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Why Do FAANG Interviews Need Dedicated Prep?

Posted on 
July 26, 2020
Utkarsh Sahu
The fast well prepared banner
About The Author!
Utkarsh Sahu
Utkarsh Sahu
Director of Category Management at Interview Kickstart || IIM Bangalore || NITW

Do you want to take your career to the next level by giving yourself a shot at a FAANG interview? Are you thinking about how to go about your prep and how much time you should devote before D-Day? 

Aspiring candidates who wish to land offers at some of the biggest tech firms in the world often feel anxious thinking about nailing these interviews. If you experience this, you’re not alone. 

Here's what this article will cover:

  1. The difficulty in cracking these interviews is real.
  2. What makes a FAANG interview such a tough nut to crack?
  3. Do you need to sign-up for one?
  4. Seven fundamental reasons why technical interviews need dedicated preparation
  • 4.1 Your experience won’t cover the topics that appear in technical interviews
  • 4.2 The prep journey isn’t straightforward
  • 4.3 The topics to cover are particularly vast
  • 4.4 Problem-solving comes only with practice
  • 4.5 Interview anxiety can catch you unawares
  • 4.6 Answering behavioral questions needs practice
  • 4.7 Working on your LinkedIn Profile

The difficulty in cracking these interviews is real

Only 3%-5% of candidates emerge successful. Technical interviews, especially at FAANG companies, require a comprehensive prep approach covering both fundamental and complex topics. If you’re not well-prepared, you’ll find yourself grasping at straws when you’re asked to solve questions you’ve never encountered before. 

What makes a FAANG interview such a tough nut to crack? 

Is it because of the seemingly boundless number of topics to prepare for? Or Is it perhaps because of the time-constrained environment in which candidates are expected to solve complex coding questions at breakneck speed? 

There are many interview prep courses or schools that can help you prepare to crack technical  interviews.

Do you need to sign-up for one? 

Well, there are several factors that go into preparing and eventually acing interviews at FAANG companies. While we continue to  emphasize on  the difficulty involved, let’s not forget that a lot of programmers have gone through tough technical interviews  and come out on top. So it’s certainly not impossible if you know where to begin and how to structure your prep.  

In this article, let’s try and understand why technical interviews need dedicated prep, especially if you want to bag offers from FAANG companies. 

7 fundamental reasons why technical interviews need dedicated preparation

Your experience won’t cover the topics that appear in technical interviews 

It’s almost always the case that programming questions asked at these interviews vary starkly from what your experience covers. Even if you’re a fairly experienced programmer, and an excellent employee in your current organization, you can expect questions out of the realm of your current knowledge and skills in interviews. 

The prep journey isn’t straightforward 

The road to bagging an offer from a FAANG company is riddled with strenuous hours of practice, patience, persistence and an absolute will to succeed. It’s not a straightforward approach i.e. one where you can expect to crack the multiple and strenuous rounds of interviews by preparing only a few topics for a couple of months. 

The topics to cover are particularly vast 

For technical interviews at FAANG companies, you can expect questions from a wide range of topics that fundamentally fall under three categories: 

  • Data Structures 
  • Systems Design
  • Coding Algorithms

The type of questions and weightage assigned to each topic will depend on the company you’re interviewing with. For instance, Amazon, an elite member of the FAANG family, does not ask coding questions in interviews for senior positions (Director of Engineering and above). Facebook, on the other hand, asks complex coding questions when interviewing for the position of  Director of Engineering. That said, you can often expect to crack these interviews if you cover the three above-mentioned categories extensively. 

You can devote additional time toward a certain category, depending on the role and the company you’re applying to. - For instance, if you’re applying for Engineering Manager positions and above, most FAANG companies assign higher weightage to Systems Design and behavioral questions. You’ll have to tailor your prep to meet the innovative and strenuous demands of these interviews.  

Problem-solving comes only with practice 

Do you know problem solving is the most important section in a technical or coding interview? 

Big tech companies test for advanced problem solving skills for two main reasons -  

  1. Candidates who’re good problems solvers can offer solutions to complex data-heavy problems that require innovative approaches to solve.
  2. Problem-solving has historically been employed to create a tried-and-tested approach to identify genius programmers. 

Devoting adequate time and practice to problem-solving will help you identify patterns in complex coding questions and solve problems you haven’t seen before. This is exactly what top companies are looking for in candidates. Remember, problem-solving skills can’t be developed overnight. Neither can bagging an offer from a FAANG company. 

Interview anxiety can catch you unawares

An oft-neglected element in preparing for technical interviews is knowing how to deal with interview anxiety

This form of anxiety is different from clinical anxiety, and can viciously throw experienced and genius programmers off-balance. Even excellent programmers with 20+ years of experience can experience interview anxiety, making them display certain behavioral traits that can negatively impact their interview. 

There are quite a few ways to deal with interview anxiety and prevent it from impacting your performance. For instance, mock interviews and revising topics over and over again can give your confidence the right impetus to fend off interview anxiety. 

Answering behavioral questions needs practice

Often, candidates, who have performed well in coding interviews, get rejected because they fall short in behavioral interviews. 

This often happens at FAANG companies, particularly in interviews for positions such as  Engineering Manager or higher. These companies closely assess your behavioral tendencies to see how you’d react to tenuous work-related situations, and to get a general feel of your character. 

Hiring managers who conduct behavioral interviews are experienced professionals with a proven record in hiring the right candidates. By practicing behavioral questions and knowing what to expect at these interviews, you can position yourself perfectly to ace your next big interview. 

Working on your LinkedIn Profile 

An area which requires adequate time and effort is your LinkedIn profile. Several big firms have automated their processes to shortlist resumes through algorithms. Candidates with profiles that don’t feature the right keywords often don’t receive an interview call. For this reason, it’s important to devote sufficient time and effort to tailoring your LinkedIn profile to include the right areas of experience and expertise to land yourself an interview with a FAANG company. 

Coming to our previous question on whether or not you need an interview prep course? Why do you think it’s important?

A lot of discussion forums and blogs talk about how and why interview prep courses can give you an edge in technical interviews. It isn’t uncommon for individuals who’ve gone through rigorous prep programs to bag offers from their favorite companies. 

Many successful candidates opt for these courses for the following, important reasons:

  • You get to practice mock interviews with FAANG hiring managers.
  • You’ll learn what to expect at technical interviews.
  • You’ll learn the type of questions that will appear in interviews and can be better prepared for them.
  • You can develop your problem-solving skills.
  • You can leverage LinkedIn by optimising your profile to land a FAANG interview.
  • You can get access to 1-on-1 mentorship and schedule 1-one-1 coaching sessions on specific topics.
  • You’re surrounded by peers who’re equally driven and motivated. 
  • You can access online video classes at your convenience and go through lectures several times over. 
  • You can  avail regular tests to see where you stand and understand the solutions to complex test problems.

Ready to begin your interview prep? Sign-up for our free webinar today!

Last updated on: 
September 22, 2023

Utkarsh Sahu

Director, Category Management @ Interview Kickstart || IIM Bangalore || NITW.

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