Friday, July 6, 2018

Facebook Job Interview - Production Engineer

Facebook contacted me on LinkedIn recently looking to fill a 'Production Engineer' role.  I wasn't looking for job offers.  They reached out to me.   Apparently they had been doing this a bit though, targeting DevOps professionals as my buddy at the startup I was recently working with also got contacted.

Having Facebook reach out to you for a job opportunity?  Definitely intriguing.  One of the things on my 'IT Career Bucket List' would be to work at one of 'those' companies.  Google, Facebook, etc.  I thought if nothing else, it would be interesting to see where the hiring process went, since in the past they didn't actively recruit unknowns like me. 

I replied that I'd be interested to know more and so a phone interview was arranged with the Facebook technical recruiter.  At the appointed time (a couple days later) he called and I got the skinny on how things would potentially work.

Facebook logo - about my interview process at FaceBook

The phone interview was the first step.  After that I provide them with my resume which some of their technical leads would look at.  If they felt I was a fit based on my resume, there would be two remote technical screens - 1 specifically focussed on the Linux OS, and the other on a coding language of my choice.  They wanted someone who was very comfortable at both.  Over the phone they gave me some sample questions - basic linux commands - to give me an idea of what the screens would be like.  If I managed to gain their approval in the technical interviews, Facebook would then fly me to the location of my choice (Menlo Park or Seattle) for face to face talks - both technical and otherwise.  Following that, if I was still up to snuff, I'd get an offer.  Once hired, there would be a 6 week on site 'boot camp' where I'd get trained in all things Facebook and brought up to speed the technical ins and outs of the team I'd be working with.

Getting hired would require me to move to Seattle or Menlo Park.  Real estate at both locations is exorbitant - like ridiculous.  In the event that I was hired, Facebook would offer me a full relocation package, with the potential for a temporary housing situation for 3-4 months while we looked for a permanent residence.  I was told that many employees commute from communities with more reasonably housing prices using Facebook commuter busses that have complimentary drinks and WIFI.  Health and Dental would be covered 100% for myself and my dependents.  Wednesdays are an optional work-from-home day, and Facebook offers 21 days of vacation per year - although I neglected to confirm whether that was 21 business days (over 4 weeks), or 3 weeks all in.  I'm a Canadian, so I asked about a work Visa.  He replied that Facebook has an immigration/legal department that would arrange a TN1 Visa for me, in the event that I was hired.

As far as the job itself - Facebook's version of the Production Engineer role is essentially described here.  At the time I was talking with them, Facebook had 42 teams each responsible for a particular feature in their system (FB messenger, Ads, Newsfeeds, etc.).  These teams consist of 4-5 developers with an embedded production engineer.  Everyone on the team goes on call, one week at a time, so it ends up being a 4-5 week on-call rotation.

In the end, after viewing my resume they decided not to pursue the hiring process with me further at this time.  They had been interviewing 'a lot of strong candidates recently that they felt were a stronger match for their immediate needs.'  I can't say I was heartbroken.  It would have been a big move for us that would have put pressure on me personally and financially - not to mention having one dependent in university and one in high school.

I have been pondering what it was about my resume that flagged it to the hiring managers.  Was it the fact that I've moved jobs every 2-3 years, and they had concerns that I wouldn't last long at FB?  Perhaps it was because of my lack of focus in technology - moving contracts 2-3 years means learning lots of new technology and never getting a chance to really focus.  I've asked the FB recruiter - we'll see what he comes back with.  (You might be wondering why I've moved jobs every 2-3 years...  Its prudent for independent business contractors like myself to 'keep moving' from a Canadian taxation perspective.)