Facebook operates the largest social media network on the planet and has over 35,000 employees. In 2006, the employee count was only 150, but the company grew rapidly to keep pace with the expansion of its tremendous user base. Today, Facebook is a global brand and many people want to know more about what it is like to work there. Some are interested in becoming employees and others are merely curious.
At TeamBlind, we are in a unique position to provide some insights about what it is like to work at Facebook because 13,000 employees there use our anonymous online network and many are active daily. Within this article, the questions and answers first present some general facts, and then there are comments from people on Blind who work at Facebook and other high-tech companies.
How can I get a job at Facebook?
As with almost any company, it will probably help you to get a referral from someone who currently works there. If you don’t know anyone, try talking to your LinkedIn connections, and see if they or any of their connections have friends, acquaintances or family members at Facebook. If you don’t have any or enough LinkedIn connections, it would help to start growing them so you have a larger network to draw upon.
You also might try asking for a referral on Blind, like this user did. In fact, it is fairly common for Blind users to get these kinds of referrals to increase their employment chances.
The standard approach is simply to visit the Facebook website and look at the careers section where there are sometimes as many as several thousand listings. If you get an interview, again it will help to know someone on the inside or at least an ex-Facebook employee to get information that helps you prepare.
If you have some insights about the kinds of questions you might be asked or the skills that might be tested, then you should have an advantage. Also, read as much as you can online about the company and pay attention to interviews with executives like Zuckerberg and Sandberg. Also, you can look at transcripts of earnings calls when Zuckerberg was answering questions from stock analysts. The more you know about the company, the better chance you have of succeeding in your interviews and landing the job.
Insights from Blind
“Contact recruiters on LinkedIn. Doesn’t work always but definitely works if you are in FAANG.” (FAANG is a term referring to the some of the largest high-tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google.) Sept. 6, 2018 (read more here)
“And try to apply different offices, some offices need people more than others.” Sep. 7, 2018
Another comment made the distinction between the roles of software engineer and partner engineer: “Facebook’s Partner Engineers are a team of strategic software engineers who manage relationships with key partners, ensuring that the products we build provide meaningful value, helping us in our mission to build community and make the world more open and connected.” May 21, 2018 (read more here)
One Blind user said she/he had offers from Facebook and Google, but the FB offer was not permanent. Some of the Blind responses compared the total compensation, others replied that Google is the easy choice and one explained something about the Facebook role: “Facebook does not want you. Rotational engineer is the stupidest ever and no one should accept it if they have any other decent offers.” July 12, 2018 (read more here)
How are the perks?
Facebook employees receive many perks like free meals, onsite dry cleaning, 21 days PTO, a wellness reimbursement, free bike repairs, cash for employees who just had a new baby, and even some free Facebook advertising each month.
Insights from Blind
“$15,000 one-time non-recurrent reimbursement.” (For some commuters.) March 15, 2018 (read more here)
“$720/year for personal wellness (e.g massages).” Oct. 10, 2018 (read more here)
“For me it’s not just getting fed for free, it’s the brain power I don’t have to use up when thinking about what I want to eat for lunch. Also, it’s a big part of culture when 85% of the local office drops what they are doing to grab lunch and socialize.” July 23, 2017 (read more here)
What is the compensation?
Facebook is one of the highest-paying tech companies with an average annual salary of about $200,000. There are many roles that pay less, but the salaries of some of the top engineers and executives push the average up.
Insights from Blind
“I am a senior sde (Amazon l6) and got an offer from Facebook. It is only 350k in total. I heard from someone that the new hires can go close to 400, is it true ?” Sept. 5, 2017 (read more here)
“I got offer E5 @ FB. 190k base 15 % bonus. 100k signon. 600k RSU. What do you think.? 20 yoe.” (RSU means restricted stock unit and yoe is years of experience.) Dec. 21, 2018 (read more here)
For a marketing manager position, a Blind user estimated the salary at: “Prob 170, 15 percent target, and 100-150K in stock over 4 years.” Jun.14, 2018
For a question about product manager compensation, a user responded: “It’s between 300-400k.” Aug. 26, 2017 (read more here)
For a question about data scientist compensation, a user answered:
“I started at ~130k base w ~100k stock as IC4 (10% bonus) with 3 years experience. Hope that helps!” Mar. 17, 2018 (read more here)
What is the company culture like?
Facebook’s culture encourages risk-taking and experimentation. It is supportive of people who are builders and learners that constantly want to improve the technology and company. The culture is intended to bring out employee strengths while allowing them the freedom to do their work without micromanaging.
Why does Facebook place an emphasis on having an intentional company culture? Generally speaking, companies that are careful with creating and maintaining their own cultures perform better than ones that don’t. Tech companies tend to be very collaborative so taking care of their cultures helps them and their employees be more productive.
Insights from Blind
“I work with a lot of good, some great and an occasional mind-blowing amazing people here. There are some arrogant jerks, but the fraction of them is much less compared to other big companies I’ve known. Part of it, probably, is because the culture is much less political. I’m sure the same people will be a lot different if they’ve to pay politics or step on toes to get ahead!” Sep. 12, 2017 (read more here)
“Facebook culture is very good for a company that size. It is significantly more collaborative and focused on impact than most companies a fraction of its size. I wouldn’t judge a company by people who used to work there as they may have left involuntarily.” 🙂 Sep. 13, 2017 (read more here)
“Plenty of stepping on toes at FB. Probably a lot less than other companies but I have seen my share of it. It is obvious who these people are. What I find irritating is the kool-aid everyone tries to pass around about how unpolitical it is. But again, I probably would go somewhere else and be horrified and try to come back. It’s all relative.” Sep. 13, 2017 (read more here)
“Being a great coder may not be enough. You also need to be a culture fit – someone who aligns with the company’s goals and fast-paced work style. Read up on Facebook before the interview to be sure you’re comfortable with the culture Mark Zuckerberg has created there.” Sep. 24, 2017 (read more here)
How is the traffic?
If you work in the Menlo Park office, the peak traffic moves very slowly. This area is called the South Bay, and it has some of the worst congestion in the US, although it is a little less dense than in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Facebook does have some shuttles for its employees which makes it easier, particularly because you don’t have to spend money on your own gas or rack up miles on your car.
Insights from Blind
“It’s not great. But it’s definitely by far the most comfortable form of transportation I’ve ever been on. Nicer than any bus or train I’ve ever been on – including Japan. Incomparably more comfortable than a car. It’s actually annoying when a shuttle is canceled and you have to Uber to work (which is reimbursed) since the shuttle is way more comfortable.” Jan. 12, 2018 (read more here)
“This is the secret. I live close to the office, but when the weekend rolls around I’m going hard with my friends in SF and crashing. Best of both worlds.” May 27, 2018 (read more here)
“Consider downtown Redwood City or downtown Mountain View which will be a lot nearer and a lot better than Menlo Park. Won’t hold a candle to the right neighborhoods in SF but there are a lot of boring neighborhoods in SF and a 90+ minute commute is a huge chunk of your life.” May 26, 2018 (read more here)
Not all Facebook employees work in Menlo Park, there are offices all over the world. In Seattle, there are several thousand employees, about 1,000 in New York, and 1,000 in Singapore, for example. So, you don’t have to move to California to work for Facebook.
What are some of the issues for employees?
Unless you have worked at Facebook or know someone who has, it’s hard to say exactly what all the issues are. Every work organization has some issues — it’s a matter of how well your own values and personality match with Facebook’s culture. There has been a fair amount of critical press related to the social network’s role in the 2016 presidential election, privacy problems, social media ‘addiction’ and so on. Huge tech companies can rise and fall rapidly — some workers want more long-term stability. At this point, it isn’t clear how long Facebook will last.
Employee morale is one of the most common problems in workplaces, and Facebook is no exception. According to CNBC, within the last year or so, it has declined with 52% saying they were optimistic about the company’s future. That number was 84% 12 months before the drop.
It has also been reported that some Facebook employees don’t use the social media site and have not found the work very meaningful.
Insights from Blind
“The biggest challenge at FB is that no one ever really disconnects. Constant posts, diff review requests, messenger messages and work quickly trickles into your home. I’m on the lighter side but I would say for my team and around the averages are 60-70 hours a week. I’ve yet to see a weekend go by without many posts and diffs.” Jun. 24, 2018 (read more here)
“I just declined my $400k offer for terrible wlb. Just talk to a few engineers friends working there before making any decisions (not the ones recruiter tell you to talk to).” Oct. 1, 2018 (read more here)
“We are hiring at an ungodly pace. With operating margin under 40% it only makes sense to slow down hiring, plus the quality of a lot of the new hires is bleh. Quantity doesn’t equal quality and the talent pool is tapped out. Earnings are tanking because we are hiring people we don’t even need. This is the problem and I don’t know why others aren’t really talking about it. It’s frustrating.” July 26, 2018
“It’s not worse than Amazon. FB does care about its employees, unlike Amazon. But their culture brings the worst out of people (managers). The bar is too high and exceeding it is generally expected. Just meeting it forever is not good. But their hiring bar is a bit lower compared to their work expectations. So sometimes people find themselves happy in the beginning but eventually realize that FB is expecting too much, and the only way they will be able to exceed is by not having any WLB. “ Feb. 13, 2018 (read more here)
What are some advantages of Facebook careers?
Facebook careers are not just any old job experience. It is, after all, the largest social media network in the world and just about everyone has heard of it. Once you have such a company name on your resume, you will probably stand out from the pack. Of course, it’s very important that you leave on good terms.
Otherwise, it could hurt your post-Facebook prospects. As mentioned previously, Facebook employees are younger than workers at many companies, so the ones who leave might do so to go back to school. If you can list Facebook in your application, it might help you get into a top business school. So the value of working at Facebook isn’t limited to getting another job, it could set you up for a prestigious degree program that pays dividends for many years in the form of a greater range of work and income opportunities.
Insights from Blind
“FB is by far the best option if you want to grow and learn as an engineer who wants to build things that are used. Because the ship cycle is fast and the products are deployed to a large audiences or at a huge scale for Infra – you get to test your thinking and assumptions. At a startup, you can ship quickly but you have very few users while Google you have a 50/50 of never shipping. Google is a better option if you want to get deeper theoretically but don’t care as much if your ideas would really work.” July 29, 2018 (read more here)
“F has faster growth, G has better wlb. G has more diverse opportunities if you want breadth. Comp wise g == f > a.” (wlb here means work-life balance.) July 19, 2018 (read more here)
A Blind user who worked for Facebook but moved to Google said this about working at FB: “Easier to find tools for a specific task. Google has lots of different tools trying to do the same thing and it’s quite confusing.
– Their stack makes it easy to prototype new tools. You literally just write a few lines of php and it is working.
– People seemed more friendly overall.
– Using FB@Work is awesome for work. You can effectively do any kind of communication there.” Nov. 28, 2017
“Facebook is much more transparent. In fact, that’s what taught me to grow. I was so stagnant at google cause they don’t encourage you to open up and speak your mind. You obviously can do that but seeing my female leads and managers just stay quiet made me learn to be that way too. At Facebook, it seems everyone can speak their opinion openly. Sometimes that causes friction but for me personally, it’s really taught me to speak up which in turn helped me feel as though I’ve grown more at fb than my 4 years at google.” Nov. 29, 2017 (read more here)
Is there public transportation in Menlo Park?
Yes, there is a train you can ride to various stops north of Menlo Park so you can find lower rents and don’t have to drive. There are also free shuttles within Menlo Park. If you prefer to bike there are some bike paths and lanes in the midst of many roads and vehicles.
What is there to do around Facebook?
Menlo Park is right next to Palo Alto which is the home of Stanford University, one of the top private American universities. There is almost always something happening on campus or in Palo Alto. There are almost 17,000 students at Stanford so Palo Alto has the kind of cafes and restaurants you might expect in a college town.
What is the average age of Facebook employees?
According to Business Insider, the average age is about 28. Like some other Silicon Valley tech companies, Facebook seems to prefer younger workers.
How many women work there?
In 2014, only about 31% of the employees were women and that percentage has increased since then to 36%.
How long do Facebook employees stay in their jobs?
On average about 2.5 years.
How diverse are the employee ranks?
Facebook has tried to add more African-American and Hispanic employees, but they are still less than 10% of the total. A little over 40% are of Asian descent.
What is the cost of housing in Menlo Park?
Facebook’s headquarters are in Menlo Park, California where the cost of living is one of the highest in the United States. Housing is very expensive, so much so that Facebook is building some of its own places to live for its employees. If you were considering a move to Menlo Park, you would probably do what many people in the Bay Area do — look on Craigslist.
A small one-bedroom there will be about $1,750 and the more upscale ones are over $3,000. A plain three-bedroom home will be about $5,500. If you can find a studio apartment it will be about $1,900 a month, but they are not common. If you can tolerate a commute, rents are usually lower outside of Menlo Park in places like Redwood City, San Bruno, Pacifica, East Palo Alto, South San Francisco, Millbrae, Burlingame or Fremont across the bridge.
Image Credits: Menlo Park office, public domain, Mark Zuckerberg, Elaine and Priscilla Chan, CC BY 2.5