Have you dreamt of locking dream offers from Facebook or Google? A great many software engineers aspire to land attractive jobs at FAANG companies, but only a handful of them manage to beat the highly competitive pool.
If you didn’t know this already, Facebook and Google select only about 2% of engineers who apply. The reason for such a low acceptance rate is that FAANG recruiters don’t particularly pick developers based on how bright their academic or professional stints have been. They look for seasoned problem solvers who have the ability to solve complex modern-day engineering and technology challenges; something they don’t quite find in too many candidates. That’s precisely why you should polish your problem solving skills to ace the interview rounds at tier-1 companies.
Preparing for FAANG interviews is a coordinated and calibrated process. You can’t expect to crack these interviews by being smart alone. You’ll have to ready yourself for the grind and trust the process without getting too caught up or absorbed in the outcome. Putting in the hard work is important, yes. But what’s equally important is executing the right strategy.
The bottom line - getting your dream job at FAANG is a combination of will, persistence, strategy, and execution.
In this article, we’ll look at what exactly you must do to land offers from FAANG companies.
How to get your dream job at a FAANG company?
Trust the process and embrace the grind
If you want to get past the taxing interview rounds at FAANG companies, you must truly be ready to put in the hours and embrace the grind. The timeline of your interview prep is crucial - it is the first thing you must consider. Not giving yourself sufficient time can render you underprepared and under confident, thereby precluding you from giving your best shot.
The ideal time-length to prepare for FAANG interviews is 2-3 months (9-12 weeks). Anything less than that would leave you with little time to cover the important programming concepts, practice enough problems around them, and revise.
A huge percentage of engineers who interview at FAANG companies are experienced. If you are currently working a job, you should very well be prepared to put in the hours regardless of how demanding or strenuous your work is.
A good start would be to dedicate at least 8-10 hours a week toward solving problems in algorithms and data structures. Solving numerous problems amps up your problem solving skills, enabling you to identify patterns in questions and solve problems that you haven’t encountered before.
As such, effective problem solving is a powerful weapon to wield at FAANG interviews. We can safely declare that the line between landing an offer and getting rejected is drawn by the extent of your problem solving skills.
Get good with algorithms and data structures
Algorithms and data structures are the most important topics that feature in technical interviews at FAANG companies. Mastering your coding skills to solve complex algorithmic problems is the only way to get past the grueling interview rounds.
While you go about your prep, don’t bust your hump preparing in haste. Getting good with algorithms and data structures takes time. Technically, learning and understanding the concepts isn’t all that hard. But to apply them to problem solving is a different game altogether.
You should ideally spend the first 3-4 weeks practicing as many problems as possible around DS and algorithms. Here’s what you should cover in the first 3-4 weeks of your prep:
- Arrays, Strings and Linked Lists
- Sorting algorithms - quick sort, merge sort, heap sort etc.
- Hash tables and Queues
- Trees and Graphs
- Graph algorithms including greedy algorithms
- Dynamic programming
Brush up your design knowledge
Distributed systems design is an important part of On-site interviews at FAANG companies. It isn’t unknown that companies like Google and Facebook employ complex, scalable engineering systems to reach millions of internet users everyday. As a software engineer, knowing the fundamentals of systems design along with possessing the ability to design such systems with low latency.
If you’re not familiar with concepts in distributed systems design, you can consider enrolling for an interview prep course that focuses on training you for the design interview. Note that if you’re a complete beginner, you might want to spend at least a month preparing concepts in engineering design. Here’s what you should essentially cover for you systems design interview:
- Scalable systems
- API modelling
- Sharding techniques
- Database management
Practice mock interviews with FAANG instructors
Mock interviews are a brilliant way to know where you’re lacking and what you must do to improve. While considering mock interviews, it is mighty important to practice with hiring managers or technical leads who’re conversant with the interview process at FAANG companies. That’s because such professionals are equipped with the right experience and knowledge to give you the right feedback.
If you want to practice live mocks with technical leads and hiring managers, enrol for Interview Kickstart’s Masterclass today!
Prepare for behavioral interviews
It isn’t hearsay that even polished programmers get rejected at FAANG interviews because of falling short in behavioral rounds.
Practicing questions to behavioral interviews is extremely important as FAANG recruiters have become increasingly inclined towards hiring developers who are level-headed, hard-working and integrous.
Dive deep into competitive programming
Preparing for coding challenges, especially those hosted by FAANG companies, is a brilliant way to improve your problem-solving skills and get interview-ready. Even if you don’t specifically prepare for challenges, solving problems on platforms like Leetcode and Topchef can help you solve a variety of problems and improve your exposure.
Be ready to go at it again
Did you appear for a FAANG interview recently but failed to make the cut? Well, you should definitely pull your sleeves up and give it another go. A lot of engineers who end up getting offers at FAANG and tier-1 companies have also failed their first one or to interviews. The only difference between them and you (if you didn’t make it the first time around) is that they tried again.
Get over interview anxiety
Interview anxiety can leave even experienced programmers scratching their heads. Even accomplished coders can be found wanting at interviews if they succumb to interview anxiety. If you’ve experienced interview anxiety in the past and strongly feel it could interfere with your performance, you must definitely get help.
Check out this comprehensive guide on dealing with interview anxiety to learn how to overcome it and prevent it from coming in the way of your performance.
The ideal FAANG interview prep timeline
- Learn the fundamentals of algorithms data structures.
- Sign up for a training course if you have to. Enrolling for a good program will give you the direction that you exactly need
- Attend technical interview webinars to get an idea of the current technical interview landscape.
- Look up company-specific information about the interview process and culture in general.
- Solve commonly asked company-related interview questions. Understand the various rounds specific to the company, and dig up candidate experiences and interview archives.
- Solve at least 3 problems a day. Don’t mug up solutions - always seek to test the limits of your ability by allowing yourself to think about solutions deeply and intently.
- Practice mock interviews with experts and hiring managers. The more mock interviews you practice, the better.
- Practice mocks with hiring managers/instructors who are currently employed with the company of your interest.
- Spend a few days revising concepts in Object Oriented Programming while you continue solving problems.
- Optimize your LinkedIn profile to include the right keywords and update your resume.
- Revise concepts in database management systems and computer networks