3 interview questions Facebook recruiters like to ask—and one they avoid

Facebook logo at HQ in London

Facebook consistently tops the list of best places to work, so it comes as no surprise that the company receives thousands of applications a day.

In order to whittle down the number of applicants, and ultimately hire the right candidate, recruiters use "structured interviews," where they ask the same questions to all the interviewees vying for a role, says Facebook's recruiting director Liz Wamai.

This interview style is effective, she explains, because recruiters are better able to assess and compare answers based on the same standard set of questions.

In a panel for Glassdoor, which also featured Salesforce and Kaiser Permanente HR leaders, Wamai reveals Facebook's top three interview questions.

The first question the Facebook recruiter likes to ask is, "What do you do on your best day at work?"

"To me, that speaks to what are their strengths [and] what do they like to do," says Wamai.

Another question Facebook favors is, "When is it you have lost track of time in the best possible way?"

The applicant's response shows the HR manager how the person enjoys spending their time and the type of work that makes their day "fly by," explains Wamai. "Those are the times that you really get to what motivates somebody."

The response also reveals what makes a candidate "really get engaged and get really involved that they don't realize what time it is," she says.

How to get hired at Facebook
How to get hired at Facebook

The third question Wamai asks candidates focuses on how they plan on contributing to Facebook's mission and values.

This question is particularly noteworthy because the answer illustrates just how well-versed an applicant is on Facebook's mission statement, which has remained unchanged since the company's inception: Making the world more connected.

In fact, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly harped on the company's practice of only hiring people who share this vision.

"It's been a process over time of building a culture where people think about the mission in the same way that I do," he told Fast Company in 2015.

Two years later, Zuckerberg published a manifesto in which he again expressed his desire for a more global and connected world.

Wamai interprets the above interview question this way: "To me, that is about understanding how the different parts of Facebook feed the mission or help the mission and the values that we're about," she says.

While Facebook recruiters may ask seemingly tough questions in order to yield insightful answers, Wamai notes that one technique they avoid is asking "gotcha" questions.

Generally, interviewers ask these types of questions to watch candidates squirm and think through their answers. However, gotcha questions "really don't get to what is the person's competency [and] what can they do," says Wamai.

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