A Googler who interned at Facebook and Apple explains how to prepare for the most ‘terrifying’ part of the interview process

p /p p Many top tech companies have notoriously long and complex hiring processes, and Lea

Coligado, a 23-year-old software engineer at Google, is no

stranger to them. /p p Each year she was in school at Stanford, Coligado told Business

Insider, she applied to more than 20 software engineering or web

development internships, including at Snapchat, Pinterest,

Microsoft, Palantir, Yelp, and Whatsapp. She also applied

to Facebook and Apple, where she completed internships. /p p After the initial “phone screen” — a phone interview and

screen-share where the interviewee is asked to complete basic

coding exercises — she’d be invited to an in-person interview,

sometimes on Stanford’s campus, and eventually, at the company’s

headquarters. /p p That may sound like a lot already, but the most pressure-filled

part of the process came next. /p p “Imagine being brought into a room with a complete stranger,

being handed a mysterious algorithm, then being told to implement

and analyze it within 45 minutes while said stranger evaluates

your ability to do it,” Coligado told Business Insider. “On

top of that, imagine knowing your opportunity to secure a

salaried job at this company is predicated on your ability to

perform well in that specific frame of time in front of this

specific stranger.” /p p /p p Equally as nerve-racking, Coligado explained, is the fear that

interviewers likely have “preconceived notions about your ability

to code” based on “your race, gender, age, and physical ability.” /p p Plus, it’s extremely difficult to predict what problem you’ll be

presented with, she said. In fact, during her first recruiting

season, Coligado said she prepared for technical interviews by

reading “Cracking

the Coding Interview: 189 Programming Questions and

Solutions,” by Gayle Laakmann McDowell for 30 minutes each

morning to “nail down one algorithm” and then do another at night

after homework. /p p “I stayed home whiteboarding ‘how to balance a binary search

tree’ while my friends were out partying, and while it sucked at

first, I sure as hell knew how to balance a binary search tree by

my 20th birthday,” she said. “Mind you, I was asked in exactly

zero interviews that year to balance a binary search tree.” /p p Coligado soon realized that it was impossible to learn

everything, but continued practicing the same exercises in the

book. “It helped me recognize certain patterns in algorithms,

such that even if one algorithm wasn’t exactly like one I’d

studied before, I could analyze it in a similar, methodical way,”

she said. /p p In fact, the exercises in “Cracking the Code Interview” are “more

than enough to prepare for technical interviewing,” Coligado

said, “because it’s an all-in-one guide; the constraint is it’s

hard to study for technical interviews in college when you’re

already being assigned a ton of coursework.” /p p “Most importantly, [studying] gave me a sort of exposure therapy

for overcoming my enormous fear of interviewing,” she said.

“Since I was practicing new algorithms every day, solving them in

real-life interviews was a lot less scary.” /p p class “tagline” Get the latest Google stock price here. /p NOW WATCH: Here are the best and the worst jobs for sleepLoading video…


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