Friday, January 21, 2011

Facebook phone interview

I recently had a preliminary phone interview with Facebook. The recruiter contacted me out of the blue saying they were looking for "rockstars." I almost marked it as spam, but then actually read it. Facebook is the kind of company that I can't at least consider should they choose to pursue me. Plus it is good to try and sharpen the saw every once in a while.

Here are the questions I was asked and some of the answers I gave:
  1. This position is in Palo Alto. Are you willing to relocate?
    Probably. I was being honest here. I think I would be more willing to consider moving than my wife, but working for Facebook is a singularly unique opportunity.
  2. Can you tell me a little bit about the work you are doing right now?
    Blah blah blah. I probably rambled a bit too much here. Oh well. I was out of practice and forgot the preparation that good interviewing requires.
  3. Do you use Facebook?
    Yes. I then told the interviewer that I landed my current job through networking on Facebook. The interviewer asked me to explain that, so I did (probably rambling too much again).
  4. How familiar are you with the technologies we use here at Facebook? Do you follow
    Not very. I know the features Facebook puts out, but not the underlying technologies.
  5. How comfortable are you with technical phone interviews?
    It's hit or miss. I'm out of practice. My actual answer was much more verbose. The straight answer is "I normally stink and do horribly at any technical interview," but that doesn't seem like a good thing to say. Plus, I do occasionally do well.
  6. How many guesses would it take you to find a number between 1 and 1000 if I tell you "high" or "low" after each guess?
    10. I figured they were getting at a binary search, which is O(log n).
  7. What is the run time complexity of inserting into a heap?
    I have no idea. I'll guess n*log(n). I could have tried to figure this out, but I was having a brain fart and decided it was pointless to try and brazen it out. The actual answer is O(log n). Okay, okay. Really it depends on the implementation.
  8. How many direct children can a node have in a binary tree?
    0, 1, or 2.
The interviewer then told me she would pass on my answers and my resume to a hiring manager and that I would hear back in the next few days. The next morning she emailed me to set up a 45 minute technical interview.

Trying to get a job at Facebook? You do have an up-to-date profile on Facebook, right? After that, I would start by poking around at their careers site. I noticed they have a intriguing puzzles section that it probably wouldn't hurt to solve. Facebook has several recruiters on LinkedIn, so just do a search for "facebook recruiter" to get some contact information for a real person.