December 15th, 2015

Facebook's head of recruiting shares 3 qualities the tech giant is looking for in remote job candidates right now — and how you can make yourself stand out

Miranda Kalinowski_FacebookCourtesy of Miranda Kalinowski

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It's a tough time for job seekers right now – the coronavirus pandemic has led to widespread layoffs and hiring freezes across the US. But Facebook is still hiring. In fact, according to Miranda Kalinowski, the tech giant's head of global recruiting, Facebook will be hiring over 10,000 product engineers in 2020. 

That doesn't mean it's easy to land a job. Facebook has been named the "best place to work" three times in the past decade by job search site Glassdoor making the recruitment process particularly competitive. 

And since the onset of the pandemic, Kalinowski said the job market has become even more competitive. "Obviously, the talent pool has increased from an employer perspective," Kalinowski said. "For candidates, I appreciate that this is a very intense time." 

Kalinowski has worked in recruiting for nearly three decades, and she helped Facebook grow from a workforce of approximately 6,000 to upwards of 50,000 during her time with the company. 

While leading recruiting at Facebook, Kalinowski has guided her team to seek out a few key traits in prospective candidates. Many of these have stayed constant over the years, but some traits, like resilience and empathy, have become particularly important during pandemic-era remote work. 

Kalinowski shared with Business Insider some of the most important things that she looks for when hiring at Facebook, and what job candidates can do during the remote hiring process to make themselves stand out at Facebook and beyond. 

Be honest about any challenges you're facing right now

These are not normal times. Kalinowski said that she encourages job seekers to acknowledge that openly with their interviewers. It's important that candidates and interviewers acknowledge the circumstances created by the pandemic and show empathy toward each other, she said. 

Candidates should also speak up about any accommodations they might require, because this will help them to perform better come interview time. 

"A candidate should never hesitate to ask for what they need to be set up in an environment that is going to help them perform at their best," Kalinowski said. 

Demonstrate Facebook's core values and push boundaries

Kalinowski said that Facebook doesn't use the term "culture fit," because that can cause employers to become biased in favor of hiring people who are similar to themselves. However, she still advises that prospective hires make themselves acquainted with the core values of the company.

"You do need to understand, as a candidate, what are the aspects of our culture that are important to you?" she said. "At Facebook, for instance, we're incredibly open, which means that many of our leaders are vulnerable and open to feedback and sharing ideas. Being open is one of the values that is a cornerstone of our culture here." 

Empathy and resilience are two key values that are important at the tech giant. But you should also be willing to showcase your technical skills and a willingness to push boundaries, Kalinowski said.  

"Even if you're not recruiting someone who's going to be working fully remote once the offices return, you're still going to need your entire employee base to work with people who are fully remote," Kalinowski said. "So those same attributes of resilience, empathy, and tech savviness will be really important for all employees." 

Kalinowski said that Facebook also looks for people they call "builders," or workers who go beyond what's expected of their work. 

"We hire builders," Kalinowski said. "What I mean by that is, people who think outside the box and aren't just comfortable with the status quo. They're always pushing boundaries." 

Facebook recruiters often ask hypothetical or situational questions during the interview that can allow you to showcase these skills. "For example, tell me about a time when you questioned the status quo," Kalinowski said. "What did you do?" 

Make yourself memorable

It's hard to keep a personal touch to an interview when everything is taking place remotely, so try to be creative about how you can make yourself memorable. 

When asked if an individual candidate had ever stood out for something they had done in the interview process, Kalinowski recalled one memorable experience. The candidate realized that nobody would be in the office to receive a thank-you card through the mail, so they decided to take a photo of a handwritten card and send a photo of the physical card to their recruiter via email. 

"That definitely had that person stand out and look a bit more human – and it brought a smile to the face of the hiring manager," Kalinowski said.

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SEE ALSO: Facebook's head of global recruiting reveals the tech giant's remote hiring strategy that is helping them add 10,000 new product engineers to their team this year

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