Interview PrepAugust 09, 2021

How to Avoid the Biggest FAANG Interview Mistakes

It’s a common misconception that knowing efficient algorithms is enough to get through the whiteboard interview at FAANG companies. The truth is, you also need to adopt a systematic process to avoid and correct mistakes if needed. The lack of process is something that often leads to failure, as many candidates ignore this in their preparation. So that this doesn’t happen to you too, I am sharing the biggest mistakes people make in whiteboard coding interviews and how you can avoid them. Prefer to watch a video? Here you find my matching youtube video!

1. Not asking clarifying questions

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash Like in real life, asking clarifying questions is not just expected but it’s part of the interview protocol. Not asking will get you into trouble later one. For example, let’s say you assume that the input array has only positive integers. You write a solution that only works for positive numbers. But the interviewer was expecting it to work for negative numbers too. Is it not the fault of the interviewer, at all. The questions are designed in a way that requires you to ask clarification questions. So before you start to write anything, ask questions like: “Can there be negative numbers in the input array?” “Is the graph directed or undirected?” “Can the graph have cycles?”

2. Coding without Planning

If you don’t plan your approach, you will most likely get stuck at some point. Getting stuck is common and expected, but you don’t want to realize later on that you wasted valuable time coding something that doesn’t solve the problem. So make sure you plan your algorithm before you start coding. Discuss it with the interviewer, it’s expected and you might get a hint that prevent’s you from taking the wrong route.

3. Freaking out if you Get Stuck

Many candidates don’t realize, that getting stuck is normal. Stay calm and don’t freak out, interviewers know better than anyone that the candidate is human after all, not a robot.

4. Not Testing your Solution

Latest after you are done coding, make sure you test a good set of test cases. Just testing a single sample input doesn’t mean the code works. You want to demonstrate your testing skills and show that you write reliable code. Simply saying “it works” is a common mistake that candidates make, only to find that the interviewer caught an error in their code. Having some errors in code is fine, but make sure you verify/test the code and do your best at finding them yourself.

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