For those of you new to technical interviews, the process can seem overwhelming. Interviewers throw questions at you, expect you to whip up brilliant algorithms on the spot, and then ask you to write beautiful code on a whiteboard. Luckily, everyone else is in the same boat, and you’re already working hard to prepare. Good job!
As you get ready for your interviews, consider these suggestions:
» Write Code on Paper: Most interviewers won’t give you a computer and will instead expect you to write code on a whiteboard or on paper. To simulate this environment, try answering interview problems by writing code on paper first, and then typing them into a computer as-is. Whiteboard / paper coding is a special skill, which can be mastered with constant practice.
» Know Your Resume: While technical skills are extremely important, that’s no reason to neglect your own resume. Make sure to prepare yourself to give a quick summary of any project or job you were involved with, and to discuss the hardest and most interesting problems you encountered along the day.
» Don’t Memorize Solutions: While this book offers a representative sample of interview questions, there are still thousands of interview questions out there. Memorizing solutions is not a great use of your time. Rather, use this book to explore approaches to problems, to learn new concepts, and to practice your skills.
» Talk Out Loud: Interviewers want to understand how you think and approach problems, so talk out loud while you’re solving problems. Let the interviewer see how you’re tackling the problem, and they just might guide you as well.
And remember – interviews are hard! In my years of interviewing at Google, I saw some interviewers ask “easy” questions while others ask harder questions. But you know what? Getting the easy questions doesn’t make it any easier to get the offer. Receiving an offer is not about solving questions flawlessly (very few candidates do!), but rather, it is about answering questions better than other candidates. So don’t stress out when you get a tricky question - everyone else probably thought it was hard too!
I’m excited for you and for the skills you are going to develop. Thorough preparation will give you a wide range of technical and communication skills. It will be well-worth it no matter where the effort takes you!
Study hard, practice, and good luck.