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Mock Interviews vs. Leetcode?

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Data Engineer at Financial Companya year ago

In prepping for interviews, how do I find the right balance between mocks and Leetcode? I just interviewed with a company this week and got feedback that my communication was good, so that's a relief. Also, of the 2 questions I was asked, one I had already done exactly, while the other was a variation of one I did (n-ary vs binary tree post-traversal). So that suggests I should keep doing Leetcode, but I'm still aiming for at least one mock a week. Wondering if I should up it.

Also, is it better to mock with the same partner consistently or have different partners? Is it better to only mock with FAANG engineers (since that's my target) or people in a similar position as me or even less experienced than me?

Additional insight is always appreciated :)

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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    a year ago

    In prepping for interviews, how do I find the right balance between mocks and Leetcode?

    You do more mocks when your execution is off. This includes:

    • Weak communication
    • Unable to recall information due to nerves
    • Poor time management (e.g. you spend too much time explaining your approach and then don't have enough time to code)

    You do more Leetcode when you're lacking knowledge. Some examples:

    • You're getting problems that are nothing like you've ever seen in terms of pattern recognition
    • You just got an interview with a new Big Tech company, and you haven't done any of the questions tagged to it

    It seems like your interview went well in terms of the DSA questions, so I wouldn't up your Leetcode time investment - Just keep it steady and put in whatever amount of hours you're already putting in.

    Also, is it better to mock with the same partner consistently or have different partners?

    More people to pair with is better as you'll get more perspectives. However, there's a middle ground: I think it would be very chaotic if you were to mock interview with like 10+ different people. Mocking with the same folks also allows you to build up that relationship. If I were to throw a number out there, working with 3-5 people seems good.

    Is it better to only mock with FAANG engineers (since that's my target) or people in a similar position as me or even less experienced than me?

    If your goal is to get into FAANG, then obviously mock interviewing with people from FAANG will be helpful on average since they themselves got into FAANG and might even do interviews on behalf of FAANG. The tricky part is that FAANG engineers are super busy, so it's hard to get that time from them, haha.

    Generally, relationships are strongest when the 2 people are around the same level since this has the highest chance of equal value exchanged.

    However, helping people less experienced than you will lead to higher appreciation as it's unexpected. On top of altruism, the value there is that it's sort of an "investment" in a person. If they're kind, driven, and receptive of feedback, there's a good chance they will outpace you in terms of career. This means that the tables will turn and they'll go out of their way to help you in the future. I talk more about how I made decisions investing in more junior folks in my deep-drive on mentorship at Meta: [Case Study] Mentoring Junior SWEs [E3] to Senior [E5] In Just 2.5 Years At Meta

    Here's our best interviewing resources as well: