Jeff Reynar is a director of engineering and New York site lead at Facebook. He interviews between 50 and 100 people annually for various technical roles. Since Facebook regularly lands near the top of lists of the best companies to work for, we asked Jeff how to make a résumé stand out. Following is a transcript of the video.
JEFF REYNAR: The biggest mistake people make is to just not prepare enough. And that shows up in both the technical portion of an interview, if they haven’t really practiced, and it can often show up as well if someone is asked about what projects they have worked on in the past and they’re not able to explain them in detail or talk about challenges they faced and how to overcome them.
How do you prepare for a technical interview at Facebook?
Well, there are a few different phases, typically, to an interview. Depends a little bit on exactly what role you’re interviewing for. We might change things up a little if you’re looking for a job as an Android software engineer rather than a — one who focuses on machine learning or someone who does AI research.
But, some of the common components are, we’re going to ask you to solve some programming problems, typically on a white board. We’re going to ask you to design some systems, again, typically on a white board. And, we’re going to ask you about your experience and how you tend to work with colleagues.
So, the best advice is to just go practice those things. And, by practice, I really mean including role playing. Get a friend to talk you through some programming questions on a white board so that the first time you’re doing this isn’t during the interview itself. Use websites that give you example problems to solve and go solve a bunch of them. Maybe bone up on some algorithms, or data structures, or other things that you might feel a little bit rusty about.
And, don’t forget to make sure you can talk really concisely about what you’ve done in the past, what particular accomplishments you had by doing it why you chose to work on those things, and come with great stories that illustrate how you might be a great fit for Facebook because you’re interested in the company’s mission, and you think that the problems it’s solving are really important.
So, I can’t encourage you enough to practice before you come in for an interview.
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