It’s a cultural phenomenon that has genuinely changed the way we live, made its owner an estimated $75 billion to date and even spanned a critically acclaimed Hollywood movie about its creation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, it also turns out that Facebook is a pretty good place to work!
Indeed, as well as being renowned for its world-class perks (including, for example, a $4,000 cash gift for expectant parents), the social media giant gives employees the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology under one of the most innovative minds in the world; little wonder that it consistently ranks so highly in various job satisfaction lists.
Yet with such glittering endorsements comes an inevitable downside for any potential candidates; competition for jobs is ferocious. One employee, for example, went through a staggering 17 rounds of interviews before securing a role, while in 2014 the company received over 250,000 applications for its 330 job openings.
Don’t let that put you off, though. One of the best ways to get your foot in the door at Facebook is through an internship, especially if you’re still studying. We’ve even compiled a handy five-step list to guide you through the process!
So, if you’ve always dreamed of a career at one of the most exciting companies in the world, read on: this is how to get an internship at Facebook…
1. Find the Right Role
The first step to take is to look for a position that you are suitable for. Although there are various external job search resources that advertise roles, it makes sense to go straight to the horse’s mouth. Luckily, Facebook posts all its global current internship vacancies in one place.
Alternatively, there are numerous online coding competitions and university networking events where you can get noticed by talent scouts from the Silicon Valley giants; this is the path that Peter Goldsborough, a summer intern in the London office in 2016, took when he was approached out of the blue by a Facebook recruiter on LinkedIn.
Either way, roles are split into ‘technical’ and ‘non-technical’, and then broken down into several subcategories, as seen below.
Engineering, Technology and Design
The large majority of Facebook’s 12-week internship roles are technical and typically require applicants to be pursuing relevant degrees at postgraduate level (although there are exceptions – engineering interns at the data centre facility only require a high school diploma, for example). For most roles, knowledge of programming languages and research or previous experience in a similar position is also preferred.
Make sure you carefully research and understand the eligibility criteria for the position that you are interested in before you apply; there are currently roles available in the following departments:
- AI Research
- Core Data Science
- Data Centre Design and Construction
- Data Centre Facility Operations
- Data Centre Operations
- Data Centre Site Services
- Machine Learning
- Oculus (Virtual Reality)
- Programme Management and Analysis
- Software Engineering
- UX Research
Facebook also offers a 12-week non-technical intern opportunity in its Programme Management and Analysis department. Candidates must be studying at postgraduate level in a business-related field, while also possess prior experience of working in/with project management, data visualisation and HR management.
2. Focus on Your CV
Your CV is arguably your most important self-promotion tool, as it is the first thing that recruiters and hiring managers – at any organisation – will see. With such a high number of applications, it’s even more essential to ensure that you stand out from the crowd. Just ask Jessica Pointing, a Harvard graduate who won internship offers from Facebook, Google and Apple.
‘It’s not enough to just describe your past roles,’ she says. ‘What you need to demonstrate is the impact that you made to the company’. She also advises that you quantify any previous achievements, as well as resist the temptation of embellishing anything. ‘If you won’t be comfortable talking about it in the interview,’ she claims, ‘then take it down’.
Ensure you tailor your CV to the position you’re interested in, too. Talking up your business development skills is great if you’re after a business internship, but it might not cut the mustard if you’re going for a core data science position.
3. Send Your Application
Once you’ve decided on the right role and conjured up the perfect CV, the next step is to take the plunge and actually apply. Fortunately, the submission process is relatively quick and straightforward.
Through the internships website, you are invited to upload your CV and provide the following information:
- personal details
- work experience
- areas of expertise
- education history (including high school)
- additional information such as your LinkedIn profile or other online portfolios
- additional eligibility and affirmative action criteria
If the recruiters like what they see, they will get in touch with you – usually within a few weeks – either to arrange an interview or (depending on the role you’ve applied for) to invite you to undertake a simple online coding test first.
4. Ace the Interview
The interview process is officially split into two stages: a screening interview, followed by a second onsite interview (although some candidates have reported undergoing a third interview). This is what to expect in each one:
Conducted either over Skype or at a university campus, there is a brief discussion about your career aspirations and motivation for applying, before moving on to some coding challenges. There are many past questions available online that are representative of the kind of problems you’ll be asked to solve, so it’s recommended that you brush up and familiarise yourself with what you’re going to face.
If successful, you’ll then be invited to spend the day at the offices you are applying to, where you’ll again face a series of technical challenges and problems. You’ll also be given a 45-minute design interview (based on either systems design or product design), where you’ll be required to detail and talk through your answers on a whiteboard. Finally, you will undergo a more traditional behavioural interview, where you’ll talk more in depth about your motivations and discuss your previous experiences.
In both cases, you will be given an opportunity to ask your interviewer anything – it’s highly recommended that you do just that. Don’t go through the motions and ask banal questions, though; what you ask is usually a good indicator of your passion, enthusiasm and knowledge for the role, and can reveal a lot about your potential suitability.
5. Get an Offer
Hopefully, if all goes well, you will receive an offer at this point, as well as a project assignment that you will work on for the duration of your internship. According to Goldsborough, the process is very streamlined. ‘They did their homework and I was happy,’ he says of the team he was assigned to. ‘It fit perfectly to my background and skills. Whoever makes the project selections is really good at their job – all the interns seemed very happy about their project.’
Of course, the longer term goal is turning those 12 weeks into a permanent gig, a feat achieved by IIT graduate and former intern Utkarsh Sharma. His advice? ‘Everyone’s case is different and there isn’t really any one-size-fits-all advice,’ he claims. ‘However, I [would] say that there’s more to coding and software engineering in general than sitting in front of a screen and mashing out code. There are a lot of other skills such as working in a team that are equally important.’
Have you applied for a Facebook internship before? How did you get on? Let us know in the comments below!