Facebook is one of the most renowned tech giants in the industry, and a critical part of the corporation’s success lies in its superior talent acquisition. The Facebook software engineer interview is thorough, skills-orientated, and highly objective.
In other words, it’s designed to prioritize merit and identify the best developers. Facebook applicants typically give four to six interviews, where they’re vetted for skills, logical thinking, and cultural fit.
The purpose of Facebook’s hiring process is to gauge which applicants are best suited to work at the company. To achieve this goal, Facebook has crafted a comprehensive and effective software interview process.
In this article, we’ll explore Facebook’s tech hiring process and its execution.
What is Facebook's software engineer interview process?
There are typically 3 stages to Facebook’s software engineer interviews: An initial recruiter screening, followed by a technical screening, and a final round of on-site interviews. The purpose of these interviews is to assess the applicant’s problem-solving skills, coding proficiency, cultural fit, and general expertise.
1. Recruiter screening
Facebook’s screening process starts with a 30-minute phone screening. The recruiter asks verification questions based on resumes and may ask applicants about their motivation for working at Facebook.
The recruiter screening isn’t rigorous – it’s more of an icebreaking session that also helps the hiring managers in detecting potential red flags.
2. Technical screening
The next stage includes Facebook’s technical screening, which determines if an applicant will progress through the recruitment funnel. It’s conducted either in person or using video conferencing software, and lasts around 45 minutes.
The technical screening starts with a brief introduction and evolves towards a coding challenge, which includes 2 questions. In-person coding assessments take place on a whiteboard, while remote skill tests are taken on collaborative software.
Facebook’s technical screening is skills-orientated; they seldom ask ‘brainteasers’ or ‘trick’ questions. So, the questions for software engineers may include data structures and algorithms. The recruiters evaluate candidates for problem-solving skills, programming proficiency, and knowledge of computer science fundamentals.
3. On-site interview
Applicants that pass Facebook’s initial tech screening qualify for the full, on-site interview round. Facebook’s on-site software engineer interview consists of three parts across five sessions, including:
- The coding challenge.
- The design interview focused on either product or systems depending on the applicant’s experience.
- The behavioural interview, to assess applicants’ cultural fit.
The coding interview
The coding interview lasts around 45 minutes, with the following breakdown:
- 5-minute initial introduction.
- 30-minute coding challenge.
- 5-10 minutes to address the candidate’s questions.
In the coding test, Facebook’s interviewers pay close attention to an applicant’s approach to a problem; they’re trying to gauge problem-solving skills and logical reasoning ability.
Facebook encourages applicants to code in a language they’re most confident with because the purpose is to assess skills. The interviewers will ask candidates to share their reasoning behind their solutions and to explain the algorithms.
The design interview
The design interview lasts 45-minutes and usually involves no coding – applicants share their designs on a whiteboard. The purpose of this interview is to gauge an applicant’s engineering design skills.
Facebook tries to match candidates with interviewers that share a similar design background, either systems or product-orientated. The tech organization is quite creative with its design interview – they can ask anything from how to improve an existing design to how to build one from the ground up.
For tech recruiters, the design interview is a great opportunity to gauge an applicants’ logical reasoning and problem-solving skills. You can get a clearer picture of the value they bring to the table.
For example, Facebook interviewers might ask candidates how they’d build an existing system that a tech giant uses (like Facebook itself, or Uber). Since the megacorp is looking for the best tech talent, this approach is a great way to identify top performers.
The behavioral interview
Facebook concludes its SWE interview process with a behavioral interview, which explores the shortlisted candidate’s motivations, work ethic, and cultural fit. The previous interviews, including the tech screening, coding, and design interviews, assessed whether applicants had the right technical skills to work at Facebook.
Now, the behavioral interview determines whether they have the drive, values, and work ethic to take on the SWE role. This stage includes typical questions that you’d expect from a culture fit interview, including ones that:
- Address an applicant’s motivation behind working at Facebook.
- Ask the applicant about a previous project/work they are most proud of.
- Ask the applicant about how receptive they are to feedback, and how they improve upon their mistakes.
In general, the corporation also looks for candidates that share Facebook’s core values.
Key takeaways- What's unique about Facebook's tech hiring process?
Facebook’s interview process for software engineers follows the typical, skills-focused framework that leading tech organizations follow. However, Facebook’s interview process places special emphasis on cultural fit and passion.
Since Facebook caters to a tremendous 5 million users, the tech giant is looking for engineers that can thrive in the lively, fast-paced environment. They’re not just looking for candidate’s with strong programming skills, but ones that are driven and innovative. Thus, Facebook conducts an extensive on-site behavioral interview to better understand cultural fit.
Read more: Tech Interviews – 5 ways to assess a candidate’s cultural fit
In addition to valuing cultural fit, Facebook’s talent acquisition is also geared towards hiring developers with strong problem-solving skills. Similar to the Uber tech hiring process, the purpose of Facebook’s software engineer interview is to identify candidates that are best suited for the role.
How does WeCP (We Create Problems) help you hire like Facebook?
FAANG companies, including Facebook, have successfully optimized their technical interview process. They’re able to consistently attract, vet, and onboard the best tech talent. And a key part of their hiring success lies in their emphasis on merit-based hiring.
FAANG software engineer interviews are typically structured to assess applicants’ on measurable performance metrics, like their problem-solving skills, coding knowledge, and proficiency in data structures and algorithms.
This skills-based framework minimizes recruitment bias, improving the quality of tech talent acquisition.
WeCP (We Create Problems) is a tech recruitment solution that was built with the same intention; to optimize the technical hiring process and host fair assessments.
With WeCP, recruiters can design custom skill assessments to evaluate candidates on practical tech skills. It is easy to create role-specific coding tests with the help of our question library, which hosts over 0.2+ million technical questions.
We Create Problems also helps recruiters to conduct effective, cheat-proof technical interviews online. By conducting the extensive part of your screening process digitally, you can trim your hiring costs, time and improve the candidates’ experience.
So if you’re looking to model a hiring process similar to Facebook’s software engineer interview framework, schedule a demo with WeCP. We’ll help you optimize your tech talent acquisition.