FAANG Interview Preparation - A Step-by-Step Guide to Crack FAANG Interview

The FAANG interview is one of the toughest interviews a software engineer can go through. It’s very challenging to go compete with some of the best minds in big tech companies. Proper FAANG interview preparation is a must! You must be sure you have every advantage possible to get a job out there. FAANG companies want a person who is creative and has good problem-solving skills.

The logos of the 5 companies from the FAANG grooup

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We know FAANG organizations provide the best additional benefits for the employees. Some benefits include health benefits, food, transportation inclusion, parental leaves, paid leaves, stipend for training, etc. The perks act as a cherry on the top of the manifold advantages of working in Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google.

The FAANG companies provide the perfect working environment to all employees and also require hard work, enthusiasm, determination, and a mindset of a winner.

If you should prepare for your first interview at big tech companies, the most important book you’ll need to read is cracking the coding interview. Sometimes the knowledge and skills are not enough for cracking the FAANG interviews - despite your knowledge, there is always a chance for you still to cannot crack these interviews.

There is no magic way for cracking the FAANG interviews, but there is a guided FAANG preparation and practice which will help you improve your skills and show your skills in the best possible way, during the quick interview time. The key to cracking the FAANG interviews is the structured learning, a lot of practice, and the knack to demonstrate that and to present yourself in the best light.

In this article, I’ll help you prepare for interviews at FAANG companies, whether or not you are preparing for the first time.

We will cover:

1. FAANG Interview process

The interview process at FAANG is standardized. It follows the stages below:

1.1 Interview stages

  • Online coding challenge
  • HR phone screen - After you submit your resume or a recruiter starts the process with you, first, you have an exploratory conversation with the recruiter to understand fit and gauge interest.
  • One round of phone interviews - For software engineers, the phone screen is a 45 mins interview over the phone + a site to write code. Typically, the questions asked here are a bit simpler - in this stage, the interviewer simply tries to ascertain if the candidate has a reasonable chance of doing well in onsite interviews. If everything is ok then the recruiter will schedule the onsite interview date.
  • (Virtual) onsite interview comprising around five one-hour interviews:
  • For software engineers, there typically are 2 coding interviews, 1–2 systems interviews, and 2–1 behavioral/resume reviews.
  • For junior candidates, the systems interviews may be replaced by coding;

2. FAANG interview questions

FAANG companies categorized the questions as follows:

  • Behavioral questions
  • Situational or competency-based questions
  • Technical questions
    • Coding questions (data structure and algorithms - hash tables, binary search trees, sorting algorithms, heaps, etc.)
    • System design questions

2.1 Behavioral questions

  • What were your specific role and responsibilities in the most recent project you worked on?
  • How do you keep yourself / your colleagues/ your team motivated?
  • How do you build and maintain functional relationships with colleagues working in other locations?
  • What is the project you are most proud of, and how did you contribute to it?

2.2 Situational or competency-based questions

  • Describe your most difficult customer and how you were able to handle their needs?
  • How do you make sure that your colleagues remain accountable?
  • If you were asked to perform a task and weren’t sure how to complete it - what would you do?
  • Describe how you would overcome the challenge of working with a difficult co-worker on a team project?

2.3 Technical questions

  • How would you investigate it and solve the performance problem if a website with two app servers and one database server is slow? (Amazon)
  • Design and implement an algorithm that would correct typos. For example, if an extra letter is added, what would you do? (Facebook)
  • Find all (English word) substrings of a given string (every = every, ever, very). (Google)
  • How many gallons of milk do Googler’s drink in a day? (Google)
  • Write a C++ code to reverse the order of words in a string, without using any additional buffer. (Google)
  • What is a SAN, and how is it used?
  • What coding language are you most comfortable with?
  • When is it appropriate to denormalize database design?

2.3.1 Data structures and algorithms

  • Array skills
    • Remove Even Integers from Array
    • Merge Two Sorted Arrays
    • First Non-Repeating Integer in an Array,
    • Find Second Maximum Value in an Array
  • Linked List concepts
    • Find Length of Linked List
    • Search in Singly Linked List
    • Reverse a Linked List
    • Find Middle Value of Linked List
  • Graph Problems
    • Implement Breadth-First Search
    • Implement Depth First Search
    • Detect cycle in Graph

Top 10 Graph algorithms FAANG Interview Questions

1. Breadth-First Search (BFS)

2. Depth First Search (DFS)

3. Shortest Path from source to all vertices Dijkstra

4. Shortest Path from every vertex to every other vertex Floyd Warshall

5. To detect a cycle in a Graph Union Find

6. Minimum Spanning tree Prim

7. Minimum Spanning tree Kruskal

8. Topological Sort

9. Boggle (Find all possible words in a board of characters)

10. Bridges in a Graph

I recommend you the following books for cracking the coding interview:

2.3.2 System Design Interviews

System design interviews can be intimidating. The questions are open-ended, there is no definitive answer - and that’s where developers get stuck. Below are some examples:

  • How are web servers load-balanced?
  • How are databases shared?
  • How are large files stored?
  • How is the network set up for redundancy and maximum throughput?
  • You’ll want to practice problems like Design Instagram, Design Facebook Newsfeed, Design Uber

I recommend you the following books for cracking the system design interview:

2.3.3. Object-Oriented Design Interviews

  • Design an ATM
  • Design an elevator
  • Design a Parking System

For practicing more interview questions with experts, I would recommend you to join InterviewHelp.

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3. How to prepare

There a three critical things that you need to do at a minimum:

  • Have a powerful command over data structures and algorithms. This is the deciding factor because 70-100% of your interview questions will be on this.
  • You should have a deep understanding of Operating Systems concepts (paging, processes, semaphores, threads, deadlocks, etc.).
  • You should be good with database systems and Object-oriented programming concepts.

Preparing tips for coding interviews:

  • Do at-least four questions (one easy, two medium, one hard) in each topic.
  • Find patterns for similar questions and create templates for them (like backtracking, DFS, BFS, sliding window)
  • While practicing data structure topics, understand the standard data structures properly and make sure you can code them with no compile-time errors.
  • If you are not able to move ahead with a problem, come back to it a day later.

Preparing tips for system design interviews:

  • Practice for famous problems like Design Instagram, Twitter etc. and make your own solutions.
  • Use Interviewhelp - it saves a lot of time.
  • Make sure that you can draw and explain your solutions in 40–45 minutes.

Even if you are well prepared for an interview, you still aren’t immune to committing mistakes. You must know how to show your skills and knowledge in the way interviewers like it.

“FAANG” companies hire people who do well in their interviews. Assuming that you make it to the interview stage, your interviewer’s performance will be much more important than any other factor in determining whether you get an offer. If you do well on the interviews, then it’s irrelevant whether you did competitive programming or have side projects. If you don’t do well on the interviews, then you won’t get an offer.

To maximize your chances of being selected for an interview, however, it is useful to have impressive competitive programming accomplishments on your resume. Some recruiters will specifically search for candidates with those credentials, since they are much more likely than average to be good at programming interview questions.

When you go into those kinds of competitive coding environments, you’re encouraged to produce something quick and dirty to solve some narrow and highly artificial problems. The FAANG interviews require a lot of practice.

The best option for your FAANG preparation is the mock interviews. They provide you with enough space to commit mistakes and learn from them. With mock interviews, you can analyze your technical and conversational skills. And, at the end of these interviews, you will gain feedback from experts.

Fake interviews will help you spot your strengths and weaknesses, and will boost your self-confidence.

So let it happen. Join InterviewHelp, and schedule your mock interview right now.

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