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What Should You Expect From an Engineering Manager Interview?

Posted on 
March 16, 2022
Swaminathan Iyer
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About The Author!
Swaminathan Iyer
Swaminathan Iyer
Product Manager at Interview Kickstart. The intriguing mind brainstorming ideas day and night for the creation of projects from simple “Hello World” to building strategies and frameworks.

Engineering Manager Interview will test you on many different fronts such as leadership, managerial and technical skills. You must fully prepare if you wish to crack the interview. Facebook engineering manager interviews or ones at Google and other tech giants have a rigorous interview process along with a set of challenging interview questions.

We can understand if you might be unclear about how to proceed since you have so much to cover. To help you plan strategically, let’s first understand the engineering manager interview process and then move to some excellent engineering manager interview questions. 

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready! Also, read Here's What's Missing From Your Software Engineer Resume and How to Communicate Effectively as a Software Engineer for insights and guidance on tech interviews.

Having trained over 11,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Our alums consistently land offers from FAANG+ companies. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $1.267 Million!

At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.

Want to nail your next tech interview? Sign up for our FREE Webinar.

To help you get a sense of what you can expect in your next engineering manager interview, in this article, we’ll cover the following:

Engineering Manager Interview Process

Typically, the engineering manager interview process consists of three stages:

I. Recruiter Screen

The first step in the interview process is a 30-45 mins long phone screening round. Usually, in this round, you can expect light technical questions so that the recruiter can gauge your domain knowledge. Further, there will also be some engineering manager interview questions to see whether you’ll be a cultural fit for the company or not (behavioral questions).

II. Manager Screen

Your technical skills and domain expertise will be assessed in this round. It is also referred to as the technical screen. Going in, be prepared to answer the interview questions in a way that’ll make it clear why you’re the best candidate for the job and how you’ll add value to the company.

III. On-site Interview

Typically, this round consists of 3-5 interviews (the number varies depending on the company you’re applying to). Each interview can take anywhere between 30-60 minutes. Engineering managers might be given a technical screen or coding challenge. They might also have to face 1 or 2 interviews on public management and system design.

Read Facebook Engineering Manager Interview Questions to discover more about engineering manager interview questions.

Types of Engineering Manager Interview Questions Asked

As you’re applying for a managerial role, you’ll need to be prepared to be tested on different fronts. Come up with a strategy that incorporates engineering manager interview questions across different areas and skillsets. 

To simplify it, we’ve categorized them into three categories:

  • Behavioral engineering manager interview questions
  • System design interview questions
  • Coding interview questions

Read Google Engineering Manager Interview Questions to prepare for and answer the interview questions.

Top Engineering Manager Interview Questions to Prepare

Based on the types of engineering manager interview questions given above, we have divided the questions into three lists. Practice these questions to nail your engineering manager interview.

Behavioral Engineering Manager Interview Questions

Q1. Describe the role of an engineering manager.

Q2. What is your process for hiring new engineering talent?

Q3. How do you conduct 1-on-1s with your team members?

Q4. How do you deal with criticism?

Q5. How would you describe your role in coaching and career development?

Q6. Walk us through a time when you had to foresee potential problems and develop preventive measures.

Q7. What do you do when a team completely disagrees with the founder/VP on the direction of a product?

Q8. How do you simplify technical engineering jargon to non-technical team members?

Q9. When a project requires the involvement of multiple departments, how will you go about coordinating them?

Q10. Tell us about a time when you had to conform to a policy you did not agree with.

Engineering Manager Interview Questions on System Design

Q1. How would you go about designing the next Twitter?

Q2. Design a system that reads book reviews from other sources and displays them on your online bookstore.

Q3. How would you design a short URL system?

Q4. Walk me through a time you scaled a system.

Q5. Design Google docs.

Q6. How do you handle calls between clients and REST API services with increased volumes?

Q7. Design Google's database for web indexing.

Q8. How would you design a system that counts the number of clicks on YouTube videos?

Q9. How would you design an in-memory cache for web pages?

Q10. Design a ticketing system.

Engineering Manager Interview Questions on Coding 

Q1. Given the root node of a binary search tree, return the sum of values of all nodes with values between L and R (inclusive).

Q2. If you’re given an encoded string, return its decoded string.

Q3. Given a binary tree, find the maximum path sum. The path may start and end at any node in the tree.

Q4. Given two words (beginWord and endWord) and a dictionary's word list, find the length of the shortest transformation sequence from beginWord to endWord, such that: 

i) Only one letter can be changed at a time and, 

ii) Each transformed word must exist in the word list.

Q5. Your friend is typing his name into a keyboard.  When typing a character c, the key might get long pressed, and the character will be typed one or more times. You examine the typed characters of the keyboard. Return True if it is possible that it was your friend's name, with some characters (possibly none) being long pressed.

Q6. Implement next permutation, which rearranges numbers into the lexicographically next greater permutation of numbers.

Q7. Given a matrix and a target, return the number of non-empty submatrices that sum to the target.

Q8. If you’re given an array for which the ith element is the price of a given stock on day i and you were only permitted to complete at most one transaction (i.e., buy one and sell one share of the stock), design an algorithm to find the maximum profit.

Q9. We have a list of points on the plane.  Find the K closest points to the origin (0, 0).

Q10. Given two arrays, write a function to compute their intersection.

FAQs on Engineering Manager Interview Questions

Q1. What is the role of an engineering manager?

An engineering manager is required to direct, plan, coordinate, as well as supervise the team of engineers under their wing. This further includes juggling product management, people management, and technical knowledge to design products. 

Q2. What are the must-have skills for an engineering manager?

Some of the most vital skills for an engineering manager are — technical knowledge, project management, communication, decision making, and delegation.

Q3. What makes a good engineering manager?

First of all, a good engineering manager should have great communication skills. This helps in people management, conflict resolution, and coordination with different team members. Besides that, good technical skills and a close understanding of the different team members are also critical.

Q4. List some important Facebook engineering manager interview questions.

Some important Facebook engineering manager interview questions are: Why do you want to join Facebook? Tell me about the difficulties you faced in a recent project and how you dealt with them. How would you design Facebook NewsFeed? Group the anagrams in an array of strings.

Q5. What are some important Google engineering manager interview questions?

Some important Google engineering manager interview questions are: Why Google? Talk about a time when you developed and retained team members. Tell me about a project in the past that was behind schedule. Also, talk about some concrete steps to remedy the situation.

Crack Your Next Engineering Manager Interview

If you need help with your prep, join Interview Kickstart’s Engineering Manager Interview Coursethe first-of-its-kind, role-specific tech interview prep program designed and taught by FAANG+ instructors. 

IK is the gold standard in tech interview prep. Our programs include a comprehensive curriculum, proprietary teaching methods, FAANG+ instructors, and career coaching to help you nail your next tech interview. 

Sign up for our FREE webinar to uplevel your career!

Last updated on: 
September 22, 2023

Swaminathan Iyer

Product @ Interview Kickstart | Ex | Business Management - XLRI Jamshedpur. Loves building things and burning pizzas!

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