Have you been hired by Google, Facebook or Microsoft (or another big company) for your performance on … by Hieu Pham
Answer by Hieu Pham:
In my Junior year at college, I got internship offers from Facebook, Microsoft and Google. Considering my profile at that time, I think the only reason that they wanted me was my contests experience. My team was ranked 2nd in the regional ACM ICPC contest the prior year, and I was yellow on TopCoder, purple on Codeforces.
How do I achieve this? There are several steps.
- At the document round, I put my contests performance into my resume, and highlighted that I want to work in algorithm. Usually, for internships, this would bring you to the interview round.
- At the interview rounds, answer the questions as flawlessly and quickly as you can. These questions are usually fairly easy if you have any background in programming contests. Don't do anything like "First give a slow algorithm, and pretend as if you were trying to optimize it…", as taught at. IMO, it's quite dishonest and most interviewers would recognize that.
- If you answer all the questions very fast, you may ask for more questions. In case the interviewer did not prepare more, it's your responsibility to come up with questions for him or her. To do so, it is important to do some research about your interviewer beforehand. Stalk their Facebook, LinkedIn, whatever, for their background, school, and interest and prepare about 5 thoughtful questions about them and their team. You would be extremely lucky if your interviewer is involved in programing contest. It was once my case, where I just asked how my contest experience can fit into his team's work.