🧘 Therapy for Leetcode Warriors
Don't trust sites that say "Google Interview Question"
People get FOMO when they hear "Google Interview Question" or "Facebook Interview Question". Suddenly their mind goes - "oh shit, I better look at this, what if I get it in my interview". Click. Websites like GeeksForGeeks take advantage of this. They will claim common interview questions are "Google" or "Amazon" - as if they have insider information. I have gone through these questions and I have seen actual questions from the interviewer side. I can tell you that most of these claims are scammy. Calling a question "Google" could mean anything. Does it mean that it is similar to Google's interview questions? Does it mean that someone you know was asked this question at Google? Or does it mean you read on a forum that someone was asked this question? The worst example of this is CareerCup.com - they are full of spam posts by random people claiming that a question is Facebook or Amazon. When I went on the site while writing this, I saw a prostitution ad at the top of their homepage. This was the most recently asked "Interview Question"! Some scammer just submitted that randomly. I wouldn't be surprised if GeeksForGeeks picks up questions from CareerCup and labels them by company. From all indications, it seems like Leetcode's company tags are at least semi-reliable. I don't believe that they represent most frequently asked questions - they would have to survey a LOT of candidates to deduce that. But I can believe that those questions might represent a small sample of candidates they survey. Think about this, let's say you randomly sample 1000 candidates - a very tiny fraction of candidates. You find that one question was asked at Google 20 times. You can "claim" that this question has a higher frequency - it is in your interest to do so, because users get massive FOMO when they hear that. Users buy Premium subscriptions just to get this "insider" info. But does it actually represent frequently asked questions? Hard to say, because most common questions are asked at all companies. So you could take a list of common questions and assign them to companies randomly, and voila, you have a list too! Now, I'm not telling you to ignore them completely. I'm telling you to be aware of marketing tactics. Personally, I did take a look at them before the interview just for my peace of mind. But I still don't think it's reliable. Most common questions are asked by all companies. So it's very easy for a portion of candidates to say "Hey, I got asked this exact question I saw on Leetcode's Google list". As long as a small percentage of candidates get those questions and post about it, the myth will go on. Let me illustrate this further. Let's say that I post a list of Google questions, and in that list, I put 50 common interview questions. People will practice that list. Inevitably when they interview, maybe 60% of readers get at least one of those questions. It's the list of common questions, after all. They will hail my Google questions list and spread the word. And that's it, you have a bestselling list. It's a perfect system. Let's get the money rolling! But that being said, I don't think there's much harm in practicing questions tagged by company. Just be aware that these sites can be very misleading. Just be aware that they use company tags as a marketing tactic. Still don't believe me? Let's do an activity. The queries "Google Interview Questions" and "Facebook Interview Questions" are very high volume search terms. Top website aggressively compete for those. Search those terms yourself. You will find that websites have made pages dedicated to those terms. And in those pages, you'll find the most common interview questions - which are common regardless of company. They're just trying to capitalize on those keywords and get clicks. They're not trying to give you questions that are actually common in Google or Facebook. Ok, enough complaining. Is there a positive side to this? Yes, there is! All this illustrates one thing - if you do common questions, you are covering questions for all companies. You don't need to scout questions separately for each company. Now, as I said before, I like to scout a specific company's questions before an interview - just to give me confidence. It makes me feel like I can crack the interview. And for that, I would use Leetcode, because at least it seems semi-reliable. GeeksForGeeks and CareerCup, I would just ignore. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to have a good problem solving base. In my interview prep article, I highlight the need to have a strong set of problems that you master. You need to have mastery of algorithms and data structures. If you do that, it won't matter how many "Google Interview Questions" you've seen.