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✅ Tell Me About A Time Project Took Longer Than Expected | Facebook Behavioral Interview (Jedi) Series 🔥

Before we discuss this question, let us recap what the Behavioral Interview Round at Facebook is.

  1. Behavioral Interview Round is also known as the Jedi Interview round at Facebook.

  2. It is about you and your history, your résumé, and your motivation.

  3. The purpose of this interview is to assess whether the candidate will thrive in Facebook's peer-to-peer, minimal process, and unstructured engineering organization.

For Software Engineers, the behavioral interview is actually part behavioral and part coding. The coding part is a shorter version of the usual coding interviews and is included to supplement the other two coding interviews to get an additional coding signal.

Tips & Tricks to effectively prepare for Behavioral Interviews

Tips & Tricks to effectively prepare for Behavioral Interviews

  1. Know yourself! Take the time to review your résumé, as the interviewer will almost certainly ask about key events in your work history.

  2. Have concrete examples or anecdotes to support each of the questions.

  3. Familiarize yourself with Facebook's mission statement and its five core values:

    • Be Bold
    • Focus on Impact
    • Move Fast
    • Be Open
    • Build Social Value
  4. Be yourself! Be open and honest about your successes and failures.

  5. Be humble and focus on teamwork, leadership, and mentorship qualities.

Now, let us review how to effectively answer this question.


Question: Tell Me About A Time A Project Took Longer Than Expected

Tell Me About A Time A Project Took Longer Than Expected

Video Explanation with Evaluation Criteria, Response Framework, Tips & Tricks, Sample Answer (Example), and a Special Case of "Don't Have Any Work Experience".

Software Engineering projects usually take longer time than planned. As a result, interviewers often ask the candidates to tell about a time when their project took longer than expected.

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria for Tell Me About A Time A Project Took Longer Than Expected Evaluation Criteria for Tell Me About A Time A Project Took Longer Than Expected

Everyone in their career journey has worked on a project which has taken more time than initially planned. By asking this question, the interviewer's goal is to assess whether you can adapt and perform in challenging situations or unstructured environments.

They want to get a handle on how well you can:

  • Manage competing priorities,
  • Understand the implications of missing deadlines, and
  • Shift gears when needed.

They are trying to see if you can distinguish between the urgent and the important.

Employers want to know your ability to stay calm, exercise judgment, and act responsibly in such unexpected high-pressure situations. They are assessing your perseverance to explore the ambiguity and learn new things, despite the challenges.

Interviewers are also evaluating your:

  • Communication,
  • Time management,
  • Problem-solving, and
  • Decision-making skills.

They are looking to see if your coworkers can rely on you to get the work done.

Response Framework

Response Framework for Tell Me About A Time A Project Took Longer Than Expected

Our advice is to pick a compelling and honest story that can articulate a real-life experience where you worked on a project at your workplace, which took longer than expected.

Describe the situation, events that occurred, and explain how and why the project got delayed from its initial estimation. For example, it can be any of the following scenarios:

  1. A few of your colleagues working with you on the project unexpectedly left the team or the company, and you were left short-staffed to complete it within the current deadline.
  2. The agreed requirements got modified by the client team in the middle of the quarter.
  3. Something genuinely urgent comes up, like a production issue, for which you had to drop everything else.

Explain to the interviewer how you evaluated and decided your plan of action. For example:

  1. You worked with your manager to re-assess the remaining OKRs for the project, deprioritize a few optional tasks, and create an updated timeline to deliver the necessary features.
  2. Describe how you were creative and resourceful to get additional help, if required, either from your own or some other team, to deliver the project within the modified deadline.

Also, elaborate on how you communicated about this shift with your manager, coworkers, and other stakeholders to keep them well informed.

Finally, express how the outcome and the impact were beneficial to the company or team. Explain the learnings you took from this challenging situation and how they helped you become a better engineer.

Tips & Tricks

Tips and Tricks for Tell Me About A Time A Project Took Longer Than Expected

Here are some tips and tricks that will help you effectively prepare this question for the behavioral interview.

  1. Always remain calm, composed, and professional.

    • Refrain from being negative and avoid blaming your employer, coworkers, or manager.
    • Companies generally do not like to hire people who are always pointing fingers at others.
  2. Use a compelling story that is honest and believable.

    • It is most desirable to describe a real-life example to the interviewer to show that you have actually faced such a situation in your career and not just talk about a generic strategy.
  3. Do not sugarcoat your answer with irrelevant details.

    • Spend more time talking about the actions you took to handle the challenging situation.
  4. Show that you proactively communicated about the shifting deadlines to all the stakeholders to keep them well informed.

  5. Focus on the business impact that you had on your company or team.

  6. The biggest way to mess up answering this question is by simply saying that you have never worked on a project at your workplace, which took longer than expected.

    • Instead, explain your strategies for dealing with such situations in your day-to-day life.
  7. Prepare the response for this question beforehand, as it will be tough to structure your answer on the spot during the interview.

  8. Do not memorize the answer as it should come naturally, and you should sound confident to the interviewer.

Sample Answer (Example)

Here is Mike. He is currently working as a Senior Software Engineer at a major technology company. He is interviewing for the role of Staff Software Engineer at Facebook.

🎧 Listen to his response to this question in this YouTube Video

Special Case: Don't Have Any Work Experience

Special Case: Don't Have Any Work Experience

It may be the case that you actually never worked on a project at your workplace, which took longer than expected. New Grads and entry-level software engineers may fall under this category.

If you are in such a situation,

  • Do not end your answer by simply saying no to this question.
  • Instead, try to use a real experience from your college or day-to-day life. For example:
    • The project you were working on as the Graduate Research Assistant got delayed due to new additional requirements.

This will help the interviewer evaluate you on the following attributes that we mentioned earlier:

  1. How well you adapt and perform in challenging situations,
  2. Manage competing priorities,
  3. Understand the implications of missing deadlines,
  4. Ability to stay calm, exercise judgment, and act responsibly,
  5. Communication skills, and
  6. Time management skills.

Preparation Material

Learn more about the Evaluation Criteria, Response Framework, Tips & Tricks, and Sample Answers (Examples) to effectively prepare and answer these top questions asked in the Behavioral Interviews at Facebook. Certain special cases are also discussed which are usually faced by the candidates during these interviews.

⬇️ Detailed Notes on Top Facebook Behavioral Interview Questions - Part 2


Cracking the Facebook Behavioral Interview

If you have not read our first article on Top Facebook Behavioral Interview Questions, we recommend reading it by clicking the below link:


Cracking the Facebook System Design Interview

In case if you have not read our series on Cracking the Facebook System Design Interview, we recommend reading it by clicking the below link:


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