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Facebook Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Apr 14, 2014
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Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Menlo Park, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Facebook in November 2013.

Interview Details – This was for a position in their Infrastructure team in Cambridge MA.

Recruiter contacted me in September and was very interested in my background and experience with highly scalable systems - both in Finance and Mobile phone payments.
I attended some small intimate presentations they did as they were initially opening a new Boston office and wanted to grow it out. The meetings were great and I learned a lot about how they solve some of their biggest problems.

I then did a screening interview on-site (because I don't do technical screens well on the phone). The question was "Given a binary tree, write code to print the tree out line by line". I did OK and got the Breadth First Search down fine, but couldn't figure out the - line-by-line part. (Turns out this is Facebook's #1 question to ask in interviews).

Although my performance wasn't great they gave me a break on that and asked me back for another screening interview. This time I prepared well for another coding interview but it turned out to be a Design interview. The problem was

"Imagine you have 10,000 servers and need to monitor the performance of each one, how would you do it" - naturally you need to be able to NOT take too much of the bandwidth and so you'll have to do sampling, have some history to watch for trends etc.

I passed that and was very excited to be flown out to Menlo Park for the final round.
I studied like CRAZY based on questions on this site and CareerCup. I took 4 weeks and studied about 15 hours per week.

Turns out I focused on the wrong questions - I studied Tree, String, Array and List algorithms based on the distribution of Q&A but I was asked Binary math and heap algorithms. Here are the questions I was asked.

1) How would you implement division without +, - or multiplication (a "classic" question, but not one of the ones I would focus on). I bombed on this as I was not expecting and could not recall my binary math. I figured out the high level outline but that was all. That I was asked this in the "culture fit" interview made this doubly unexpected.

2) Given 10,000 servers containing a Billion integers each how would you find how to find the median? I knew the answer to this question (use two heaps) - not because I had focused on it, but I had found it an interesting question while studying. However he then asked "How much memory do you need?" and I didn't know how big the heaps would need to be. The real answer I was trying to get is - what is the minimum heap you need. I had a guess but I think I got this wrong.

3) Given a List structure where each node contains a Next node and optionally a pointer to another list, flatten that list
e.g.

L1 --> L2 --> L3 --> L7 --> L8
                      |
                      v
                     L4 --> L5-->L6

WIll be flattened to
L1 --> L2 --> L3 -->L4 -->L5-->L6-->L7-->L8

I did OK on this - getting the answer - but it appeared I took too long. The interviewer also interrupted me a lot while I was writing an initial solution and that threw me off - I like to be more iterative in my problem solving but I think he expected 100% immediate correctness.
He had an observer there too and that guy looked bored out of his mind and that bugged me a little too as it wasn't clear who would be doing the judging.

4) I was also handed some hard to read Python code (I don't know Python) and asked to figure out what it does. I did OK on this - but again surprised to be handed hard-to-read code in a language I didn't know.

5) One final question "How would you implement the "ls" Unix function in your language of choice. It should take the input:
>ls a/b/c/*/e/*/f/*/*/g
and the output should be similar the the output given by unix."

I used a tree structure to represent the file directory structure and wrote a solution from there. I did OK on this.

Overall: Everyone seemed very nice - I had a nice lunch and the campus is interesting but it was clear that what I studied was not what I needed to (so lesson learned: don't just trust the distribution of questions on Glassdoor or CareerCup). I even got to walk past Zuckerberg's office (more of a conference room) and saw Sheryl Sandberg in there.

One interesting thing I learned is a lot of Google people are leaving for Facebook. Also I'd say if you are over 30 (I am 41) you are a rare bird at Facebook :-)

I knew based on the reactions of the interviewers that it was very probably a bust, but overall a good experience and something I will learn from. Very disappointing as I really wanted to be one of the first few Facebook engineers in the Boston area - and to work on their super high scalability issues but such is Life.

Interview Question – How would you implement division without +, - or multiplication   View Answers (4)

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Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

Interviewed at Facebook

Interview Details – Recruiter contacted me from LinkedIn profile and got me first round of interviews in NYC office

Interview Question – How do you find the kth smallest number in a binary search tree.   Answer Question

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Difficult Interview

Internet Marketing Analyst Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied online and the process took 5 days - interviewed at Facebook in February 2014.

Interview Details – 1 interview with recruiter, 1 interview with hiring manager

Interview Question – Tell me one thing you'd want to improve about Facebook's online marketing capabilities   Answer Question

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Difficult Interview

Data Scientist Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Menlo Park, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Facebook in February 2014.

Interview Details – Facebook reached out to me via... a facebook message. I wasn't actively looking, but decided to go through the interview process because why not? Maybe they could offer me something my current employer couldn't. The interview process started with two phone interviews. The first was just information and some fact checking. The second was a bit more technical and I had to show the ability to code and answer statistical questions online as one (or more) people watched me type. Then they flew me out for a day/night and I went through 5 interviews in a row (30 minutes each). Facebook has a beautiful Menlo Park campus. Throughout the interviews, only one simple bayesian stats question was asked. Everything else was business questions and computer science questions. I think my training is much more stats/machine learning oriented, so I struggled with a few questions. I signed a NDA, so I can't disclose the exact questions. They asked me on optimal algorithms, standard SQL coding, and business problems. It was very interesting and they did a good job letting me work through things on my own. I think they were looking for someone with more computer science/programming experience than I had.

Interview Question – Again, I can't talk about the specific question, but after I wrote up a simple algorithm, the interviewer asked me for a more efficient solution. I really struggled with that.   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

IOS Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee
Menlo Park, CA

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Facebook in December 2013.

Interview Details – While I was planning to look actively for a job in the next weeks, I have been first contacted by a Facebook recruiter (an employee, not a 3rd party company) on LinkedIn – I never really thought about Facebook at first, maybe because I imagined it was an unreachable goal. We scheduled a first phone screen: it was short, about 10 minutes, I said a bit of my background, he explained what Facebook is looking for an a bit of the recruiting process. After asking me 3 very easy Objective-C and iOS programming questions, he said he would like to schedule a phone interview with an Facebook engineer for me. 2 weeks later (he apologized for the long delay, I guess it's usually quicker) I had a phone interview. An engineer interviewed me, spending the first 10 minutes chatting of my background, interests and goals, then a 30 minutes peer-coding questions. As usual it was an algorithmic question, to solve in Objective-C / CoreFoundation (NSString, NSArray, NS* APIs...). She said I'll be contacted again by a recruiter in the next few days. I got a call, the recruited said I'm welcome to come on-site for a day of interviews. I gladly accepted. I then started to think I have some decent chances to get a job at this awesome company. The big day coming, I was very excited and relaxed too. I took a BART from the city and then a cab to the Menlo Park HQ. The recruited warmly welcomed me, we took some coffee, and chatted waiting for the first engineer / interviewer. The 4 interviews are as described on Facebook Careers website. First interviewer chatted a bit of my previous projects and then we had a technical question, involving iOS general knowledge, Objective-C skills, etc. Second interviewer spent most of time chatting of my previous projects, my goals, what I would like to change at Facebook if I was working here; and then we moved to a quick technical question. Then it was lunch time. I was really excited about going to visit the campus, get some good lunch and see how Facebookers are during lunch time. Many bring their MacBooks at lunch, have some fun with colleagues, and enjoy their meals. The lunch time was spent with the recruiter. After he brought me back to the interview room, the 2 next interviews were mostly algorithmic questions. Overall, I found the questions of an average level. Some iOS knowledge is required, some good sense of algorithmic, and remembering Objective-C syntax. Many says, and it's true, that unlike other companies, Facebook likes people who can code on a whiteboard with the correct syntax. It happened that I forgot a ; or wrote @implement instead of @interface. The interviewer asked me if I was sure about my syntax, I read again my code, and found my mistake. They are never (at least very rarely) misleading you. If they say "read again" it probably means "there is a syntax error, find it it's a bonus". A few days later, I got an email and then call from the recruiter who said he got very positive feedback from the interviews so he would like me to gather and send him some reference letters. So I did. A few days later, I got a call and was told I got an offer. It was a very good one.
Overall, the whole process was of course stressful, but very exciting and all interviews were in a very very relaxed atmosphere. It was like chatting with new colleagues, and trying to solve together a problem.

Interview Questions

  • I don't want to disclose the exact question (not only because of the NDA I signed, but because it won't be fun if you have this exact same question, and it won't help you anyways I think).   Answer Question
  • One question 3 of the interviewers asked me was "What was the most difficult thing you had to deal with.".   View Answers (2)

Negotiation Details – The offer was much higher than expected. I accepted without negotiation.

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Product Designer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Baltimore, MD

I applied through college or university and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Facebook in November 2013.

Interview Details – Applied through requiters visiting my college. Met with an alumna who was currently an employee. We had a very relaxed and productive conversation about design as a whole, working at Facebook, and my work. I was contacted a few days later about a follow up interview. The requiter was always helpful and kind. Spoke to a woman on the marketing team in an hour long phone interview. She seemed cold, but possibly was trying to show no inflection in her voice to keep the interview neutral. She asked about a few specific projects in my portfolio, and asked follow up questions on how I would adjust the design based on different hypothetical criteria.

Was contacted around a week later from my requiter notifying me that I would not be moving forward with the process. I asked for a follow up conversation to get feedback, which was granted. During that conversation, I was told my main reason for being passed on was that I did not have enough experience. This struck a chord with me because the whole time they were pitching at my college, they said they were only looking for people with potential.

Interview Question – Analyze the iPhone 'folder' mechanism for grouping apps and suggest ways it could be improved.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

IOS Developer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Facebook.

Interview Details – Multiple phone reviews. 1). Initial HR with 3 simple ObjC questions. 2). Slightly more in depth discussion of experience. 3). Shared screen coding challenge.

Interview Question – Question wasn't difficult but there was a communication breakdown between what was being asked by the interviewer and myself. Once I understood what he was asking me to do it wasn't a problem, but by then it was too late.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Product Support Analyst Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Menlo Park, CA

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Facebook in March 2014.

Interview Details – The interview was pretty standard. The interviewer started off by asking for my understanding of the role and how my experience could relate. He went on to tell me more about the position in depth and the structure of the team. Also asked about my experience with excel/SQL and told me about the next steps in the interview process.

Interview Question – How would you decide which ticket to work on first, 1) huge vendor whose campaign has already launched and is wondering why they didn't receive the results the anticipated or 2) small business who is unable to launch their campaign for a product that is two days away.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Executive Assistant Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied online and interviewed at Facebook.

Interview Details – The recruiter got back to me with a standard "thank you, but no thank you, please keep in touch" email.

Interview Question – What's your favorite feature of Outlook mail   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Facebook in January 2014.

Interview Details – Phone interview and then on site. In the phone interview, they ask me to solve the 3 sum problem (check leetcode) and the bucket anagram problem. In the on site interview, 3 interviewers ask me three algorithm problems and also the behavior problems. Then there's a brief tour to the campus.

Interview Question – On site interview, they ask me regular expression match (check leetcode) and search for range (like, 1,2 3, 7,7,7, 9, 9, return how many 7's in the array) and also knowledge about the garbage collection, linked list, reverse linked list.   View Answer

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