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6 real-life engineering manager interview questions

An Engineering Manager plays a pivotal role in leading technical teams, ensuring project success, and bridging the gap between technical and non-technical stakeholders. Here are six insightful interview questions tailored for aspiring Engineering Managers.

Content team
Content team

Content manager Keith MacKenzie and content specialist Alex Pantelakis bring their HR & employment expertise to Resources.

These engineering manager interview questions are directly sourced from real hiring managers and they are ready to use.

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6 good engineering manager interview questions

  1. Can you create this XYZ android app?
  2. What is the value of one-on-ones with your reports?
  3. Design a typeahead box for a search engine.
  4. Describe the most technically complex project that you have worked on and why it was complex.
  5. How do you communicate technical project needs with non-technical teams?
  6. What project that you led are you most proud of and why?

Here are 6 essential interview questions with sample answers to help you identify the best candidates for this role.

1. Can you create this XYZ android app?

This question assesses the candidate’s hands-on coding skills and their ability to handle real-time technical evaluations.

An interviewee shared the following:

“Companies asked me to build an Android application from scratch (usually something simple like an app that displays the most-viewed movies in the U.S. on a given day). Then, they reviewed my code. If interested, I’d have a final round interview in which we discussed the technical decisions I made while building the app. Sometimes, they’d ask me to do a bit of live coding as well to add a feature or two to the app.”

2. What is the value of one-on-ones with your reports?

One-on-ones are crucial for understanding team members’ challenges, providing feedback, and ensuring alignment with company goals.

Sample answer:

“One-on-ones are invaluable. They offer a dedicated space for open dialogue, addressing concerns, and fostering a deeper understanding between me and my team members.”

3. Design a typeahead box for a search engine.

This question gauges the candidate’s UX and product design skills.

Sample answer:

“A typeahead box should be responsive, offer real-time suggestions based on popular searches and user history, and have a simple yet intuitive design to enhance user experience.”

4. Describe the most technically complex project that you have worked on and why it was complex.

This delves into the candidate’s experience with challenging projects and their problem-solving skills.

Sample answer:

“I once led a project integrating multiple legacy systems into a new platform. The complexity lay in ensuring data integrity, managing system downtimes, and training the team on the new platform.”

5. How do you communicate technical project needs with non-technical teams?

Effective communication is key to ensuring everyone is on the same page.

Sample answer:

“I break down technical jargon into simple terms, use analogies, and often rely on visuals or diagrams. It’s essential to ensure that non-technical stakeholders understand the project’s scope and requirements.”

6. What project that you led are you most proud of and why?

This question seeks insight into the candidate’s leadership and project management skills.

Sample answer:

“I’m most proud of a cloud migration project I led. Despite initial resistance and challenges, we successfully migrated with minimal downtime, and the company saw a 40% increase in system efficiency.”

What does a good Engineering Manager candidate look like?

An ideal Engineering Manager is technically proficient, possesses strong leadership and communication skills, understands team dynamics, and can effectively liaise between technical and non-technical stakeholders.

Red flags

Be cautious of candidates who lack technical knowledge, avoid discussing failures, don’t prioritize team growth, or can’t communicate technical concepts simply.

Frequently asked questions

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