Jocelyn Goldfein: Hiring and Bootcamp at Facebook | Summary and Q&A

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June 3, 2013
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Stanford eCorner
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Jocelyn Goldfein: Hiring and Bootcamp at Facebook

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Summary

In this video, a Facebook employee discusses the on-boarding process for new hires at the company. He explains that all new employees go through a six-week bootcamp program, where they fix bugs and implement small features while attending lectures and working with a mentor. This bootcamp program helps build empathy and connects new hires to different teams within the company. The employee also discusses the hiring process at Facebook, highlighting the importance of technical skills, analytical thinking, creativity, and being a team player.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the on-boarding process like for new hires at Facebook?

The on-boarding process at Facebook is called bootcamp, a six-week program designed to integrate new hires into the company. During bootcamp, new employees fix bugs and implement small features while attending lectures and receiving guidance from a mentor. At the end of the program, they are assigned to a specific team within the company.

Q: How does bootcamp help build empathy among new hires?

Bootcamp at Facebook is designed to give new hires a well-rounded understanding of the company's engineering processes. By having them fix code and work on different areas of the site, such as web and mobile, new hires gain insights into various aspects of Facebook's operations. This fosters a sense of connection and empathy between engineers and helps them understand that all engineers at Facebook are interconnected.

Q: Is bootcamp the sole focus for new hires during the six-week period?

Yes, new hires primarily focus on bootcamp activities during their first six weeks at Facebook. They spend their time fixing bugs, implementing small features, attending lectures, and receiving guidance from mentors. The goal is to provide an immersive experience that prepares them for their subsequent roles within the company.

Q: What qualities does Facebook look for in software engineering candidates during the hiring process?

The main quality Facebook looks for in software engineering candidates is the ability to write code and think analytically. Candidates should be skilled at finding and fixing mistakes quickly, as well as analyzing the running time of code. Additionally, Facebook values candidates who exhibit enthusiasm, determination, and a positive attitude. Creativity is also highly regarded, as it is essential for coming up with new features and product ideas.

Q: Does Facebook prioritize technical skills over other qualities during the hiring process?

While technical skills are crucial, Facebook also considers other qualities when hiring software engineers. It is important for candidates to demonstrate that they are not only capable of writing code but also possess good interpersonal skills. Facebook values employees who are pleasant to work with and exhibit a positive attitude. A balance between technical proficiency and the ability to work well with others is sought after.

Q: How does Facebook assess creativity during the interview process?

Facebook has adapted its interview process to assess creativity in candidates. The company recognizes the importance of intuition when it comes to identifying good features or product ideas. Candidates who have a strong intuition and can make good judgments without extensive trial and error are highly valued. This aspect of creativity is evaluated during interviews to identify candidates who have a knack for generating innovative ideas.

Q: How has the interview process at Facebook evolved over time?

The interview process at Facebook has undergone several changes, with an emphasis on finding candidates who possess both technical skills and creative thinking abilities. The company has experimented with different approaches to ensure they are attracting and selecting the most qualified individuals. This commitment to constant improvement is reflected in the company culture, where employees are encouraged to take ownership and make positive changes.

Q: What is the significance of employees writing on the walls at Facebook?

Facebook allows and encourages employees to write on the walls as a symbol of ownership and empowerment. This metaphorical act denotes that employees have the power to make changes and improvements within the company. It signifies a culture of openness, where employees are empowered to share their ideas and contribute to making Facebook a better place.

Q: How does having good intuition benefit engineers at Facebook?

Good intuition enables engineers at Facebook to make better and faster decisions regarding feature development and product ideas. The iterative nature of their work means trying and testing multiple approaches. However, engineers with strong intuition can bypass unnecessary trials by quickly identifying the most promising avenues for experimentation. This ability saves time and allows for more efficient product development.

Q: What does Facebook want to see in new hires?

Facebook wants new hires who possess technical skills, enthusiasm, determination, and a strong work ethic. They value individuals who are not afraid to challenge the status quo and have a deep passion for making quality software. Candidates should exhibit a positive attitude and be pleasant to work with. Additionally, creativity and the ability to think outside the box are highly valued, as Facebook fosters an environment of innovation and constant improvement.

Takeaways

The on-boarding process at Facebook involves a six-week bootcamp program that helps new hires integrate into the company's culture and connect with different teams. Technical skills, analytical thinking, and the ability to write code are highly valued during the hiring process. However, Facebook also emphasizes the importance of creativity, a positive attitude, and strong interpersonal skills. The company encourages employees to share their ideas and make improvements, fostering a culture of ownership and empowerment. Good intuition is seen as a valuable asset, enabling engineers to make better decisions and streamline product development.

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