Facebook is the first acronym of FAANG companies. Known for its unique culture and supremely structured processes, Facebook is the technology world's undisputed king. If you are looking ahead to interviewing at Facebook, this article can open up many insights into the process and type of questions you can expect at the interview.
The job and life at this tech giant are exceptionally rewarding but does not come easily. You will need to work hard and brush up all your skills to go through and crack the intensive rounds to reach the next stage.
The interview process at Facebook is quite elaborate, and there is no stage you can take lightly right from the beginning. Here are some insights into the interview process at Facebook.
Facebook is among the world's most technologically advanced companies with great scope for growth ahead. Preparing for the Facebook interview is not a tough nut to crack but requires dedication and exceptional expertise in your domain and language. There is no bar in terms of experience for a prospective candidate at Facebook. The only and most important requirement is expertise in programming and designing.
As it is apparent from the structure of interviews, coding, and programming is the essence of the complete process accompanied by a great cultural fit. Coming to the technical part, Facebook focuses a lot on the basics and fundamentals of programming and its elements.
You can find a majority of questions from four primary categories:
Below are some questions that you can expect to be asked at your interview with Facebook. As discussed above, the questions predominantly cover the language you have mentioned expertise in but you can also find a fair mix of fundamentals questions as well.
The data types under which data is arranged in computer memory are called Data Structures. Following are the main categories of Data Structures;
The questions generally are a mix from these categories and will not be asked in a straightforward manner. You will be expected to look at the bigger or hidden picture and then approach the problem in a holistic manner.
Here are commonly asked Data Structure and Algorithm questions at Netflix interviews;
The Systems design role is one of the most crucial roles at Facebook. Being an interactive platform, the system needs to be robust, dynamic and flexible all at the same time. It needs highly focused professionals who understand the system requirements and can make the best out of what is available.
Here are some systems design questions you can expect at your Netflix interview;
Though each and every phase of the interview at Facebook is inclined towards accessing the programming skills of a potential candidate, the behavioral aspect holds equal importance too. Recruiters keep a keen eye on your body language, your social and professional adaptability, learning ability, and other skills, to name a few.
Facebook is very specific and certain about its 5 core values. The recruiters give a go-ahead only to the people who are culturally fit and flexible enough to accommodate some personality changes in them.
The skillset varies from role to role but the five core values are a must have in everyone who wishes to work at Facebook. If you have applied for a senior role, be prepared to answer questions based on but not limited to team handling, leadership, ownership, delegation, hierarchy etc.
If you have applied for a beginner to mid level role, the questions will revolve around but not limited to receiving feedback, team working, mutual output, collaborations, hierarchy, time management and query handling.
Here are some behavioral questions to expect at your upcoming Facebook interview;
Questions Based on Teamwork and Collaboration
Teamwork is foundational to every organization. No successful organization can work without cohesive teams that work together and towards a common goal. Among all the FAANG companies, Facebook is famous for its cross-functional teams and tasks that require every individual to be extra flexible and adaptable as per situation and requirement.
Here are some teamwork and collaboration based questions asked at Facebook interviews;
Questions on Work-Life Balance and Handling Work Related Stress
Here are some work life balance questions Facebook recruiters can ask you;
Questions Based on Client Management Skills
Client management is an important aspect skill to have at Facebook. Irrespective of your role, you would be dealing with some clients within or outside the company. Given the fast pace and dynamically changing environment, managing all your clients will be one thing you need to ace as soon as possible.
Here are some client management skills related questions you can expect;
Questions Based on Relationship with Manager and Supervisor
Here are some questions based on relationship with manager asked at Facebook interviews
Questions Based on Adaptability
Here are some adaptability-related questions you may find helpful;
Questions Based on Facebook- Products and Company
Facebook Interview Questions Based on Past Projects
Past projects help recruiters understand the level of exposure you have had in your previous roles. Recruiters at Facebook focus on learnings, challenges, and growth you have had in your past roles and projects.
Here are some questions;
Java is among the most preferred languages at FAANG companies. Having expertise in Java can help you get the extra edge over other candidates while interviewing at most tech companies. Here are some Java-based questions you can expect at your Facebook interview;
Categorisation of Facebook Interview Rounds
The complete interview process at Facebook is categorised into two stages. Here is detailing of the stages:
Stage 1: Initial Technical Screen
This stage comprises four rounds that help the interviewer gauge your initial technical soundness along with what are your aspirations from the company and this role. The rounds are:
Though this round is named as the initial screening round, the recruiters at Facebook take it very seriously and expect the same from candidates. Even the initial questions on products, product life cycle, a challenging scenario, ideal use case or some personalised growth hack etc. Preparing for this stage requires a lot of homework and research to be done on Facebook as an evolving enterprise.
This interview typically begins by the interviewers introducing themselves and giving a fair idea about what is done at Facebook and how. The panelists also deeply focus on judging your seriousness as a professional and gauge you for your vision and enthusiasm to join the company.
Once through the behavioral stuff, a majority of the time will be spent on a shared coding editor platform. The panelists assign problems and tasks that are short and doable within 20 to 30 minutes. The agenda behind this task is not limited to examining candidates' coding skills but also what approach do they take to solve the problem. The last few minutes of stage 1 are spared for the candidate to ask questions about Facebook, the culture, the working style, expectations, how they approach a problem etc. Basically, the tables turn, and the candidates can ask whatever they want to know about the company, employees, work, and culture.
Preparation Tip: Do not take this stage lightly. Right from the introduction to the type of questions you ask the panelists, you will be gauged for every single word you say, write and code.
Make sure you practice the coding questions both by hand and on a simple text editor. In most cases, virtual interviews were conducted for stage 1, and the panelists used platforms and environments similar to a simple text editor for coding related questions.
Re-run through all the algorithms and coding fundamentals before you sit for the interview.
Learn to manage your time across all the problems given to you. Practice with a timer and stay true with the limits and deadlines while preparing.
Keep your fundamentals strong. Even if you are an experienced coder, programmer, or engineer, there is a high possibility that your day to day activities and work does not involve fundamental elements of programming. Brush up your concepts on data structures, lists, arrays, heaps, trees. Also, side by side, make sure you run through the algorithms, sorting techniques, approaches, and theories.
For the coding related questions, try to involve the interviewer by speaking what you are thinking. This will help them understand your approach to the question and also may drop you a hint or two if you get stuck somewhere.
Be prepared to explain what lead you to do so. They will be highly interested in proper reasoning from your side for validating your thought process and approach.
Do not go blank when asked for your future plans or growth plans in this role. Pause and reflect on why you're doing what you're doing and prepare and answer well in advance. Also, come prepared with at least two questions to ask the interviewers when given a chance. No questions show a lack of interest and confidence.
Stage 2: Onsite Interview
Once you have cleared all the rounds of the first stage, you will be invited for an onsite round of interviews. This is stage 2 of the process and a more structured one. If you have made it through Stage 1, you can expect the Stage 2 to be more demanding and familiarizing at the same time.
Stage 2 is divided into three sub-categories:
Though the interviewers expect you to have a basic understanding of both the types, you will be allotted a panel that is specific to your expertise in designing. The idea is to help you stretch your comfortable horizons to tackle an unknown problem in a known environment. This way you will get an idea of how things work at Facebook and what kind of queries you might be expected to resolve. On the interviewer's part, they get to understand how you react to an unknown situation or what approach do you take in resolving a problem you are not familiar with.
Preparation Tip: Walkthrough all your previous projects. What ever systems or projects you may have designed previously, on whatever scale, get a fair idea of it. Also, be prepared to answer tricky questions like "If you could, what would you change about it?", "Which part took you the most time?", "What was the one thing that put everything in place?", "Could you possibly think of a different way in which you could have designed this system?" etc. Avoid giving answers in a "no" unless you have a strong reasoning behind it. The purpose asking these questions is to understand how versatile you are and how well you can multi-task.
Try to incorporate Facebook in your examples. Understand how Facebook works as a system and what is your take on the same as a systems designer. You might be asked for your ideas on scaling up the current system or what approach you would take if you were to redesign Facebook starting from scratch.
Start reading early. Grasp as much information about famous design use cases as possible. You might get questioned about what went wrong with a particularly famous company that defaulted on its design part or a case study that requires analysis as a design engineer.
Be very specific and clear about the requirements part. The fundamentals of successful design lie in appropriately identifying the requirements. Once you get on to the project, you will be expected to thoroughly go through the project details and raise requirements without a miss (adequate enough to get the project started and going).
A similar approach would be followed for the Product design category. Questions will primarily focus on your previous projects. "How long did it take you to design a particular category of product?" "What were the major challenges you had to overcome while designing the product?", "If possible, what will you change about it?", "What if your mailing list overflows with mails?", "Have you ever dealt with system failures?", "What approach do you plan to take if there is a system failure?", "What is your back-up plan in case spammers attack the system?"
Most importantly, make sure that you are the one driving the discussion around the topic you are most comfortable in. Do not get stuck at a point or genre that you are not confident in.
The behavioral interview focuses mainly on figuring out if you could fit in the fast-paced, adhoc and mostly unstructured requirement environment at Facebook.
For the behavioral part
Preparation Tip: Stay up-to-date with whatever is happening in the organization. Facebook is extremely fast-paced. Follow the news updates relating to Facebook and other daughter companies like Instagram etc.
Stay true to yourself and the role you have applied for. Even if it points towards your failure or fault, speak the truth.
The final offer is made by collaborating the total marks scored across both the stages and how strategically you approached the coding questions. The behavioral interview also holds a high weightage since recruiters are looking out for people who can adjust to the dynamic environment and culture across the organization.