In 2015, Facebook was voted Number 1 internship available in a survey by Glassdoor - the second time the program has come out top of this rating. Interns, employees and directors explain why in this video - citing the great team, real challenges and personal ownership offered as reasons the scheme is so highly recommended.
We know employers want to see evidence of work experience when recruiting new graduates. And we know that landing an internship is a great way of getting hands on in your chosen field.
Being accepted on a prestigious programme, such as the internships offered at Facebook, is pretty much a bullseye on all counts, and will make your graduate resume really stand out.
But getting in is a tough gig. If you’re tempted to join the team, you need to make sure that your application really stands out. Here’s how.
Connect on Campus
Facebook hire interns across hundreds of universities and dozens of countries. Data suggests that over 40% of those interviewed initially came into contact with Facebook at a campus event - so it makes sense to go along and connect with the recruiters face to face if you can.
A campus recruitment event is no time to be shy and retiring. Make sure you take along your resume - up to date, smart and printed out on decent quality paper - and have a chat. Make a personal connection with the representatives by asking them about their Facebook experiences, and you can get some useful insight as well as building your network.
Of course, if your university is not on the Facebook rounds, then you should still apply. Nearly a third of the students interviewed for intern programmes applied online directly, with a further twenty percent applying through a personal referral. If you know anyone who works for Facebook already, then ask them to refer your application to the right people!
Present Your Best Side
One thing that the Facebook team look for is the ability and urge to tackle big problems. They’re looking for people who will come to an internship with new ideas, and be prepared to work like a full time staff member right from the offing.
Tommy Crush, former Facebook intern, explains:
“With the perks of essentially being a full timer, you have the responsibility that comes with it. The "Oh, I'm just an intern, they're not expecting a lot from me" mindset doesn't fly.”
And as someone who converted an internship into a permanent position as a Facebook Software Engineer, he should know!
Use your resume and application to show the proactive steps you have taken to learn and grow. These could be volunteer opportunities, taking a leadership role at student groups and activities, and work experience for an employer or as an entrepreneur. If you’re looking for an engineering role then experience in Hackathons is a massive bonus.
Internships are split across engineering, tech and design, and business, so whatever your speciality there will be something to suit you. The nature of the interview, naturally, will depend on the specific programme you apply for.
Getting a phone interview - which is the first stage in the process - takes two or three weeks on average, according to reviews and commentary about the Facebook internship programme left on Glassdoor.
It is possible to get some idea of the type of questions that are asked from Glassdoor reviews, but do make sure you practise a wide range of question types. With a large team of interviewers, the exact tone of the interview will vary every time. Practise and plan answers to competency based questions, and make sure you have your resume and a pen and paper to hand while you take the interview call. Try to smile as you talk - it really does make a difference!
Be Prepared to Work Hard!
Facebook have their interns doing ‘real’ work right away - and that means you’re straight in at the deep end! In fact, Facebook’s first mobile advertising interface was designed by an intern. This is a fantastic opportunity to shine - and the Facebook team do say that they use the intern programmes as an opportunity to assess candidates for permanent opportunities in future.
Before joining the program, you will be able to select the specific project you want to work on, to show and develop your skills. Ex Facebook intern, Paul Baltescu explains:
“I really appreciate that at the beginning of the internship I was given the opportunity to choose the project I'd like to work on. It's amazing when you think about the fact that not only I had a project that would impact hundreds of millions of users, but I could actually choose to work on the project I felt most excited about from a list of several”.
The best way to make an impact, is to practise active listening when you first arrive. You will be eager to get going, to do something. That’s completely understandable - but unless you take some real time to listen to your boss, your mentor and those around you, you might find that you set off in the wrong path. And with the freedom afforded to interns at Facebook, you risk finding out very late in the day that you’ve gone off after the proverbial wild goose.
Once you have a deep grip on your project, you can afford to get stuck in and take on other tasks. Be proactive in taking on challenges, and bring up your ideas at team meetings. It will be noticed.
The atmosphere is described as more like a series of small startups, with relatively small, tight knit teams working together on specific projects - a perfect environment to learn and develop as an intern. And it’s not all hard work. Aside from free food for all, their company perks include trips, tournaments, and Thursday evening cocktails - on the house!
Soak up the Learning
With such a high profile team, it is unsurprising that much of the coverage about the Facebook internship programme focuses on the amazing campus, the opportunity to meet ‘Zuck’ and experience the unique lifestyle offered by such a high ranking company. But those who have done the intern programme emphasise that you must use the opportunity to learn.
The amount of activity, information and task will be overwhelming - especially in the first week. As an intern you will be assigned a mentor, who is there to make sure you succeed. You will be given great responsibility, but also great freedom - and as you will be surrounded by some of the best brains in the business, you should make sure you use them. Your mentor is there to make sure you succeed, so call on them when it gets crazy.
The general consensus among those who have been there before, is that 40-50% of interns are offered permanent positions with Facebook. The experience you gain would be invaluable elsewhere even if the gig doesn’t turn into a full time offer - and having a high prestige company like Facebook on your resume is going to be impressive for any recruiter.
So, do your prep work and make sure that you give it the best shot if you end up with an interview for a Facebook internship. If it works out, then make the most of the opportunity. And if it doesn’t shape up for you this summer, then do not lose hope. Having internships on your resume is a great way to stand out from the crowd when it comes to finding an A Class graduate job. Get straight back out there looking, and find the right one for you.