5 meta interview questions for engineers

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Looking to land an entry-level software engineer position at the social media giant Meta? Be prepared to interview for an engineering position, but know that after you’ve been hired, finding your team is not determined right away. This is because Meta takes a boot camp approach with junior software engineers.

New hires spend about six to eight weeks learning how programming works on Facebook and talking to the various hiring teams. This allows new engineers to have about a week with each team before deciding where they fit best, according to a recently hired junior engineer.

The tech giant told employees last month, according to a Fortune magazine report, that it plans to cut software engineering hiring by 30% this year. That means Meta is aiming to hire between 6,000 and 7,000 new engineers this year, up from more than 10,000 under its previous plans.

Some of the topics you might be asked about include data structures, binary trees and recursion. This was the case for this rookie software engineer called A, who asked to use the initial of his first name.

Meta interview questions

  • Tell me about your previous work.
  • What interests you and what excites you?
  • how would you solve this problem? What type of data structures would you like to use?
  • Find the smallest number in a binary tree.
  • Determine the depth of a binary tree.

Learn more about job interviews5 job interview questions Slack asks software engineers

How to Prepare for a Job Meta Interview

Whichever department you wish to join, the social media giant offers a FAQs on how to prepare for Meta interviews. And if you’re specifically looking for a software engineer role, it offers a number of job interview preparation resources in a private portal, including sample questions, once you become a Meta job candidate.

Internal recruiters will also help you through the process, making recommendations such as practice coding tests on LeetCodesaid.

Cracking the Facebook Coding Interview The Approach | Video: Siamak Sobhany

Recruiters will give you a general idea of ​​the topics and questions that will be asked, but you won’t be given specific questions, A said. However, this type of information can be found in reviews on websites such as CareerCup and Glass door.

Meta’s Phone Screen Might Surprise You

If you’re used to an interview process that gets harder and harder after the phone screen, you might be surprised to learn that Meta takes a different approach.

Its recruiters and resources warn engineering candidates that the phone screen will have the same level of difficulty as follow-up interviews, A said.

“If you want to predict that a person can run a mile in under eight minutes, you don’t tell them they have 12 minutes.”

Conducting a phone screen that presents the same level of difficulty as an in-person interview offers two main advantages for both the interviewee and the interviewer, said Gayle Laakmann McDowell, founder and CEO of CareerCup and author of Crack the coding interview.

The purpose of a phone screen is to predict whether or not someone will pass on-site interviews and then perform well once hired, McDowell said. Also, if the phone screen wasn’t as difficult as the in-person interview, you could mislead the candidate into thinking that the in-person interview will be just as easy.

“If you want to predict someone can run a mile in under eight minutes, you don’t tell them they have 12 minutes,” McDowell said. “You’re going to waste a lot of people’s time.”

During A’s phone screen, the interviewer presented a problem and asked for his strategy to solve it. These questions don’t test your knowledge, but your problem-solving skills, communication skills and coding skills, McDowell said. This is not to judge the quality of your response.

Meta Interview: 3 tips for software engineers

  • Hone your skills and take practice coding tests on sites like LeetCode or Codewars.
  • Be aware that at Meta, the phone screen will have the same level of difficulty as the follow-up interviews.
  • Look for more specific interview questions on forums like CareerCup and Glassdoor.

Learn more about job interviews10 Interview Skills Employers Want

5 Questions Meta-Interviewers Can Ask Newbie Software Engineers

Q: Tell me about your previous work.

These types of questions typically seek to determine your ability to face challenges, collaborate and think about trade-offs in a given situation, McDowell said.

Q: What interests you and what excites you?

Interviewers tend to value candidates who are passionate about something, even if it initially seems unrelated to the job they’re seeking, McDowell said.

“I interviewed a guy who really loved his chickens, which seemed completely unrelated to the product management job he was looking for at Google. He talked about building a chicken coop in his backyard and having to learn everything a bunch of new information to create some kind of machinery to open and close the chicken coop,” McDowell recalls, adding that the chicken example eventually had some relevance and he was hired.

And while an interviewer may find that some of the passions you mention aren’t initially relevant to the job posting, it helps them get to know you and provide you with a good candidate experience.

Here is a sampling of some of the questions Meta asked A during the second round of job interviews and McDowell’s perspective on those questions. One of the interviews focused on behavioral issues and the other two interviews were technical.

Q: How would you solve this problem? What type of data structures would you like to use?

“What they really want to hear is your problem-solving process,” McDowell said in reference to these types of interview questions. “What they’re doing is basically an IQ test tailored to software engineering skills.”

With this problem-solving issue, employers believe that if you hire someone who is smart and gets things done, it will greatly benefit the company, she noted.

Q: Find the smallest number in a binary tree.

“I guess it was a very simple warm-up question, to avoid overwhelming the candidate on a more difficult question. The ultimate goal of these interviews is to ask a difficult question to see how someone can solve a difficult problem without looking for the answer,” McDowell said. “It’s basically seeing if someone has a difficult problem at work, can they find a solution?

Although software engineers probably don’t need to use binary trees in the course of their work, hiring managers include them in their job interview questions because most candidates are familiar with them and it complements their question toolkit, McDowell said.

Q: Calculate the depth of a binary tree.

Asking a question to determine the minimum element of a binary tree is also an easy warm-up question, McDowell said. She noted that easy warm-up questions can assure an interviewer that the candidate will have a basic understanding of what they’re talking about before delving into the more difficult questions.

Questions about binary trees, arrays, link lists and recursion are among the categories where dozens of questions are typically drawn for entry-level software engineering roles.

“All of these questions touch on the same thing,” McDowell said. “Are you smart? If you run into a tough problem at work, will you be stumped and give up? Or will you have the energy and brain power to push yourself through it?”

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