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✅ Tell Me About A Time You Had To Learn Something Quickly | 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 You Had To Learn Something Quickly

Tell Me About A Time You Had To Learn Something Quickly

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

Another popular behavioral interview question is "Tell me about a time you had to learn something quickly".

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria for Tell Me About A Time You Had To Learn Something Quickly Evaluation Criteria for Tell Me About A Time You Had To Learn Something Quickly

In everyone's career journey, they face a situation when they have to learn something quickly to succeed at their job. By this question, the interviewer's goal is not to trick you but to assess how well you can adapt and perform in challenging situations and unstructured environments.

They are trying to understand your enthusiasm to:

  • Learn new things,
  • Exercise judgment under pressure, and
  • Shift gears when needed.

They are also evaluating your:

  • Communication skills,
  • Ability to self-identify the gaps in your skills, and
  • The willingness to improve yourself continuously.

They are looking to see if you understand the implications of missing deadlines and can your coworkers rely on you to get the work done.

Response Framework

Response Framework for Tell Me About A Time You Had To Learn Something Quickly

Our advice is to pick a compelling and honest story that can articulate a real-life experience where you had to learn something new quickly to succeed at your workplace.

Describe the situation, the events that occurred, and explain what unexpected challenge needed you to pick up a new skill in a short period. For example:

  • Your manager or coworker might hand you a last-minute request of higher priority, requiring you to learn a brand-new skill to accomplish the task within a tight deadline.

Explain to the interviewer how you evaluated and decided your plan of action. Elaborate on the strategy that you used to ramp up yourself on the new skill or project. For example:

  • Going through the existing documentation and previous code reviews to understand the task better.
  • Scheduling a meeting with your manager or technical lead to get an overview of the assigned tasks.
  • Attending workshops or training seminars to learn the new technology required for the project.

Finally, express how your strategy was helpful in acquiring the new skill and completing the required deliverables within the deadline. Also, let the interviewer know 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 You Had To Learn Something Quickly

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

  1. 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.
  2. Always remain calm, composed, and confident while answering this question.

  3. Do not sugarcoat your answer with irrelevant details.

    • Spend more time talking about the actions you took to handle the challenging situation.
  4. Focus on the strategy you used to gather the information and close your knowledge gap to complete the task on time.

  5. The biggest way to mess up answering this question is by simply saying that you have never faced a challenging situation at your workplace where you had to learn something quickly.

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

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

Sample Answer (Example)

Here is Joey. He is currently working as a junior software engineer at a major technology company. He is interviewing for the role of 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 don't have any work experience. New Grads and entry-level software engineers usually fall under this category.

If you are in such a situation, do not end your answer by simply saying that you have never faced a challenging situation where you had to learn something quickly. Instead, try to use a real-life experience from your college or everyday life. For example:

  • You may need to learn a new programming language or skill to complete a course project.
  • As a Teaching Assistant, you may need to learn how to conduct office hours and grade papers effectively while balancing your coursework.

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

  1. How well you adapt and perform in unexpected situations,
  2. Exercise judgment under pressure,
  3. Your enthusiasm to learn new things,
  4. Ability to self-identify the gaps in your skills, and
  5. Willingness to improve yourself continuously.

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:


Useful Links

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✅ TryExponent.com Membership [💰 Limited Time 10% offer]

👩‍💻 Best System Design Interview Course
🚀 Complete SWE Interview Course [💰 Limited Time 10% offer]
🙋‍♀️ Behavioral Interview Guide [💰 Special Discount]
📚 Recommended Interview Preparation Book (on Amazon)


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Discussion (1)

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yanielcuellar profile image
Mick Brown

Very informative article. Thanks for sharing!