Other Great Engineering Manager Interview Questions And Answers
Those questions above are some of the most common, but here are a few other important interview questions for engineering managers and senior developers:
How Do You Approach Tech Debt
Well, when the possibility of tech debt arises because of the clients expectations. I clearly communicate the reasons behind it to educate them on what we could do better. I understand that clients arent as familiar with technology as my team is, so I relay the advantages and the disadvantages of every suggestion.
Question: What Qualities And Skills Do You Keep In Mind When Hiring A New Developer
Answer: First, I look at the level of experience we need to hire. If Im seeking someone more experienced, Ill see how all my prospects fit those needs. Then, Ill ask about their systems design process. Ill see what their favorite software development tools are and their preferred programming language to make sure we align from a tech perspective. Then Ill gauge their willingness to learn that can be just as important as their current skill set.
Don’t Miss: Java Sample Programs For Interview
Have You Ever Transitioned Between Two Teams That Were Different In Size How Did You Adjust Your Management Style
If your organization comprises several engineering teams different in size, your candidate must be able to manage both bigger and smaller teams. They must therefore know which skills are required to handle each, and the best answers will emphasize how communication will differ between teams.
Especially in a larger team, communication is critical, as it helps engineering managers ensure that all team members are on the same page.
Candidates might mention that communication tools are an essential part of their management style when managing larger teams or that video conferencing tools facilitate the processespecially if the team works remotely.
How To Prepare For An Engineering Manager Interview
Hey there! Engineering Management Interview Course
Engineering manager interviews are some of the toughest in the tech industry. Not only do you need to demonstrate your technical prowess and experience with designing complex systems, you also need to showcase your soft skills in people management.
Unfortunately, engineering manager interviews can often be quite opaque – EM interview questions can range a wide spectrum, and it’s usually unclear what good preparation looks like.
We sat down with engineering manager interviewers from some of the top tech companies including Google, Facebook, Stripe, and more to clarify what’s actually asked in the engineering manager interview and how to prepare.
Read Also: How To Ace Project Manager Interview
Describe A Time Where You Made A Tough Decision When Managing A Team
There are several tough calls that engineering managers face, and decision making is an essential skill. Thats why asking this question is vital: Itll help you understand how your candidates make decisions.
Candidates might mention that they were unsure whether to promote a candidate with exceptional talent but poor soft skills. They might mention that they had to choose carefully when selecting two team members to work together on a project because of a difference in their work styles.
Top responses must explain that the candidate looked at all the information available to make the decision. They must outline that they looked at the track record of engineers when making decisions, besides past outcomes from similar decisions.
They should explain how they assess the pros and cons of each option and be comfortable talking about their decision-making process.
Know The Question Types
The questions you’ll be asked in engineering manager interviews can be boiled down into three broad categories. Here is a breakdown of each type, showing the frequency at which they appeared in the 200+ questions weve analyzed from leading tech companies:
While these make up the general categories of the most common questions, they can be broken down into more specific subcategories. Consult the graphic below for a full breakdown.
In the following section, we’ll dig deeper into the broad categories and each subcategory in order to give you a clearer idea of what questions to expect. We’ll also provide example questions that you can practice with, as well as solutions to check your answers.
These questions come from real interviews that were reported on Glassdoor. We’ve just categorized the questions, and we’ve changed the grammar and phrasing in some places to make them easier to understand.
Also Check: How To Prepare For A Social Work Interview
Question: What Was A Hard Choice You Had To Make In A Previous Position
Answer: Early in my software engineering career, I had to choose whether to ask for more time to complete a project. I knew that for the project to be successful, there were some unexpected roadblocks to overcome.
Instead of keeping it to myself and delivering a result I wasnt proud of, I spoke with my manager. I broke down the roadblocks, asked for advice, and proposed a solution. My manager appreciated the communication, and the final project wowed our stakeholders. I tell this story to all my team members so they know they arent working alone they have a team for a reason.
What Are You Looking For In Your Next Role
When it comes to hiring, one of the most important factors is who is the best fit for the role. In the event that your stated goals do not align with what the company is looking for, you will probably be out of the running. The answer you give will also aid the interviewer in determining whether the job you are applying for is a good fit for your skills and interests.
- Describe the skills that you have that would be valuable in the role you’re interviewing for.
- Describe what you are good at and what you enjoy.
- Be sure to research the company and the career path that you may forge there prior to the job interview.
Recommended Reading: What Type Of Questions Do They Ask In An Interview
When Working With Product Or Project Managers Have You Disagreed With Task Prioritization How Did You Resolve This
Typically when an engineering manager is asked to give a high-level estimate for how long tasks will take, they should take into account whatever prioritization the product or project manager has in mind. They should then communicate this to their team, and assign appropriate resources .
During the course of a project, however, there will be times when the prioritization of tasks needs to change, e.g. in response to:
- New bugs being discovered
- Users giving feedback on features
- DevOps/server administration issues
The engineering manager candidate should be able to come up with prioritization examples from their past experiences in the industry. For example, their team could have been working on a few features when the sales team tried to bump up the priority of other features. How did the candidate manage to resolve the situation and communicate the consequences of changing task priority?
From here you can explore other questions about task prioritization and communication across the organization. For instance, lets say the candidate has some job experience at a consultancy. You can ask if theyve been exposed to a client trying to regularly shift priorities and disrupt the daily stand up into a sprint planning session.
The goal of this question is to dig into the candidates past experience and understand their communication skills, including how they deal with challenges and obstacles. You also want to know how they handle constantly shifting priorities.
Which Stage Should You Use Engineering Manager Interview Questions
Using the right interview questions is crucial when hiring new employees, especially for management roles. Nevertheless, interviews are very resource intensive, which is why they should be used towards the bottom of your hiring tunnel, and only with a few selected candidates.
One of the best ways to pre-screen candidates is to use skills tests. Ideally, you should have candidates complete a skill assessment before any other part of the hiring process.
The next step would be to analyze the results and invite top performing candidates to an interview. This means that you can filter out candidates efficiently and save time when making a decision.
Based on what you learn about candidates from the test results, youll also be able to come up with interview questions that allow you to gain a more in-depth understanding of their skills.
Read Also: How To Prepare For Data Engineer Interview
Take Ownership Of Your Education
Big Tech interviews are both fairly standard and widely documented. There is a wealth of resources to prepare for the coding interview and a growing pile of systems design resources.
It’s easy to get lost in so much information: which is why you should make a plan on how you will get “interview-ready”.
Create a study plan with topics you want to cover for the interview types you’re expecting to have. Learn the theory, then practice this with practice and exercises where you create something from scratch: implementing a data structure, drawing up a diagram.
There is no shortage of people complaining about the difficult interview process Big Tech has. However, I know of no other industry where you can get a high-paying job with no college degree, no connections: purely through interviews that are fairly standard among the highest paying employers like Netflix, Airbnb, Uber, Facebook, Pinterest, and others.
Tech interviews being “standard” across the Big Tech makes preparing for these a high-leverage activity: study once, interview many times. Once you prepare, just make sure your software engineering resume grabs the attention of the recruiters.
Good luck – and if you are looking for more advice for senior and above interviews, I have some.
Research The Interview Process For Companies
Each company has its own process for interviewing candidates and evaluates candidates along different core values, so do your homework! If you understand the mission and core values of the companies you’re applying to, you’ll not only understand more about the company’s culture and goals, you’ll also be better prepared to demonstrate those values and principles during the interview. We’ve put together an extensive catalog of interview guides that give you an inside look at the interview process and criteria for most tech companies. Here are a few examples:
- Google emphasizes technical competence in their interviews and often asks system design questions.
- interviewers tend to ask about your people skillslike ability to manage conflict or dealing with difficult team members.
Check out our full list of company interview guides here:
Also Check: How To Prepare For Google Coding Interview
Engineering Manager Interview Stages
In general, the engineering manager interview has the following interview stages at most companies:
1. Recruiter screen
In this 30-45min interview, your recruiter will ask questions about your resume, light technical questions to gauge your domain knowledge, and behavioral questions to assess your personality and working style. In general, try to be authentic and genuine, while also showing that you’ve done research on the company and are genuinely excited to work there. We often recommend looking up your interviewer on LinkedIn to understand them a bit better.
2. Manager screen
In this interview, you’ll speak with the hiring manager about your technical skills and domain knowledge . Expect to talk through why you’re the best candidate for the job and how you’d add value to the company.
On-site interviews also vary, but they follow a predictable structure. Typically youll interview for 3-5 hours total with a lunch break midway through. Youll go through many rounds, each 30 – 60 minutes long. EMs may be given a technical screen or coding challenge and complete 1-2 rounds of people management interviews and system design questions. There may be a separate round for a project retrospective. We encourage you to gather as much information as possible about the exact structure from your recruiter, as well as checking our list of EM interview questions that have been recently asked by tech companies.
How Do You Help Engineers Understand The Big Picture Of Their Work
I like to sit down with the engineers and explain the company goals. And how our work is going to play into those goals. The best thing to do is to start from a macro picture. And then determine the appropriate next steps to decipher who does the work and what work is done. Engineers tend to appreciate that level of respect.
Don’t Miss: How To Write Thank You Interview Email
What Is Your Stance On Code Ownership Should It Be Individual
Code ownership is mainly why Im an advocate of teamwork and collaboration. A single engineer cant finish the project, so I believe that there shouldnt be any individual code ownership. However, recognizing individual engineers contribution is necessary, as well as recognizing the teams achievements. This helps everyone feel more satisfied with the project theyve finished, without the need to state code owners explicitly.
How To Pass Partnership Onsite Round
The main objective of this round is to gauge:
- How do you manage relationships with other teams
For you to succeed in this round, you have to prove that you are awesome in establishing a good working relationship with other teams. You MUST prepare below examples:
- Your best relationship with any other team and why it was best
- Your worst experience with other team or manager and why it was the worst and what did you learn from it
You must have examples for both of these situations. If you dont have any, fabricate one. Seriously. Also, the example must be fairly recent. A sweet spot would be to mention something from last one or two years. Again, if you dont have any, make one. I hate to say this but even if you have to add some drama to your story, please do.
Don’t Miss: Grokking The Coding Interview Book
Make Your List Of Engineering Manager Interview Questions To Hire Top Talent
Now its time for you to make your list of engineering manager interview questions!
Remember to always make sure the questions align with your organizations needs and the requirements of the role. Before you interview candidates, though, we advise you to use skills assessments to evaluate the skills of your applicants. This way, youll only spend time interviewing the best ones.
Then, youll be able to learn more about your candidates experiences, skills, and culture fit, and hire an engineering manager effortlessly by using the right engineering manager interview questions.
With TestGorilla, youll find the recruitment process to be simpler, faster, and much more effective. Get started for free today and start making better hiring decisions, faster and bias-free.
Do Not Miss This Crucial Step
Meta will judge you to ensure that you are indeed Meta material. There is a chance that your job description or your company hierarchy works different then what Meta expects .
The only way you can succeed in your interviews is to give them the answers they can relate to and understand.
Even if your org structure is not like Meta, articulate your answer by assuming that your org structure is just like Meta. If you structure your answers with this guideline, there is a very good chance that the interviewer will instantly connect with you and hopefully you will succeed. I know this because I made this mistake in my first interview but I corrected this the second time and cleared all rounds.
You May Like: What To Say In An Interview Thank You Email
How Would You Manage A Team Of 10 Developers And Control The Project’s Progress
An engineering manager must possess the skill of team management. Interviewers ask this question to assess your leadership skills and collaboration skills as well as if you follow a specific approach to your work. Successful engineering managers are aware of their team’s strengths and weaknesses. As well, they are aware of what each developer is good and bad at, so instead of assigning everyone 10 tasks, they prefer that each developer complete one task but do it flawlessly. For example, many developers prefer Agile, while others are drawn to Kanban or other SDLC models.
As part of the performance improvement process, I will draw up a plan to get the engineers on the speed track. Will provide personal, 1-on-1 training when required. As a team, we will discuss progress and value each suggestion. Maintain a balanced team and ensure effective communication. Facilitate teamwork by using all available resources. Engage in team-building and celebration activities on a regular basis.
How Do Tech Leads And Engineering Managers Work Together
In smaller companies, the engineering manager should be the technology leads. However, in big companies, tech leads are responsible for each team’s progress and outcomes. I like to think of them as the spokespeople for each team. Tech leads can help engineering managers understand the people. And the projects theyre managing better. And offer a unique hands-on insight to improve the future system.
You May Like: How To Get Over Interview Anxiety