Congratulations! You have an interview to become an engineering manager. That’s great news. There’s just one problem – interviewing to become an engineering manager is probably going to be quite a bit different from your previous interviews.
Here are 15 common engineering manager interview questions every candidate should prepare for. If you thoughtfully consider them and have good answers for each, you’ll be well on your way to nailing the interview.
These questions are among the most basic, but can still be very hard to answer if you’re not prepared for them. Be sure to know your resume and cover letter inside and out. I find it helps to think of your career as a series of short “stories.”
In addition, this is a golden opportunity to really put your best foot forward. Take control of the interview, delving into what you think is most relevant to the job. Take this opportunity to connect them to your strengths.
If you think of your interview as a movie, this is the trailer meant to get people excited about going to see the movie.
These questions probe how interested you are in the role and how hard you worked to learn more about it. It’s also an indirect gauge of how your previous experience has helped you to understand what the role requires. If you’re able to glean interesting insights from the job posting that others can’t, interviewers will notice that.
When I interview someone for a position, I want to know how invested they are in getting the job. I want someone who’s eager. A good way to parse that out is to determine whether they’ve done their homework or not, and it’s these kinds of questions that I use to determine just that.
Behavioral questions are very common for engineering management interviews. These questions demand that you be quick on your feet. Again, it’s important to remember your stories and to be able to draw from them to apply them to the question at hand.
If you know your stories, you likely don’t need to imagine what you would do in a given situation, you can discuss what you really did do and how you might do things differently in the future given what you’ve learned from your experience.
One useful framework that I’ve learned for answering questions like these is called STAR:
When answering behavioral questions, try hard to:
With this approach, you clearly define what happened and how you personally contributed to its resolution.
When going into an interview, it’s important to consider what you want to learn from the employer and the things you want them to learn about you.
In the past, I’ve gone as far as bringing lists of things to learn and communicate into an interview and crossing things off as they were discussed. This is important because in the end, you’ll get a critical opportunity to deal with any items you haven’t yet crossed off.
It’s likely that the engineering manager interview questions you face will be different from anything else you’ve experienced before. If you go into your interview prepared to answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to taking the next big step in your career.
Finally, before starting salary negotiations in an engineering manager interview, be sure to check out:
Originally written by Patrick Sweet in April 2019. Update by the Hired Content team in October 2023.
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