Sunday, May 12, 2024

How To Prepare For Engineering Manager Interview

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Of Your Job Involves Promoting Talents When And How Does This Happen

Engineering manager interview – common questions and how to prepare

I believe that promoting an employee should be done based on his/ her previous performance on the job and the expected future performance. I therefore only promote employees who have performed well and show prospects for better future performances.

To answer the how, I use the Peter Principle, which guides that an employee should be tested on the new job before getting the position.

Engineering Interview Questions To Help You Prepare

Before going to an engineering interview, it may be helpful to know what type of questions the hiring manager may ask. Being prepared before you go will keep your confidence level high and give you a better chance of securing the job. Its wise to research the company before the interview and take your resume and notes with you.

In this article, we list common questions that are asked at engineering interviews, along with several sample answers.


  • How would you describe yourself?

  • What makes you unique?

  • Why do you want to work here?

  • What interests you about this role?

  • What motivates you?

  • What are you passionate about?

  • Why are you leaving your current job?

  • What are your greatest strengths?

  • What are your greatest weaknesses?

  • What Interviews To Expect

  • Resume, cover letter, referrals
  • First-round: 1 or 2 phone interviews
  • Onsite: 5 or 6 interviews
  • Let’s take a look at each of those steps in a bit more detail.

    2.1.1 HR recruiter phone screen

    In most cases, you’ll start your interview process by talking to an HR recruiter on the phone. They are looking to confirm that you’ve got a chance of getting the job at all, so be prepared to explain your background and why youre a good fit at the company. You should expect typical behavioral and resume questions like, “Tell me about yourself”,””, or “Tell me about your current day-to-day.”

    If you get past this first HR screen, the recruiter will then help schedule a first-round interview. At this time, theyll also walk you through the next steps in the hiring process and theyll likely share some company resources to help you prepare.

    2.1.2 First-round interview

    If you get past the HR screen, youll make it to the first-round interview stage, where youll have one or two phone interviews.

    The type of questions youll face at this stage depends on which company youre applying to. Google tend to use the first-round interview as a technical screen for engineering managers, while Facebook and Amazon tend to focus on behavioral questions.

    2.1.3 Onsite

    Given the Covid-19 pandemic, your onsite interviews will likely be conducted virtually. You can ask your recruiter for the latest information on their Covid-19 adjustments.

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    You’re The Captain Of A Pirate Ship And Your Crew Gets To Vote On How The Gold Is Divided Up If Fewer Than Half Of The Pirates Agree With You You Die How Do You Recommend Apportioning The Gold In Such A Way That You Get A Good Share Of The Booty But Still Survive

    In my finest pirate, I would tell the interviewer:”First I’d take me crew and split dem in half. If der is an odd number of crew, I throw one land-lover overboard to even dem out. I tells each group of drunken landlovers to converse only amongst dem selves and propose to der captain how they would like to divi up de booty. Der dear captain will then choose his favorite proposal.”Then I would explain:”This will put both groups in competition with each other to create a proposal I will vote for. Since both groups are exactly half my crew which ever proposal I choose I will still live either way. By keeping the groups separated from each other, neither group will be able to know how much booty the other is offering me, so they will want to make certain that their offer is higher. It turns their greed into my favor.”Less

    I fire all pirates but one. Propose sharing the least valued gold coin with my only crew member. I’m also a pirate and part of the crew so my positive vote is enough.Ps. Fired crew members keep their salaries and remain on the ship, just enjoying the trip as tourists.Less

    + Great Engineering Manager Interview Questions And Answers

    How to Prepare for Product Manager (PM) Interviews ...

    As an engineering manager, you have the responsibility of managing people, projects, and processes related to the creation and maintenance of products and services.

    It’s a big responsibility and companies want to make sure they hire the right person for the position.

    These are the most commonly asked questions at companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, and other tech companies. Most of these questions apply to other industries too.

    Read Also: Best System Design Interview Prep

    Engineering Manager Interview Questions

    As mentioned, engineering manager interview questions can vary widely from company to company. Here’s a list of questions we’ve seen most frequently asked at tech companies.

    Managing Individuals

    • How do you handle poor performers?
    • How would you describe your role in coaching and career development?
    • Tell me about a few people on your team and the career development plans you created with them.

    Recruitment and Hiring

    • How do you recruit great engineers? Read our guide to recruiting and hiring.
    • How would you build up a pipeline of world-class candidates?
    • What frameworks and processes have you set up on your teams to hit hiring goals?
    • What do you look for when you screen resumes?
    • What questions do you ask candidates who want to join your team?

    Management and Team Execution

    • How do you set up projects for success? See how to talk about project success.
    • How do you balance feature development and technical debt? Read our example answer.
    • How would you create quarterly OKRs for your team? See our recommended approach.
    • Tell me about a time you had to lead a team through a re-organization.
    • Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.
    • Tell me about a time you received guidance from your manager and had to get buy in from your team.
    • What do you do when a team completely disagrees with the founder/VP on the direction of a product?

    Cross-functional Communication

    System Design

    A Test Of Your Critical Thinking

    Critical thinking means something slightly different to every engineering manager, but one thing always holds true: they want you to prove that you can be the voice of the business, product, and user.

    With advanced critical thinking skills, youre more likely to create trust between the engineering and product teams. And with that, you take a lot of work off the engineering managers plate.

    For example, Netflix loves to ask questions like this:

    You are the PM for a streaming video service. You come into the office and see that one key metric has dropped by 80%. What will you do?

    You have to prove to the interviewer that you can quickly and efficiently analyze and evaluate a variety of situations.

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    Questions You Shouldnt Ask Engineering Managersinan Interview

    1. What will my compensation be?

    2. Whats your bonus plan look like?

    3. How do I request days off?

    4. Can I work from home if I want?

    5. How long does it take to get promoted here?

    6. What type of benefits do you offer?

    7. Is it ok to be late sometimes for work?

    8. Is a drug test required to get the job?

    9. Does this job have any special perks?

    10. How many vacation days do I get a year?

    11. How often do people get raises here?

    When interviewing with an engineering manager you should never ask about benefits, compensation, or other perks. Save those questions for when an offer is made or if negotiations have started.

    If you are working with an engineering recruiter its best to have them negotiate the compensation and benefits package for you as they will act as a go-between the two sides.

    A good recruiter will frame and negotiate benefits package requirements in a way that will not offend the employer and aim to get you the best offer possible.

    What Exactly Is Google Looking For

    Engineering Manager Interview Questions and ANSWERS! | (PASS your Engineering Management Interview!)

    At the end of each interview your interviewer will grade your performance using a standardised feedback form that summarizes the attributes Google looks for in a candidate. That form is constantly evolving, but below we have listed the main components we know of at the time of writing this article.

    A) Questions asked

    In the first section of the form the interviewer fills in the questions they asked you. These questions are then shared with your future interviewers so you don’t get asked the same questions twice.

    B) Attribute scoring

    Each interviewer will assess you on the four main attributes Google looks for when hiring:

  • General cognitive ability. This is often referred to as “GCA” by Googlers.The company wants to hire smart engineers who can learn and adapt to new situations. Here your interviewer will try to understand how you solve hard problems and how you learn.
  • Role-related knowledge and experience. This is often referred to as “RRK” or “RRKE” internally.The company wants to make sure that you have the right experience, domain expertise and competencies for the position you’re applying for. For instance, if you’re applying for a “Engineering Manager – Mobile” position, then you’ll be expected to have in-depth knowledge about mobile.
  • In this middle section, Google’s interviewers typically repeat the questions they asked you, document your answers in detail, and give you a score for each attribute .

    C) Final recommendation

    Also Check: What Should Females Wear To A Job Interview

    Brainstorm 3 Solutions Explain Tradeoffs And Recommend One

    Now its time to show your creativity. Think about the problems that your users are facing, as well as your business goal. How can you use the problem and optimize your goal? The is to be as creative as possible.

    Some creative ideas for the alarm clock for blind people might include:

    • Wrist band that has voice recognition and vibrates to wake up user
    • Ear piece that is modified as an alarm clock
    • Modification to the bed
    • IoT device with Alexa/Google Assistant integration

    After you list your creative ideas, then you should explain the tradeoffs of each approach and select one solution as the recommended one.

    IMPORTANT: It is super helpful to have some backup creative ideas that work with multiple problems, in case you cannot think of something exciting during the interview. The following ideas might be helpful:

    • IoT device
    • Machine Learning

    Prepare For System Design Interviews

    System design interviews are often asked in the engineering manager interview process, and require a different type of preparation than the people management interviews. These interviews often are in the format of “Design X” where you’ll be asked to discuss a technical implementation for a software product and consider trade-offs in building it.

    For each system you design in the interview, consider how it affects the following aspects:

    • Scalability: a system is scalable if it is designed so that it can handle additional load and will still operate efficiently.
    • Reliability: a system is reliable if it can perform the function as expected, it can tolerate user mistakes, is good enough for the required use case, and it also prevents unauthorized access or abuse.
    • Availability: a system is available if it is able to perform its functionality . Note reliability and availability are related but not the same. Reliability implies availability but availability does not imply reliability.
    • Efficiency: a system is efficient if it is able to perform its functionality quickly. Latency, response time and bandwidth are all relevant metrics to measuring system efficiency.
    • Maintainability: a system is maintainable if it easy to make operate smoothly, simple for new engineers to understand, and easy to modify for unanticipated use cases.

    Review some of the system design fundamentals in our system design interview prep course to be fully prepared to ace these questions.

    Recommended Reading: Interview Questions To Ask A Cfo

    What Do Engineering Managers Want In An Ideal Product Manager

    Lets first establish an understanding of what an engineering manager does.

    An engineering manager is responsible for the following:

  • Guiding her engineering team to execute at high velocity and deliver with high quality
  • Establishing a safe, inclusive, and motivating culture that enables each engineer to develop a satisfying career
  • Identifying engineering constraints and tradeoffs for the business to consider
  • Leveling up the technical foundation of the product, and ensuring that the product can quickly evolve to meet business needs and customer needs
  • Imagine the scenario where an engineering manager is paired with a bad product manager. This is what happens:

  • A bad product manager creates uncertainty and confusion, which means that the engineering team cannot execute at high velocity and fails to deliver key use cases
  • A bad product manager damages the engineering culture, which causes morale to drop and causes key engineering talent to leave the
  • A bad product manager ignores or fails to understand key constraints and tradeoffs, causing the business to fall prey to bugs, performance issues, bad user experiences, and missed deadlines
  • A bad product manager fails to provide insight into the future of the product, causing the technical foundation to grow in the wrong direction
  • In other words, a bad product manager makes the engineering manager look bad.

    What kind of product managers would I be most afraid of, if I were the engineering manager?

    Describe Your Daily Routine As An Engineering Manager

    How to Prepare for Technical Program Manager (TPM ...

    My daily routine as an engineering manager revolves around keeping track of all the projects and prioritization to ensure that the most important tasks do not lag. Part of my routine also involves planning ahead for the teams, ensuring that no individual is overworked.

    I conduct team meetings when necessary, which helps me in progress tracking. I also contain emergencies and, depending on the situation, do hands-on tasks.

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    How Would You Develop Tech Leads If There Arent Any On Your Team

    Id develop them by giving every engineering the room to develop their unique strengths. I think that, without understanding every individual and what makes them so good at their job, its tough to nurture tech leads from engineers. It goes without saying that when I notice that someone is showing potential. Id speak with upper management about allocating a budget to invest in their education even more. Both on tech and communication.

    Working With Tech Leads And Technology

    • What is the role of a tech lead?
    • What is the relationship between the engineering manager and tech lead?
    • What if all your team is new and junior and you dont have a tech lead? What if no one on your team wants to be a tech lead, or do the things tech leads do?
    • How do you grow and develop tech leads?
    • Have you ever disagreed with one of your tech leads?
    • What do you do, or say, if one of your engineers is really pushing hard for a new sexy technology ?
    • How do you ensure quality and keep a lid on tech debt?
    • How do you establish ownership in your teams?

    Recommended Reading: Top 10 Behavioral Questions

    How Do You Plan To Integrate Team Building Into The Workplace

    Successful teams often participate in frequent team building or collaboration activities, and the interviewer may want to know if you have experience developing and hosting similar events. Give examples of how you implemented employee improvement plans, scheduled team events or made team collaboration a regular part of your work schedule.

    Example:”A strong connection within my team is highly important to me, and I frequently plan fun team-building events and engaging training programs to help my team advance. One team-building event I organized in my last role was a zip line obstacle course where we competed in pairs. Throughout the course, though, we would switch partners, giving everyone the opportunity to get to know each other and learn about each other’s strengths.”

    How To Answer Behavioral Questions Using The Star Framework

    How To Become An Engineering Manager

    These types of questions are answered using the STAR framework:

    What happened in the ende.g. you got an award/promotion, the project launched on time and the company earned $XXX In the end, the project launched according to my plan. I got lots of visibility within the VP team and a promotion. Based on conservative estimations by the revenues team, the company saved at least $10M by launching before our competitors.

    Please note the following:

    • Prepare 3-5 answers using the STAR framework before the interview and write them down
    • Your answers should not be longer than 2 minutes
    • Remember to use I instead of we in your answer, because the interviewer is interested on the actions that you took and not on what the team did

    You can find lots of resources about these questions on the internet , so I wont go deeper into these questions. Here are some good links to start with:

    Recommended Reading: Design Interview Preparation

    Describe A Time When You Motivated Someone In Work

    You will for sure get at least one question that refers to motivation. It can be this one, it can be another variation, but in any case, it will come. Now, you shouldnt refer to offering people a raise, or threatening them with punishment, or termination of their contract, if they do not deliver.

    Such incentives never work in a long run, and in the current situation on the employment market, you simply cannot afford to fire a good engineer, just because they struggle with motivation. Because you may not find another one easily

    Focus on some creative ways of motivating people. For example, what works with engineers is keeping them intellectually challenged. Someone struggled with motivation and found their job boring. You assigned them to another team, or presented some challenges that were hard to crack. You gave them tasks that allowed them to unleash their creativity, and to showcase their skills. This helped them to regain motivation.

    Another idea is strengthening the team spirit, or improving the overall atmosphere in the workplace. Leading by example will also work in many cases. Your engineers struggled with motivation, but when they saw your passion, your dedication and commitment, they also started to enjoy their job more.

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