How To Get Hired At Facebook – HR Chief Reveals The Secret (It Isn’t Your Technical Skills)

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Jul 14 2017
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What does it take to land at job at Facebook? In case you hadn’t the clue, this year (2017) is the best year to get a job at Facebook, simply because you stand a better chance than previous year. How come? That’s because co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed last year that Facebook’s top priorities will be investing heavily in luring top talent in 2017.


So forget about Microsoft for making a huge mistake of letting you go. Getting hired at Facebook isn’t as easy as it sounds. But it isn’t that difficult that they would make you build a rocket booster. Although most job applicants are looking to working in engineering, Facebook isn’t a company made of secret chambers where its employees do hardcore programming.


There’re too many skilled programmers in the market, so much so that if you were to throw a stone, chances are it would hit a person with programming skills. What Facebook is looking for is “hackers” instead. Not a real hacker who breaks and steals but someone who uses the tools of the trade in clever and unexpected ways. Demonstrate your hacking skill and Facebook will be impressed.

Get Hired At Facebook - Zuckerberg With Co-Workers

Although it helps, you don’t need to know “somebody” in Facebook to pull strings in order to get you hired. In fact, Lori Goler, got her job as the Facebook’s HR Chief after she cold-called Sheryl Sandberg, whom she knew socially, back in 2008 before the company goes public. Sandberg told her the company needed help recruiting tech talent, and Goler had no experience with that.


However, Goler got the job because she told Sandberg – “I want to help Facebook achieve its mission. Whatever that means for Facebook is what I’m happy to do.” Ms. Goler is still with Facebook today and in an exclusive interview with Glassdoor’s Amy Elisa Jackson, the Facebook’s Vice President of People (that’s her title) revealed the secret to getting hired at Facebook.


{ 1 } Do Research – Lots Of Them

Facebook is a public-listed company with 2-billion users worldwide; therefore, unlike working as a barista at Starbucks or a burger-flipper at McDonalds, you need to think like Mark Zuckerberg, or at least pretends to be like him. During each call stock analysts grill CEO Zuckerberg and his company about strategy and future plans.

Facebook Earnings Stock Analysts Grills - Zuckerberg

Like it or not, it’s highly recommended that a job seeker takes the time to thoroughly read call transcripts and earnings articles for up-to-date insight on what’s most important to Facebook. Armed with information from such research, a candidate can speak eloquently about CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the company during job interviews.



{ 2 } Position Yourself As A Builder & A Learner

Goler explained that those two identifiers are core to Facebook’s culture – “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.”

Get Hired At Facebook - The Facebook Wall - Position Yourself As A Builder & A Learner

In essence, Facebook wants more about your mindset than your experience. Hence, your resume should highlight what new things you have built and skills you have mastered in your past jobs. Expect to be asked during an interview how your past building and learning process could be applied to Facebook. Tips – express that you “would like the opportunity to contribute to doing good.



{ 3 } Be A Master Of Self-Management

Once landed yourself with a job at Facebook, you’re on your own to build your own corner. At Facebook, don’t expect to be handed a daily to-do list. Goler said minimal supervision and flexible hours are the norm – but employees are expected to have something to show in return for that creative freedom. But even before you get yourself the job; interviewer would evaluate yourself on this subject.

Get Hired At Facebook - Mark Zuckerberg Programming

Facebook will “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 such working culture sounds terrifying, don’t bother trying your luck for interviews at all.



{ 4 } Ready For Tough Conversations

There’s a difference between having tough questions and tough conversations. In Facebook, it is common to be pulled into hard conversations with no preparation necessary. There will be more than 1 interviewer – one focuses on technical while another on work philosophy. In fact, there could be many rounds of interview before an applicant could get the job.

Get Hired At Facebook - Engage in Tough Conversation

Don’t be afraid to engage in tough conversations, even though it could end up with a huge argument. Believe it or not, different interviewers would fight for you if your arguments make sense. After all, Zuckerberg once said – “On a day-to-day basis, a lot of the decisions I am making are, ‘Okay, is this going to destroy the company?’ Because if not, then let them test it.”


Candidates should not be demoralized just because they thought they didn’t do well in their interview. Unlike China-man companies, Facebook values somebody braves enough to engage in tough conversations, no matter how uncomfortable they were at first. A candidate should differentiate himself / herself from other candidates by bringing something new to the table.


Of course, technical interviews would involve coding, algorithms and system design. Candidates would be given problems that require them to take the common programming structures and combine them together to solve a single problem. During an initial screening, the interviewer will send you a link to a collaborative editor and ask you to solve some programming problems.

Get Hired At Facebook - Connecting People

Later, during on-site interviews (one former staff actually went through 17 rounds of interviews), instead of coding in a text editor, candidates will likely be asked to write code on a whiteboard. They don’t ask puzzle-type questions (not anymore) but the coding questions may sound contrived or artificial. Facebook will ask candidates to do – “a lot” – of coding during the interview process.


In a nutshell, Facebook would evaluate your ability to understand and explain complex ideas, not to mention the level of enthusiasm, curiosity and motivation. Still, none of these matter if the interviewers couldn’t see how your work philosophy is aligned with Zuckerberg’s vision for a global and connected world.


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