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Facebook's head of recruiting explains the company's top 3 approaches to finding exceptional employees

Facebook ipoFacebookCEO Mark Zuckerberg celebrates Facebook’s IPO on May 18, 2012.

Facebook, named the best place to work in America, is a magnet for top talent.

The social network now has 13,000 employees across more than 64 offices around the world, and its recruiting efforts are critical to scaling both its size and ambition.

Miranda Kalinowski, Facebook’s global head of recruiting, told Business Insider that its recruiting process aims to get a glimpse of who the candidate is as a person and whether they genuinely believe in the company’s mission “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”

“We want to make sure that we approach recruiting in the same way that we approach the design of the product and the services that we deliver to the world,” Kalinowski said. “And that’s with the focus on connection. We want to connect to our candidates in the recruiting or interviewing process pretty deeply.”

While the talent search and interview process differs slightly among teams and subsidiaries like Instagram and Oculus VR, we’ve broken down the main ways Facebook finds exceptional talent.

Facebook looks for builders

Outside Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

'We hire builders,' Kalinowski said. 'Regardless of whether we're hiring an engineer or a finance analyst, they're going to be the people who like to build things.'

The employees who thrive at Facebook are never satisfied with the status quo and are always trying to improve, she said. Managers look for job candidates who have this creative drive and want to make an impact.

Facebook considers itself a 'strengths-based organisation,' which aims to identify and foster employees' talents rather than try to round out their weaknesses. Thus, the interview is used to determine a candidate's strengths and whether they're the right fit for the job.

Facebook has around 1.6 billion users, and it's looking for employees who share CEO Mark Zuckerberg's belief that it's only the beginning.

'Anyone who listens to Mark will hear him say that we've still got 5 billion people to connect,' Kalinowski said. 'No one should be resting on their laurels. That sense of urgency and the energy around it are infectious.'

Facebook spends plenty of time seeking out talent on campuses and at events, but internal referrals are especially prioritised. 'No one knows better what it takes to thrive here than our employees themselves,' she said.

Facebook looks for diverse backgrounds

Facebook employees at a Pride Parade.

Facebook managers are focusing on increasing diversity in order to better serve its highly diverse consumer base and solve complex problems, Kalinowski said. It's not just looking for diversity of race and gender, but also of background.

Kalinowski said Facebook will never compromise on hiring the best people, but it doesn't want to only hire graduates of the top 10 universities in the US. It's why she's proud that Facebook pulled young talent from about 300 schools this year.

Additionally, Facebook University is a three-year-old special internship that is open to all rising sophomores, but is focused on attracting candidates of demographics that are underrepresented at the company. Facebook's staff is about 70% male and primarily white and Asian. Maxine Williams, the global head of diversity, said this program will be a 'huge investment' for Facebook this year.

In another attempt to move the dial on diversity, several teams are now considering at least one underrepresented candidate for every job opening. It's the company's version of the 'Rooney Rule,' which the National Football League has used for its coaching staff since 2003.

Facebook looks for talent and cultural fit

Facebook engineers brainstorm in the company's London office.

Potential recruits typically go through four or five interviews intended to gauge the candidate's talent and cultural fit. Kalinowski said all Facebook employees are given intensive interview training to learn how to test this.

The first round is a phone interview with the recruiter, who assesses the candidate's professional experience and passion for the company. If that goes well, the candidate will then have a 'technical' phone interview with someone who already has the job the candidate is applying for.

The third interview takes place on site and includes an office tour, which features a demo of the Oculus virtual reality headset to take some of the pressure off the candidate and help them open up.

The remaining interviews are subject to the role and department. For example, an engineer may go through a coding interview, where an employee sees how quickly and accurately a candidate can write code on a whiteboard in response to a given situation.

All candidates are subject to hypothetical questions to test how they would respond on the job, as well as logic questions to test how they think -- all of which ultimately test whether the person is right for Facebook.

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