Advice > Software engineering

Meta Engineering Manager Interview (questions, process, prep)

By Tom Parry with input from the following coaches: Engin U Pranav P and  Tom P . May 13, 2024
Meta engineering manager interview

The interview process at Meta (formerly Facebook) is challenging, especially for the engineering manager role where the bar is set high.

The good news is that the right preparation can make a big difference and can help you land a job as an engineering manager at Meta. To help you get there, we’ve put together the ultimate guide below, with help from our expert coaches, Pranav, Engin, and Tom, ex-engineering managers and interviewers at Meta.

Here's an overview of what we'll cover

If you're applying at Meta for a non-management engineering role, we have interview guides for production engineer, data engineer, front-end engineer, and software engineer roles.

Click here to practice mock interviews with Meta engineering manager interview coaches

1. Meta Engineering Manager Role and Salary

Before we cover your Meta engineering manager interviews, let’s take a look at the role itself.

1.1 What does a Meta Engineering Manager do?

An engineering manager or EM at Meta is responsible for building, managing, and supporting a team of engineers across Meta’s domains, such as data infrastructure, product infrastructure, AR/VR, machine learning, etc.

As a Meta EM, you lead the goal-setting for your team, regularly checking in with your engineers to ensure you’re working towards the same goal. 

As Pranav, ex-engineering manager at Meta explained to us, "Meta is an engineering-driven company and engineers make most of the technical decisions." As the EM, it is your task to provide them with the support they need as they tackle these projects, whether it’s in the form of administering budgets, coordinating cross-functional collaboration, and helping solve complex tech challenges. 

Another thing that makes Meta unique is its bottom-up culture, says Tom, ex-data engineering manager at Meta. For every Meta candidate, especially those in the engineering and engineering leadership roles, "There is an expectation that you will have a strong level of autonomy, ownership and dealing with ambiguity."

A Meta EM is also responsible for helping shape the career growth of the engineering team. Engin, ex-engineering manager at Meta, says that the company places a strong emphasis on technical craft and individual growth. He says: “One aspect of the Meta engineering culture is that engineers are expected to influence a great deal what they want to work on and how they want to hold themselves accountable.” As EM, you need to support your engineers by helping them discern their specific strengths and find opportunities to build solutions that play to their strengths and excite them.

Lastly, the EM is the bridge between technical and non-technical teams and collaborators, including stakeholders. You need to have deep technical expertise and interpersonal skills to facilitate communication between the two.

What skills are required to be a Meta Engineering Manager?

An analysis of engineering manager job posts at Meta shows that it requires its EM candidates to have a Master's degree in Computer Science, Computer Software, Engineering, Applied Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, or a related field plus at least 3 years’ worth of experience in a computer-related field, including hands-on software engineering work.

You’ll also need to have experience coding in one of the following languages: C++, Java, Javascript, Python, or PHP. 

Finally, you'll need to have significant engineering management experience in order to be a strong candidate. You'll need to have managed a team of engineers, hired people, and helped them perform. Experience with implementing strategies and planning for risk and growth is also listed as a minimum requirement, among other things.

1.2 How much does a Meta Engineering Manager make?

Meta's competitive salary is among the numerous factors that draw engineering managers to the company.  Below are the average salaries and compensations for the different engineering manager levels at Meta. This is based on the reported data from Levels.fyi.

Meta EM salary

Meta engineering managers generally have a higher base salary and compensation than the engineering managers of other big tech companies. According to Glassdoor, the average salary of Meta EMs is 55% higher than the average salary of other engineer managers in the US.

The average salary of Meta Engineer Managers also varies depending on location or region. For example, an M2 Meta EM in the US has a much higher annual salary than an M2 Meta EM in India. 

While we presume that you already know which specific EM level you are applying for, it’s still good to double-check this with your recruiter. Your recruiter should be able to advise you on which level you’re being evaluated.

Ultimately, how you do in your interviews will help determine what you’ll be offered. That’s why hiring one of our ex-Meta interview coaches can provide such a significant return on investment.

And remember, compensation packages are always negotiable, even at Meta. So, if you do get an offer, don’t be afraid to ask for more. If you need help negotiating, consider booking one of our salary negotiation coaches to get expert advice.

2. Interview process and timeline

2.1 What interviews to expect

What's the Meta engineering manager interview process and timeline? It takes four to eight weeks on average and follows these steps:

  • Resume screen
  • Recruiter phone screen
  • First-round: 1 or 2 interviews
  • Onsite: 5 or 6 interviews

Let's look at each of these steps in more detail below:

2.1.1 Resume screen

First, recruiters will look at your resume and assess if your experience matches the open position. This is the most competitive step in the process, as millions of candidates do not make it past this stage.

You can use this engineering manager resume guide to help tailor your resume to the position you’re targeting. 

And if you’re looking for expert feedback, you can also get input from our team of ex-Meta/Facebook recruiters, who will cover what achievements to focus on (or ignore), how to fine-tune your bullet points, and more.

2.1.2 Recruiter phone screen

In most cases, you'll start your interview process with Meta by talking to an HR recruiter on the phone. They are looking to confirm that you've got a chance of getting the job at all, so be prepared to explain your background and why you’re a good fit at Meta. You should expect typical behavioral and resume questions like, "Tell me about yourself","Why do you want to work at Meta?", or "Tell me about your current day-to-day."

If you get past this first HR screen, the recruiter will then help schedule a first-round interview with a Meta engineering manager. One great thing about Meta is that they are very transparent about their recruiting process. Your HR contact will therefore walk you through the remaining steps in the hiring process, and will also share with you a helpful email listing resources you can use to prepare.

2.1.3 First-round: 1 or 2 interviews

The next step after your recruiter call is the first-round interview. This will usually be one 45- to 60-minute phone call with your hiring manager. It’s possible you may also have a second call that’s more technical.

You can expect to be asked about your experience and past projects, some behavioral questions that aim to get a sense of whether you’d fit into Meta’s culture, and possibly some technical questions. More on the various question types in section 3 below.

2.1.4 Onsite: 5 or 6 interviews

If you pass the first-round interview, you’ll be invited to do the "onsite". The onsite interviews are the biggest test for Meta EM candidates. During this interview loop, you'll have five or six separate 45-minute interviews with several different interviewers from Meta, consisting of:

  • People management and cross-collaboration interviews
  • Technical design interviews
  • Career conversation and motivation interviews

2.2 What happens behind the scenes

Your recruiter is leading the process and taking you from one stage to the next. Here's what happens behind the scenes at each of the stages described above:

  • After the first-round interview(s), the interviewer(s) you talked to has (have) 24h to submit their ratings and notes on the internal system. Your recruiter then reviews the feedback, and decides to move you to the onsite interview or not, depending on how well you've done.
  • After the onsite, your various interviewers will make a recommendation on hiring you or not and the recruiter compiles your "packet" (interview feedback, resume, referrals, etc.) If they think you can get the job, they will present your case at the next candidate review meeting.
  • Candidate review meetings are used to assess all candidates who have recently finished their interview loops and are close to getting an offer. Your packet will be analyzed and possible concerns will be discussed. Your interviewers are invited to join your candidate review meeting, but will usually only attend if there's a strong disagreement in the grades you received (e.g. 2 no hires, 2 hires). If after discussions the team still can't agree whether you should get an offer or not, you might be asked to do a follow-up interview to settle the debate. At the end of the candidate review meeting, a hire / no-hire recommendation is made for consideration by the hiring committee.
  • The hiring committee includes senior leaders from across Meta. This step is usually a formality and the committee follows the recommendation of the candidate review meeting. The main focus is on fine-tuning the exact level (and therefore the compensation ) you will be offered.

It's also important to note that hiring managers and people who refer you have little influence on the overall process. They can help you get an interview at the beginning, but that's about it

3. Meta Engineering Manager Example Questions

As we mentioned above, for the position of Meta Engineering Manager you'll face various types of interviews:

Meta EM question type

Now let’s take a look at what you can expect from each interview. To help you practice, we’ve provided example questions that we’ve found from our research on Glassdoor and the official Meta engineering leadership interview guide. We've categorized the questions and we've changed the grammar and phrasing in some places to make the questions easier to understand.

If you're looking for even more practice questions, take a look at our list of 65 engineering manager interview questions.

When you’re preparing, bear in mind that the division between the interview types is not set in stone, and so you should be ready to be asked any type of question in any interview. For example, you may be asked a people management-type question at the beginning of a system design interview, and likewise you might face some system design questions in your career conversation interview. But as long as you're prepared for all of them, it shouldn't be a problem.

3.1 People Management and Cross-functional Collaboration

Meta engineering managers need to have superb soft skills in order to lead teams and projects and facilitate seamless collaboration between engineers and cross-functional teams. The people management and cross-functional collaboration interview is to test these soft skills and see if you’ve got what it takes to be a leader at Meta.

You’ll need to show that you can build a team and keep it motivated, solve conflicts, and communicate complex concepts. While the focus is mainly on how you manage people, you should also expect the odd project management question and general behavioral/situational questions.

Pranav, ex-Meta engineering manager, told us that Meta looks for the following key traits in engineers. As you will be leading a team of engineers yourself as an EM, you’ll want to demonstrate these traits as well:

  • How good are they at resolving conflict with their peers, managers, or external teams?
  • Do they have a growth mindset? Do they accept feedback openly and work on them to resolve it?
  • How well do they deal with ambiguity? How do they bring structure in place when there is none?
  • How do they sustain progress despite multiple hurdles?
  • How well do they communicate with peers, cross-functional partners, and teams?

Let’s look at some of the most frequent examples that we found in the Glassdoor data and the official Meta EM guide.

Example people management questions for the engineering manager interview at Meta

  • How do you manage your team’s career growth?
  • How do you manage difficult conversations?
  • How do you manage underperforming employees?
  • Tell me about a difficult employee situation that you handled well/not so well
  • What would you do with someone who had stayed at the same level for too long?
  • How do you recruit good engineers?
  • How do you manage projects?
  • Describe a tough situation where you demonstrated leadership.
  • A tech lead on your team tells you, “I want to be a manager.” How do you respond?
  • Have you ever had to dismiss someone from your team?
  • What’s the value of one-on-ones with your team members?
  • How do you measure the success of an engineering team you are managing?

Find more questions to practice with by reviewing our guides to people management interviews and Meta behavioral interviews.

3.2 Technical Design and Architecture

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp all have 1bn+ monthly active users. Meta engineering managers therefore need to be able to design systems that are highly scalable, and the system design interviews are your chance to demonstrate your familiarity with such complex systems.

In this technical interview, expect your interviewers to focus on your past system and product design and building experiences. Prepare to visualize your thoughts on a whiteboard as you discuss the questions posed by your interviewers. Your goal is to show that you can be creative and structured at the same time. 

Below are some example questions gathered from Glassdoor and Meta’s official guide.

Example technical design questions for the engineering manager interview at Meta

  • Describe a system/product/app you or your team built.
  • How did you evaluate the design of your system?
  • How did you test performance and scalability?
  • Describe the bottleneck of the system you designed.
  • Tell me about the most technically complex project you've managed. How did you resource your team?

Practice with even more system design interview questions with our list of the 11 most-asked system design questions and our Meta system design interview guide.

3.3 Career Conversation / Motivations

In this section of your Meta EM interview, your interviewers would like to get to know you better. They’ll focus on your background, career goals, whether you’re a good fit for Meta and vice versa. Aside from the usual ‘Why Meta?’ question, expect some career retrospective questions as well as general behavioral and cultural fit questions.

This is the portion of the interviews where you’ll have a chance to learn about working as an EM at Meta, as well as the various engineering leadership opportunities. Prepare your questions to show enthusiasm for the role and building a career at Meta.

Example career conversation questions for the engineering manager interview at Meta

  • Why are you potentially interested in Meta?
  • What gets you excited?
  • How do you plan on choosing your next role?
  • What’s the biggest thing you want to learn?
  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • Tell me about a mistake you made and the lesson you learned from it. 
  • Tell me about what you've been working on over the last year
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Describe something you have achieved and how you did it.

To practice with more general behavioral questions, check out our Meta behavioral interview guide and our guide on how to answer the ‘Why Meta’ question.

4. Meta Engineering Manager Interviewing Tips

You might be a fantastic engineering manager, but unfortunately, that won’t necessarily be enough to ace your interviews at Meta. Interviewing is a skill in itself, that you need to learn.

Let’s look at some key tips to make sure you approach your interviews in the right way.  

4.1 Learn a technique for answering questions

When answering your Meta EM interview questions, you should focus on your most relevant achievements and experiences and communicate them in a clear way. An easy way to achieve this is to use a step-by-step method to tell your stories. 

The STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is a popular approach for answering behavioral questions because it’s easy to remember. You may have already heard of it. However, we’ve found that candidates often find it difficult to distinguish the difference between steps two and three, or task and action. Some also forget to include lessons learned in the results step, which is especially crucial when discussing past failures.

So we’ve developed the IGotAnOffer method (SPSIL: Situation-Problem-Solution-Impact-Lessons) to correct some of the pitfalls we’ve observed when using the STAR method.

The IGotAnOffer SPSIL Method

  1. Situation: Start by giving the necessary context of the situation you were in. Describe your role, the team, the organization, the market, etc. You should only give the minimum context needed to understand the problem and the solution in your story. Nothing more.
  2. Problem: Outline the problem you and your team were facing.
  3. Solution: Explain the solution you came up with to solve the problem. Step through how you went about implementing your solution, and focus on your contribution over what the team / larger organization did.
  4. Impact: Summarize the positive results you achieved for your team, department, and organization. As much as possible, quantify the impact.
  5. Lessons: Conclude with any lessons you might have learned in the process.

4.2 Get used to setting up the situation in 30 seconds or less

Whether you’re using the SPSIL or STAR method to answer behavioral questions, use a timer while you practice to ensure you provide only the necessary information. Spending too much time on setting up the situation is one of the most common mistakes candidates make.

4.3 Stay focused on essential details

Interviewers hear a lot of behavioral stories each day. If you go into unnecessary details you are likely to lose their attention. Share your stories with a few different people before your interview and ask them what details they would suggest cutting.

4.4 Be proud and talk about YOU

This is not the time to be shy about your accomplishments. Concentrate on your impact, not what “the team” did. Not talking about YOU enough is another common mistake we see with a lot of candidates.

4.5 Adapt to follow-up questions

Don’t be alarmed if your interviewer asks follow-up questions; this is perfectly normal. Listen carefully to the way your interviewer is asking these questions, as there will often be a subtle clue about the specific skills they’re looking to assess from the next part of your answer.

4.6 Be honest and authentic

Be genuine in your responses. Meta interviewers appreciate authenticity and honesty. If you faced challenges or setbacks, discuss how you improved and learned from them. When talking about failure, don’t try to hide your mistakes or frame a weakness as a strength. Instead, show what you learned and how the failure helped you grow.

4.7 Be conversational

Meta wants to know if you have excellent communication skills. So make sure you approach the interview like a conversation. Ask questions about the role and what it’s like to work at Meta to show how much thought you’re considering for your application.

4.8 Get comfortable visualizing your system design process

During your technical design and architecture interview, your interviewers will want you to visualize your answer. Practice describing a past project that’s relevant to Meta by organizing it with block diagrams on a whiteboard. What your interviewers will be looking out for is how you approach a problem in a way that’s both structured and creative.

4.9 Center on Meta’s values

Familiarize yourself with Meta’s culture and core values and align your behavioral responses with them. Meta values certain attributes such as passion for technology, collaboration, and focus on the user.

5. Preparation Plan

Now that you know what questions to expect, let's focus on how to prepare. It's no secret that the performance bar at Meta is high. Some people even go as far as quitting their job to prepare for interviews full-time.

This is obviously extreme and not what we recommend doing, but it shows how much effort some candidates are ready to put in. Below is our four-step prep plan for Meta. If you're preparing for more companies than just Meta, then check our generic engineering manager interview preparation guide.

5.1 Learn about Meta’s culture

Most candidates fail to do this. But before investing tens of hours preparing for an interview at Meta, you should take some time to make sure it's actually the right company for you.

Meta is prestigious and it's therefore tempting to ignore that step completely. But in our experience, the prestige in itself won't make you happy day-to-day. It's the type of work and the people you work with that will.

If you know engineers who work at Meta or used to work there it's a good idea to talk to them to understand what the culture is like. In addition, we would recommend reading the following:

  1. Meta's 6 core values 
  2. Facebook’s hacker culture (by Mark Zuckerberg, via Wired)
  3. Meta annual reports and strategy presentations (by Meta)
  4. Meta's approach to tech trends (by CB Insights)
  5. Meta org culture analysis (by Panmore Institute)
  6. Engineering at Meta 

5.2 Practice by yourself

As mentioned above, you'll have three types of interviews at Meta: people management, technical design, and career conversation. The first step of your preparation should be to brush up on these different types of questions and to practice answering them by yourself.

The people management and career conversation interviews will all consist of mainly behavioral questions. First, consult our leadership, people management, and program/project management primers for tech interviews. Then, we recommend learning our step-by-step behavioral interview method to answer this type of question. In addition, you'll want to write down your answers to the example questions we gave you in the previous section.

For technical design interviews, we recommend studying our system design interview prep guide and learning how to answer system design interview questions. Though these guides were created for interviews where you have to design a functioning system, reviewing them will still be helpful for answering questions about your past system design projects. You’ll get a refresher on the key system design aspects you’ll need to cover and it will help you better structure your answers.

Finally, a great way to practice answering interview questions is to interview yourself out loud. This may sound strange, but it will significantly improve the way you communicate your answers during an interview. Play the role of both the candidate and the interviewer, asking questions and answering them, just like two people would in an interview. Trust us, it really helps

5.3 Practice with peers

Practicing by yourself will only take you so far. Practice with friends or colleagues if you can. This can be especially helpful if your friend has experience with EM interviews, or is at least familiar with the process.

5.4 Practice with ex-interviewers

Finally, you should also try to practice engineering manager mock interviews with expert ex-interviewers, as they’ll be able to give you much more accurate feedback than friends and peer

If you know an engineering manager who has experience running interviews Meta or another big tech company, then that's fantastic. But for most of us, it's tough to find the right connections to make this happen. And it might also be difficult to practice multiple hours with that person unless you know them really well.

Here's the good news. We've already made the connections for you. We’ve created a coaching service where you can practice 1-on-1 with ex-interviewers from leading tech companies like Meta. Learn more and start scheduling sessions today.

 

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