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FAANG Interview Tips for Software Engineers

Posted on 
March 17, 2021
|
by 
Team Interview Kickstart

Getting a job at FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) is every software engineer’s dream. Naturally, landing a position at one of these companies is not a cakewalk because the competition is just too stiff, and the interviewers don’t have enough time to screen that many applications.

The answer to this caveat is to create intensive interview formats and procedures that help them identify the best candidates in a short time interval. It takes much more than just practicing a bunch of random problems to crack the challenging software engineering interviews at FAANG and other top tech companies. You must have a strong preparation strategy and the right set of values and skills.

In this post, we share with you the most important interview tips you can use to land software developer jobs at tier 1 tech companies of the world. These interview tips for software engineers will help you prepare for the interviews and the actual day of interviews.

So, let’s get started.

Before that, let’s take a glance at what we’ll cover in this article.

  • Top 10 tips to crack software developer job interviews at FAANG
  • What technical topics to learn for FAANG interviews
  • What to expect during coding interviews
  • 10 Tips for the day of the interview
  • How Interview Kickstart can help you crack coding interviews
  • FAQs about FAANG interviews

Top 10 Tips to Crack Software Developer Interviews at FAANG

The most common reason candidates fail to crack software developer job interviews at FAANG, or other big tech companies is that their prep strategy lacks direction. There aren’t enough right resources and interview tips for software developers looking to land jobs at FAANG companies. 

We hope these tips will work as an anchor for you to point you in the right direction allowing you to focus your time and energy on the important things that yield results.

1. Practice Makes Perfect

You might be a great developer, but that does not necessarily mean your skills will be evident in the interview room. To crack software developer interviews at large tech companies, you need a whole other skill set that comes only with practice.

This is not a bad thing. As you practice more, you don’t just get better at cracking interviews, but you also become a better software professional — the kind that FAANG companies love working with. So, you have nothing to lose here.

Make practice and persistence your ally if you want to crack FAANG interviews. Find as many coding questions as possible to learn and discover the patterns of problem-solving. As you practice more, you’ll also understand what kind of questions interviewers like to ask during interviews. 

  • Practice solving coding problems on whiteboards, computers, and on paper
  • Consciously think about your approach when solving the problems and articulate them out loud
  • Do this repeatedly to build familiarity around solving coding problems in whatever format the interviewers ask for

This will give you the confidence to handle any problem thrown at you during the interview, which will push you in the top 10% category of candidates, as most of them get thrown off by the unpredictability of coding interview formats.

2. Start Early

There’s no better time to start your preparation for FAANG interviews than now. The idea is simple — the more time you have, the more questions you can practice. As soon as you start applying, make it a priority to spend your time efficiently on the things that matter. That way, you have enough time to prepare in areas you’re not so good at. 

Most software job interviews involve technical as well as behavioral rounds. The nature of both are different, and you need to perform well in both to land a job at your dream company. Therefore, plan your time well to prepare thoroughly for every component of the interview and avoid the time crunch.

3. Time Management Is Key

Just knowing or arriving at the correct answer isn’t going to be enough. It also matters how quickly you can come up with solutions. 

While the interviewers don’t expect you to get the right answer at the first shot, they expect you to reach the right answer in a relatively shorter time frame. You can improve your speed of problem-solving by taking timed mock tests. Also, track your progress by observing the change in your problem-solving speed over a period.

4. Learn About the Company and Interviewers

This should be a no-brainer. But a surprisingly high number of candidates don’t spend much time learning about the company they interview at. The interviewers don’t expect a candidate interviewing to know just about what every commoner knows about the company. They expect more from you. 

They want you to know about the projects and goals they are working on. The strategic decisions they’ve taken in the recent past, about their products, recent achievements, and what challenges they face currently. 

Learning about the company will put you in a better position to ask the right high-impact questions during the interview. Having good knowledge about the company you apply to also shows your genuine interest in working with them.

Also, think about what unique contributions you can make to the company considering their objectives and your skillset. This will set you apart from countless software developers that apply to FAANG and other top tech companies.

We’ll recommend that you go one step further. 

In addition to researching the company, spend some time researching the interviewer. You are usually informed who will interview you before the interview. Reading a bit about them and their work through their online profiles and blogs will give you a sense of familiarity during the interview. You may also get to know about their interests, which may pave the way to establish commonalities and connections.

5. Have a Company-specific Approach

Different companies value different kinds of personality traits and technical aptitudes. You need to make sure your values align with those of the company. Reorient your preparation for the company you are targeting and understand what they specifically look for in their employees. 

Also, find out what the commonly asked interview questions are. If you’re wondering how to find that, here are some articles by Interview Kickstart to get you started: Commonly asked interview questions at — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google.

6. Do Not Just Skim the Job Description

The job description should be your core point of reference around which you create your interview prep plan. Reading the job description thoroughly will help you find out what exactly the expectations for the role are. Try to work on the skills required for the position and find ways to highlight them in your resume.

7. Take Mock Interviews Before the Final Day

And no, we are not talking about one mock interview. The purpose of the mock is to gauge your performance, get feedback, analyze the areas that need work, and measure the improvement. Therefore, you need to take as many mock interviewers as you can.

Ideally, this should be taken with technical professionals who have experience conducting coding interviews before. However, if that’s not possible, you can take mocks with friends and peers, preferably from a software background, and seek their feedback on your performance.

Interview Kickstart’s interview prep course offers as many as 15 live mock interviews to our students with actual hiring managers at FAANG and other big techs. You can know more about this through this free webinar conducted by one of our founders.

8. Read About the Tech Giants

Read tech blogs of FAANG companies regularly to find out what challenges they face and how they overcome them. Being aware of industry developments will add to your knowledge and increase your chances of getting selected. A well-read candidate is always preferred because they show a thirst for knowledge and a general curiosity about the industry’s functioning.

9. Trust Yourself

No matter how many setbacks you face, the key to success is to learn from your failures. Keep preparing and moving ahead, even if you do not immediately succeed.

It is normal to experience anxiety before the interview. With adequate preparation, you can ease off some of this pressure and be more relaxed and confident. The bottom line is to learn to trust yourself and know that you can get through once you set your mind to it.

Also read: 5 Easy Breathing Exercises to Control Interview Anxiety

10. Get Help From Others

Do not shy away from getting professional help if that pushes you closer to your goals. Here are some ways to get external help in your job interview prep for FAANG.

  • Get a professional to build your CV.
  • Try to gain a referral from inside the company by investing time in building your network.
  • Enroll yourself in the right interview prep course such as the one offered by Interview Kickstart, which is designed to help you crack technical and behavioral interviews at FAANG and other large companies.

What Technical Topics to Learn for FAANG Interviews

While preparing for coding interviews, you have to study the commonly asked technical concepts well. Practicing such questions well before the interview will help you get the confidence to ace them during the actual interview.

Some of the concepts that you need to focus on while preparing for your FAANG interview are:

  • Data structures (array, string, linked lists, heaps, binary tree, etc.)
  • Algorithms
  • Dynamic programming
  • Design
  • Bit manipulation
  • Logic-based questions
  • Operating systems concepts
  • Database management systems
  • Object-oriented programming concepts
  • Computer networking

To do well in the interview, you need to have a stronghold over Data structure and Algorithms. 

DS and algorithms occupy a significant portion of the technical interview questions. This is why you should emphasize them and practice as many questions as you can on them.

Select the programming language for the interview based on its ease of learning, flexibility, range of implementation, and usability. You need to know dynamic programming languages, including Python, JavaScript, etc. Choose the language that you are the most familiar and comfortable with.

What to Expect During Coding Interviews

When applying to a FAANG company, you should know that the company’s acceptance rate can be as low as 0.2% (Google). Therefore, you need to be aware of the challenges that lie ahead of you and prepare yourself accordingly.

The qualities that any recruiter looks for in a great software engineer are:

  • How efficiently can you solve the problems?
  • How optimal is your solution to problems?
  • How many attempts did it take you to come up with the solution?
  • Your contribution to open source projects and experience in competitions
  • Can you write a clean code?
  • How good are your communication skills?
  • How passionate are you about coding?

The answers to these questions determine if you’d be an ideal fit for the organization. All of these factors should be included in your FAANG interview prep strategy.

10 Tips for the Day of the Interview

So, after several months of preparation, it all comes down to how well you can convey your thoughts and ideas to the interviewer.

Here are some specific tips to follow during the software developer job interview at FAANG. 

  1. Be honest in your answers. Even if you get stuck, don’t go on pretending that you know the answer. Keep your calm and convey what you feel to the interviewer.
  2. Ask questions. The interviewer prefers to hire candidates that are forthright in learning more about the company and the role. Don’t wait till the end of the interview to ask your questions.
  3. Think out loud. Let the interviewer know about your approach when solving a problem.
  4. Schedule your interviews in increasing order of interest. You will learn from the mistakes in the first few interviews and get better at it with every subsequent interview.
  5. Spend time on your CV. Modify your CV for every position you apply to, to connect the role’s requirements with your skills and experience.
  6. Understand the interview process. Get to know about the company’s interview process, the most commonly asked interview questions, and the tips to crack interviews at the company.
  7. Give clear and price answers. It's not smart to beat around the bush during interviews and shows a lack of confidence.
  8. Prepare well for general interview questions. Have your answers ready for generally asked questions, and try to be as precise as you can.
  9. Choose one programming language that you are proficient in. You can read more about this here.
  10. Watch out for the trap questions and prepare in advance. Some questions may be a trap. For example, when an interviewer asks why you are looking for a new job, they want to see how you speak about your current employer to gauge how you’ll speak about the future ones.

You also need to prepare well for behavioral interviews that test whether you are a good fit for the company’s culture. Be prepared to answer questions like:

  • How do you deal with failure?
  • How do you handle conflict?
  • What are your weaknesses?

Do not overlook the non-technical interview as it also plays an important role in determining your future at the company.

How Interview Kickstart Can Help You Crack Coding Interviews

The coding interviews at top tech companies may appear to be nerve-wracking given that they usually have a success rate of less than 20%. This does not imply that you cannot crack it. 

With the right resources and the assistance of experts at Interview Kickstart, you can ace coding interviews at FAANG and other big tech companies. 

Here are some of the reasons why IK’s coding interview prep program has a success rate of more than 95%.

  • Our courses are developed and delivered by tech leads and hiring managers at FAANG.
  • They are constantly updated to accommodate the evolving changes of the tech interview scene.
  • There are as many as 15 live mock sessions with actual hiring managers at FAANG who give you actionable feedback to improve your performance. 
  • There’s a 6-month extended support period after the completion of the comprehensive 2-month course.
  • Intensive coaching to crack technical as well as behavioral interview rounds at FAANG

To know more about Interview Kickstart’s coding interview program, head to this post, where we explain everything you need to know about the course.

You can also register for our FREE webinar on how to nail your next tech interview, conducted by IK’s co-founder — learn about coding interviews at FAANG, how to prepare for them, and land your next dream job.

FAQs About Interviews at FAANG

1. How to deal with anxiety while appearing for a FAANG interview?

Anxiety during interviews is common. But, anxiety during a FAANG interview goes through the roof. You cannot eliminate anxiety entirely, but you can certainly manage it better. Here are some ways to do it.

  • Preparing well for the interview 
  • Taking mock tests to get comfortable with the interview ambiance
  • Having confidence in your ability

Related read: Read more about Dealing with Interview Anxiety, a post written by our co-founder to help you strategically reduce the anxiety of coding interviews with FAANG.

2. What are some of the job interview mistakes that I should avoid?

Some of the most common job interview mistakes you should avoid are:

  • Lying during the interview 
  • Not preparing well enough 
  • Arriving late
  • Panicking when you’re stuck

To know more about the common mistakes to avoid during interviews, check out this post.

Ready to Level Up Your Career?

These interview tips for software developers would have given you a glimpse into the world of coding interview preparation and how to approach it the right way. 

Yes, coding interviews at FAANG are stressful and challenging. But, with the right guidance and techniques, you can combat these problems and take a career leap in the right direction. 

If you’re looking for guidance and help with getting your prep started, sign up for our free webinar. As pioneers in the field of technical interview prep, we have trained thousands of software engineers to crack the toughest coding interviews and land jobs at their dream companies, such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Amazon, and more!

Sign up now!

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