Meta Software Engineer Interview Guide

Process and Timeline ⏳

Meta SWE interviews consist of a technical screen, coding interviews, design interviews, and behavioral interviews.

Initial Technical Screen (45 minutes) 👨‍💻

Coding Interviews + Example Questions (2 sessions, 45 minutes each) 🖥

  1. Given the root of a binary tree, imagine yourself standing on the right side and return the values of the nodes you can see ordered from top to bottom (Solution)
  2. Given an integer array nums and an integer k, return the k most frequent elements. You may return the answer in any order (Solution)
  3. Given a signed 32-bit integer x, return x with its digits reversed. If reversing x causes the value to go outside the signed 32-bit integer range [-231, 231–1], return 0 (Solution)
  4. Given the root of a binary tree, return the inorder traversal of its nodes’ values (Solution)
  5. Given the root of a binary search tree and an integer k, return the kth smallest value (1-indexed) of all the values of the nodes in the tree (Solution)
  6. Given an integer n, return all the structurally unique BSTs (binary search trees) with exactly n nodes of unique values from 1 to n. Return the answer in any order (Solution)
  7. Given two integer arrays nums1 and nums2, return an array of their intersection. Each element in the result must be unique and you may return the result in any order (Solution)
  8. A linked list is given such that each node contains an additional random pointer that could point to any node in the list or null. Return a deep copy of the list (Solution)
  9. You are given an array of integers nums, there is a sliding window of size k, which moves from the very left of the array to the very right. You can only see the k numbers in the window. Each time the sliding window moves right by one position. Return the max sliding window (Solution)
  10. Given an array of intervals where intervals[i] = [starti, endi], merge all overlapping intervals and return an array of the non-overlapping intervals that cover all the intervals in the input (Solution)
  • Practice in a programming language you’re best at. While interviewing, writing the correct solution within the time constraint is essential, and a programming language you’re comfortable using can help you achieve that!
  • While writing the solution, find and fix the bugs before the interviewer can tell you. This is a critical quality interviewers look for and helps showcase your problem-solving approach.
  • Seek help from the interviewer when you’ve met a dead end. A common mistake candidates make is not asking any questions when they need help. Remember, the interviewer wants you to succeed, and asking questions to seek more information will leave a positive impression.
  • When you can’t find the right solution, start working on an ideal one. Rather than jumping on the first solution that comes to your mind, work out a basic solution and iterate on it until you arrive at something concrete.
  • As you solve the problems, share your reasoning and thought process with the interviewer. It helps them get an idea of how you approach problems and help them follow you along.

Design Interviews + Example Questions (1–2 sessions, 45 minutes each)

  • Problem Navigation: How do you approach a high-level problem while being mindful of the constraints, resources, objectives, and bottlenecks? Are you asking the right questions and identifying the correct elements to reduce ambiguity? This is one of the factors that interviewers are assessing you on.
  • Solution Design: This aspect is to find out how you consider the bigger pictures when trying to determine a workable solution for your question.
  • Technical Excellence: Mitigating risks and managing tradeoffs are supremely important for design thinking. How do you leverage your technical abilities to navigate through both?
  • Technical Communication: The interviewers try to get a sense of how effectively you communicate your technical ideas, while also considering any feedback offered to you during the process.
Design interviews do not involve coding. Candidates often use a virtual whiteboard as a visual aid for these rounds.
  • Begin by stating what you know. Once the question is presented to you, repeat the information you understood.
  • Go ahead and ask clarifying questions to drill down into details. Based on the conversation, identify things like the objective, who the users are, their needs, what key features we are looking for, etc.
  • Identify risks, trade offs, and decision points and discuss them with the interviewers. Share your strategy to mitigate them and use the necessary techniques to balance tradeoffs.
  • Be holistic and detailed in your approach to the solution. Identify what different components are crucial and how they fit together.
  1. Design Facebook Newsfeed.
  2. Design Facebook Messenger.
  3. Design Instagram.
  4. Design WhatsApp.
  5. Design Live Commenting.
  6. Design Typeahead Suggestions.
  7. Design Google Docs.
  8. Design a distributed Botnet.
  9. Design Resource Downloader Library.
  10. Design a video-sharing platform.

System Design Interviews

  • Practice starting with clarifying questions. When your problem statement is vague, asking the right questions is very important to ensure you’re headed in the right direction.
  • Think about how you’d design a system you already use daily. What would you do differently? What works well, and how would you design it ground up.
  • Research about companies that designed the wrong systems. What went wrong? What practices could have been followed? Practice thinking about these aspects to develop an optimal solution for your system design questions.

Product Design Interviews

  • Like your systems design interviews, start by laying out all the requirements. Try to identify the ins and outs of the product and think in that direction.
  • When you’re met with a question, think about the features you would need and how you would address them. What would you need to do to ensure the functionality is easy to use?
  • Think of your past projects. What worked well? What could you have done better? What would you do differently? Find answers to these questions and keep them ready.

Behavioral Interviews + Example Questions (45 minutes) 🤝

  • Be bold.
  • Focus on Impact
  • Move Fast
  • Be Open
  • Build Social Value
  • How does the candidate resolve conflicts?
  • What efforts does the candidate make to grow and learn continuously?
  • How do you embrace ambiguity in a quickly changing environment?
  • How does the candidate go above and beyond to achieve their goals while navigating through roadblocks?
  • How effectively does the candidate communicate?
For Meta’s behavioral interview, be humble and focus on teamwork, leadership, and mentorship qualities.
  1. Tell me about a time you had to handle pressure.
  2. How would you deal with a difficult co-worker?
  3. Tell me about a time you had to learn something quickly.
  4. Why do you want to work at Meta?
  5. Tell me about a time you received constructive feedback.
  6. Tell me about a time you disagreed with someone.
  7. Share with me an experience where you went above and beyond to achieve a goal.
  8. Tell me about a time you showed leadership.
  9. Tell me about a mistake you made.
  10. What accomplishment of yours are you most proud of?
  • Use the STAR method. The STAR method never gets old. Craft anecdotes from past experience that talk about the situation, the task on hand, actions you took, and the tangible results they led to.
  • Be honest. Do not make stories up. Present your authentic self.
  • Prepare concrete examples that show the impact you’ve made in your previous work.

Conclusion 🎯

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