Looking to land a job at Facebook but don’t know what the process looks like?
I’ve got you covered. In this article, we will look at what goes on in each step of Facebook’s hiring process, two different types of Facebook’s interview questions, and three tips to ace any Facebook interviews. Here are the four steps of the Facebook interview process:
Step 1: Pass the resume screening
Step 2: Pass the phone screenings (1-2 rounds)
Step 3: Pass the on-site interviews (4-5 rounds)
Step 4: Pass the hiring committee reviews and get the offer
Step 1: Pass the resume screening
The first part of Facebook’s hiring process is, similar to most corporate jobs, resume screening. In this round, recruiters will screen your resume for technical requirements, education, experience,.. to make sure you’re a potential fit.
Although hiring criteria depend on roles and company, the fundamental principles of writing winning resumes at Facebook is almost identical to writing winning consulting resumes. There are three fundamental rules you must apply in your resume:
Rule #1: Explicitly display the skills and traits that Facebook seeks in candidates
What Facebook looks for in its employees are: leadership ability, analytical problem-solving skills, excellent written and oral communication, “gritty” character, intense curiosity, and humility.
Rule #2: Write specific, result-oriented, and explicit bullets
When talking about your experiences and achievements, the way to go is through objective information. A good bullet should sound something like:
“Reduce overhead by 20% (or $2MN) for an online news media company by leading a cross-functional team to migrate the client’s finance operations cost centers to a shared-services model.”
Rule #3: Using professional, structured, and to-the point language
Using professional, structured, and to-the point language implicitly shows screeners that you’re a good communicator. Highlighting your achievements with explicit numbers and good structures also save screening time and leaves a good impression.
Before moving on, I highly recommend you checking out my consulting resume overview and specifically look at the resume examples I corrected to see how these rules can supercharge your resume.
Step 2: Pass the phone screenings (2 rounds)
There are usually two rounds of phone screenings at Facebook : the recruiter phone screening (or the pre-screen) and the technical phone screening.
In the recruiter phone screening round, which lasts 20 minutes, an HR recruiter will contact you to ask a few questions on the phone. These questions are somewhat behavioural, aiming to reveal your background information and qualities, from which the recruiter will assess your fit for the selected role.
If you pass this initial phone screening, the recruiter will match you with a Facebook engineer to conduct the technical phone screening, which lasts around 45 minutes. You’ll be asked some questions pertaining to your resume for 10-15 minutes, then spend the next 30 minutes completing one or two coding questions (e.g. data structures, algorithms, etc) on a simple online code editor (e.g. CoderPad).
Step 3: Pass the on-site interviews (4-5 rounds)
Once you’ve passed the phone screenings, you’ll move on to the tough on-site interviews. In a typical on-site interview, you will be interviewed with another 4-5 people for 45 mins each.
On-site interviews usually consist of 4-5 rounds, in which two things will be assessed: (1) Your fit for the selected role (role-specific fit) and (2) Process, teamwork, and culture fit (firm-specific fit).
For technical roles, there are generally two types of interviews you should be aware of: Coding on-site interviews and System Design on-site interviews. For each type, expect 2 or more interviews.
Coding on-site interviews involve whiteboarding solutions to slightly harder data structures and/or algorithmic problems. The lesser experienced you are, the more number of coding onsite interview rounds for you.
System Design Onsite interviews involve coming up with high level design architectures for real life products. The more experienced you are, the more number of these interviews you might face.
For both technical and non-technical roles, you’ll definitely get teamwork/process/culture fit interviews. The fit interview will be a combination of topics ranging from agile methodology or workflow, teamwork and collaboration, and conflict resolution.
Step 4: Pass the hiring committee reviews and get the offer
Congratulations! You’ve passed the on-site interviews, the toughest part of the interview process. At this point, candidates will be assessed in candidate review meetings, where team leaders/ managers will determine whether you’re a good fit for their respective teams. If a team wants you, they’ll tell your recruiter and it will be added to your portfolio, which will then be submitted to the hiring committee
After that, your performance will be evaluated by a hiring committee consisting of Facebook seniors. This step is usually a formality. Before the hiring committee session, each reviewer often takes hiring recommendations made in the candidate review meetings, which will be discussed during the session. If all members agree on one recommendation, an offer will be extended.
The beginning of every interview at Facebook will involve 15-20 minutes of behavioural questions. Hence, it’s crucial that you present yourself in a consistent, thorough manner. Most importantly, however, you must demonstrate the traits that Facebook looks for in every answer. Below, I’ve summarised three tips to help you ace every fit interview question, keep reading!.
Tip 1: Prepare stories, not questions
For any interview, especially fit interviews, it is best to prepare 3-4 detailed, all-round, refined stories exhibiting all the required attributes (for Facebook, they’re the below “Facebook” traits). This way, you can tune the stories according to the interviewer’s questions in a flexible, consistent manner.
Many candidates make the mistake of preparing on a per-question basis, i.e listing out the possible questions and the corresponding answers/stories. Wrapping your head around inflexible answers can throw you off-balance when an unexpected question comes up. The resulting storytelling style is also somewhat robotic.
Instead, in the Case Interview End-to-End Secrets Program, I teach a story-based approach: select a few stories reflecting your best, all-round self, and develop them in detail.
Learn more: The online guidebook to case interview
Tip 2: Explicitly show Facebook traits
To prepare your stories, compare your past experiences with Facebook traits, along with personal values you’re most proud of, and select the stories best reflecting those traits and values. You want to show that your values and experiences perfectly match what recruiters look for.
So what are these famous “Facebook” traits? Above all, Facebook places emphasis on kindness, empathy, and humility in their people. Successful candidates also excel in these criteria: learning ability, teamwork, communication skills, leadership.
Learning ability: Facebook not only values excellent cognitive abilities, but also problem-solving ability, curiosity, and ability to learn.
Teamwork: Working at Facebook demands that you’re a great team player. Merely being an independent, hard-working employee isn’t going to cut it – you’ve got to work, think, and succeed in teams.
Communication skills: succeeding in teams also requires excellent communication skills, and this holds true not only for Facebook but many companies.
Leadership: Facebook defines leadership as the willingness to step into a difficult problem and step out when their expertise is not needed. One person is not always going to be the right leader for everything Facebook does – work will be handled in small-sized teams (4-6 people) consisting of people with different skill sets.
Tip 3: Use the Problem-Action-Result framework
As the name suggests, the Problem-Action-Result method, also known as the STAR method, is a technique you can use to clearly demonstrate specific skills/ traits required for a job position. Using this framework instantly makes your answers more structured, logical, easy for listeners to follow, and easy for you to keep track of.
STAR stands for:
Situation: An event, project, or challenge faced
Task: Your responsibilities and assignments for the situation
Action: Steps or procedure taken to relieve or rectify situation
Result: Results of actions taken
Example: Tell me about a time when you used your initiative to resolve a complex problem. What was involved and what actions did you take?
STAR Model Answer:
Last year while working as Customer Service Manager with XYZ Products Ltd in Germany, I successfully implemented a new process which reduced the time taken to process customer refunds from 14 days to 2 days, saving over £100,000 annually in agent time and gaining a 50% uplift in customer approval ratings.
Our customer refund process was taking 14 days and was using up an excessive amount of agent time and resources. I was tasked with reducing this to 2 days with the added benefit of saving time and resources.
First, I initiated the project by clearly defining the objectives and procedures. Then, I created a detailed brief analyzing the problem and outlining the potential benefits of the newly proposed process.
After that, I completed a walk-through of the existing system to identify where the problems lie. I interviewed the agents involved to gather their input into both the current system and their ideas of what they thought would work well.
With all that knowledge, I designed a new process and drafted a brief which I then forwarded to four software companies who specialise in the system we needed.
After presentation and consultation with my management team I organised a project team tasked with implementing this new system.
I set up a system for internal and external feedback and communication, ensuring that everyone involved was on board and up to speed. I was very pleased with the outcome. I reduced the time taken to process customer refunds from 14 days to 2 days, saving over £100,000 annually in agent time.
Facebook Interview Questions comprises three main types: fit questions, technical questions, and brain-teaser questions. Fit questions may appear in technical interviews, but are mostly asked during fit interviews. Technical questions are strictly limited to technical interviews, and brain-teaser questions may appear in all types of interviews.
No.1: Fit questions
1. What is it
For example, if you’re applying as a product manager, you might be asked the following fit interview questions:
- What’s a product you love/hate? Why? How would you improve it?
- How would you solve homelessness in San Francisco?
- Why does Starbucks sometimes have coffee shops on both sides of the road?
- Facebook has invented a technology that makes air travel 4x cheaper and 4x faster. What do you do with it?
- If you could implement a new feature for Gmail, what would it be?
- What will be the impact of self-driving cars?
- What technology trends are you following at the moment?
- You’re part of the Facebook Search web spam team. How would you detect duplicate websites?
- If you were to build the next killer feature for Facebook, what would it be?
- How would you determine if a new Facebook Search feature launch was successful?
2. How to approach it:
Remember, the main purpose of behavioural questions is to test your fit for the position you’re applying to. Hence, the key is to prepare 3-4 stories gearing towards the specific job requirements (professional experience, attributes, character, etc).
For example, if you’re applying as a software engineer, prepare 3-4 stories about your technical experiences, and don’t forget to include traits that make great software engineers (supreme communication skills, quick learning ability, good team player, etc), in addition to the aforementioned Facebook traits.
To prepare an all-rounded story, read this article for the full guide. Alternatively, follow these three steps:
Lay down the content base:
Compare your past experiences with Facebook traits along with personal values you’re most proud of, and select the stories best reflecting those traits and values.
List down as many details of your stories as possible, make sure they follow this structure: Problem, Actions, Result, Lesson.
Form the story plot:
Trim the unnecessary details, simplify the technical parts to help the listeners understand, then rearrange and dramatize the rest to make your accomplishments really stand out.
Add the Facebook spirit into the mix by emphasizing the relevant traits, telling your stories in a structured way, explaining all your actions, etc.
Refine your style:
Your style of story-telling should be entertaining for both you and your audience. Take time to practice and find your style – and remember, it should be natural, otherwise you won’t be able to use it in a high-stress, high-stake interview.
Keep in mind that your style should be formal, because it’s a job interview we’re talking about. Don’t do your trademark sarcasms there, it’s not a stand-up comedy session.
No.2: Technical questions
1. What it is:
Technical questions are exclusively reserved for candidates applying for technical roles, such as Software Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Test Engineer, Network Engineer, to name a few. Coding interview questions often fall into the following categories:
- Arrays / Strings (38% of questions, most frequent)
- Graphs / Trees (29%)
- Dynamic Programming (18%)
- Search / Sort (9%)
- Linked lists (4%)
- Stacks / Queues (2%, least frequent)
2. Sample questions and solutions:
Below is a comprehensive list of Facebook Coding Interview questions, for all aforementioned categories. Solutions are at the end of every problem.
- Given an integer array, move all elements that are equal to 0 to the left while maintaining the order of other elements in the array. See solution.
- Given a list of intervals, merge all the overlapping intervals to produce a list that has only mutually exclusive intervals. See solution.
- Implement next permutation, which rearranges numbers into the lexicographically next greater permutation of numbers. See solution.
- Given a string S and a string T, find the minimum window in S which will contain all the characters in T in complexity O(n).” See solution.
- Given an array nums of n integers where n > 1, return an array output such that output[i] is equal to the product of all the elements of nums except nums[i]. See solution.
- Given the head pointers of two linked lists where each linked list represents an integer number (each node is a digit), add them and return the resulting linked list. See solution.
- Given two sorted linked lists, merge them so that the resulting linked list is also sorted. See solution.
- Convert a binary tree to a doubly linked list so that the order of the doubly linked list is the same as an in-order traversal of the binary tree. After conversion, the left pointer of the node should be pointing to the previous node in the doubly linked list, and the right pointer should be pointing to the next node in the doubly linked list. See solution.
- Given a binary tree and a number ‘S’, find all paths from root-to-leaf such that the sum of all the node values of each path equals ‘S’. See solution.
- Reverse the order of words in a given sentence (an array of characters). See solution.
- Given a dictionary of words and an input string tell whether the input string can be completely segmented into dictionary words. See solution.
- Given a list of daily stock prices (integers for simplicity), return the buy and sell prices for making the maximum profit. We need to maximize the single buy/sell profit. If we can’t make any profit, we’ll try to minimize the loss. See solution.
- Given a double, ‘x’, and an integer, ‘n’, write a function to calculate ‘x’ raised to the power ‘n’. See solution.
- You are given a set of integers and you have to find all the possible subsets of this set of integers. See solution.
- There is a dictionary containing words from an alien language for which we don’t know the ordering of the characters. Write a method to find the correct order of characters in the alien language. See solution.
- Serialize a binary tree to a file and then deserialize it back to a tree so that the original and the deserialized trees are identical. See solution.
- Given a sorted array of integers, return the low and high index of the given key. Return -1 if not found. The array length can be in the millions with many duplicates. See solution.
- Search for a given number in a sorted array that has been rotated by some arbitrary number. See solution.
- Given a sorted dictionary (array of words) of an alien language, find the order of characters in the language. See solution.
- Check whether a given graph is Bipartite or not. See solution.
- We have a list of points on the plane. Find the K closest points to the origin (0, 0). See solution.
- Given two arrays, write a function to compute their intersection. See solution.
- Given an array of meeting time intervals consisting of start and end times [[s1,e1],[s2,e2],…] find the minimum number of conference rooms required. See solution.
- A linked list is given such that each node contains an additional random pointer which could point to any node in the list or null. Return a deep copy of the list. See solution.
- Given a singly linked list L: L0?L1?…?Ln-1?Ln, reorder it to: L0?Ln?L1?Ln-1?L2?Ln-2?…See solution.