Interview Guide Dec 09
Dec 093 rounds
Detailed guidance on the Meta EM interview process - with a breakdown of different stages and interview questions asked at each stage, including Meta-specific interview types such as the Product Architecture interview, the Technical Project Retrospectives, and the People/Leadership/XFN interviews.
Meta -- the world's biggest social media company; and owner of products we all know and love (in some cases loved?) such as Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook, but also of cutting edge tech such as Oculus and open source solutions such as FB Prophet and LLaMA) -- Meta is a company we're all familiar with and the dream company to work for, for a non-trivial number of us.
Within this company, Engineering managers (internally levelled as M1 and M2) are responsible for driving forward the innovation within product teams, across an incredible range of products. As an EM you'd be expected to manage a team of engineers (often across multiple functions such as software, fullstack, iOS/Android and frontend roles), with all the trappings of the EM craft from people/leadership, to technical design and setting a standard for "good" engineering practices, to fielding cross-functional (internally known as XFN) relationships, to managing your org scope - identifying opportunities and growing it where relevant, and pushing back to defend a healthy team dynamic in other circumstances.
The Interview Process for the Meta Engineering Manager
The interview process for the Meta Engineering Manager role consists of 3 stages:
- Recruiter Phone Screen
- Initial Interview
- On-site Interview
Below is a detailed description of the interview process
Check out a concise video version of this guide - all key topics in a nutshell
A phone interview with an HR recruiter will be the first step in your interview with Meta.
- Be concise - the recruiter is mostly just trying to understand if you've got relevant past experience, and are a good fit for the Meta values.
- Establish a good relationship - Meta recruiters are extraordinarily helpful throughout the process and can really help set you up for success.
- Talk through your past background and experience in managing engineers
- Why Meta? How does this fit into your longer career goals?
- Are you familiar with what this role will involve? Do you happen to have any relevant
The first-round interview comes after your recruiter's call. This is usually a conversation with another EM who is one level senior to the level you're interviewing for. If there's a specific team you're intervieiwng for (as opposed to the general pool) -- this will often be your hiring manager.
The call is roughly 45min long, and covers 4 themes
- People Management and Cross functional collaboration
- Technical Design and Architecture
- Career conversation & motivation
- Questions you have for your interviewer
I have 3 tips (none should be particularly surprising).
- Efficiency: Given that you're covering a lot of ground - be concise. You don't want to let one topic hijack the whole interview. Your interviewer is trying to cover a ton of ground and assessing your "breadth of fit" across the different things Meta looks for (and that they're specifically looking for, if it's a role specific interview). These conversations often don't go too deep, but they will cover a lot of ground.
- Demonstration: Imply depth even if you aren't able to explain it. For instance, if you're talking through a technical topic - explain the business impact or the number of people involved upfront. If you're talking about people leadership, talk about your org scope or the range of crafts you've managed. etc. As Meta's own official guide says "Hierarchical, top-down managers aren't the norm at Facebook. The most successful managers support and motivate their teams, provide career guidance and work to ensure their success. You'll want to think about how you embody these qualities and be ready to answer questions in a compelling, inspiring way that makes an interviewer think "I would love to work for or with this person.”"
- Practice -- this is a tricky round, since one wrong signal is enough to sabotage an invitation to the next round. In the onsite loop you have a lot more time to "flesh out" your answers and explain context. In this interview you often won't have the luxury of doing this since there are so many topics your interviewer will be trying to cover.
- How do you help people manage their careers? What’s an example of a tough management situation you’ve dealt with?
- Describe a system / product / app you or your team built. How did you evaluate the design of your system? How did you test performance and scalability? Did you have to iterate on the design Looking back, what would you have done differently?
- How do you plan on choosing your next role? What is it about Meta that you think aligns it with your career goals?
Access the full list of interview questions in the Meta Engineering Manager question bank.
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You will receive an invitation to complete the Onsite interview round if your initial interview goes well. As with most big-tech companies, this is the big challenge, 5-6 separate interviews during this interview cycle (often over just one day), across a rage of Meta interviewers. It's exhausting! But it's a process which lets Meta differentiate the good from the great and filter out the best to whom they intend to extend an offer. Broadly speaking, you will have 2-3 "technical rounds" and 2-3 "non-technical" rounds.
Technical rounds include
- System Design and Architecture OR Product Design: Demonstrating that you understand how to construct highly scalable systems. Product Design interviews also come with the expectation of thinking how you'd track success, which metrics would impact customer success, and considerations beyond back-end/scale (Eg. security, customer experience, etc).
- Technical Project Deepdive OR Project Retrospective: Demonstrating past technical expertise in a project you drove -- from both the execution/delivery aspects but also technical design and decisions, tradeoffs etc. that you enabled
- Coding: Nothing special to share here. Leetcode Medium level skills. Often taken by senior level engineers.
- ML specific rounds (for ML Engineering Managers) - eg. ML Knowledge / ML Breadth and Depth, and ML System Design
- Data specific rounds (for Data Engineering Managers) - eg. Data Full Stack loop, Data Modelling, ETL Batch/Streaming
- Production specific rounds (for Production Engineering Managers) - eg. Linux/Troubleshooting and Networking
Non-technical rounds include
- People Management and Cross-functional Collaboration: Demonstrating that you can manage people with the full range of expectations that comes with. Can you work with a diverse set of stakeholders in achieving progress?
- Cross-Functional Partnerships: Can you achieve win-win outcomes in dealing with cross-functional stakeholders, especially those perceived as challenging to work with. Can you establish long term partnerships which help you and your org scale its impact beyond your current scope?
- Building Management and Engineering Culture: Much more common in M2 level interviews
Worth noting that while Meta labels these interviews uniquely - they aren't actually very different to what other companies look at, for instance if you have a look at the Google Engineering Manager interview guide, you'll see the same themes cropping up there.
People Management Interview Sample Questions
- How do you drive the professional development of your team?
- Tell me your approach to managing an underperforming employee. How would you manage this challenging conversation?
- How do you recruit good engineers?
- Describe a challenging circumstance where you showed leadership.
Project Retrospective Interview Sample Questions
- Please describe the project you worked on that was the most difficult technically and why it was difficult.
- Tell me about a system, product, or project you've worked on. What technical and design issues did you encounter? How were they resolved?
- Tell me about a time you scaled a system.
XFN Interview Questions
- Tell me about the most challenging stakeholders you've worked with. What mechanisms have you developed in to keep this working relationship healthy?
- Talk about a time you failed to deliver on stakeholder expectations. What was the outcome
- How do you involve your stakeholders when developing technical strategy?
- How do you explain technical project requirements to non-technical teams?
System Design Interview Sample Questions
- Create a real-time commenting system for a Facebook post that can have millions of active users.
- What changes might you make to the Facebook newsfeed?
- How would a load balancer be used with Memcache servers?
Coding Interview Sample Questions
- Given an array num of n integers where n > 1, return an array output such that output[i] is equal to the product of all the elements of nums except nums[i].
- Given a list of non-negative numbers and a target integer k, write a function to check if the array has a continuous subarray of size at least two that sums up to the multiple of k, that is, sums up to n*k where n is also an integer.
As always - there's a much more robust list of questions available in the Meta Engineering Manager question bank.
Practice more such questions with a Meta Engineering Manager and get hands-on experience.→ Book Now!
Here's a bit of what you'll be doing day to day. This is great content to pull from for your answers, so we'd recommend absorbing a lot of this as you start preparing.
- Drive a team of engineers (often across different specializations - software, fullstack, frontend, mobile iOS/Android etc) to drive impact within a component you build and/or own. Encourage creativity and develop new strategies for increasing productivity. Develop critical operational metrics, establish a metrics-based organization, and promote continuous improvement. Boost productivity while utilizing automation and innovation to scale and meet the needs of Facebook.
- Develop both short- and long-term initiatives (and provide strategic and operational guidance when relevant), in collaboration with cross functional stakeholders. This could include executives, your leadership, internal clients, PMs, TPMs, UX designers, Data Scientists as well as other engineering teams (for instance in Meta, Production Engineers and ML Engineers are often grouped into squads of separate teams). You're responsible for working with various business, research, and engineering departments to offer infrastructure and support for the client.
- Manage your people and help them grow their careers. Defend their interests where relevant. Identify opportunities for them to build and demonstrate key compentencies. Manage their performance - reward and recognize high performers; and help under performers plug their gaps in a way that doesn't damage the motivation and the progress of the rest of the team.
- Live the Meta Values on a day to day basis. Set an example for the rest of the org on how you execute them.
Meta Engineering Manager Salary
The annual compensation for a Meta Engineering Manager is $184,016. At Meta, manager salaries can range from $34,819 to $310,000 annually.
Here's a quick overview of the broad swathes of skills hiring managers look for at a high level
- People leadership experience: 5+ years of management and team-leading experience in an engineering organization. Meta rarely hires EMs who don't previously have some sort of people management exposure
- Technical depth: Comfortable operating in scale, guding teams towards technical decisions, and in taking a driving role in executing projects which span across teams, orgs and cross functional stakeholders. In this context past technical experience and degrees in CS and Engineering can be particularly helpful
- Problem solving skills: Ability to think strategically and solve problems analytically and creatively.
What can I do to stand out as a candidate during the Engineering Manager interview process at Meta?
Emphasize your leadership experience, showcase successful team-building initiatives, and provide examples of how your leadership has positively impacted project outcomes and team dynamics.
How long does the entire Engineering Manager interview process at Meta typically take?
The duration can vary but usually takes several weeks to complete, including phone screens and onsite or remote interviews. The timeline may depend on the specific role and team.
What should I know about Meta's approach to engineering management and innovation during the interview process?
Research Meta's engineering practices, recent innovations, and the specific projects you may be involved in. Be prepared to discuss how your leadership skills align with Meta's goals.
Is there a technical assessment or programming component in the Engineering Manager interview process?
While the primary focus is on leadership and management, Meta may assess your technical understanding. Be prepared to discuss past technical experiences and your ability to guide and support technical teams.