Facebook Interview Questions & Reviews in Menlo Park, CA
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Technical Project Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Facebook in January 2014.
Interview Details – Initial contact and screening took place over Facebook messenger. It was a little odd, being the first interview I'd ever had over a chat system. But it at least got me in the door. There was another phone screen after that with a member of the team, then they brought me onsite. I met with 5 people and it lasted most of the day. Some were good solid interviews with real people who liked to have a conversation and get real information. Some were very cold interviews literally read off a script right in front of me without making any eye contact. I was surprised at the range of interviewing skills and styles.
In the end, I was not offered the job. However, I was never actually told "no". I was only told "we're meeting later this week to discuss" or "there are a few more candidates to get through before we make a decision" and "just wait one more week and we'll have more information." They eventually just stopped answering my emails for a status. I got the hint, and probably for the best.
Interview Question – Describe how the website works. (That's the whole question, with no context.) View Answer
Product Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Facebook.
Interview Details – My first, and second-round interviews were at HQ. Facebook has three types of interviews: Product Sense, Product Execution, and Leadership.
My first round interview I met with two people, one for Product Sense, and one for Product Execution.
My second round interview I met with three people, one for each category. Yes, Product Sense, and Product Execution interviews are done twice.
Product Sense: this interview revolves around questions like "What would you build?" "Suppose we wanted to improve the photos experience." The interviews are trying to get at your sense from product.
Product Execution: here, questions like "Newsfeed engagement has decreased 2% week-over-week. why?" or "You're sitting with a data analyst, and you know there's a mobile problem in our new release. What would you ask him?"
Leadership: here the FB team is trying to figure out if you're inspiring, if you work well with others--it's a behavioral interview. Be expected to answer questions such as "Tell me about a time when you experienced a challenge building a product. What did you do?" or "What's your biggest accomplishment?"
Interview Question – I don't think there are any very difficult questions. You should always ask clarifying questions if something is not clear. I had to ask many clarifying questions. Answer Question
Product Manager Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Facebook in May 2014.
Interview Details – I had a phone interview with a recruiter who didn't seem to be very interested in me. They were rushing me off the phone, and it felt very much like I had been talking to a telemarketer.
I had two of phone interviews with two PMs. They were very friendly people, but it did seem like they kept trying to summarize my answers for me (mansplaining anyone?). One of them tried to "grade" an answer on the spot, saying I got all the answers right except one item....and it turns out I did say that. Perhaps he didn't hear me, and I didn't want to correct him (I was already being mansplained to death).
Not sure I am convinced FB is doing much to increase or help diversity on their end, judging from this interview process.
You should study the questions here on Glassdoor. Many of the questions here are what was asked of me on my phone interviews.
Interview Question – Nothing seemed particularly difficult to answer. Answer Question
Technical Recruiter Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Facebook in May 2013.
Interview Details – Took 3 weeks total. The interview process was pretty good once I was connected through an internal recruiter. The phone interview was challenging which helped as an indicator for the onsite interview (also fairly challenging). The onsite consisted of 4 back-to-back 1 on 1s.
Interview Question – Write a boolean string on a white board and explain the logic. Answer Question
Senior Software Engineer Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Facebook in May 2014.
Interview Details – Recruiter contacted me.
First telephonic interview was 45 mins and a single coding question.
All interviewers were good except one of the interviewer who asked about system design question (he was rude and wanted to show off).
1) Behavior - prepare for difficult bug etc. questions. What u want to do at Facebook.
3) System design - give more importance to these type of questions. Asked me about design a system to run a command on all the servers (say 1 million) within the same network from one of the server on the network.
4) Coding - Given a NxN matrix with values X and O where X represent land and O represent water find the number of islands. Two consecutive X X (horizontal or vertical) will be part of single island while diagonal X X are not. (Solve using graph - DFS or BFS)
5) Coding - from list of strings, generate list of list of strings which are anagrams of each other.
I did really well, but I guess not good compared to other candidates.
Overall interview was easy if you have prepared for Algos and Data Structures. Please give more attention to
1) Writing perfect code on white board.
2) System design questions
Interview Question – Nothing unexpected. System design was tricky. Answer Question
Product Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Facebook in May 2014.
Interview Details – The process was pleasant and everyone was very nice and smart. I had a phone interview, a week went by and I had a second. Three weeks then passed so I emailed the recruiter and an onsite was scheduled.
1st Phone Interview: Product Sense, questions about how I would solve a hypothetical problem. For example, if FB wanted to build a new recruiting tool, how would I go about testing my hypothesis and verifying my problem identification and solution.
2nd Phone Interview: This one was termed "Execution", which I interpreted as assigning values to features and the process I would go through to vet a feature's or product's value. Turned out it was all about analytics and metrics: "How would you decide whether to show a friend suggestion in the FB news feed every ten feed items versus an advertisement?" "What are the trade-offs etc?" A lot of the interview focused on relative trade-offs and comparisons. I felt I did really badly but then got the onsite and final round invite.
Onsite/Final Round: First interview focused again on Product Sense - "how would I change the news feed?", "what new feature would I build?". The second interview focused on leadership, "tell me about a time_____", and was designed to assess my ability to influence people and inspire. The third interview was back to Execution. I was asked to point out UI changes in the current app and use the whiteboard to graph examples of how metrics I would roll out of bed and want to look at would look.
Overall, the experience was positive though the process was extremely lengthy considering there was no offer. After my final interview I was told I'd know within three days. Two weeks went by so I called and left the recruiter a voice-mail. Another week and a half went by so I emailed and finally got the "thanks but no thanks" (though worded very nicely and appropriately).
Interview Question – They're really looking for a "package deal" so no one question stood out as being really difficult. It's very important to ask clarifying questions if you don't understand something. I made the mistake of making assumptions that weren't justified and should have been more assertive in asking for more information or for clarification. View Answer
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)
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
Site Reliability Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Facebook in April 2014.
Interview Details – I was initially contacted by Facebook via a LinkedIn message. They found my resume online and thought I would be a good fit for their Site Reliability Engineer position. They asked if the position interested me, and I said that it did. They scheduled a phone interview for a week later.
The phone interview consisted of some technical questions, and I had mixed results on those. I did not feel that I did my best, especially since I don't particularly enjoy coding in front of someone without any reference material. However, I was informed a few days later that they would like a second phone interview with me.
I was surprised, and I accepted the next step in the process. Later the same day, they contacted me again to say they would rather bring me in for an onsite interview immediately instead of going through the second phone interview. I was surprised, but I accepted the offer and set up the travel dates shortly thereafter.
On the morning of the interview, I underestimated the amount of time required to drive from Palo Alto to Menlo Park at 9:30am, and I arrived 5 minutes late to the interview. That was a terrible way to start the day, and I wondered if that would knock me out of the running immediately. Coming from rural NH, I was not used to heavy commuting traffic, but it was still inexcusable, and I felt defensive and angry at myself the rest of the day - not a great way to enter an interview with any company, let alone Facebook!
Most of the interviews went reasonably well - programming aptitude, manager interview, etc. Two of the interviews went less well - networking knowledge and most pointedly, system architecture. The system architecture interviewer was somewhat unfriendly, but perhaps not on purpose if it was his true personality, and the interview included a "shadow" interviewer who didn't ask questions and only participated minimally.
I had my most difficulty with this interview and did not do well with the "what if?" questions in general. I was disappointed with myself because I have thought of myself as someone who can design systems, but perhaps not at the scale that Facebook is looking for. At any rate, I was struggling with one question during the interview and said something like "Well, you could do....". I know that was a bad answer and wishy-washy, but the interviewer turned to his "shadow" with a wry smile and said in a sidebar "Well, of course you could do ....". I thought that was unprofessional and disrespectful, but tried to soldier on as best as I could. At the end of that interview, I could tell that I was not prepared well enough for it and felt that I had performed poorly on that one.
I sent thank you emails to as many of the folks as I could, but when I could not find email addresses for some of them, I asked the recruiter for the rest of the addresses. Surprisingly, she replied that she "couldn't reveal personal email addresses at the company." I found that to be very strange, since some Facebook employee email addresses are found easily by Googling their names. She requested that I forward my thank you emails to her for each person and she would resend them internally. Again, I found that to be a strange request, but I complied. I did not receive any confirmation of receipt from her nor from the folks that I attempted to thank, but at that point, I was convinced that it didn't matter anyway.
I was told that I would hear back from them by the following Friday, but that day came and went with no contact. Finally, I received a call from the recruiter the next week, and I was told that they were no longer interested due to my difficulties with the networking and system architecture interviews.
I take responsibility for arriving late to the interview and do not plan on letting that happen for any future interviews. I'll never know if that had something to do with the negative response from them, but it certainly didn't help my chances! I was disappointed with some of the employee interactions, but I guess I'll just chalk that up to having a thin skin that day and being on the defensive because I had already messed up by arriving late.
Interview Question – "What is your favorite networking protocol?" Follow-on: "What do you like about it and what don't you like about it?" View Answers (2)
Interviews for Top Jobs at Facebook