What It's Like to Work at Facebook

Facebook NASDAQ opening bell
May 18, 2012, Facebook NASDAQ opening bell. Credit: Zef Nikolla

The story of the tech giant’s rise to become, arguably, the most popular website in the world is tech lore. The name ‘Mark Zuckerberg’ is synonymous with the advent of social networking, and the meaning of the word ‘like' has taken on a new dimension.

Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin founded Facebook in 2004 as a social network for Harvard University students. The network expanded to other universities, and by 2006, anybody under the age of 13 could create an account.

Zuckerberg declined several offers to buy Facebook, including $1 billion from Yahoo in 2006. By January 2011, the company was valued at $50 billion. On May 18, 2012, Facebook became a public company with shares trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange for $42.05. Shares trade at $102 at the time of writing.

Facebook by the numbers (as of December 2015):

  • Headquarters at 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, California 94025

  • 14 U.S offices

  • 35 international offices on 6 continents

  • 5 data centers

  • 1.59 billion monthly active users

  • 1.04 billion daily active users on average

  • 1.44 billion mobile monthly active users

  • 934 million mobile daily active users on average

  • Over 80% of daily active users are outside the US and Canada

  • 12,691 employees

Working at Facebook

Facebook offices have a startup atmosphere, and talent takes center stage. The most important attribute for new hires is to be exceptional. "Someone who is exceptional in their role is not just a little better than someone who is pretty good," Mark Zuckerberg said in a 2010 interview.

"They are 100 times better."

The company encourages employees to “be unique. Be authentic...Our culture embraces people’s diverse perspectives and creates a positive environment where everyone belongs.” Small teams collaborate to deliver high-impact solutions.

Salaries and benefits

In its 2016 report ranking the best companies to work for in the U.S, Glassdoor places Facebook at number 5.

The average salary for a Software Engineer is around $125 000, 38% above the national average. That’s before bonuses and other compensation. A non-comprehensive report by Business Insider sets an Engineering Manager’s income at $164,999. Facebook was 1st on Glassdoor’s 2015 list of highest rated companies for internships.

The benefits package for employees includes the industry standards - free food and snacks, staff discounts, gym and entertainment facilities, and performance bonuses. They offer health, dental, and vision insurance. The company expanded its 4-month parental leave period to staff worldwide in 2015, and it assists with childcare and adoption costs.

While Facebook appears on many “best companies to work for” rundowns, the fast-paced atmosphere and culture of worker-independence can be a difficult adjustment. A recurring challenge for engineers is two-week stretches of “on-call duty” two or three times a year. When they are on-call,  engineers must be available 24/7 to handle site emergencies. Difficulties maintaining work-life balance is a common complaint.

Securing a job at Facebook

Facebook recruits via its careers page. You can search for jobs in cities around the world.

They also scout for exceptional talent, so don’t be surprised if they contact you through a recruiter if they notice your skills.

The interview process is multi-stage. It begins with a telephone screening. Here’s where the interviewer will assess your coding and algorithmic skills. Those who pass the screening attend multiple on-site interviews. Candidates prove their technical skills, and behavioral tests determine cultural fit. Here’s a breakdown of the whole process.

Positions at Facebook

At the time of publication, Facebook has hundreds of job openings worldwide. Positions are available across most sections, but technical talent dominates hiring policy. The core values for new employees are:

  • Boldness

  • Impact

  • Fast-moving/innovation

  • Openness

  • Commitment to building social value

Facebook looks for bright innovators who produce solutions that impact users.

Hirers emphasize that the company wants to attract ‘builders’ - people who will contribute to Facebook’s vision of changing the way the world communicates.

This article has been edited by Laurence Bradford.