Just wondering if FAANG companies hire engineers at Staff level (or higher). What kind of experience do they look for when hiring folks from outside?
Does FAANG hire at Staff+ levels?
...Yes? While ideally every Staff+ (L6+) engineer would be home-grown, that's just logistically impossible. FAANG has traditionally been in hyper-growth mode and Staff+ engineers are the cornerstones to carry out large initiatives, so these companies have historically never had enough of engineers at this level. They simply have to hire externally. Even in this terrible economy, Staff+ hiring is relatively alive compared to L5 and below. Most companies need more Staff+ engineers, but there simply aren't enough (good ones) on the market.
What kind of experience do they look for when hiring folks from outside?
I was an interviewer at Meta and I know many engineers at Big Tech (several of them L6+), so here's what these companies generally look out for at this very high-level:
There are exceptions to all of these of course (mainly #1 and #5), but if you have all 5, you're in a good place.
Since you're at an early-stage startup, you will likely be down-leveled, similar to what happened to me coming from Course Hero into Meta. Unless you work at a top-tier unicorn like Notion, you will almost certainly have 1 or 2 levels subtracted from your current one. It sucks, but that's just how it is (Big Tech expectations tend to be higher, and we all know that the pay is ultra-competitive).
All that being said, here's a lot of resources to help out:
Yes, but at these more senior levels, they're usually looking for comparable prior experience (e.g. Staff Eng at another FAANG company).
Things like side projects or interview performance don't have as much sway to budge your level for Staff+.