Facebook Interview Questions & Reviews
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Software Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
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
L1 --> L2 --> L3 --> L7 --> L8
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:
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 (5)
Product Designer Interview (Neutral Experience)
Interviewed at Facebook
Interview Details – Was contacted by a recruiter and met for first round of interviews where we briefly went over my portfolio. The format was they interview me first, then I interview them. Afterwards I received a follow-up email and after some scheduling difficulties did a phone interview where I was asked to critique a mobile app.
Interview Question – I guess the most surprising questions were the ones they didn't ask. I wasn't asked about the thinking behind my work and more about the kind of work I was doing. It was very focused on features of the design and less about the big picture thinking around the design. Answer Question
Product Analyst Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Facebook.
Interview Details – Initial phone interview testing SQL competence and some analytical thinking. After this, they have an on-site, which consists of five or six short interviews testing SQL, probability/statistical skills, problem-solving with respect to a particular product. Overall a very pleasant process, and it all moves pretty fast, 1-2 weeks. SQL seems to be the only skill they really test for, which is nice, but also many people might be more comfortable doing certain tasks using other technologies, so SQL is heavily emphasized.
Interview Question – Produce a histogram using a SQL query. Answer Question
Software Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Facebook in April 2014.
Interview Details – Was referred by an employee working at Facebook. Was paired with a HR guy who facilitated the process via email. Did a phone interview with an engineer about a week after first contact. Did the technical interview and was told I would get a decision within the week. Didn't get a response after trying to follow up so I took it as a no.
Interview Question – The interview was pretty straightforward. The technical question had something to do with rearranging letters in a word, can't remember the details anymore. Answer Question
Software Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Facebook in November 2013.
Interview Details – Interviewed in November 2013. Initially contacted by a recruiter through LinkedIn. Entire process took around 3 or 4 weeks. Two initial interviews followed by an onsite interview. The initial interviews went well, but I failed onsite I believe. The company is very chill overall; they had a keg in one of the rooms when I visited.
Interview Question – Asked to do a presentation on a specific topic for the entire team. Answer Question
Engineering Manager Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Facebook in April 2014.
Interview Details – I exchanged a few emails and phone calls with a recruiter and got invited to the campus a couple weeks later.
I was told that even managers are asked technical questions (makes sense and I agreed).
Did two 1 hour slots (one in person and the other online, separated by a week). A week later I was told that I was not a fit.
Interview Question – Questions were toy CS problems that fresh grads would solve (dismissing 90% of my career). Think data structure (variations of sorting arrays/modifying binary trees). View Answer
Very Easy Interview
Software Engineer Interview (Negative Experience; Very Easy Interview)
Interviewed at Facebook
Interview Details – A recruiter set up a short chat and ask some behaviour questions, and bad things happen. She ask me some cliche questions like "why facebook" and I give my answer by talking about the technology fb using, which she didn't understand. I guess she expect me to be a fan of social network but my topic is always technology. Finally she ask if I am talking with other company. I give her a name of a company. But she never heard that. Hey, that's a middle size company in bay area just ipo 2yrs ago. She just can't understand what I am talking in the phone call. Not even one. Got rejection few days later.
Risk and Payments Analyst Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Facebook in May 2014.
Interview Details – Recruiter contacts you for a phone interview, screening process. They collaborate with someone in the department to determine if they wish to proceed with a second interview. The second interview is either an additional phone interview or an in-person interview.
Interview Question – 1. Why are you interested in Facebook? 2. Explain a time when you work on a technical project, and what did you do? Answer Question
Software Engineer Intern Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Facebook in May 2014.
Interview Details – One phone interview and one onsite interview. The process is relatively quick because I contact the HR directly.
The interviewer and the HR are very very nice. Talking to them really makes me feel relaxed.
I had the onsite interview at Facebook New York office. The working environment there is just amazing. I think if you enjoy the job as a software engineer, you would love that.
Interview Question – No very difficult questions. Just take it easy and enjoy the process. Almost all of the question are from the <Cracking the Coding Interview>. A quick response and emphasize on the issue of efficiency are important.
I think Facebook love to ask questions about the tree structure and some practical questions because they are realistic problems. When you prepare and practice, do remember that efficiency is a really significant issue, much more important than simply giving an answer.
And I would like recommend another book <Programming pearls>. Maybe the book is not a hard one to read, but the thought of the author, why the author wants to improve some algorithm and how he solves problems are really fantastic. The questions are from realistic problems and the book is really worth reading several times. It benefits me a lot. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – I think it is a great opportunity for me. The interview and the HR are so nice. I would like to work there even without payment. So why should I negotiate ? :)
Android Software Engineer Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Facebook in April 2014.
Interview Details – Worst interview experience I have ever had. The technical interviewers were great, but the technical recruiters are 1) extremely rude 2) unorganized and 3) lazy. After my first phone screen, the technical recruiter contacted me 1 month later, and let me know that they would like another phone screen two weeks later. Then after the second phone screen it was not until 3 weeks later where they let me know I was not a good fit.
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