Career Advice, Executive Feature

Want to Work at Facebook? How to Get Hired & Succeed

With two billion users worldwide, Facebook is more ubiquitous than nearly any other company. Combine the household name with the legendary Silicon Valley perks, and it’s no surprise competition for Facebook gigs is fierce.

Recently voted the number one tech company on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work list, Facebook’s culture stands head and shoulders above the rest. In an exclusive interview, Glassdoor’s Amy Elisa Jackson asked Lori Goler, Facebook’s Vice President of People, for the scoop on interviewing at the behemoth social network. Here are Goler’s insider tips for scoring the job – and succeeding once you’re in.

Do a LOT of research.

lorigolerFacebook’s culture is a fascination for the tech press and the world at large, so articles abound – use them! Facebook’s status as a public company also means the firm conducts earnings calls every quarter. During each call stock analysts grill CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Co. about strategy and future plans, so scour call transcripts and earnings articles to learn directly from the source what’s currently most important to Facebook. That scoop will help you make the case for why you’re the best person to help Facebook achieve these goals.

“Most people have done a lot of research before they come [in for an interview],” Goler says, so don’t let yourself fall behind the competition before you even land in the interview chair.

Position your attitude – and your résumé – as that of “a builder and a learner.”  

Those two identifiers are core to Facebook’s culture, Goler says. “What that means is that we are never done. We’re always looking at something and thinking. ‘That works pretty well but it can be even better.’ That’s true of every person on every job in every location across the globe for us.”

Being a builder and a learner is “specific and broad at the same time,” Goler explains, and Facebook doesn’t think of those qualities as referring to a specific type of person or function. It’s more about your mindset versus your experience, though some of your experience can, of course, reflect your mindset, she says.

So craft your résumé to highlight points in your career in which you built something new and mastered new skills. Once you’re in the hot seat at the interview, express through both explicit statements and your overall attitude that building and learning are goals as core to you as they are to Facebook.

“I think there are a lot of people who would like the opportunity” to contribute to doing good, Goler says. “There is a subset that is ready to sign up for the responsibility to do that.” Make sure it’s clear that you fall into the latter category.

Expect to work with autonomy and to build your own place at Facebook.

Got the job? Congrats! Get ready to build your own corner of the world at Facebook. While the company conducts thorough orientations and employs “lots of rituals to help new people onboard and understand the culture,” Goler says the company trusts the right people have “self-selected into this environment” during the recruitment process. So rather than handhold by dictating daily tasks, Facebook instead tends to “provide context [about the mission and goals] so people can work with autonomy and know where everything is headed. They can go off and do their own thing.”

That method is a “really important part of feeling like you’re contributing at Facebook,” Goler explains. If that prospect sounds terrifying, Facebook might not be the place for you. But if you’re interested in that kind of environment and just a bit nervous about a different way of working, don’t worry: “The water is warm,” Goler says. “It’s just practice. It’s like everything else: The more often you practice the easier it gets.”

Be ready to have tough conversations.

Facebook has “always been a culture that is really focused on honesty and transparency,” Goler says. “We talk about the great things and we talk about the challenges. It’s just part of the way we work.” Facebook offers support in this realm, she says, like a class on “Crucial Conversations” for managers who help to train individual contributors.

The “social norm” at Facebook is to be pulled into hard conversations with no preparation necessary, which can be difficult for newbies at first. “What we say is that the more frequently you hop on them, the less hard they are,” Goler says.

Ultimately Facebookers understand these conversations, though they can be uncomfortable at first, are all in service of the larger mission. “It just becomes part of the way that you work is that you are talking about the substance of what you’re working on,” Goler explains. “It’s never personal. It’s always about the work.”

Interview conducted by Amy Elisa Jackson.

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