The Software Engineering Manager Interview Guide

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Interviewing can be challenging, time-consuming, stressful, frustrating, and full of disappointments. My goal is to help make things easier for you so you can get the engineering leadership job you want.

The Software Engineering Manager Interview Guide is a comprehensive, no-nonsense book about landing an engineering leadership role at a top-tier tech company. You will learn how to master the different kinds of engineering management interview questions. If you only pick up one or two tips from this book, it could make the difference in getting the dream job you want.

This guide contains a collection of 150+ real-life management and behavioral questions I was asked on phone screens and by panels during onsite interviews for engineering management positions at a variety of big-name and top-tier tech companies in the San Francisco Bay Area such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Pinterest, Salesforce, Intuit, Autodesk, et al. Also included are tips on how to get the interview and succeed at the onsite interview.

In this book, I discuss my experiences and reflections mainly from the candidate’s perspective. Your experience will vary. The random variables include who will be on your panel, what exactly they will ask, the level of training and mood of the interviewers, their preferences, and biases. While you cannot control any of those variables, you can control how prepared you are, and hopefully, this book will help you in that process.

I will share with you everything I’ve learned going through this cycle multiple times while keeping this book short enough to read on a plane ride. I will share all the tips I picked up along the way. If you are interviewing this guide will serve you as a playbook to prepare, or if you are hiring give you ideas as to what you might ask an engineering management candidate yourself. Good luck in either case!


Chapter 1: Answering Management Questions

  • Why are they really asking this question?
  • Selling Yourself
  • Behavioral Questions
  • “Disney-like” Versions
  • What to Say When You Don’t Have a Story
  • Asking Clarifying Questions

Chapter 2: The Job Interviews

  • Phone Screens
  • Prep Call with the Recruiter
  • Onsite
  • Company Values
  • Coding, Algorithms and Data structures
  • System Design and Architecture Interviews
  • Generic Design Of A Popular System
  • A Design Specific To A Domain
  • Design Of A System Your Team Worked On
  • Lunch Interview
  • Managerial and Leadership
  • Bar Raiser
  • Unique One-Off Interviews

Chapter 3: Tips To Succeed

  • How To Get The Interviews
  • Ageism
  • Scheduling and Timelines
  • Interview Feedback
  • Mock Interview
  • Panelists
  • First Impressions
  • Thank You Notes
  • Studying

Chapter 4: Example Behavioral and Competency Questions

  • General Questions
  • Feedback and Performance Management
  • Prioritization and Execution
  • Strategy and Vision
  • Hiring Talent and Building a Team
  • Working With Tech Leads, Team Leads and Technology
  • Dealing With Conflicts
  • Diversity and Inclusion

First published in March 2020 and updated April 2020

  • PDF Book

  • Size
    921 KB
  • Length
    57 pages
  • PDF Book
  • Size921 KB
  • Length57 pages
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The Software Engineering Manager Interview Guide

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