Congratulations if you got an interview at Facebook, a top 5 salary rank per Paysa.
Facebook hires the best of the best: top-tier talent with incredible coding abilities, a team mentality, and a knack for difficult problem-solving.
And like some of the other top tech companies whose interview processes Paysa has profiled in the past (Airbnb, Microsoft, and Apple to name a few), Facebook has established a similar rigorous interview process.
So what can you expect from the Facebook interview process?
Engineers and developers experience a strenuous interview process with most tech companies, largely because their skills will be put to the test in several different coding interviews.
Facebook is no different. As you’ll see in the next section that breaks down the process, you’ll be asked to code multiple times throughout the interview process. As a result, preparation is key.
With that in mind, here are the big areas you need to brush up on to be prepared for a software engineer interview:
- Basic data structures and algorithms. Mark Ali explains the importance of this in his Quora post: “I can’t emphasize more about this point since it is the most fundamental thing for a software engineer interview. If you fail to get a good grasp of those basic data structures you learned at school, you just failed the whole interview.” This includes:
- hash tables
- hash maps
- traversals (BFS, DFS)
- Your experience and career interests. It might seem obvious, but know your resume inside and out and be prepared to speak about each experience with regards to project examples and where you made an impact. Plus, there will be questions about you and what you are looking for in your next job, problems you want to solve – etc. Hint: Facebook problems.
- Facebook and their culture. Being a great coder may not be enough. You also need to be a culture fit—someone who aligns with the company’s goals and fast-paced work style. Read up on Facebook before the interview to be sure you’re comfortable with the culture Mark Zuckerberg has created there.
Once you have all those pieces in place, prepare yourself by reviewing the structure of Facebook’s hiring process.
Step #1: Phone Interview with a Recruiter
Whether you’ve applied directly to Facebook, were contacted as a referral, or recruited, the first step is always an initial phone screen with a Facebook recruiter.
Like at other top companies, this recruiter will be highly knowledgeable and can become your best friend through the hiring process.
That’s why it’s important to:
- Take the call from a quiet place.
Sounds obvious but the reverse does happen. Treat the call like you’re speaking with Zuckerberg himself. Take it from a quiet place—not a Starbucks—and make sure you have great cell reception.
- Review the recruiter’s profile on LinkedIn ahead of time.
Not only is it a courteous thing to do, but it also gives you some ammo for rapport building. Pay attention to previous jobs they’ve held, schools, and hobbies.
- Ask for their advice in succeeding throughout the rest of the process.
Once the interview starts winding down, ask the recruiter if they’d be comfortable sharing tips and tricks for succeeding in next steps.
Step #2: Phone Interview with Facebook Engineer
This interview—which typically happens over the phone but could occur on-site in rare circumstances—will be your first opportunity to prove your coding chops.
Expect 45 minutes on the phone, with the first 5-10 reserved for career questions and then 30 minutes of coding. You’ll be entering the code into a collaboration tool so that your interviewer can see what you’re typing in real-time.
Here are a couple of reminders for succeeding in this interview:
- Use headphones. This seems like a minor detail until you’re typing code with a phone wedged between your shoulder and ear.
- Practice coding under pressure and in a text editor. Using Notepad or Evernote to run through practice exercises gets you used to the environment you’ll be in for the interview itself.
- Know your career aspirations. It would be quite the upset to crush a coding interview only to lose the opportunity on a poor response to the career questions. Know your answers ahead of time so you can cut down on the “umm’s” and “uhh’s” in the interview itself.
Step #3: Onsite Cycle
If you’re invited on site, expect three interviews and a lunch spread across a full day.
- First, you’ll go through another coding interview.
Much like the coding interview you did over the phone in structure, except this time, you’ll be face-to-face and coding on a whiteboard, not a shared collaboration tool (so practice that, too).
One important piece of the coding interviews is that you talk through your thought process. Yes, interviewers want to see good, clean code. But they also want to see how you think and problem-solve. Don’t make them guess about it—be transparent and share your thought process before you even start writing.
- Then, you’ll do a design interview.
Here’s another 45-minute interview that requires you stand at the whiteboard—but this time, no coding.
This interview is a unique step for Facebook: as a means of assessing your creativity and ability to solve important design problems, your interviewer will pose either a systems design or product design question and have you work through it with them over the next thirty minutes.
Notice the “with them” part: this interview is just as much about your ability to collaborate as it is your design ability. Work with your interviewer, asking good questions and sourcing their thoughts and feedback.
- Next, comes lunch with the recruiter (or another member of the engineering team).
Somewhere in the process you’ll take a break, eat a meal, and get a chance to ask more questions to either your recruiter or another member of the engineering team.
- Finally, there’s a behavioral interview.
Lastly, you’ll sit down for a longer look at your resume, background, and long-term goals. Think about why you want to work for Facebook and be prepared to answer questions like:
- What are you proud of?
- What were some excellent collaborations you’ve had?
- Tell me about a time when you advocated for and pushed your ideas forward despite opposition?
- How do you deal with conflict?
- How do you like to give and receive feedback?
- What kinds of technologies are you most excited about?
- What problems do you like to work on?
If things go well, Facebook extends offers shortly after the conclusion of the onsite! At which point, you should head on over to Paysa to explore salary information for Facebook jobs.