My interview experience with a US company (part 2)

[Continue from part 1]

After scheduling for the interview, the Facebook recruiter sent me another email asking a series of questions regarding my work experience, things like: my current project and responsibilities, my years of experience, favourite programming languages, iOS app portfolio, whether I know anyone at Facebook, etc. I answered all of them and confirmed the interview date, which was at 9 am CST (Austin, Texas), around 10 pm Vietnam time. This was the first time I ever got an interview so close to my bedtime.

Then the date came, I sat down at my computer at 9:30 pm, checking to see whether my camera and microphone were working properly. I deliberately wore a formal shirt at home and at this hour to avoid looking too sloppy. As the clock was ticking close to 10 pm, I was getting more and more nervous.

At 10 pm, I got a Skype message from her and the call started.

She began introducing herself with an American accent. She was a talent sourcer who focused on hiring iOS engineers for various Facebook engineering offices across the USA like: Seattle, New York, Boston and Menlo Park.

She went on to explain about the interview process for international candidates. It looked like this:

  • First interview is on Skype with a recruiter to understand about the hiring process and to get to know about the candidate’s work experience, which is this round.
  • Second interview will also be on Skype but with an engineer from the headquarter. This is called the “technical phone screen”.
  • Once the candidate passes the phone screen, he/she can be scheduled for an onsite interview in the US. It will be a full-day engagement which consists of 4 interviews:
    • Behaviour interview.
    • System design interview.
    • 2 coding interviews.
  • If everything goes well, then comes the offer stage.

“That sounded like a lot of interviews.”, I thought.

Then I introduced myself and described my work experience. She asked more drill-down questions to understand more about my technical expertise. Then she told me that she’s going to ask a couple of quizzes regarding iOS development and those will be in multiple-choice format.

“Sure, go ahead”, I said.

She read each question out loud, then pasted it onto Skype with 4 options to choose, and waited for my response. These questions were just basic iOS programming knowledge so I could answer pretty quick. She didn’t tell me whether my answer was correct, she just moved on to the next question immediately. We went through 7 or 8 questions. Then she told me to stop.

“You got most of them correct, only one wrong. You’re doing great”, she said.

I felt a bit relief. I asked her which answer was wrong, she pointed out and explained. That was my stupid mistake.

“How could I ever get that wrong?”, I thought to myself.

“Congratulations! You have passed the first round. Let’s talk about the next step.”, she announced.

She’s going to schedule my next interview with an iOS engineer from Menlo Park (Facebook headquarter). It would be all about algorithms. She also mentioned that there would be a wide gap between what an engineer did day-by-day and what would be asked during an algorithms interview. So she advised me to spend time preparing for it.

“I will send you 3 emails detailing about the Facebook technical interviews and how to better prepare for them”, she added.

Then we talked about scheduling. Since I wanted to have more time to prepare for the next interview, I suggested her to schedule it one month later, which she agreed.

It had been 40 minutes into the interview.

“Do you have any questions?”, she asked with curious eyes.

“Yes, I do. I have a lot of questions”.

She smiled. And then I started asking a bunch of questions about the H1B visa process:


Question: “I’m going to be married soon. Does the H1B visa process apply to my wife too?”

Answer: “Yes, when we apply for your H1B, your wife will be included. Even if you have kids, they will also be included.”


Question: “When will the H1B visa process start?”

Answer: “After you accept the offer, we have professional lawyers who will work closely with you to prepare all the documents for the visa application. Then on April 1st, we will submit it.”


Question: “When can I expect to come and work in the US?”

Answer: “So on April 1st, your visa application will be submitted. Then the visa lottery will take place between April and May. You will know your visa result somewhere in June or July. If you’re lucky, you can get your visa on October and can land on the US from early November.”


Question: “What if I fail the visa lottery?”

Answer: “Well, in that case, you have 2 options:

  1. Keep working on your current job like nothing happened, we will apply H1B for you again next year.
  2. We will consider you for the Facebook London office (UK). While you’re working in London, we will apply for your visa again next year. If you get the visa, you can relocate to the US. Otherwise, you will just work in the London office.”

Question: “In case I fail the H1B visa and have to move to London, do I need to interview again?”

Answer: “In most of the cases, no. But people in the London office may want to talk to you on Skype beforehand so that they can get to know you better.”


Question: “If Facebook reapplies for my visa the second time and it still fails, what will happen?”

Answer: “Then we will stop applying from there on. If you chose to work in London, you will work in London. Otherwise, the offer will be invalid. It’s like nothing ever happened.”


Question: “If I fail any of the Facebook interviews, can I reapply?”

Answer: “Yes, but you need to wait for at least 6 months before reapplying.”


“Great, thanks for the insightful answers. I understand more about the process now. I guess I don’t have any more questions for now.”, I said.

“Awesome. I will schedule your interview and send you the preparation emails shortly. It’s great speaking to you, Hoang. Have a great day”, she replied.

“It’s great talking to you too. Thank you so much. Have a good day.”, I waved at the screen.

The call ended.

“Wow, that’s the Facebook interview.”, I smiled. I’m glad I passed the first round and gained a lot of information about the next move. I felt extraordinary.

Now, I had one month until my next technical phone screen. “I better study hard for this”.

[To be continued]

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