Is Facebook hiring freeze over?

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Background

Meta is one of the largest corporations in the technology industry today. Due to an increase in competition from other apps like TikTok and Snapchat, Meta is focused on increasing its graphic processing units nearly five times in its data centers. This would help it in the content discovery algorithm push for which Meta needs a lot of extra computing power. The artificial intelligence that Meta plans to build to identify popular posts from Meta and Instagram will be used to compete with TikTok. This is one of the major future projects that Meta is focusing on to compete with TikTok using its own Instagram Reels. Meta is continuing to hire in key positions that focus on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and it's Metaverse projects. However, there is a broad hiring freeze that is going on in all the projects in Meta that are not critical. The senior leadership at Meta has highlighted that Instagram Reels was one of the most popular products that users were consuming. The user engagement in Instagram Reels has been extremely popular and can be a key strategy to monetize and boost revenue. The Meta senior management is planning to enhance advertisements in Instagram Reels as soon as possible. Subscribe to get the Meta interview questions below.

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Meta Revenue Decline

The revenue of Meta has already been in steep decline due to the global economic situation. The stock price of Meta has also been rapidly declining due to a bleak future and lack of growth potential in Wall Street. In this environment, the discovery engine vision of Instagram Reels can prove extremely beneficial in the short video segment. Meta management has highlighted that the decline in revenue is temporary, and it would grow gradually as advertisers become more comfortable with the Instagram Reels advertising format after the hiring freeze. Meta leadership also has seen various different possibilities for revenue growth in business, messaging and shopping tools. Many of these can mitigate the privacy changes that Apple has introduced which led to Meta's revenue loss. Over the last few years, Apple has introduced several changes to its iPhone and other hardware that has severely affected Meta's advertising revenue. Advertising was one of the key revenue sources for Meta. Meta relied on collecting user data and showing them personalized advertisements for its revenue, but the privacy changes launched by Apple made Meta incapable of collecting user data and thus the advertisements became less relevant, because there was no data collection algorithm that could personalize the ads to the users. Less relevant ads meant fewer clicks on the advertisements, and hence, advertisers began to gradually pull out their investments from Meta to other apps, thus resulting in a revenue decline.

Facebook Hiring Freeze and Meta Layoffs
Facebook Hiring Freeze and Meta Layoffs

Facebook Hiring Freeze

Meta is also focused on launching various artificial intelligence and virtual reality driven hardware. They are mixed reality like a headset called Cambria. The Facebook hiring freeze is still very much continuing in various departments across the organization. Meta initially announced they will hire a huge number of engineers for a variety of roles like data engineers and data scientists. However, Meta has cut down its hiring target by a high percentage. The senior management at Meta announced that they are experiencing one of the worst downturns in recent history and hence the hiring freeze. The weak economy has further accelerated a decline in the revenue and profitability of Meta. The interest rate hikes and the war in Ukraine are not helping the technology sector. Currently, only critical roles are being considered for filling in and other positions are being kept unfilled due to attrition. Meta has also revised its performance review and management model by increasing the benchmark. Employees now have to work harder than before to maintain the minimum performance requirements. Meta senior management highlighted that there are many people in the organization who should not be there. This scenario has happened because Meta had been hiring excessively for the last few years.

Meta Layoff Strategy

One of the strategy that Meta has used was keeping resources within the organization so that competitors cannot recruit them. This strategy worked during a normal economy, but in the current scenario where finances are stretched thin, Meta is no longer capable of affording such luxury during the hiring freeze. The Meta senior management has highlighted that they are okay with employees leaving the organization if they cannot cope up with this stressed and high intensity work model. This is one of the strategies that Meta has taken for quite layoff. Employees who are not meeting the performance expectations are given a grace period after they are laid off from the team. During this grace period, employees are expected to learn and skill up and work closely with the recruiters to find an alternate team within the organization. However, this process is not often guaranteed because all the teams in the organization are trying to cut down on their team size. If the employee is not able to find a suitable replacement team within the grace period, they are finally laid off by Meta. Meta's senior management has mentioned that by raising the expectations from employees, they hope to get more work done with lesser resources. This would help them optimize their finances.

Meta Work-Life Balance

The new Meta performance review model would create extreme pressure on the employees, and they will always stay scared about their job security. The work-life balance will be gone for Meta employees in this new performance review model. Employees will constantly be scared that they will be laid off if they do not work hard enough. Even though Meta will turn profitable by creating such stress and pressure on employees, this will create an unfavorable work environment where employees will not have a work-life balance. In this current age we know work-life balance is extremely important. Remote working can be used by Meta as one of the means to help employees balance their productivity and personal life. However, we have learned that the Meta performance model also includes a peer review system where employees are forced to create fake friendships with other colleagues in order to get favorable peer review feedbacks. This also includes after work parties, which if not attended by the Meta employees, often attracts critical comments from their managers later on. Employees are even forced to pretend that Meta is the best place to work at, which in reality is actually not true. We can see there is already extreme stress in the Meta work culture which is going to get even worse under the hiring freeze and the new stressful performance review model.

Meta investing in Metaverse

Meta is currently focusing on the Metaverse project as part of his futuristic vision. Meta is currently hiring talented engineers for its Metaverse projects that include artificial intelligence and virtual reality skill sets. The Metaverse is expected to take several years to build and turn profitable. Until that phase, the Metaverse project at Meta will only see investments without any significant revenue or profits. However, Meta is keen on investing heavily in his Metaverse division because the senior management believes that social media will exist in the Metaverse in the future. The Meta senior management has highlighted that all interactions between individuals will be in the Metaverse in the future, along with other digital products that it will be monetizing. There are digital shops that will be opened in Metaverse where users can purchase digital goods. This is a new project that Meta has been working on where everything that we see today in real life will have an alternate version in this Metaverse. The reality that we see around us today will be depicted in the Metaverse in their digital form. People will be able to see each other as if they're sitting next to each other even though they may be hundreds of thousands of miles apart.

Meta Hiring Waiting Times

The Metaverse will be requiring heavy investment from Meta in terms of its graphics processing unit processing power and other machine learning algorithm hardware. This will be one of the costliest project that Meta is working on, which is requiring investments amounting to billions of dollars even during the hiring freeze. Other projects in Meta are not as lucky when it comes to filling positions and hiring resources. Many employees and aspirants have reported that while they were preparing for their second round interview, for example, for a Product Analytics Data Scientist position with Meta, they were suddenly informed at the end of the week that the Data Science position was going through a hiring freeze. The Meta senior management reported such candidates that there was a high volume of interest shown for the Data Scientist position during recent weeks. At the same time, there were reports of the stock market being affected heavily. Many candidates were wondering whether there is a relation between the Meta stock price falling drastically and the hiring freeze announcements that candidates are receiving while in the middle of their interview and recruitment processes.

Meta Interview Delays

There has been also reports that candidates are getting through their final rounds of interview with Meta, for example, a Product Project Manager role, and even after getting recommendations to hire by all the interviewers, they were being told that it would take several weeks before they are considered for onboarding. This has been the case for several Project Manager hiring positions for different Meta Product roles during the hiring freeze. The generic rationale that was given to the candidates was that Meta had too many recent Project Manager hires from the unallocated pipeline, who were still looking for their assigned teams. Until those pipelines are cleared, Meta is delaying the onboarding of the next wave of hires for Meta Project Managers for the Meta Product roles. Many candidates are also curious what it means if Meta has highlighted that they are finished with Project Manager hiring for the year. This was a confusion because a Meta technical recruiter would never give a firm timeline beyond the next few months. The Meta technical recruiter would also not go on record by specifying definite timelines to assure the candidates. Hence, even though in some cases the Meta hiring freeze is over, the onboarding process and different roles are seeing various challenges in the normal onboarding and completion of the hiring process.

Author: Rahul Bhattacharya

Rahul is a journalist with expertise in researching a variety of topics and writing engaging contents. He is also a data analyst and an expert in visualizing business scenarios using data science. Rahul is skilled in a number of programming languages and data analysis tools. When he is not busy writing, Rahul can be found somewhere in the Appalachian trails or in an ethnic restaurant in Chicago.

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