The Top 30 Engineering Manager Interview Questions of 2021

Do you love shipping great products and growing others ? If thus, you might thrive as an mastermind director. Exciting – until you consider the oscilloscope of the interview. To help, we ‘ve compiled a list of the top 30 EM consultation questions you ‘ll probable run into, accomplished with sample answers. Do you get like gratification from shipping big products and growing others ? If indeed, you might thrive as an engineering manager. This career way is capital for those who are technically dispose but who besides love people, processes, and project management. All of this is exciting … until you consider just how much grind an EM consultation has to cover. As with all technical/managerial roles, an engineer coach ‘s job will vary across companies and teams.

This uncertainty adds a lot of ( supernumerary ) anxiety to interview homework. As a solution, we ‘ve spoken to many aspiring mastermind managers, current technology managers, and even directors/VPs of technology about what the engineering coach interview questions to expect. We can assure you – practice a few key question categories, and you will be able to ace this interview.

Complete EM Interview Prep Course

Learn to ace the engineer management interview work from start to finish with hardheaded examples and strategies from lead managers. Covers management skills, project presentations, and system design. Start Learning We’ve compiled this list of the top 30 engineering manager interview questions you’ll likely run into. Of course, a number of questions is n’t necessarily helpful. So we ‘ve categorized them by type and given steering on what ‘s expected of you with each engineering director interview question. Our handy mini-guide will give you the benchmarks to test your cognition no matter the company ‘s questions (Technical, System Design, People Management, Recruitment, or Hiring). But first base, orient yourself. We recommend watching this video sit-down with Dave Rensin, early Google Engineering Director and Pendo VP. He talks through his opinion march when hiring engineer managers and what makes a standout candidate. When you ‘re done, review the below tilt of questions to get a sense of what ‘ll be asked. The breakdown below offers some tips on answering each interrogate category and what ‘s being assessed. Armed with context, example answers, and lots and lots of practice, you ‘ve got this !


  1. How would you handle poor performers on your team? Watch our answer to this question here.
  2. What’s the project you’re most proud of? Watch our co-founder answer this question here.
  3. How do you structure 1:1s? Watch our expert answer here.
  4. How would you build a high-performance engineering team? Watch a sample answer to this question here.
  5. How do you coach and develop your engineering team? Watch our answer to this question here.
  6. Tell me about the most complex project you’ve worked on. Watch our expert answer to this question here.
  7. Talk about your best and worst performing teams. Watch an answer to this question here.
  8. What do you look for when screening resumes? Watch an answer to this question here.
  9. How do you build credibility with new reports on a team you haven’t built yourself? Watch an expert answer this question here.
  10. How do you set goals for your engineering team? Watch a sample answer to this question here.
  11. What product that you led are you most proud of and why? Watch our co-founder answer this question here.
  12. Can you give me an example of how you manage conflict?
  13. What would you do in a case where you disagree with your manager?
  14. How do you manage difficult conversations?
  15. What is the most difficult employee situation you have handled well? How about not-so-well?

Behavioral Interview Prep Course

here ‘s how to answer behavioral consultation questions that ask about your experience and conjectural scenarios. Start Learning

Technical / System Design

note that it ‘s relatively rare for roles like engineering management or technical program management to face coding rounds in an interview, but it can happen ! If you ‘re actively interview, check with your recruiter as to what to expect .

  1. How would you design a relational schema for a calendar application? Watch an answer to this question here.
  2. Design a typeahead box for a search engine. Watch an answer to this question here.
  3. Design a reservation and payment system for a parking garage. Watch an expert answer this question here.
  4. How would you build TinyURL? Watch our co-founder answer this question here.
  5. Design Twitter’s API. Watch our co-founders tackle this question together here.
  6. Design Facebook Messenger. Watch an expert answer to this question here.
  7. Design AirBnB Search. Watch a sample answer to this question here.
  8. Design a service that supports uploading and tagging images to a travel site.
  9. How would you design end-to-end user onboarding for an app?
  10. Design Amazon’s Kindle payment system
  11. How does Alexa process voice commands?
  12. Design Reddit’s homepage. Watch an answer to this question here.
  13. Design a cache controller.
  14. Design a web crawler.
  15. Design Dropbox. Watch an answer to this question here.

👨‍💻 For more system design interview questions, chatter here .

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Learn how to answer system design questions with in-depth television examples and fundamental concepts. Unlock all entree for $ 12 / month

Closer Look at the Types of Engineering Manager Interview Questions

As you can see from our top 30 list, mastermind director interviews fall into two broad categories : behavioral and technical. however, there are many sub-categories within these groups you should have a solid grip on before your EM interview .

People Management

Illustration by Anna Golde from Ouch! first and foremost, technology managers are managers and team leaders. The most efficient and fat teams are highly collaborative and proactive and officiate well within the larger corporate culture. build and maintaining such groups falls upon the mastermind coach stead when it comes to the engineering department. There ‘s no deny that building bang-up technology teams is no minor feat. It takes leadership skills. What the interview assesses

“ People skills ” or “ leadership ” are intricate qualities to define, and each company is different, but the dimensions most normally assessed are :

  • Ability to manage in all directions: Managing your team is a given. Still, you’ll also need to manage up to your bosses, company leadership, cross-functional partners, and other EMs. Are you able to effectively alter your communication to different audiences? Are you able to represent your team’s interest?
  • Communication skills: Can you cut through the noise to give your team direction and support? Are you able to effectively communicate why the work you do is important? Can you take that knowledge and motivate a team?
  • Culture fit: Do you embody company values? Are you open to feedback and differing perspectives to get things done? Can you help resolve conflict?

Managing Individuals

While engineering managers will undoubtedly be asked behavioral questions about their team management vogue, they will besides be asked how they manage individuals. These questions will investigate how candidates would manage their daily responsibilities as EM. Aspiring engineering managers can ask questions such as “ What is your position around using 1:1s with the team ? or “ How do you coach and develop an underperform team member ? ” The most successful answers to these questions can demonstrate a thorough cognition of individual and team dynamics and your competence in navigating them .

Performance Management

At the goal of the day, as is the lawsuit for every coach, as an technology director, you are merely equally good as the productiveness of the team you lead. It is the province of the EM to manage the performance of their teams. This means ensuring that each member actualizes their entire potential and providing proper coach or feedback to help them get there. unfortunately, many managers struggle with managing their team ‘s performance without micro-managing or other alienating managerial behavior. Hiring managers know this, so they ask many performance management behavioral questions to evaluate your abilities. Performance management questions normally are of one of two categories :

  • Structure and processes. This refers to your methods for measuring and improving team performance.
  • Handling difficult situations. These questions focused on your experience in handling challenging performance scenarios. This may include questions about coaching poor performers or even firing team members.

The most successful candidates can demonstrate that they have experience monitor and improving their team ‘s performance over time. however, hiring managers besides want to see that candidates can proactively recognize the signs of poor performance and efficaciously handle them as they occur .

Recruitment and Hiring

engineering managers are team-builders and typically hiring managers. consequently, expect behavioral interview questions surrounding the recruitment and lease work. Hiring managers much have the final say about who joins the company – a huge province. Recruitment and hiring questions are designed to evaluate how you screen potential candidates, interview applicants, and present likely hires to amphetamine management. The most successful answers to these questions can demonstrate a exhaustive cognition of the distinct steps of the hiring funnel .

Cross-Functional Collaboration

No team, engineering or otherwise, is an island. Each is a single contribution of a august whole. As an mastermind director, you are the boldness and representative of that group to the full. It will be separate of your responsibilities to interact with the product, design, and engineering teams involved in your team ‘s daily execution. This kind of communication is frequently referred to as cross-functional collaboration. Because this kind of clientele communication can be much more building complex and nuanced, EM candidates will be asked behavioral questions focused on cross-functional collaboration. by and large, you ‘ll be assessed on :

  • Your ability to communicate effectively with different stakeholders, including PMs, designers, support reps, and even marketing and sales. As an EM, you’ll also report to higher-ups. Each of these groups may require a different approach to get your message across.
  • Judgment. EMs receive requests constantly. You’ll need to evaluate your team’s bandwidth on the fly and often say no. It’s essential to intuit what information is required to make these decisions and how to ask for it tactfully.
  • Conflict resolution. Disagreements and miscommunications will happen. Dealing with this gracefully and effectively is key for an EM.

Project Retrospectives

As an mastermind coach, you ‘ll be expected to plan and deliver complex engineering projects alongside engineers, intersection stakeholders, and other managers. The EM interview questions that assess these skills are project retrospectives or technical deep-dives. These are typically colloquial consultation questions where candidates have a deep discussion surrounding a technical project they have immediately been involved with during their previous experience. These questions can vary widely depending on the company. For exemplify :

  • Amazon requires candidates to submit a 1-2 page written assignment before arriving at the on-site interview. The assignment is usually a question like, “Tell me about the project you’re most proud of.”
  • Stripe wants its candidates to provide a presentation on a recent project.
  • Dropbox includes a full hour-long round for its candidates’ project retrospectives.

System Design

Geom by Anna Golde While mastermind management is obviously a director function, it is still basically a technical foul character. however, being an EM typically means your technical responsibilities will be a bigger word picture than they were as a software engineer, for exercise. ultimately, your primary mastermind focus will be on system plan preferably than coding. For the most successful strategic decision-making, you will need to know how circulate systems operate – how each person component processes information, communicates, and scales. Without such an understand of the high-level see of the system plan of your team ‘s technical foul project, your ability to make decisions will be reactive at best. You should expect many system design questions like the ones we included in our tilt during the technical rounds of your EM interviews. We know that these questions can be very intimidating for many EM candidates. So we developed an consultation homework course focused entirely on System Design. Check it out here .

More Engineering Management Interview Prep

Nothing beats actual drill when it comes to mastermind management consultation homework. technical school companies these days have an abundance of potential engineering talent to choose from. fortunately, there are dozens of resources on Exponent to help you drill for your upcoming mastermind director interviews : 💬 Get prepared with case EM consultation questions 📖 Read through our Engineering Management interview guides

👯‍♂️ Practice your behavioral and arrangement design skills with our interview practice instrument. 👨‍🎓 Take our complete Engineering Management interview course.

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