Ace the Tech InterviewThe ultimate 1-hour guide to overcoming yourfear of interviewers and becoming superhuman.
Top Tech companies are AWESOME● Surfing in the Pacific● Party at Bill Gates house● Meet great people like Bjarne Stroustru...
But only 1 in 100+ lands a job thereMost people dont know how to do the interview well
We may be able to help● Between the two of us weve done 6 internships atGoogle, MSFT, Nvidia and weve worked for 10+differ...
Do you have these concerns?● Your algorithm skills are shaky● You freeze when you dont know the solution to aproblem● You ...
one VERY BIG ideaGetting an interview
● Through the site - a queue of 1 mln people● Through a referrer - you are specialHow to find a referrer?The BIG idea
Tricks & Actions● Short term:○ Open FB or LinkedIn and explore your network○ Think about groups that you are part of○ Use ...
Your CVThe quest to be invited to an interview
Yes, you are smart and beautiful
But all the recruiter sees is this
So be careful...
Your CV is Super Duper important● Recruiters dont know you, care about you,or think youre special● Its the first, and only...
Lets look at 3 CVs2 minutes each
What makes for a bad CV● Structure○ Standard template, photo○ Creative section ordering○ Poor formatting, weird fonts● Con...
What makes for a good CV● Structure○ One page○ Can be read in 20 seconds○ Beautiful, clean formatting and structure○ PDF● ...
Tricks & Actions● Imitate someone elses structure● Describe each job so that the recruiter canexplain it to a third person...
At the interviewtwo VERY BIG ideas
Designing an interview process1. Culture fit2. Character3. Intelligence4. SkillsAll parts of the interview are very import...
Preparation is everything1. Practice2. Practice3. Practice4. Practice95% happens months before the interview.
Part 1. Non-TechnicalQuestionsThe non-important part, right?
● "What is your major at the university andwhy did you choose it?"● "What is your favorite Microsoft product?"● "What was ...
Tricks & Actions● Compile a Google Doc with a list of allquestions you can find● Invest some time to write a good, thought...
Part 2. Technical QuestionsWhat we all prepare for, or do we?
Types of questions● Programming language-specific● Algorithmic● Systems design● Brain teasers● What do we forget?
Language-specific questions● Do you know examples?○ [C++] What is a virtual destructor?○ [Java] How does the GC work?● How...
Prepare for language-specific qs● Choose your preferred language carefully!● What books do you know?○ C++: (More) Effectiv...
Algorithmic questions● Cover the important topics● Master complexity (time vs memory)● The only way: practice a lot!○ TopC...
StrategiesHow to act when we hear the problem
Start with...ASK CLARIFYING QUESTIONS!!!
Simplify the task● There is a rectangular grid (2D)● People are at intersection points of it● What is the optimal meeting ...
Data structures and related problems● Create a data structure, which supports:○ insert, remove with O(logN)○ get median wi...
Solve a few examples first● Cars in a parking lot, from 1 to N● Parking spots are from 0 to N● There is one free spot● Ord...
End with...Test your algorithm with examples!
Tricks & Actions● Choose your preferred language● Learn it well and code in it a lot● Study algorithms from books and onli...
Conveying your ideasDont be quiet, talk about your thoughts
Conveying your ideasTALK ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS!
What to talk about?● If you dont have the best solution:○ apply the strategies discussed○ come up with a simpler one, say ...
What interviewers look forInterviewers want to see how you think andthat you can convey ideas well... so DONT BE QUIET FOR...
CodingWhen they ask you to write some code
CodingWhiteboards are not like your IDE
Coding● Whiteboard (paper) or shared doc○ It is much different from regular coding○ Write code this way (start with binary...
Part 3. Your questionsRight when you think its all over
Questions to ask to interviewer● Show interest in the company and team:○ the tasks that they are working on○ the process t...
Practice and do mock interviews!ApplyingTechnicalquestionsNon-techquestionsQuestionsyou askCV ReferrersSkills Strategy Cod...
5 things to do today in 2 hours1. Open FB or LinkedIn and find one person torefer you (10 minutes)2. Google the 10 most po...
Questions?Thats all from us!
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Ace the Tech Interviews - www.hiredintech.com

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Are you scared of programming interviews at top tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook?

If you feel nervous or don't know how to solve hard problems, our team has answers for you.

We worked at several top tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Nvidia. Learn more about us and our services at www.hiredintech.com

This is a presentation we gave to students from Berkeley University, Santa Barbara University, University of Edinburg, EPFL - Switzerland and others. It covers things from building a perfect resume, through getting more interview invites to answering technical and non-technical question at the interviews at top software companies.

Let us know what you think or if you have any questions.

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Ace the Tech Interviews - www.hiredintech.com

  1. 1. Ace the Tech InterviewThe ultimate 1-hour guide to overcoming yourfear of interviewers and becoming superhuman.
  2. 2. Top Tech companies are AWESOME● Surfing in the Pacific● Party at Bill Gates house● Meet great people like Bjarne Stroustrup, Guido vanRossum, ...● Get free food, gym, t-shirts, beer, ice cream● Work with some of the best people in the world● Change the world and make your grandma proud!
  3. 3. But only 1 in 100+ lands a job thereMost people dont know how to do the interview well
  4. 4. We may be able to help● Between the two of us weve done 6 internships atGoogle, MSFT, Nvidia and weve worked for 10+different companies.● Combined work experience of 15+ years● We have interviewed dozens of people
  5. 5. Do you have these concerns?● Your algorithm skills are shaky● You freeze when you dont know the solution to aproblem● You are very nervous during the interviews● You arent sure what to put in your CV● You dont know how to get an interview
  6. 6. one VERY BIG ideaGetting an interview
  7. 7. ● Through the site - a queue of 1 mln people● Through a referrer - you are specialHow to find a referrer?The BIG idea
  8. 8. Tricks & Actions● Short term:○ Open FB or LinkedIn and explore your network○ Think about groups that you are part of○ Use the university: career center, profs, otherstudents● Long term:○ Join open source projects with potential referrers○ Get in contact with potential referrers
  9. 9. Your CVThe quest to be invited to an interview
  10. 10. Yes, you are smart and beautiful
  11. 11. But all the recruiter sees is this
  12. 12. So be careful...
  13. 13. Your CV is Super Duper important● Recruiters dont know you, care about you,or think youre special● Its the first, and only, impression you make● They look at CVs all day long● Clear expectations of what a CV looks likeIts OK to be obsessed with your CV.
  14. 14. Lets look at 3 CVs2 minutes each
  15. 15. What makes for a bad CV● Structure○ Standard template, photo○ Creative section ordering○ Poor formatting, weird fonts● Content○ I dont understand what you did there○ Uncompelling past experience / underselling○ Empty words○ Typos!!○ Lying or strong exaggeration○ "Experience with Microsoft Office"○ Overusing the first person pronoun○ sexy_girl_17@yahoo.com
  16. 16. What makes for a good CV● Structure○ One page○ Can be read in 20 seconds○ Beautiful, clean formatting and structure○ PDF● Content○ Education○ Work experience○ Extra-curricular activities○ Awards & Achievements○ Specific details, roles, contributions○ Explain your contributions
  17. 17. Tricks & Actions● Imitate someone elses structure● Describe each job so that the recruiter canexplain it to a third person● Use bold, but no underline● Play with the font size and margins● Always export to PDF● Make sure it prints well and choose a goodfilenameAsk someone to review your CV
  18. 18. At the interviewtwo VERY BIG ideas
  19. 19. Designing an interview process1. Culture fit2. Character3. Intelligence4. SkillsAll parts of the interview are very important.
  20. 20. Preparation is everything1. Practice2. Practice3. Practice4. Practice95% happens months before the interview.
  21. 21. Part 1. Non-TechnicalQuestionsThe non-important part, right?
  22. 22. ● "What is your major at the university andwhy did you choose it?"● "What is your favorite Microsoft product?"● "What was your favorite course at theuniversity? Why?"● "What is the most challenging project youveworked on?"A 30-second blitz game
  23. 23. Tricks & Actions● Compile a Google Doc with a list of allquestions you can find● Invest some time to write a good, thoughtfulanswer to each question● Practice in front of the mirror. Each answershould be no longer than 1-2 minutes.● Go over your CV and make sure youremember the things you outlined very well
  24. 24. Part 2. Technical QuestionsWhat we all prepare for, or do we?
  25. 25. Types of questions● Programming language-specific● Algorithmic● Systems design● Brain teasers● What do we forget?
  26. 26. Language-specific questions● Do you know examples?○ [C++] What is a virtual destructor?○ [Java] How does the GC work?● How to prepare well for these?
  27. 27. Prepare for language-specific qs● Choose your preferred language carefully!● What books do you know?○ C++: (More) Effective C++○ Java: Effective Java● Google the most popular such questions● Code a lot in your preferred language
  28. 28. Algorithmic questions● Cover the important topics● Master complexity (time vs memory)● The only way: practice a lot!○ TopCoder, Codeforces, ...○ How do these work?○ How to take the most out of them?
  29. 29. StrategiesHow to act when we hear the problem
  30. 30. Start with...ASK CLARIFYING QUESTIONS!!!
  31. 31. Simplify the task● There is a rectangular grid (2D)● People are at intersection points of it● What is the optimal meeting point with leasttotal distance to walk?● Simplify: solve the problem in 1D● Apply solution for X and Y axis● Voila!
  32. 32. Data structures and related problems● Create a data structure, which supports:○ insert, remove with O(logN)○ get median with O(1)● What data structure could help?● What is that similar to?● Heaps do that but for min/max element● What if we use two heaps?
  33. 33. Solve a few examples first● Cars in a parking lot, from 1 to N● Parking spots are from 0 to N● There is one free spot● Order cars (1,2,...N) with least number ofmoves● Solve a few examples● Cars are permuted and form cycles
  34. 34. End with...Test your algorithm with examples!
  35. 35. Tricks & Actions● Choose your preferred language● Learn it well and code in it a lot● Study algorithms from books and online● Begin solving problems on TopCoder● Collect strategies for solving problems● Try using the strategies on real problems
  36. 36. Conveying your ideasDont be quiet, talk about your thoughts
  37. 37. Conveying your ideasTALK ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS!
  38. 38. What to talk about?● If you dont have the best solution:○ apply the strategies discussed○ come up with a simpler one, say why its not good● Whatever it is, talk about it:○ ideas you have (even if they are distant)○ any issues you face while solving this problem○ the solutions you come up with
  39. 39. What interviewers look forInterviewers want to see how you think andthat you can convey ideas well... so DONT BE QUIET FOR LONG!
  40. 40. CodingWhen they ask you to write some code
  41. 41. CodingWhiteboards are not like your IDE
  42. 42. Coding● Whiteboard (paper) or shared doc○ It is much different from regular coding○ Write code this way (start with binary search)● Extract code in separate methods○ helps for structuring the code○ puts your thoughts in order● Talk about the code you write● Test the code after its ready!
  43. 43. Part 3. Your questionsRight when you think its all over
  44. 44. Questions to ask to interviewer● Show interest in the company and team:○ the tasks that they are working on○ the process they have adopted in their team○ how they test their code
  45. 45. Practice and do mock interviews!ApplyingTechnicalquestionsNon-techquestionsQuestionsyou askCV ReferrersSkills Strategy CodingGeneral CV-related
  46. 46. 5 things to do today in 2 hours1. Open FB or LinkedIn and find one person torefer you (10 minutes)2. Google the 10 most popular questions andput them in a word doc (10 minutes)3. Write your first answer to a question in yourword doc (25 minutes)4. Sign up for TopCoder or your favorite site (5minutes)5. Solve your first problem on TopCoder (60minutes)
  47. 47. Questions?Thats all from us!
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