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Want to work at Facebook? Why you should apply online now, according to its global chief diversity officer

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook employees.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

For those interested, Facebook is hiring.

You may recall the disgruntled remarks the social media giant received after releasing its annual diversity report in early July, revealing only a marginal uptick in its recruitment of new female, Black and Hispanic hires over the last year.

Just last week in a Congress hearing focused on Facebook's plans for the cryptocurrency Libra, Mark Zuckerberg was reminded of the company's poor track record with minorities when questioned by Rep. Joyce Beatty on race, diversity and civil rights within the organization (Facebook has an ongoing civil rights audit).

Beatty asked several questions related to Facebook's contracting of minority or women-owned firms, as well as allegations that Facebook's ad systems allowed housing discrimination.

Beatty also asked Zuckerberg about the civil rights law firm the company hired to conduct its audit on the percentage of African-Americans using Facebook.

"Do you know who the firm that you employ for civil rights is?" Beatty asked.

"Congresswoman, I don't off the top," Zuckerberg said.

Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Facebook, arrives to testify during the House Financial Services hearing on An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019.
Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Ever since Facebook announced its new diversity initiative to have half of the company's U.S. workforce be from under-represented groups by 2024, the company has boasted its hiring efforts.

"I want everybody to apply," Maxine Williams, global chief diversity officer at Facebook, tells CNBC Make It. "For the last five years, we have been hiring a lot and growing a lot, and we continue to do that, so people should be applying."

Williams suggests looking at Facebook's site, where every job opening is posted. "Apply for those jobs," she says. "Because we need people in different locations, we need people in different skill sets, we need people with different experience levels, so there's a lot of opportunity."

The ironic part about applying to a massive company like Facebook? Online applications actually do get looked at — in fact, that is how Williams herself landed in the role she has now.

"I applied online," she says of her position at Facebook. "I saw the job online, advertised, and I put in my application."

Maxine Williams, Facebook
Source: U.S. Embassy, London

Most hires actually come from people who apply online, and not from referrals, Williams says. This differs from traditional advice, which claims that the overall online application system is a "black hole" cluttered with thousands of resumes.

According to ex-Googler Gayle Laakmann McDowell, author of "The Google Resume: How to Prepare for a Career and Land a Job at Apple, Mircrosoft, Google, or any Top Tech Company," the key to landing jobs with major tech companies is by "getting the internal referral," even if through a second or third degree connection rather than first. In addition to having worked at Google, McDowell also previously worked at Microsoft and Apple.

Williams doesn't totally disagree with the strategy of knowing people within an organization. For those who may have a friend or someone at Facebook to make a reference, that's a smart thing to do in any industry for getting any job, she says. But if candidates meet basic qualifications and specific job requirements, like experience level and skill set, they should definitely apply online first.

Once making it to the interview stage, Williams recommends candidates illustrate how they are learners and builders.

For minority candidates, such as female, Black and Hispanic applicants, the first step they can do, although voluntary in the job application process, is to make sure they self-identify when asked. "Most people do answer that question, although they aren't required — in the U.S.," Williams says.

To actively increase its recruitment of these underrepresented employees, Williams says Facebook has systems in place that the company will continue to improve upon. For example, over the next five years, Facebook will become more efficient and effective, Williams says, noting that the company has greatly increased the number of schools it visits and the number of internships it offers.

There's also the launch of Facebook University six years ago, which recruits from underrepresented communities. Williams says the eight-week internship program has grown from 30 to a couple hundred people. Facebook will continue to invest in its hiring initiatives every year while teaching on campuses where they can plant seeds for new recruits, she says.

Scenes of daily work and life at Facebook , Inc. USA Headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Employees eat outside the Epic Cafe.
Kim Kulish | Corbis News | Getty Images

Although the social media giant welcomes people of all ages, a mission-driven company like Facebook is appealing to the younger generation, Williams says. Facebook focuses on innovation, and millennials love creating and trying new things.

"That's what we do, we innovate," Williams says. "There's a way in which younger people have an optimism about what's possible, what they can create in the world. As you get to my age group, that's where we start to sort of turn the corner, and that vibrancy, that expectation that I'm going to change the world now, has waned a bit. I am speaking for myself, I don't speak for everybody in my generation, but millennials still have that."

Facebook may have a lofty hiring goal ahead of it these next five years, but the company says it is striving to recruit people who are inspired to make this change.

"Of course, we have a great model at Facebook where we had a 19-year-old [co-founder] who is, himself, a millennial," Williams says of CEO Zuckerberg, 35.

"We are led by a millennial; there are not a lot of companies at our scale that are led by millennials, but ours is," she says. "And so, there's a particular synergy there, which I think makes it exciting and fulfilling for millennials to work at Facebook."

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