Interview for Google or Facebook staff engineer?

Jan 8, 2018 11 Comments

For a staff engineer at other companies (Twitter in my case). How do I prepare and pass interview at Google or Facebook for staff level engineer? What are the expectations of the interview performance?


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TOP 11 Comments
  • Google tuft
    I was a staff engineer at Twitter and came to Google as a senior. I badly screwed up one of my interviews and that's probably why I didn't get staff at Google (was interviewed for a staff level). Two of my ex colleagues from Twitter now at Google gave excellent references for me and that's the reason I got even a senior role..else I'm sure I wouldn't have even gotten that.

    Now, Twitter staff can come in as Google staff.. I have seen two cases where it happened (Twitter staff coming in as Google staff). Just make sure you tell your recruiter that you want to come in as a staff so that they can set up the interviews accordingly .

    You will have to perform really well in system design interview; and this generally won't happen unless you actually have good system design experience (as a staff engineer at Twitter, you probably already have this).

    So no matter what others say, don't undersell yourself. Tell your recruiter that you want to interview for staff.

    As to why I couldn't crack staff level here, well I might never really know the actual reason but I think I was too scared and was very cautious in what I say in the interview (I was like "this is Google!!..these engineers know a lot more than me..and I don't want to sound stupid"..) and ended up coming across weak and somewhat hand-wavy in the design interview. It was only after I joined Google I realized that I unnecessarily got worked up :).. Google engineers are smart but I realized the experience I gained at Twitter was amazing and I could have easily been more confident.

    Hope this helps.
    Jan 9, 2018 2
    • Twitter / Eng bannon
      Thank you very much ! Very helpful.
      Jan 9, 2018
    • Netflix mjforever
      Why you even take the senior role at g?
      Aug 7, 2019
  • Google Linkedin
    Staff at Twitter != Staff at Google
    Just saying
    Jan 8, 2018 1
    • Twitter / Eng bannon
      Jan 8, 2018
  • Facebook orDB76
    Coding, system design, and leadership / behavioral. You need to ace coding. System design is probably hardest. Explain the tradeoffs in designs and what can or will go wrong. Behavioral is all about leading people, influencing other teams, and managing conflict. (Source was 6 at G before, now 6 as FB. Gave L6 interviews at G and did 6 interviews as FB)
    Jan 10, 2018 0
  • Microsoft / Eng h4r1
    Yup, Staff at Google means you're an icon in your space. I didn't know, one could directly interview for a staff position.
    Jan 8, 2018 2
    • Uber / Eng

      Uber Eng

      Staff is L6 and not that special. Typically candidates have 15 years of experience but don't need to be any sort of icon. I know several people that got in at that level
      Jan 8, 2018
    • Microsoft / Eng Harmar
      You're probably thinking about Principal at Google, which means something very different than Principal at Microsoft.

      Principal at Microsoft ≈ Staff/Senior Staff at Google
      Jan 9, 2018
  • Amazon Amazon17
    A Question. for Staff Engineer position, how many Coding and How many system design interview will be there at google?
    Nov 18, 2019 0
  • Google xyew77
    It's pretty hard to get hired as a L6 but it happens. Easier if you're a manager.
    Jan 8, 2018 0


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