I have an interview at Facebook in a few days

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StarFoxA

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#1  Edited By StarFoxA

Hey duders, long time no see. I'm in school right now for a degree in Computer Science, so at the moment I'm attempting to get a summer internship. Facebook contacted me back within a day or so of my online application, so now I'm going through a phone interview about two weeks from now.

This is my first technical interview, and the fact that it's with such a large company is simultaneously extremely exciting and terrifying, so I was just wondering if there were any other Comp Sci folks who had some hot tips on how to succeed in a technical interview?

Stay classy, bombers!

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Captain_Insano

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I would watch "The Internship" for inspiration.

Different company but I'm sure the same tactics would work.

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BrettVandelay

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Just say this:

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I_Stay_Puft

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Good luck dude.

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csl316

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Good luck. But by posting this they'll probably track your online handle now.

Delete any questionable blogs!!

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BeachThunder

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#6 BeachThunder  Online

Consider wearing an Oculus Rift to the interview.

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BrettVandelay

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You should "like" Facebook and "follow" Mark Zuckerberg.

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deactivated-66361f5b4a584

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Say you've kept records of all your friends and family just in case someone wants them for whatever reason.

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Humanity

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No advice but good luck. I assume once you get in you're set and can start driving a different colored Bentley each day.

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Jimbo

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It just started raining.

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BrettVandelay

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#11  Edited By BrettVandelay

Also, when you're writing your pseudo code, make a boolean called theWinklevossTwinsAreUgly and have it always set to true.

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ShaggE

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Remember to say "I'm sure you'll LIKE what I can do for Facebook!", being sure that you leave a decent pause before and after "like".

Also, be sure to never refer to your living quarters or work area as "my space", lest you come under scrutiny and accusations of corporate espionage.

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DuncanKeller

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Remember to ask for help if you need it. Ideally, you can solve all the problems without aid, but it looks better than stumbling and just standing there silent. Say out loud every single thing going through your head as you do the problems.

I've been asked such a scattershot of questions, you can never really prepare for them specifically, so at the end of the day you just have to know your stuff and hope they don't ask something obscure. Good luck!! :)

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sweep

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#16 sweep  Moderator

Fake your own death.

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mageemagoo

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BBOYS2231

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#18  Edited By BBOYS2231

It's always good to come prepared with questions of your own to ask at the end of the interview. "what's the most fufilling part of the job in your opinion?" and "What challenges are you usually faced with on a day to day basis?" Be creative. Also, most places I've interviewed ask the "What are your strengths/weaknesses" question. Never identify your weakness, as a weakness. Call it an opportunity, and close that part of the question out with steps you are taking to make that opportunity a strength. Lastly, pretty much everything @hammondoftexas said. Keep it like a conversation, and dress appropriately for the position/internship. Good luck!

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lead_dispencer

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#19  Edited By lead_dispencer

I misread the title of this thread to believe that you were going to be interviewed through facebook. if messenger or video feed of some sort. Well, I just had a phone interview with a pretty big company. I've had so many interviews I hardly get nervous anymore.

My advice, just stay close to your beliefs, goals, and aspirations. DO NOT be afraid to let your personality show through. A lot of people become robotic and therefore unremarkable to the interviewer. A friend of mine and former coworker got a job because he wrote under his "hobbies and interests" section of his resume, "enjoying Chipotle any day of the week." I shit you not, I checked his resume and there it was. He now is employed by the Oakland Raiders football franchise.

Good Luck Duder!

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ratamero

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God, I hate all this "prepare for an interview" thing. I know, it's nice to know more or less what to expect from it, but the whole "do this, don't do that" makes me sick. Just try not to be too nervous and be honest.

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lead_dispencer

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God, I hate all this "prepare for an interview" thing. I know, it's nice to know more or less what to expect from it, but the whole "do this, don't do that" makes me sick. Just try not to be too nervous and be honest.

so dont listen to your advice, or do listen? what an enigma!

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ratamero

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@lead_dispencer: don't. or do. I don't know. It worked for me so far, but I guess it depends how much the company is into HR bullshit.

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afabs515

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I am actually about to graduate with a degree in Computer Science and have accepted a job offer from Capital One for a software engineering position. I've been through a few technical interviews, and the best advice I can give you is to stay calm and think out loud. There are a lot of websites with practice tech interview questions, and while there's no way to predict what Facebook specifically will ask you, it would not be a bad idea to try your hand at thinking through some basic algorithms type questions. Don't memorize specific solutions to questions or algorithms; just train yourself to think through technical problems.

From a general interview perspective, make sure you have a question to ask that cannot be found with a simple Google search. Also, if you don't know the answer to a question, stay calm and just try to think it through out loud. They don't expect you to know everything; they're looking for how you think.

Best of luck! If you have any questions for me about my specific tech interview experience, feel free to send me a PM or reply to this post.

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helvetica

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That's awesome! Good luck! Eat a banana before the interview if you get nervous, that will help with the nerves. Don't be afraid to say "That's a great question, let me think about it for a second" if they ask a tough question and you need a moment.

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StarFoxA

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@erickmartins: I mean, it's definitely important to prepare for a technical interview. It's more like an exam than an interview.

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ratamero

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#26  Edited By ratamero

@starfoxa: I still think it's pointless. It doesn't hurt to look at some test questions, more as a way to decrease anxiety and know more or less what to expect than to actually "prepare". Anything knowledge-based (like an exam) they shouldn't expect you to know by memory because no one does. They should just want to know how you go around solving actual problems, and that is not something you pick up in a couple of days.

I had to go through a technical interview (on Maths) for my current position; I was asked to solve a tricky integral, couldn't do it initially, but explained how I would try to, and with a couple of nudges got to the right thing. I left thinking I had bombed, but got the position and my current boss said he liked my thought process for solving something that I didn't know.

(that's only mentioning the technical part of the interview; anything like "don't talk about your weaknesses" goes way too much into HR bullshit territory.)

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reisz

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I have absolutely no advice for you from a CS standpoint just wanted to say that's awesome. Follow your dreams and good luck!

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SSully

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#28  Edited By SSully

God, I hate all this "prepare for an interview" thing. I know, it's nice to know more or less what to expect from it, but the whole "do this, don't do that" makes me sick. Just try not to be too nervous and be honest.

That's easy to say for a lot of jobs, but technical interviews are a different beast. I see you mentioned in another post that you had to do one for a math job you currently have, but that doesn't cover all the basis. A lot of the big tech companies, like Facebook, are notorious for having brutal tech interviews. I have done a few and they range from piece of cake to "holy shit why didn't I practice more?!". Tech interviews are knowledge based, but a lot of places are really good about throwing really obscure bullshit concepts at you that you might not of touched in years. It sucks.

Anyways to @starfoxa I would get a copy of the book Cracking the Coding Interview. It is one of the best technical interview books I have read so far. Lots of great examples and it breaks down topics that could be covered really well. Also check out this site: https://www.interviewcake.com/. I have done a bunch of the questions there and think its pretty decent. Not nearly as comprehensive as the book I suggested, but it makes for a decent refresher.

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Nick

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#29  Edited By Nick

If you're interviewing for a specific position like a java programmer or something, studying a bit won't hurt.

Also this is good advice:

@afabs515 said:

They don't expect you to know everything; they're looking for how you think.

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SSully

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@nick said:

If you're interviewing for a specific position like a java programmer or something, studying a bit won't hurt.

Also this is good advice:

@afabs515 said:

They don't expect you to know everything; they're looking for how you think.

That's actually the best advice. If they hit you with a problem you don't know then try your best to work it out. Speak your thought process out loud and use the white board. Even if you get it wrong or don't finish it shows them how you work.

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tehbull

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#31  Edited By tehbull

Wait this is a phone interview? Follow the same rules as broadcasting: don't say uh as much as possible, have an idea of what you are strong in (repeat your power areas,different words), say it with authority like you are the boss and giving them the honor of listening to you. State one time you had an issue depending on their question and then how you solved it. Now this is difficult but I recommend a couple practice interviews and then you'll be fine

Oh have any kind of Facebook notification sound popping up in the backgrfound.

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killacam

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How does a technical interview work over the phone, anyway? I've heard of much smaller companies conducting interviews over Google Doc-like programming environments, which seems much more suitable to judge a person's problem solving processes!

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StarFoxA

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Ben_H

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#34  Edited By Ben_H

God, I hate all this "prepare for an interview" thing. I know, it's nice to know more or less what to expect from it, but the whole "do this, don't do that" makes me sick. Just try not to be too nervous and be honest.

Some Google recruiters go as far as giving you a study guide for the interview, since a good chunk of the interview is essentially a math test, where the math is high level computer science concepts.

Good luck OP! I'm in the same boat, though not with Facebook (The only big company I've talked to is Google). Interviews are starting soon and I've never done any of this type before. Kinda terrified to be honest. My theory is fairly good but I have a tendency to blank out badly under pressure.

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ratamero

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I stand corrected. If it's usual in Computer Science, by all means go ahead and prepare yourself.

(my rant was more against the behavioral counseling, to be fair, like "instead of being yourself try to be a badass", "always write in cursive", "get into the room with your right foot first", etc etc etc)

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StarFoxA

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#36  Edited By StarFoxA

@erickmartins said:

I stand corrected. If it's usual in Computer Science, by all means go ahead and prepare yourself.

(my rant was more against the behavioral counseling, to be fair, like "instead of being yourself try to be a badass", "always write in cursive", "get into the room with your right foot first", etc etc etc)

Yep, it's fairly standard. I got an email from my recruiter today with a lot of resources to use to prepare.

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Brendan

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@sweep: I see the "fake your own death" comment on these boards a lot, but for some reason this time I bust out laughing so hard.

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WhiteSponge

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@starfoxa said:

Hey duders, long time no see. I'm in school right now for a degree in Computer Science, so at the moment I'm attempting to get a summer internship. Facebook contacted me back within a day or so of my online application, so now I'm going through a phone interview about two weeks from now.

This is my first technical interview, and the fact that it's with such a large company is simultaneously extremely exciting and terrifying, so I was just wondering if there were any other Comp Sci folks who had some hot tips on how to succeed in a technical interview?

Stay classy, bombers!

all the best for your interview!

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StarFoxA

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@ben_h: I'm really disappointed I missed the opportunity to apply to Google for an internship. I hadn't realized how early the summer internship process began with them.

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DJMoo

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#40  Edited By DJMoo

I've actually been going through tech interviews recently, and yea it can be pretty intimidating. My best advice (which I received from a Google recruiter) is that when the interviewer asks you questions, the worst thing you can do is just remain silent then write code. Often times, they want to see how you think and approach problems. Treat the question more as a conversation, explaining what you're thinking, where you are struggling, and ask clarifying questions. Regardless, it's definitely scary, and I still suck at interviews. But I suppose practice helps a lot. Good luck duder!

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DJMoo

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@killacam: Typically it involves a few general "tell me about yourself questions" then several technical questions. These tech questions are usually framed as a problem that you'd need to solve. So for example, it could be like "Suppose I give you x data structure and you want to perform y action on it, how would you do that? What is the running time of your algorithm? Are there ways to improve your approach?" Sometimes companies also have general brain-teaser type questions similar to weird word problems and such. I had one once where three people broke a vase and I needed to figure out who did it. Lastly, some companies, like Google, have you use some online word processor program to write code so that they can ask you lengthier coding questions. Of course this is a phone interview. On site interviews tend to be slightly different (and much longer).

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chilibean_3

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Show off some really good videos of daggering. I'm pretty sure that's how Alexis really wow'd the folks over at Twitter.

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forteexe21

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You should study by reading John Carmack's tweets.

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development

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Don't fart. Or do?

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JJOR64

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Good luck man!

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Naoiko

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Not to sound lame, but PBS's news hour website did a large amount of stories talking about how to succeed with interviews. They should still be on their website somewhere. Anywho! I hope it goes great for ya duder, hang in there!

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MaKiNbAcoN

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#47  Edited By MaKiNbAcoN

@starfoxa I'm guessing this is an entry level job based on the fact you are finishing your degree.

I also work in the development space (my BS in in CS,On the side pursing my MS),I'm a senior developer for a mid/large sized company based out of NYC.

For entry level jobs be prepared to answer basic logic problems and base knowledge around certain languages. I've also been on the other side of the table interviewing people and there is nothing worse than someone who claims they know something and they actually don't. A lot of interviewers will allow you to dig your own grave if you claim something false. Don't be afraid to say "i don't know but.." and link it to another technology and flesh out how you would go about solving the problem even though you don't know. Real world problems don't always have textbook solutions, you need to think on your toes.

Sounds dumb but be able to solve the fizzbuzz problem. It's absurdly basic but you'd be surprised how many entry level (some jr/mid) will fail this problem. Know your basic data structures, know how to take code and make it more efficient. Based on your algorithms course work you should be able to look at functions and point out points where it could be slow. A big part of entry level interviews is not showing what you know in terms of complexity, but knowing you can get to the solution using the basics. You need to show you can learn.

Being it's technical don't be surprised to see questions like "implement a map in language of your choice" or "implement a linked list in a language of your choice" or even "given a tree, whats the best way to find a given entry" . Do some background research on the person who is interviewing you (look at their LinkedIn, see if they have a website, see if they have done forum posts in their subject matter).

Always keep one thing in mind the person on the other side of the table will always know more than you, never try to correct them. Do not bring code samples unless requested, senior/D level people will rip it apart.

Biggest thing I can say is : Programmers are egomaniacs, put it asidefor a day. When all said and done you want a job that will teach you to advance yourself. You will never advance if you do not learn from others, especially those who are senior to you.

PM me if you want more advice or possible questions you may encounter. I'm glad to "mock interview" with you

that's open for anyone interviewing in the tech space :)

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StarFoxA

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@makinbacon: Thanks a bunch, duder, I may hit you up after I review my structures and algorithms a bit more!

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SSully

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#49  Edited By SSully

@killacam said:

How does a technical interview work over the phone, anyway? I've heard of much smaller companies conducting interviews over Google Doc-like programming environments, which seems much more suitable to judge a person's problem solving processes!

It could be anything from just prodding your knowledge of various topics(ex: you listed a framework on your resume. They will ask you pros and cons of it, problems you had with it, things it helped you solve, etc) to regular coding questions. As you mentioned some people do this over google docs. It's usually not as difficult of questions as an in person interview.

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TheHT

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Don't fart. Or do?

Shake hands for too long and let one rip while you're still touching, locked eyes and smiling. This will establish dominance.

Showing up to shake their hand when it's a phone interview also shows initiative. Is very effective tactic for employ.