of to my cards.

This definitely made me memorize my answers.

This might sound like cheating, but the truth is you're not gonna be able to come up with a story on the spot. You'll ramble. You'll forget details. You'll get confused. Interviewing is already stressful enough. Preparing the questions and answers beforehand will give you a leg up.

Why I did all of my interviews in a single week

Onsite interviews usually take 5 hours. Three onsites in a week totals 15 hours. I won't lie, it sucked. I was pretty exhausted after that week. But at the same time, it didn't suck.

Doing all the interviews at once gave me momentum and helped me perform well. It also helped me get it over quickly.

It also gave me a huge advantage: leverage. You see, when you tell companies you already have other onsites, they pay attention. You're suddenly in high demand. That makes them move faster and gives you more power to command a better offer.

This was the first time I scheduled my interviews like this and, trust me, it made a huge difference.

That's all folks

If you've read this far, thank you! I hope this post was useful and showed you one path you can take to prepare for your interviews.

If you liked this post, have a look at my YouTube channel. I post videos every week, discussing tech, career, and productivity!

If you'd like to chat, hit me up on Twitter.

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