At its core, Facebook is about connecting people. This theme is reflected throughout the organization, from individual contributors up through the c-suite. Engineering managers (EMs) are no exception. According to a Facebook EM who spent 15+ years elsewhere, Facebook's "bottom-up" management style, in which engineering managers (EMs) exist to empower engineers and keep teams aligned toward the same goal is truly unique.
Facebook's high-performance engineering teams mainly work on data infrastructure or product engineering. As an EM, you're tasked with shipping all varieties of products to over two billion users, but per the Facebook Careers blog, your job can be summarized as follows:
If you're an egalitarian engineering leader and you're passionate about connecting people to what's meaningful, Facebook might be the place for you. Begin your job search by searching for open positions on the Facebook Jobs page.
Facebook's EM interview loop is fairly standard for FAANG companies, including a few initial screening calls and a comprehensive on-site. Facebook openings are highly competitive and the process can take weeks, but if you've got other offers or if you're coming in with a referral you may be able to accelerate the process.
EM interviewees report that Facebook recruiters are extremely helpful throughout the process. First, you'll go through a phone screening with a recruiter (short and sweet, nothing non-standard.) Your recruiter will set up another call following this one to prep you for the interview, which includes 1-2 coding and system design roun project retrospective, and a people management round. You'll be kept in the loop throughout, and many interviewees noted that they received very helpful feedback.
Next, you'll go through a 45 minute technical round led by another Engineering Manager. You'll likely be intervieweing for a specific position, so be sure to showcase applicable skills when asked about your previous experience. You'll also be asked culture-fit questions, so take some time to familiarize yourself with Faceboo's mission and values before the interview. If you're unsure what you should emphasize, you can reach out to your recruiter for guidance.
The on-site consists of 4-6 45-minute back-to-back rounds, each with a different interviewer. You'll get a 45 minute break for lunch mid-way, during which you can ask questions about culture, organization, and anything else you're interested in.
"The most important is the people management round, followed by the project retro, system design, and coding." This structure is common at FAANG companies, where leadership, project management, and execution skills are highly prized. Your recruiter will give you many great resources to study for the technical rounds, as well as give you notes on expectations for the project retrospective.
Facebook's EM loop includes a mix of technical, system design, project and and leadership / behavioral questions, broken up as follows:
You'll be asked technical questions during your project retrospective, as well as your coding rounds on-site. Facebook EMs work heavily in data infrastructure, so be sure to study fundamentals. Generally speaking, Facebook is looking for your ability to bounce ideas off your interviewer, communicate clearly, and think through edge cases and trade-offs. Don't make any assumptions - always ask clarifying questions before you begin!
Recently asked questions include data structures basics like sorting arrays, modifying binary trees, etc. Interviewees report coding challenges are often dynamic programming problems.
To prepare for these interviews, we recommend reviewing our data structures and algorithms modules in our software engineering course and practicing data structures questions in our interview question database.
Facebook's rounds are 45 minutes rather than an hour, so beginning system design questions with a strategy is key. Your interviewer will ask you to design a large system relevant to Facebook's operations. This will involve designing a way for your systems to communicate, proposing an API, and modeling database tables.
Recently asked questions include:
In this interview, Facebook is looking for the following:
The best way to prepare for system design interviews is to watch our practice system design interviews like this one on Facebook's news feed, and try your hand at some practice system design questions in our interview question database..
You'll also go through a project retrospective round—also called a technical deep dive. The project retrospective is a conversational interview where you'll have an in-depth discussion about a technical project that you directly worked on in the past. Typically you'll be told beforehand to prepare for a project discussion. The question may be framed simply as "Tell me about a project you're proud of," or "Talk about a project you worked on recently." Facebook has recently asked this way: "Describe the most technically complex project that you have worked on and why it was complex?"
Much like the system design interview, these project discussions may cover the requirements, features, and technical tradeoffs you made in the project, and could optionally involve whiteboarding or diagrams to explain how the system works. Since you're discussing a project that you worked on, however, you're expected to go more in depth on the technical discussion, explain the role you served in the project, and discuss the final outcome or impact the project had on the company.
As an engineering manager, you may also be asked to discuss the people problems that arose on the team during the project, how you resolved them, and what you would do differently in the future. You can expect lots of follow-up questions.
To prepare for project retrospectives, we recommend creating a story bank, choosing a few complex, recent projects to explore more deeply, writing out all technical details, decisions, and people management issues. Be sure to include trade-offs and cross-functional communication hurdles. When you're finished writing, take these experiences and put them into the STAR format so that you can communicate succinctly in the real interview.
The behavioral interview is the most important of the on-site rounds at Facebook, as the bulk of your job will be managing people and not writing code. Expect a mix of questions about your work history, your philosophical approaches to people management and project management, and hypotheticals meant to tease out your ability to lead.
Team-building is a major responsibility for an EM, so expect questions about your ability to recruit great managers, build cohesive teams, and inspire groups when things are tough. Think about how you approach career growth conversations and times when you've helped someone achieve their goals.
You'll also be asked about times of conflict. Have you ever fired someone for poor performance? How do you handle clashing personalities? It's great if you were able to resolve issues, but interviewers know this isn't always possible. Don't be nervous about talking about your failures. Instead, use these as an opportunity to showcase your ability to learn and change your management philosophy when something isnt working.
We recommend reviewing Exponent's Behavioral Interviews course - it's full of great presentation tips and real examples.
Here are a few tips to help you focus your interview prep a bit more effectively.
Practice behavioral questions about dealing with difficult management tasks like firing people, conflict management, and handling underperforming employees. These come up a lot at Facebook, so be prepared.
Look up interviewers on LinkedIn before the on-site. Read through their career history so you can understand them a bit better. Bonus points if you find something you two share in common.
Make full use of your recruiter! Facebook recruiters are great. They'll provide a ton of resources for you to prepare, and are always available to you if you have questions. You should have a clear idea of the expectations of you going in, so reach out at any point.