Cracking The Engineering Manager Interview Part 1
Practical steps to prepare for and ace your next engineering manager interview
While coding interviews have become more or less standardized across the industry, there is still a big variability when it comes to hiring for Engineering Manager roles. What questions get asked in an EM interview, is a concern on many peoples minds. It certainly was on my mind during my recent job search a few months ago. I ended up interviewing for EM roles at several top tech companies and learned a lot through the process. Ive also built EM interview loops in the past and have been a hiring manager for EMs.
What Ive found is that while the interview loops may vary from company to company, there are a set of broad topics that are common and consistent. In this post, Ill cover those common topics and give you an overview of what to expect. In subsequent posts, Ill cover each topic in depth and how best to prepare so that you can ace your interview!
Top 3 Apple Interview Questions
Now that you have a solid strategy by your side, its time to take the next step. By reviewing Apple interview questions and answers, you can put your new knowledge to work.
Like we mentioned before, there are tons of kinds of professionals working at Apple. Every job is going to have a unique interview experience. After all, it takes different types of skills and traits to shine in each position, so its doesnt make sense to use the same questions across the board.
However, that doesnt mean Apple interviews cant have a lot in common. There are going to be some questions that nearly any candidate might face. With that in mind, heres a look at the top three Apple interview questions, as well as example answers.
Project Management Interview Question #1: What Is Your Salary Expectation
This is one of the last questions that you will be asked in your project manager interview session. There is not a single right answer to this question. However, the common practice is, to aim to increase your salary by at least 20% in your next job.
Prior to the interview, research typical salary ranges for this position at the company using glass door, indeed or any other salary information website. Then, during the interview, briefly, explain your expectations for your desired salary and overall compensation.
Hint: Do not risk your next PM Job Interview! Attend PM Mock Interview sessions, see how you perform, and improve your PM interview skills.
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Apple Engineering Manager Interview Process
The engineering manager interview process at Apple is similar to the process for software engineers, with an increased emphasis on design and behavioral rounds. Coding rounds donât have that much of an impact on the final decision. But youâre still required to be good at coding, especially coding up algorithms. As such, coding interviews carry more importance for junior software engineering positions.
The process consists of three main stages. Letâs look at each of them:
Apple Engineering Program Manager Interview Questions:
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What Is Your Favorite Apple Product And Why
While this question is fairly straightforward on the surface, it accomplishes more than you might think. Along with giving the hiring manager a chance to discover your level of familiarity with Apple products, it also lets them gauge your enthusiasm for your favorite.
But its also an exceptional opportunity for you. Along with showcasing your passion for a product, you can showcase relevant skills or traits if you approach it properly.
Plus, you can adjust your answer to align with the job you want to land, which may make you look like a stronger candidate.
While Im a fan of several Apple products, Id have to say my favorite is the Apple Watch. It enables me to be more efficient both in my personal and professional lives. The ability to stay apprised of incoming messages and respond to them without having to dig out another device lets me work faster. Plus, receiving calendar reminders through the watch is great for time management, ensuring I stay on target even on the busiest days.
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Deep Dive Into The Product / Organization
As you’ve probably figured out from some of the example questions listed above, you can’t become a PM at Apple without being familiar with the company’s products and it’s organization. As a result, you’ll need to do some homework before your interviews.
First, get further acquainted with Apple’s values using the video below and the rest of their Brand Values YouTube playlist.
Here are some more in-depth resources to help you study Apple and its products:
Have You Ever Disagreed With Your Manager About A Decision How Did You Handle The Situation
When you work for an innovative company, there are often plenty of opportunities to share your ideas. Plus, creative thinking is seen as an asset.
However, that kind of environment also means that disagreements are bound to occur. There are going to be times when you and your manager dont see eye-to-eye its guaranteed.
The hiring manager wants to know that you can handle these situations professionally. That way, they can continue to encourage innovation without inviting unnecessary long-term conflict.
In my last position, our team was working on a project when a last-minute feature addition request came in. My manager wanted to adjust the project to accommodate the feature, something that I disagreed with. I was concerned about the impact on the timeline and overall workload, as well as possible reductions in final product quality if we were pushed to meet the original deadline.
I discussed my thoughts with my manager, providing an overview of the potential negative impacts of the change based on data. While they choose to move forward with the feature, the data I provided did cause my manager to rethink the original timeline. In the end, the team was given an extended deadline, reducing some of the strain and giving us the ability to deliver a high-quality result.
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How To Nail Your Next Tech Interview
Apple is the world’s largest tech company by market cap. A major driver of Appleâs success is its carefully assembled team of world-class engineering talent. Apple interview questions are specially designed to find and hire only the best software engineers. This is why Appleâs technical interviews are considered the hardest and the most unique among all FAANG interviews.
Infamous for its secrecy, Apple keeps its hiring and interviewing process under tight wraps, making it hard to know what type of Apple interview questions to expect at an Apple technical interview. Employees are dissuaded from revealing details about the interview process, even under total anonymity on popular review portals. This allows Apple to assess candidates on the basis of their actual skills and knowledge as opposed to candidates who try to game the interview process by preparing only on expected Apple interview questions.
Having trained over 13,500 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Our alums consistently land offers from FAANG+ companies. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $1.267 Million!
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How To Prepare For The Apple Engineering Manager Interview
If you have an upcoming engineering manager interview at Apple, implementing the following tips will help you give your best shot at landing that coveted offer.
- Commence your prep at least 10 weeks before the interview. That way, youâll have sufficient time to cover all the important topics.
- Solve at least one coding problem a day, understand patterns in problems and use analogous power patterns to solve new problems.
- Allocate more time to prepare for the systems design and behavioral rounds as these interviews carry higher importance for engineering management positions.
- Practice mock interviews with expert instructors who are employed as hiring managers and technical leads at FAANG companies to hone your interviewing skills and overhaul areas that need improvement.
- Prepare a good project portfolio that highlights the important projects youâve worked on in the STAR format to give interviewers context and clarity. A good project portfolio can make a great impact at the interview.
- Think out loud during the interview and discuss solution paths with the interviewer to give them a window into your thoughts.
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Project Manager Interview Questions #: Have You Ever Failed In A Project Do You Have Experience Handling Failures
Success and failures, these are inevitable facts of life and your professional career as well. It would not be wise to answer, No, I never failed in a project. This will not be received positively in your evaluation.
Actually, this project manager interview question assesses your risk management experience. Therefore, think of an event, meeting, activity, or a moment in a project where you had trouble. Then, answer this question accordingly.
The following can be a good sample answer to this question:
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If you look at the answer, the first part lists the steps the candidate took as the project manager by completing post-deployment tests to identify any failures. The second part highlights the severity of the issue. The last part highlights how the candidate resolved the setback.
Until You’ve Mastered These 50 Questions
Glassdoor has a page dedicated to Apple, and individuals who have interviewed at Apple give a review on their experience. This often includes specifics as to what problems, or at least, what types of problems they were asked during their interview.
After parsing through over one hundred interview experiences from Glassdoor for Apple, I obtained the following distribution of the types of problems that were generally encountered in an Apple interview.
For a bit more granularity, I also took these larger categories and broke them down into smaller subcategories. For instance, instead of grouping Graphs/Trees together into one item, I broke it down into more specific and separate Graphs and Trees categories. The corresponding graph is shown below:
From both of these graphs, its clear that Apple really favors the following topics:
Protip: Apple generally only asks system design questions to candidates with at least 3-5 years of software engineering experience.
One of the observations I made in parsing through this data is that there were recurrent specific problems and topics that arose in all three of these subcategories.
Lets break each of these down. That way, youll be able to focus on the most likely categories, as well as the most likely specific problems, you may encounter in an Apple interview.
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Good Questions To Ask At The End Of An Apple Interview
When the sun begins to set on your interview, itll be time for you to get in a few questions of your own. Having a few at the ready is a must. Why? Because, if you dont have anything to ask, you might not seem enthusiastic or engaged. Yikes, right?
Wanting to know more is a sign that youre really interested in the job. While you can certainly ask questions on the fly if something comes to mind as you progress through the interview, it doesnt hurt to have a few in your back pocket. If you dont know where to begin, here are five that can do the trick.
Explain Your Favorite Apple Product Or Device
Objective: To uncover your knowledge of Appleâs products and devices.
In answering this Apple interview question, mention different Apple products that you use or like but zero in on a product that you like the most. Elaborate on its key features, the technology used, and product benefits. Also, mention advantages over similar competing products and what makes it such a big draw in innovation, functionality, or design.
Try to draw a connection between your interest in Apple products and your own tech skills. Highlight how you can contribute to developing products at Apple.
Project Manager Interview Question #1: What Are The Three Words That Describe You Best
This is actually a cliché interview question generally asked by human resources personnel. This shows hints about your personality and how your colleagues think about you in the work environment.
Hint: Do not risk your next PM Job Interview! Attend PM Mock Interview sessions, see how you perform, and improve your PM interview skills.
When answering this project manager interview question, try to remember your positive attitudes and what your colleagues say about your work behavior.
The following can be a good sample answer to this interview question.
The project manager candidate answers the three words that best describe him. Then, he gives examples and justifications for each word.
Project Manager Interview Questions #: How Do You Monitor And Determine A Projects Progress
This project manager interview question is about project management methodologies and project management processes. It will assess your monitoring and controlling skills and your familiarity with project management tools. The primary responsibility of the project manager is to complete a project scope on time and within budget in the agreed-to quality levels. To do this, a project manager must use his or her skills and key project management tools.
The following can be a good sample answer for this project manager interview question.
This answer shows the technical knowledge of the project manager candidate. Because he uses baseline and issue log terms. The answer also provides solid samples on how to monitor and control a project like taking baseline and comparing actual values against the baseline.
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Pm Interview Question #1: You Managed The Project Work As Per Requirements However The Customer Is Not Happy With The Result And Does Not Accept The Product How Would You Convince The Customer
This situation is very common and tough to deal with in project management. Although you delivered the project scope as agreed with the customer at the beginning of the project, the customer may not accept the product at the end of the project.
This project manager interview question assesses your persuasion and communication skills.
This interview question requires you to demonstrate your understanding of project scope and how your end product aligned with the customers intention. When a customer doesnt accept a product, typically they may feel that the end product doesnt meet the intended purpose. It is important to re-establish trust with the customer and assure the customer that you want to resolve his or her concerns with the delivered product.
The following is a sample answer to this question.
The project manager candidate must approach the question on conflict with calmness and clear logic. After convincing the customer that the new requirement was not in the project scope, he proposes that they can deliver this feature in one month as a change request. Therefore, he demonstrates his ability to propose options to resolve the customer concern with clear results.
Learn A Consistent Method For Answering Pm Interview Questions
As mentioned previously, Apple will ask you questions that fall into certain categories like behavioral, design, strategy, estimation, and metric questions. Approaching each question with a predefined method will enable you to build strong interview habits.
Then, when it comes time for your interviews, these habits will reduce your stress and help you to make a great impression.
If youre just looking for a jumping-off point, you can start learning about the different question types youll need to master in the following blog articles:
Alternatively, if youre looking for more guidance on what to focus on for TikTok interviews, then we recommend signing up to the product manager interview course. Youll learn the relevant methods over the course of six detailed lessons, each with its own actionable to-do list to keep you on track.
Once you understand how to answer each question type, you also need to be able to communicate your answers clearly, under the pressure of interview conditions. Thats where practice comes into play.
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