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How does the Meta interview work?

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Senior Software Engineer at Taro Community7 months ago

I have a recruiter screening with Meta next week for a full-stack software engineer role. What can I expect in the recruiter screening?

This is my first interview after a very long time, I need to brush up my skills. what is latest acceptable time frame to schedule the technical interviews without being considered late?

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(7 comments)
  • 15
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    Mid-Level Software Engineer [E4] at Meta
    7 months ago

    Recruiter screening will be pretty lightweight conversation. They will ask about your resume, what you have been working on and other softball behavioral questions potentially.

    After that you can expect this timeline roughly:

    Technical phone screen (2 questions in 40 minutes. You can expect an easy and medium or two mediums). As a hint, utilize leetcode's more frequently used questions feature if you have leetcode premium.

    Final round interview (E5 and below)

    • 2 coding interviews
    • 1 system design interview
    • 1 behavior interview

    The process can take anywhere between 2 to 3 months. It took me roughly 2.5 months as I wanted to prepare as much as possible. Take your time if you can afford to in order to prepare for the data structures and algorithms and system design questions.

    Resources available:

  • 8
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    7 months ago

    What can I expect in the recruiter screening?

    As Kevin mentioned, it should be a pretty light behavioral interview. They might ask you why you're looking to leave your current role and why you want to work for Meta. If you want to sharpen your skills here: [Taro Top 10] Behavioral Interviews

    Side note: If you're an Android engineer, you might get asked some multiple choice trivia - That is what I ran into when getting into Meta, and other people ran into it too (I knew it from Glassdoor). I'm unsure if they're still doing this anymore or if iOS also has it.

    I broke down my full Meta interview experience here: How Alex Got Into Meta With 0 Prior LeetCode Experience

    what is latest acceptable time frame to schedule the technical interviews without being considered late?

    I think you should just ask your recruiter. I imagine things are more rushed now in the current economy where there's less headcount and far more hungry, talented candidates.

    Back in my day (2017), Meta was happy to schedule my technical interviews very far out - They even encouraged me to do that so I would come in prepared. After the initial recruiter screen, I put the technical phone screen 3-4 weeks out. After I passed the phone screen, I put the onsite 4-5 weeks out.

    For system design, try reading these books: Designing Data Intensive application by Martin Kleppman, Alex Xu's System design books 1 & 2

    For the former, we actually have a book club discussing it! Check out the #taro-bookclub channel in the Taro Premium Slack to learn more.

    Here's an example of a past event: Taro Book Club: Designing Data Intensive Applications - Chapter 8 (Distributed Systems)

  • 7
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    7 months ago

    A lot of folks have asked Rahul and I what the Meta interview looks like, so I'll use this fitting Q&A to break down everything. I'll split it up into 4 parts:

    1. Phone screen
    2. Onsite
    3. How to prepare
    4. Miscellaneous

    Phone Screen

    Recruiter Phone Screen

    As with most companies, this round is mainly a formality (though I imagine it is "fail-able" if you are extremely terrible with behavioral interviews). Show up on time, sound enthusiastic about Meta, and you should pass.

    Technical Phone Screen

    Kevin's information is correct, and I'll expand on it more.

    • You should get 2 DSA questions, which are a mix of easy/medium. This could be 3 if you're not doing well with the initial questions, and your interviewer asks more LeetCode Easy.
    • You have ~40 minutes to problem solve. The round is 45 minutes total, but 5 minutes are reserved at the end for you to ask the interviewer questions about Meta.
    • Back in my day, Meta was more focused on the thought process and communication around the code, so we didn't force the candidate to actually run the code. I don't know if that's still the case now.
  • 7
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    7 months ago

    Onsite

    Now we're in the big leagues. Let's cover the standard onsite (E5 and below as Kevin mentioned):

    1. DSA (codename "Ninja")
    2. Behavioral (codename "Jedi")
    3. System design (codename "Pirate")

    It's 4 rounds total, 2 of which are DSA.

    Each round is 45 minutes. You get 40 minutes to problem-solve, and 5 minutes are reserved at the end for you to ask questions to the interviewer.

    DSA

    • This is the most important round for E3 and E4 engineers, especially as you have 2 of them.
    • It is largely judged pass/no-pass, and it isn't really used for leveling.
    • You will probably get 2 problems, which are a mix of LeetCode medium/hard. It's also possible that the interviewer just wants you to deep-dive on 1 hard.
    • Time management is extremely important here - You'll be surprised at how much the interviewer can push you to expand on various parts of the problem. 40 minutes is way shorter than you think.

    Behavioral

    • This round is used for leveling. If you are E5+, make sure to come prepared as it's more important than the DSA ones.
    • You will get asked pretty standard questions here - I don't think Meta is known for any curveballs here. Expect the quintessential "What's the most impressive project you've worked on?" type question.
    • You will also get asked a small DSA problem. It should take you around 10 minutes, leaving 30 minutes for the behavioral talk.

    System Design

    • This round is used for leveling. If you are E5+, make sure to come prepared as it's more important than the DSA ones.
    • You will likely get asked to design something related to Meta. For me, I had to build a screensaver app that pulled from the Facebook Photos API. It should be all whiteboarding.
    • If you are closer to the front-end side (e.g. mobile like me), this round may be called "Product Architecture" or something (i.e. just something with product in it). This simply means you need to put on your product manager/designer hat a little bit to mock out the product roadmap and user experience (e.g. "What features should we build first in our MVP?").
  • 6
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    7 months ago

    How To Prepare

    Meta is one of the biggest and most desired tech companies in the world, so its interview is one of the most well-known: You have no excuse to be completely blindsided by it. If you haven't looked at Glassdoor yet, do it now - The interview data points there will be plentiful and valuable.

    While the bar is extremely high, Meta also has a very streamlined and standardized interview process. The company places a lot of resources into making sure that interviewers are properly trained and don't go "rogue", asking random questions that don't fit the rubric. While not perfect (I'm sure we all know how annoying DSA is), I truly believe Meta's interview process is one of the most well-put together in tech.

    Now let's go through preparation, split by round type.

    DSA

    • Buy LeetCode Premium - As Kevin mentioned, do as many of the most frequently cited questions as possible. $35/month is a steal.
    • Do a lot of mocks - Meta goes out of its way to strike down candidates who just memorized solutions and grinded out LeetCode on their own. That's how I was interviewed, that's how the interviewers who trained me at Meta interviewed candidates, and it's how I interviewed candidates after I got approved as a Meta interviewer. Meta weighs communication extremely heavily as it has the most open culture in all of Silicon Valley. Meta interviewers will push you hard to disambiguate the problem, describe your approach, analyze tradeoffs, and think into the future.

    Use these resources to prepare:

    Behavioral

    • Memorize Meta's 5 core values - This is the same for any big company really; memorize their values and weave them into your responses.
    • Craft your narrative beforehand - In particular, have a good project in mind to talk about. A simple Google Doc or Notion of rough responses to common questions should be enough.
    • Do a lot of mocks - Behavioral is extremely fuzzy, and a lot of it is just how you carry yourself. It is really, really hard to grind behavioral in a single-player way - You just gotta talk to people!

    Use these resources to prepare:

    System Design

    I have literally never studied for a system design interview, but I have passed every system design interview I have ever done, including Meta's. Now I'll explain how I did that.

    • Do system design at your job - This is by far the highest grade "preparation" you can get (i.e. experience that genuinely makes you a better engineer). Unlike DSA, system design is a real thing that real engineers at top companies do. But just because you don't work at a "top" company yet doesn't mean you can't do system design. Literally any form of proactive planning around your tasks/projects is system design.
    • Build side projects - If you can't get real-world system design experience, make it up yourself! A lot of system design problems are about building something from scratch.
    • Read books/blogs - This is the weakest form of preparation, but it can substantially help, especially if you can find relevant Meta engineering blog posts for your stack.

    Use these resources to prepare:

  • 6
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    7 months ago

    Miscellaneous

    • If you're interviewing for E6+ (Staff+), you should have 2 system design rounds instead of 2 DSA rounds. However, you will still have 1 DSA round and need to pass it. Meta explicitly doesn't allow "architect" style Staff+ engineers who only do high-level design and can't actually code anymore.
    • For mobile engineers, you will get some high-level questions in the DSA rounds in the beginning (e.g. "What's the difference between an activity and a fragment in Android?"). They'll take up 3-5 minutes of the round.
    • If you're super borderline, you might get invited to a follow-up, compressed onsite.
    • Meta can be flexible when it comes to levels, adding +/-1 to target level. I have seen candidates interview for E5, but we realized that they were actually E4. I have also seen the reverse of that where an E4 candidate knocked behavioral/system design out of the park for their experience level and got an E5 offer. However, Meta does have fairly strict barriers in place when it comes to experience bands. For example, if you have 12 years of experience and don't pass the E5 bar, you have too much experience to get an E4 offer.
    • 2-3 months to prepare for the entire thing is reasonable. Both Kevin and I took that time-frame.
    • Keep in mind that the hiring bar will be higher in this economy given the smaller amount of headcount and much larger pool of candidates, many of which were laid off from other Big Tech companies (which Meta prefers to hire from). I imagine the "Weak Yes" candidates might just get thrown out (and getting "Weak Yes" is already pretty hard).
    • You will probably get down-leveled during the interview process. This was the case for me in the good economy, and it will happen more in this bad economy.

    Best of luck to all the Meta interviewers out there! Meta is far from a perfect company, but I truly believe it's one of the absolute best when it comes to career growth.

    If you're interested in what your life will be like if you got into Meta, check this out: [Masterclass] Should You Work At FAANG? - What Big Tech Is Like For Software Engineers

  • 3
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    Mid-Level Software Engineer at Walmart
    3 months ago

    I have given two on-sites at Meta and I'd like to share what I learned. Meta's interview process usually includes two technical phone, one system design interview (or two for senior roles), and one behavioral interview. Here are some tips based on my experience:

    • During the technical phone screen interviews, keep your introduction short. The interviewers already have your resume, so they want more time for problem-solving.

    • The problems they ask might not be super hard, but they often have tricky parts or tricky cases to consider.

    • In my interviews, I didn't get any hints for the problems. So, it's up to you to lead the problem process start to finish. Try to provide multiple solutions for the problem and work through the time complexity at the end (very important).

    • In the System Design interview, the interviewer explains the question and that was the only time when he talked the most, but then you have to build the system on your own from start to end so I'd say the interviewer spoke for only 5% of the entire interview. They won't give you any hints or help just to understand how far you can take the problem.

    I hope this helps. Thanks!

Meta Platforms, Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate based in Menlo Park, California. The company owns 3 of top 4 social networks in the world: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. More than 3.5 billion people use at least one of the company's core products every month.
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