The 7 Best Engineering Manager Interview Questions in 2023
What are the top interview questions to ask an Engineering Manager? If you’re hiring your next Engineering Manager and want to understand what questions to ask, look no further. Here are the top Engineering Manager interview questions.
Interviewing Engineering Managers
Engineering Managers are experienced engineers who lead engineering teams. To ensure that you have a high-functioning technical team, you’ll want to find an Engineering Manager who is strong technically, makes data-driven decisions, and knows how to lead a team.
A manager needs to know how to coach engineers, be empathetic, give and take feedback, think strategically, build trust, and have a long-term vision while executing in the short-term.
How do you identify a candidate with all of these skills? Here are the top interview questions to ask.
The top Engineering Manager interview questions
Here below are the top questions to ask your Engineering Manager candidates with strong leadership skills.
1. Can you tell us about your management style and how you motivate your team?
This question helps you understand how the candidate manages their workload and whether they can balance technical and managerial responsibilities effectively.
“My management style is centered around empathy and collaboration. I believe in setting clear expectations and empowering my team to achieve their goals. I motivate my team by acknowledging their accomplishments, providing regular feedback, and creating a positive work environment that fosters growth and development.”
2. Can you tell us about a time when you had to give difficult feedback to a team member?
Here, you assess the candidate's communication skills and ability to handle difficult conversations, which is essential for building a strong team.
“One example of a time when I had to give difficult feedback was when I noticed that a team member was struggling to keep up with their responsibilities and was not meeting their performance goals.
I scheduled a one-on-one meeting with the team member and began by acknowledging their hard work and contributions to the team. I then provided specific examples of where their performance was falling short and how it was impacting the team's overall performance.
I also shared my observations and asked for their perspective on the situation. We had an open and honest conversation about their challenges, and I offered my support in helping them develop a plan to improve their performance.
I followed up regularly with the team member to monitor their progress and provided ongoing feedback and guidance. Ultimately, the team member was able to improve their performance and contribute positively to the team.
This experience taught me the importance of providing feedback that is specific, constructive, and focused on improvement. It also reinforced the importance of building trust and maintaining open communication with team members.”
3. How do you keep up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies?
This question helps you assess the candidate's ability to stay current with industry trends and technologies, which is essential for keeping the team competitive and delivering high-quality products.
“I attend industry conferences and events, participate in online forums and discussion groups, and regularly read industry publications and blogs. I also encourage my team to stay informed and share their insights with the rest of the team.”
4. How do you handle receiving feedback from team members?
With this question, you get a better understanding of the candidate's ability to receive feedback and incorporate it into their management approach, which is essential for building trust and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
“I welcome feedback from my team members and believe it is important for my own growth and development. I listen actively to their feedback, ask clarifying questions, and take time to reflect on their input. I work to address any concerns and incorporate their feedback into my management approach.”
5. Can you walk us through a technical project you recently managed and explain the technical challenges you faced and how you overcame them?
This question tests the candidate's technical knowledge and experience in managing complex technical projects. It provides insight into the candidate's technical expertise, problem-solving skills, and leadership capabilities, which are all essential qualities of a successful engineering manager. The answer to this question can help you evaluate the candidate's approach to problem-solving, technical decision-making, and the ability to manage cross-functional teams.
“I recently managed a project to develop a new machine learning algorithm to improve the accuracy of our product recommendations engine. One of the technical challenges we faced was the need to handle a large amount of data and the need to process it in real-time.
To overcome this challenge, we first conducted a thorough analysis of the data sources and identified areas where we could optimize data processing and reduce the amount of data we needed to process. We also explored various machine learning models and evaluated their performance against our requirements.
After several rounds of testing and validation, we selected a deep learning model that showed the most promising results. We also developed a customized data pipeline to efficiently process the data and implemented a real-time processing framework to handle the large volume of requests.
Throughout the project, we worked closely with the data science and software engineering teams to ensure that the algorithm was integrated seamlessly into the product and met the performance and scalability requirements.
This project allowed me to apply my technical expertise in machine learning and data processing, while also leveraging my leadership and collaboration skills to coordinate the efforts of multiple teams.”
6. How do you promote diversity and inclusivity within your team?
How does the candidate approach inclusivity, which is essential for building a diverse and high-performing team?
“One of the key steps I take to promote diversity and inclusivity is by creating a safe and inclusive work environment where everyone feels valued and respected. I achieve this by encouraging open communication and creating an environment where team members can voice their opinions and ideas without fear of judgment. I work with the HR department to develop and implement policies and procedures that foster diversity, such as diverse recruitment strategies, bias training, and career development programs.
I also actively seek out and support underrepresented groups. I make an effort to ensure that diverse perspectives are represented within the team, and I actively seek out feedback from team members from diverse backgrounds. I also provide mentorship and support to underrepresented team members to help them achieve their career goals.”
7. "Give an example of a time when you coached a team member to improve in their role and how that affected the work environment."
You’re interviewing for a leadership role and coaching is a key leadership skill. Candidates’ ability to provide feedback, set expectations, and motivate team members is incredibly important for overall team performance. Answers to this question reveal the manager's coaching style, leadership skills, and ability to foster a positive work environment.
“In one instance, I had a team member who was struggling with a particular technical challenge, which was impacting the overall team's progress on the project. I took a personalized coaching approach to help this team member improve in their role.
First, I had a one-on-one conversation with the team member to understand their perspective on the issue and any potential roadblocks they were facing. Together, we identified specific areas of improvement and developed a plan that included additional training and support to help them overcome these challenges. I also provided regular feedback on their progress and recognized their achievements.
As a result of this coaching approach, the team member's performance improved significantly, and they were able to contribute more effectively to the project. This not only had a positive impact on the team's overall progress but also helped to boost team morale and confidence. Other team members noticed the positive changes in the coached team member's performance and were motivated to seek out similar coaching and development opportunities.”
Over to you!
There you have it! Now you know what the top Engineering Manager interview questions are.
But interviewing your candidate is just one step in the process.
You also need to assess their skills.
Want to learn more?