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Facebook Interview Questions & Reviews in San Francisco, CA US

Updated Apr 15, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting the Interview 

26%
17%
16%

Interview Experience 

75%
11%
13%

Interview Difficulty 

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41 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Menlo Park, CA (US)

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
e.g.

L1 --> L2 --> L3 --> L7 --> L8
                      |
                      v
                     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:
>ls a/b/c/*/e/*/f/*/*/g
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 (4)

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Menlo Park, CA (US)

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Facebook in March 2014.

Interview Details I was contacted by a recruiter in early 2014. I was set up with an engineer for a phone interview. The first few questions were about my resume, simple stuff about projects I've worked on and prior experience. Then I was asked two technical questions, one about recursion and one about trees. I fully solved and optimized the tree problem but struggled a bit with the recursive problem. Overall it wasn't too difficult but make sure you prepare well before going in!

Interview Question – A recursive problem involving how many combinations you can make out of a set of numbers. Know your data structures, the problem used both hash tables and lists.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Front-end Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Menlo Park, CA (US)

I applied online and the process took 4 days - interviewed at Facebook in March 2014.

Interview Details Recruiter asked specific javascript trivia questions on first phone call, which I was not prepared for.

Interview Question – Difference between == and === javascript   View Answer

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Data Scientist Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Menlo Park, CA (US)

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Facebook in February 2014.

Interview Details Facebook reached out to me via... a facebook message. I wasn't actively looking, but decided to go through the interview process because why not? Maybe they could offer me something my current employer couldn't. The interview process started with two phone interviews. The first was just information and some fact checking. The second was a bit more technical and I had to show the ability to code and answer statistical questions online as one (or more) people watched me type. Then they flew me out for a day/night and I went through 5 interviews in a row (30 minutes each). Facebook has a beautiful Menlo Park campus. Throughout the interviews, only one simple bayesian stats question was asked. Everything else was business questions and computer science questions. I think my training is much more stats/machine learning oriented, so I struggled with a few questions. I signed a NDA, so I can't disclose the exact questions. They asked me on optimal algorithms, standard SQL coding, and business problems. It was very interesting and they did a good job letting me work through things on my own. I think they were looking for someone with more computer science/programming experience than I had.

Interview Question – Again, I can't talk about the specific question, but after I wrote up a simple algorithm, the interviewer asked me for a more efficient solution. I really struggled with that.   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

IOS Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee
Menlo Park, CA (US)

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Facebook in December 2013.

Interview Details While I was planning to look actively for a job in the next weeks, I have been first contacted by a Facebook recruiter (an employee, not a 3rd party company) on LinkedIn – I never really thought about Facebook at first, maybe because I imagined it was an unreachable goal. We scheduled a first phone screen: it was short, about 10 minutes, I said a bit of my background, he explained what Facebook is looking for an a bit of the recruiting process. After asking me 3 very easy Objective-C and iOS programming questions, he said he would like to schedule a phone interview with an Facebook engineer for me. 2 weeks later (he apologized for the long delay, I guess it's usually quicker) I had a phone interview. An engineer interviewed me, spending the first 10 minutes chatting of my background, interests and goals, then a 30 minutes peer-coding questions. As usual it was an algorithmic question, to solve in Objective-C / CoreFoundation (NSString, NSArray, NS* APIs...). She said I'll be contacted again by a recruiter in the next few days. I got a call, the recruited said I'm welcome to come on-site for a day of interviews. I gladly accepted. I then started to think I have some decent chances to get a job at this awesome company. The big day coming, I was very excited and relaxed too. I took a BART from the city and then a cab to the Menlo Park HQ. The recruited warmly welcomed me, we took some coffee, and chatted waiting for the first engineer / interviewer. The 4 interviews are as described on Facebook Careers website. First interviewer chatted a bit of my previous projects and then we had a technical question, involving iOS general knowledge, Objective-C skills, etc. Second interviewer spent most of time chatting of my previous projects, my goals, what I would like to change at Facebook if I was working here; and then we moved to a quick technical question. Then it was lunch time. I was really excited about going to visit the campus, get some good lunch and see how Facebookers are during lunch time. Many bring their MacBooks at lunch, have some fun with colleagues, and enjoy their meals. The lunch time was spent with the recruiter. After he brought me back to the interview room, the 2 next interviews were mostly algorithmic questions. Overall, I found the questions of an average level. Some iOS knowledge is required, some good sense of algorithmic, and remembering Objective-C syntax. Many says, and it's true, that unlike other companies, Facebook likes people who can code on a whiteboard with the correct syntax. It happened that I forgot a ; or wrote @implement instead of @interface. The interviewer asked me if I was sure about my syntax, I read again my code, and found my mistake. They are never (at least very rarely) misleading you. If they say "read again" it probably means "there is a syntax error, find it it's a bonus". A few days later, I got an email and then call from the recruiter who said he got very positive feedback from the interviews so he would like me to gather and send him some reference letters. So I did. A few days later, I got a call and was told I got an offer. It was a very good one.
Overall, the whole process was of course stressful, but very exciting and all interviews were in a very very relaxed atmosphere. It was like chatting with new colleagues, and trying to solve together a problem.

Interview Questions

  • I don't want to disclose the exact question (not only because of the NDA I signed, but because it won't be fun if you have this exact same question, and it won't help you anyways I think).   Answer Question
  • One question 3 of the interviewers asked me was "What was the most difficult thing you had to deal with.".   View Answers (5)

Negotiation Details – The offer was much higher than expected. I accepted without negotiation.

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Product Support Analyst Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Menlo Park, CA (US)

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Facebook in March 2014.

Interview Details The interview was pretty standard. The interviewer started off by asking for my understanding of the role and how my experience could relate. He went on to tell me more about the position in depth and the structure of the team. Also asked about my experience with excel/SQL and told me about the next steps in the interview process.

Interview Question – How would you decide which ticket to work on first, 1) huge vendor whose campaign has already launched and is wondering why they didn't receive the results the anticipated or 2) small business who is unable to launch their campaign for a product that is two days away.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Equity Programs Analyst Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Menlo Park, CA (US)

I applied online and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Facebook in November 2013.

Interview Details Applied through the website, was contacted by recruiter. Set-up initial 15-min call to discuss position (she called 15 minutes late but was at least nice about it). Then talked with another HR person prior to scheduling on-site interview. 3-hour interview with 6 different people (three team members, hiring manager, one HR, one payroll). Since job was more corporate the questions were of no surprise; was basically a typical interview asking about challenges, overcoming problems, strengths, why I wanted the job, and giving me an idea of the Facebook culture. 3 hours was a bit long and since it was 10 AM - 1 PM, it breezed right through lunch. I would have liked to try out the cafeteria however I was just offered a few snacks prior to leaving. Some of the interviewers probably could have tag-teamed instead of doing all 1-on-1 because it was a tiny bit repetitious by the end, but overall fine.

Interview Question – Your typical corporate interview assessing strengths, weaknesses, company fit.   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Senior Software Engineer Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Menlo Park, CA (US)

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Facebook in November 2012.

Interview Details Facebook recruiters approached me at a conference. Interview followed shortly thereafter; all interviewers had looked at my resume and were ready to ask me questions about my grad work, something that I didn't see in a lot of places. They even put me on the phone with their VP of data infrastructure, which was something that I wouldn't really expect from a company their size. Overall, a great process.

Interview Question – I got some fairly detailed questioning on my research, which was something I didn't really expect for a technical interview.   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – I found a position at a startup, and the opportunity cost of turning the startup down for a more established company was too high.

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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Data Engineer Interview

Anonymous Employee
Menlo Park, CA (US)

I interviewed at Facebook in March 2014.

Interview Details So i had 4 back to back interviews with all managers. The interviews were all extremely technical and the interviewers were pretty straight forward, weren't excessively nice or mean.
The interview went through lunch hour and they din't offer me lunch and I was so hungry through half af all my interviews which kinda sucked.

Interview Question – A lot of SQL questions. General knowledge about how you would handle large amounts of data.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Extremely straightforward. The recruiter was extremely nice and I tried to negotiate but I couldn't because the offer was already pretty up there.

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Client Solutions Manager Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Menlo Park, CA (US)

I applied in-person and the process took a day - interviewed at Facebook in February 2014.

Interview Details I had a series of four interviews. I was a contractor at Facebook applying for an internal role so the process is likely a little different than an external candidate.

Interview Question – If you were in a position with a CMO and they were really on your case about something that you didn't know the answer to at the time, how would you respond?   Answer Question

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