Facebook Production Engineer Interview Questions

Updated Mar 13, 2015
Updated Mar 13, 2015
23 Interview Reviews

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Production Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee
Anonymous Employee
Application Details

I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2+ weeksinterviewed at Facebook in February 2015.

Interview Details

The recruiter contacted me on Linkedin and during our initial exploratory conversation, I was asked several initial screening questions about my background. Afterward, I was scheduled for a 45-minute coding interview, about one week later.

The interviewer contacted me at the proper time and we began the interview, using stypi.com. The first question came and went very quickly, though I did have some difficulty understanding the interviewer as English was not their first language. The second question also went by very quickly, though the interviewer kept hitting on what happens when a float is cast to/from a boolean in Python and ultimately, I suspect this is what put the interviewer against me.

Overall, the questions asked were fair and weren’t unnecessarily complicated.

The time from the phone screen to rejection was six days and the rejection message was the standard condescending boilerplate of, "We've found stronger candidates for this particular position," leaving me with no idea what I had done wrong and only my suspicions. Followup e-mails to figure out where I fell short were met with silence.

The job posting had the following verbiage on it; "Our team is comprised of varying levels of experience and backgrounds, from new grads to industry veterans. Relevant industry experience is important, but ultimately less so than your demonstrated abilities and attitude. We sail into uncharted waters every day at Facebook in Production Engineering, and we are always learning."

For a position that demands such a broad range of skills, I find it silly that what (I suspect, anyway) did me in was something that in a real-world situation, I could've just opened an interactive Python interpreter and entered a few of lines to prove / disprove the expected behavior. So much for "we are always learning."

Pros:
- Recruiter was friendly and was on top of things.
- Decision was made quickly.
- Interview questions were fair.

Cons:
- Interviewer dinged me for trivial things.
- Coding interview did not reflect the broad knowledge required for the role.
- Interview did not jive with the ethos of, "we are always learning."
- I had some trouble understanding the interviewer and I suspect they also had trouble understanding me.
- Standard condescending rejection boilerplate with followup e-mails routed to /dev/null.

No Offer
Negative Experience
Easy Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Facebook

  1.  

    Production Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Menlo Park, CA
    Anonymous Employee in Menlo Park, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 1+ weekinterviewed at Facebook in February 2015.

    Interview Details

    A recruiter reached out to discuss a position that
    may be a good fit with my skillset. It started with a
    phone interview followed up with a code review interview.
    The process took about 10 days.

    The interview questions were not difficult, some with
    several answers. Unix Process, networking, tcp/ip stack,
    and system administrative commands.

    The process was casual, I did notice before the interviews
    even started. Their coordination was awkward, after receiving
    numerous misspelled emails and wrong phone numbers. I was a
    little leery of working for them. Nonetheless, I continued
    with the 45-min code review interview and answered the question.

    Overall, the interviews were comparable to other companies. Also,
    they were efficient with their responses and answering questions.

    Interview Questions
    • Given a sentence convert the sentence to the modified pig-latin language:

      Words beginning with a vowel, remove the vowel letter and append the letter to the end.
      All words append the letters 'ni' to the end.
      All words incrementally append the letter 'j'. i.e. 'j','jj','jjj', etc...
       
      Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2.  

    Production Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Facebook in February 2015.

    Interview Details

    An recruiter contacted me by email and ask me to do a phone interview. She asked me whether I am familiar with production engineer's work and 10+ initial screen questions. They are all about basic Linux and networking knowledge, like port number and tcp protocol, Linux commands. Most of them are quite easy but they do really have some tricky questions. Afterward, I was told that I had passed and would have one coding interview and one system interview before making the final decision.

    The coding interview started about 1 weeks later. I was asked to code using stypi and there are two questions in 45 minutes. One is translate English to "Goat Latin" language with a set of predefined rules. It was not hard but I still spent 20-30 minutes on that, partly because I cared too much about the detail. The second question is more a shell-script coding, although I did not realize it immediately. I was asked to obfuscate local parts of email addresses found in all HTML files under a folder (also subfolders). Due to the time limit, I did not write a clean and complete code for it. But I discussed with the interviewers for the possible solutions (shell script + python regex operation).

    Then the recruiter told me I passes the first round and we moved on to system interview, which began 5 days later. Since it is totally new to me, I read lots of posts in glassdoor and other interviewing forums and there are very useful. The interview questions requires solid knowledge about Linux, operating system, performance monitoring. They both starts with a relatively simple questions but ends with lots of followup questions. Try your best to be open-minded and always talk with the interviewer. They want not only an correct answer, but also how you get this solution.

    Later that day I heard from the recruiter that the feedback seemed also great. After one week, they give me the offer. The salary is greater than I ever expected.

    Pros:
       The recruiter is super nice and willing to answer any of your question in a timely manner.
       The interviewing schedule is very flexible. You can propose any date as you like.
       The interviewers are quite smart and patient. They are always on your side and trying to guide you through difficulties.

    Interview Questions
    • Explain in every single step about what will happen after you type " ls * " in your terminal.   Answer Question
    • Suppose there is a server with high CPU load but there is no process with high CPU time. What could be the reason for that? How do you debug this problem? Does your solution always work, and if not, what's the reason for that?   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    I have to decline it because I got another offer from Palantir later as a software engineer intern. But FB is really great and I will definitely take it without the other one.

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  3.  

    Production Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 1+ weekinterviewed at Facebook.

    Interview Details

    Over the phone coding screen, I was asked two fairly easy questions and I answered both of the them well and I understood the edge cases and answered all the questions the interview had about my solutions. The interview lasted about 50 minutes.

    Sadly I was rejected based on feedback from the interviewer. The feedback stated the second question was fine, but the first question had an issue. The solution I provided wasn't what the interviewer wanted, and the solution that he wanted was different from what the question had asked.

    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Easy Interview
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Production Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Facebook in October 2014.

    Interview Details

    Referred by a friend and received email from the recruiter several weeks later. The recruiter would ask some one-word-answer questions just to make sure you have the most basic knowledge required for this position. They are mostly linux system related questions and if you work with linux it should be easy. There are two telephone technical interviews after that. First is for coding and the seconds is for linux system knowledge.

    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  6. 18 people found this helpful  

    Production Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at Facebook.

    Interview Details

    A recruiter contacted me. After confirming that I would like to interview for the position, I was asked basic questions around networking, Linux system administration, and programming. A graduating Computer Science student should expect to pass this with little difficulty.

    Next was a phone interview for programming. I was asked to take input text and identify the unique words in the text and how many times each word occurred. Edge cases were important as was the performance. Interviewer asked for an analysis of the run-time and memory usage. Any second-year CS student should have no problem completing this in far less than the allocated time.

    Next was a phone interview for systems administration. I was given the bare minimum information possible about a system and told to describe how I discover running services and potential issues. As I progressed, the interviewer gave me information reasonable based on my descriptions and identified when I had correctly discovered a problem or possible problem. In investigating problems, it was important to be specific about why the problem was occurring and how to address the issue. When addressing problems, the performance, scalability, and maintainability of the solution was very important. Be prepared to identify how a file system is mounted or if it's local, and be prepared to encounter a single central share mounted by many servers with active read/write activity from them all. This will be difficult for anyone without good real-world Linux systems administration experience.

    Next I was flown out to HQ for a series of on-site interviews. A manager spoke to me to gauge my understanding of Facebook and the Production Engineering position (rely on the job description and don't be afraid to ask your recruiter lots of questions!) and to get to know me.

    There's another interview about coding and another one for systems administration. Both are along the same lines as the phone interview, but more in-depth and more difficult.

    There's a systems design interview, where you'll be given a target and asked to design a scalable and performant system to accomplish the goal. You may be asked to analyze the storage requirements (core and/or persistent) and network requirements of your system.

    The last interview type is a networking interview, which is very in-depth and requires extensive knowledge of TCP/IP, UDP/IP, DNS, etc. Essentially, start at a command prompt and think of what happens when you type "telnet www.facebook.com 80" - be prepared to talk about almost every single network-related thing that happens at all seven OSI layers. Know your packet layouts!

    Throughout the entire process, my recruiter was always on top of keeping me informed and always answered questions very quickly (I rarely waited even most of a day for a reply). I rarely needed to ask anything about what to expect because she kept me so well informed. Don't worry too much about thinking at Facebook's scale, they understand that very few people have worked on anything even approaching their size and scale. Everyone you deal with will work hard to make things go as smoothly as it can.

    Interview Questions
    • The entire networking interview was very difficult, I was not expecting the amount of in-depth knowledge expected for that interview.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7. 9 people found this helpful  

    Production Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Facebook in July 2014.

    Interview Details

    Was contacted by a recruiter. The recruiter initially asked me a handful of one-word-answer system administration questions. Subsequently had three phone screening interviews spaced over a couple of weeks before being invited to fly out to SF for an on-site interview.

    The screening interviews were straightforward 45-minute phone calls using an shared text editor site to code.

    The on-site interview was a full day consisting of 4 seperate interviews on different topics. The engineers I interacted with were all very friendly, and the questions asked were at times difficult but very fair: everything I was asked seemed very relevant to the potential job and assessing my general programming skill (no "stupid hard for the sake of being stupid hard" sort of questions).

    The campus is fantastic, and I got to spend a lot of time with the recruiter, who was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, asking questions and wondering around checking the place out. The trip would have been worth the time even if I didn't get an offer.

    About a week after my on-site interview, I got a call from the recruiter saying they wanted to offer me the position. The next day we discussed the compensation details, and a few days later I accepted.

    Negotiation Details
    You will be asked what compensation you are expecting annually
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8.  

    Production Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 6+ weeksinterviewed at Facebook in July 2014.

    Interview Details

    Contacted on linkedin based on Google experience. Fairly long interview process, with a phone screen, then two technical phone interviews, then a full day interview in Menlo Park. Took several weeks for them to get back, too, but they came up with a very competitive offer, and came back fairly quickly when I countered.

    Interview Questions
    • Some real curveballs about how specific protocols worked. HTTP, SMTP, etc.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    I negotiated, got a good 5-10% based on my previous experience and bluffing about how much I was searching.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Production Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Menlo Park, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Menlo Park, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at Facebook in March 2014.

    Interview Details

    Was initially contacted via LinkedIn by an internal Facebook recruiter that dealt specifically with this role. I was impressed with the recruiter's technical knowledge, always a good sign, and agreed to go through the screening and start the interview process.

    The process is 5 steps:

    * Call with recruiter about position
    * Phone screening with a few trivia questions regarding systems administration.
    * Co-operative coding phone interview
    * Systems phone interview
    * On-Site interview

    The call with the recruiter was mostly about the position description and duties, and assessing whether both sides think it's a good fit. The phone screening, also done with the recruiter, is just a few questions that anyone who has administered Linux for an organization would be able to answer off the top of their head.

    The coding interview was done using a collaborative editing tool, so both parties could see what was being typed. The coding questions were not your typical abstract data manipulation questions, but rather questions that required systems knowledge, and in my case were most easily answered with shell scripts.

    I didn't actually do the systems phone interview, as they considered my programming interview strong enough to simply skip this step. I'm informed this is not uncommon.

    The on-site interview loop included five 45-minute segments: Programming, Systems, Networking, Solution Architecture, and meeting with the Manager (not in that order). Additionally, lunch with the initial recruiter and a brief chat afterwards with a different recruiter that dealt with the financial and logistics portions of the interview and negotiations.

    One thing that struck me during the entire process is that *everyone* I spoke to, and I mean *everyone* because I asked them all, absolutely loved working there. Every time I asked someone how they liked working at Facebook, their face lit up and they started listing off reasons they loved working there, and everyone had the same reason: They liked everyone around them, felt trusted and respected, and trusted and respected the people around them. This was unanimously the first reason, usually followed by "and the work is really interesting".

    Interview Questions
    • What options do you have, nefarious or otherwise, to stop people on a wireless network you are also on (but have no admin rights to) from hogging bandwidth by streaming videos?   View Answers (2)
    Negotiation Details
    My negotiations were all pre-offer. There is a compensation department that comes up with an offer based on your years of experience, strength during the interview process, and current pay. They will almost certainly exceed your current pay if you disclose it, though I should probably point out they didn't verify mine. In my case they offered base pay approximately 10% higher than my prior base pay, and I presume this is fairly standard.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Production Engineer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Menlo Park, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Menlo Park, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Facebook in October 2013.

    Interview Details

    I was contacted by a recruiter on Linkedin.

    I first had a really quick phone call + technical screening with the recruiter (port numbers, shell commands...).
    After that was a 2 questions coding interview over the phone which I believed didn't go so well even though the questions were easy (Think first CS college course level), but I passed anyway.
    Next I had a another technical phone call on systems (kernel, shell commands, basic
    troubleshooting...)

    I was then invited to fly over to California for an on-site interview which I was really excited about. I stayed in a pretty nice hotel and everything was paid for by FB.

    On-site, I had 5+ interviews with engineer, managers and recruiters which were similar to the phone interviews, just a little deeper/harder.
    I also had the opportunity to tour the FB campus which looked great... nice office space, lots of free perks, great people...

    I had an offer about a week later and accepted. You don't ofter get to work for one of the biggest/greatest/most traffic website/platform...

    Interview Questions
    • Explain everything that happens over the network when a client tries to access a website.   View Answers (2)
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

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