I am a self-taught senior developer in a fly-over state. I always wanted to work in a FAANG and now an Amazon recruiter found me on linked in and invited me to send him my resume for a West-coast located position. Given the following:

  1. I absolutely CANNOT pass the algorithm/machine learning part of the interview (nor have I worked complex codewars/hackerrank problems in a while). I haven't reviewed the topics in 5+ years, but I know that I can prepare for these topics in 6 months, as I am familiar with them.
  2. I am absolutely comfortable doing everything in the job description.

With those points in mind, what is my best course of action:

  1. Politely reply to the recruiter saying that I am interested, but not now, and would like to keep his contact information (should I explain the reasons)?

  2. Ignore the recruiter, apply through normal processes or through the recruiter's email when ready.

  3. Explain what I explained here and see if he is still interested? To me this doesn't seem like an option - I am guessing every dev goes through the same interview.

Any advice welcome.

  • My experience is that I get invited to a technical interview within a week. I also read a lot about these kind of interviews and I really can't prep in a week while working full time). As far as losing - I guess the concern is them having me on record as having failed an interview. I also read that having offers from all FAANGs at once (or at least completely killing the interview )can boost total comp by something like 20-30%, so I was considering doing that. I feel too old to not get the best starting salary I can, since I am guessing a lot of Ivy League kids get it at 25. Jun 30, 2019 at 17:48
  • Thank you Joe - I think I have been reading your replies for over a year now on my main, just never post on this particular board and didn't want to use my main for employment questions. Jun 30, 2019 at 17:51

3 Answers 3


Ignoring the interviewer is definitely not an option, if you want to make a good impression. That leaves you with 2 options:

  • Accept the interview, and try to study as best as you can

  • Reply to him, explaining that you really appreciate the offer, but can't right now for personal reasons. Ask him if you two can keep in touch, so you can contact him once you figure everything out.

In the comments you seem pretty sure you can't pass the interview right now, so I would surely go for option 2. Good luck!


The first five items on the linked page are critical. It's unlikely any of the FAANG companies will hire you if you cannot demonstrate an understanding of CS fundamentals and an ability to code at a whiteboard. Get a copy of 'Cracking the Coding Interview' or a textbook like 'Fundamentals of Algorithms' or preferably both and get to work. Be sure to understand breadth-first and depth-first tree search (review Dijkstra's Least Cost Routing algorithm for BFS), the performance characteristics of hash tables and trees, when to use them. The expectations for the remaining topics will depend on the specific position(s) they are trying to fill, and the level of the position (entry-level, mid-level, senior).

Be honest with the recruiter -- tell him that you feel you are lacking in some subjects and would like time to prepare. Amazon is hiring continuously and recycles candidates frequently. The recruiter will be happy to get back with you.

I believe Amazon has an online screening process for developers. You could ask him if you could attempt that. Then you will have a good idea of the basic expectations.

Good luck.

  • Who is the author for Fundamentals of Algorithms?
    – VSO
    Jul 2, 2019 at 17:24

Last year I was also approached by an Amazon recruiter on LinkedIn and invited to the hiring process for a software engineer position in Ireland.

I went up to the last stage of the hiring process but didn't get the job. But after doing it, I must say that I found it far less technical than one would expect from an Amazon hiring process. They gave much more emphasis to leadership stuff than to technical stuff.

Of course there were many technical questions and white board coding but nothing worth a "oh my god, this is so hard".

I didn't get the job but the recruiter said that I should reapply in six months. And a few months ago, about seven months after the Dublin stuff, I was approached by another Amazon recruiter and invited to interview for another position in another country.

Long story short, go to the interview, do as best as you can. It won't burn any bridges with Amazon and the experience is too amazing to pass up.

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