Belfast Telegraph

Are you the type of employee Facebook wants? An interview with HR chief Fiona Mullan

By Louise Kelly

Whether an intern or an executive, there is one tech giant that has often been regarded as one of the best to work for across the industry - and that is Facebook.

The freedom to be creative, the inclusive culture, the incredible salary; these are the reports we've heard that have added to the appeal of achieving a position at the firm.

Wanting to get the real inside track we visited Facebook's EMEA HQ in Dublin's Street and spoke with the region's HR chief Fiona Mullan.

From busting myths to surprising perks, here's the low down on all the burning questions we've been wanting answers to.

Are you the type of person that Facebook wants?

"What we really look for are people that have a passion for what they do and know what they’re interested in and that’s also shared in the work that we do.

"So if they bring that to life in their discussions with us, they bring that energy and their sense of how they do that work; that they’ve got lots of ideas and that they’re prepared to bring those ideas to life. [We also look for someone who is] willing to take some risks.

"[Someone that's] really interested in the way we do things and our culture so that they can contribute to it."

How do you set yourself apart from the crowd?

"[The candidate] needs to have a drive and show their passion and that they’re enthusiastic, constructive but also critical in their thinking; that they have a rapport, that they bring that energy into discussions. Yes they can show that on application but we do a lot of screens before people come in on the phone and by VC.

"We’re less concerned about culture fit and more about people who can help the culture evolve and contribute to it to make it great for everybody."

Should you send in a video CV application?

"If the video shows their personality and that they can quickly outline who they are and do that authentically...that can be hard on a video quite honestly, because you are doing it into something that is rather anonymous. Whereas if you meet somebody there is a rapport there and there tends to be a natural dynamic.

"It can be a good thing to do but I wouldn’t necessarily say to do it to get a job at Facebook. By all means [send in video CVs] but don’t feel under any obligation to do it. Video is definitely a medium that is more popular and is being used for many different things aside from CVs."

"It’s all down to being yourself and being authentic. And the people that do that do it really well."

Do you have to have a college degree to work at Facebook?

"College degrees are not absolutely a pre-requisite but it’s safe to say that these days most people have them. We do have a CEO that doesn’t have a college degree - and we do take a liberal approach.

Education is very broad these days so what we would be looking for is somebody who is learned and who can demonstrate their own learning ability and agility – and that their learning journey will continue in Facebook. If they can demonstrate that they have that natural curiosity for new things, new ideas...I think that's what's important comes across, whether the candidate has a degree or not."

Facebook perks - are they real and what's the trade off?

Our approach to this is not –‘work long hours and get these things’ – we have a more holistic approach. Work is not a place you go, it’s something that you can do how and when you want. You’ve got to measure the outcomes, not the input, and I would be concerned about employees working long hours.

When people look at our offerings, it’s more holistically – a quid pro quo – and we do have people come to the company and we do have lots of things that we can offer them but that’s not the reason why people come to our company. They come for the interesting work, they come for the way they work, for the opportunities to learn, and because they truly believe that they can achieve things for ourselves. And also our mission of having people around the world connected.

An FYI for anyone interested, while there is low lighting and comfy chairs to be found, there are no sleeping pods at Facebook Ireland

Apart from the free food, how else do employees benefit?

For our engineers, irrespective of levels, they are sent to boot camp for six weeks; whether they’re a very senior person and have a lot of years behind them in their career or an engineer joining straight from university, they are all sent to the same boot camp, they are all given the same experience.

That’s really important to us as it’s all about learning, knowing all aspects of coding, things that we use at Facebook and that agility that they can demonstrate. And sometimes people who are ahead in their career have forgotten some of the basics.  We like to bring it back that everybody touches the work and it helps to bring down some of the natural hierarchies that exists.

Aside from that specifically, we have a whole suite of learning and development programs; some of them are on the soft side, some of them are more specific as relevant to jobs. Employees will work on them with their managers, managers will too have their programs and set aside time during the year to pursue those.

This reassures them that we’re prepared to invest in them upfront to enable them be successful and it’s not a risky thing coming into Facebook. They are sure that we give them that actual investment upfront and we are not waiting til some weeks after they join.

It’s also a really good place to be a Dad at Facebook right now

There’s some wonderful things around facebook but quite in and of itself that it’s not thw motivator. The thing that I would say is that we are evolving a lot of our overall benefits particularly for parents who are not mothers at the beginning of this year. That’s mostly fathers (who up until now would have had statutory benefits...) we’ve gone ahead of that and offered four months paid leave particularly for our fathers.

That’s interesting – again it’s really around recognising parents. Not just one side of parents but both sides and recognising parental responsibilities so that’ how we try to support parents in their own lives. We talk about work life, we talk aout integration trather than balance because integration is something that can be decided on an individual basis ‘I can decide what balance is right from me’ because everyone is different.

Facebook adheres to the statutory requirements in Ireland which is 26 weeks for mothers. However, we offer fathers the opportunity to take four months paid parental leave (which exceeds the statutory amount of two weeks).

So everyone is not single, dedicating their life to the company?!

Our demographics have shown that we are a millennial company with a millennial population – but they entering into parenthood themselves. Our own CEO Mark Zuckerberg had his own child at the start of teh year and he took a couple of months which very much made the statement that this was something that we supported.

Certainly , with that kind of leadership, it’s easier to do . But we’ve grown as a company, we’re hiring people at all stages of their lives. I am one of them – I am not a millennial and so I’m at a different stage of my life with older children. What we’re trying to do is support people at the various stage of their lives.

Diversity is celebrated - and protected - at Facebook

We’re an employed population full of humans, we’re not perfect and my job, the job of my team is to help people through difficulties and head them off rather than let them fester and resolve it in an amicable way. We’d love to be one happy family but we’re humans and we make mistakes.

We have zero tolerance for bullying and we are very focussed on gender issues most particularly. I think it’s really important to focus on our culture – an open and connected culture. What I would stress a really strong focus on the culture so we’re preventing these things happening before they occur.

We don’t share gender diversity stats at a local level only globally - our current representation is 67% male and 33% women. In non-tech roles its 47% men 53% women.

Employee resource groups continue to grow and provide community for underrepresented groups and allies. Examples of these in Ireland include Women at Facebook, LQBTQ@Facebook and just recently formed Black@Facebook. These are sponsored by a senior FB executive to ensure it is supported at the highest level in the org.

Our diverse slate approach encourages recruiters to look longer, harder and smarter for more diversity in the qualified talent pool. Our goal is to create an environment where diversity is considered an indispensable part of the search for great talent.

Because we recognize that some of the biggest impact comes from investing in the tools and resources we provide employees, we have improved our talent-sourcing tools, invested in better training for everyone involved in hiring and managing diverse teams.

We also know that the work of getting more underrepresented talent to Facebook doesn’t stop when someone accepts a job offer. We work to build an inclusive environment through our training on managing unconscious bias. Nearly 100% of people at the manager level have completed our Managing Bias session.

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