How to Get an Interview at Facebook, My Review
If you’ve ever wondered how to get an interview at Facebook, it may seem like a distant goal, but it’s much easier than a lot of people realize. Not easy by any means, but not at all impossible! In May of 2019 I did two interviews at Facebook, one over the phone for an HR checkout and simple coding questions and demonstration, and the other on-site at Menlo Park, California on the company’s dime.
I was offered a position but had a better offer, so I declined. The progression of how I went from a college kid who had done a single internship in a school with thousands of others equally or more qualified than I was, with numerous years of experience more than I had, is very simple: I presented myself better than my competition, knew exactly which questions they were going to ask and how to answer them, and I asked a lot of questions.
Getting the Facebook Interview
The hardest part of the entire Facebook interview process was getting that initial interview. A lot of people will say that you need to know someone at these companies, or that you need to be able to get face time with someone who works in recruiting in order to even get noticed. Neither of those are wrong, but they lead you in the wrong direction. If you know someone who works at Facebook, then all the better, talk to them, ask them to put in the good word for you and they will likely be able to land you a position if one is available. Facebook still hires straight from applications though, and regardless of a recommendation, if you’re better than the recommended (which obviously you are, or they wouldn’t need a recommendation), then you have a better chance of getting hired.
The way I was able to do it was by going to job fairs in the area that I was living in, which is a fairly large city, and find someone recruiting for Facebook. Yes! Just that! It was that simple. And if you’re looking to get hired by a fortune 500 company I highly suggest going to job fairs in larger towns than if you live in Buford, Wyoming. Talk to a local college and see if they are hosting any and if it is a requirement to be a student. Many cities will host them at convention centers as well, and that is a great way to get face time with large companies. If you’re unable to find a job fair, applying online is fine as well, but you’d be better off trying to befriend a recruiter for Facebook on LinkedIn. Work your way around LinkedIn until you’re able to become 2nd contact with one and then connect with them. Don’t be that weird guy that slides in their LinkedIn DMs and asks for a job, there’s only six degrees of separation between you and them max, so get searching.
Have a Degree or Facebook Certification for the Interview
When you give them your resume at the job fair or online, they’re going to be looking for one thing, and one thing only before tossing your resume in the trash pile: credentials! It doesn’t matter if you look the best, if you’ve got on the best suit, your hair is done right. This is tech people! Nobody cares how you look. Presenting yourself comes entirely from past projects and experience. If you look great but don’t have a clue then you’ll never get the job, but if you’re the best qualified and have on a suit that’s a little big then you’ll be fine. Walk in there with the college degree or certification to prove it.
Any Facebook employee is there for a reason. They all got the interview for that same reason. Whether it’s because they have some experience in the field that nobody has seen before, or they bring some credentials to the team that would make them easy to train in new ones, those credentials and experiences will be your foot in the door to the HR interview.
Have a Coding Background
After you have gotten the Facebook interview and dealt with the ringer that HR puts you through (these are standard questions). You’ll have a coding section to demonstrate that you have the coding skills to solve a basic problem. Now this could be anything from sorting a list in a good time/space complexity, or it could be using the right data structure to organize data efficiently.
For instance, if you plan on using a data source to organize all people on Facebook by the number of friends they have then you would probably opt for using a tree data structure as opposed to a list data structure because it would give you a better lookup and storage time complexity. Things like that are the type of rational questions they will ask.
During the Main Interview After You Have Gotten through The Initial Interview they are going to drill you with three types of interviewers. The first kind will be the coding demonstration with algorithms, the second kind will be the coding demonstration with data structures, and the third type will be HR style questions that are about your background, where you would want to work, strong suits, etc.
They will put you through a six hour long interview that is comprised of two of these three types of interviews each. The first two will require whiteboarding and walking through your process. Make sure if you suddenly change your mind during a problem that you note why, discoveries, observations, and write it down off to the side so they know you are thinking about the problem rationally and continuously.
This will obviously require some insanely good “thinking on your feet” skills. If you are bad at thinking quickly then practice, practice, practice. That is the only way to more easily recognize what type of problems fall into a container for how to solve them
Have a Major Company on Your Resume to Make You Stand Out
One of the biggest things that likely landed me the Facebook interview in the first place was the fact that, despite fewer years of experience than my competition, I was able to get a good internship (which is significantly easier to get than a job at that same company) with a big-name aerospace company that made the interviewer say “oh you’re the kid who worked at (company)!”.
That kind of recognition that makes you stand out from the rest of the people who are interviewing there will be major bonus points. Anything that will make the interviewers say “oh you’re that guy!” is a good thing. Cool past projects, jobs, or coding languages that are in high demand, will all get you there.
Final Thoughts on Landing an Interview at Facebook
It’s not an easy thing to get an interview at Facebook, and it’s even harder to land a job there, but with the right prior experience, selling yourself, and excellent coding skills you could soon be working out at Menlo Park or Seattle alongside many of the best web developers on the planet.
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