How To Prepare for a Software Engineering Manager Interview


Software engineering managers are responsible for leading a team of software engineers and ensuring that they are productive and working on the right things. They also work with other managers to ensure that the engineering team is working well with other teams in the company. As a software engineering manager, you will need to be able to not only code, but also be able to lead and motivate your team. The following guide will go over what a typical software engineering manager interview entails and how you can best prepare to do well.

What to expect in a software engineering manager interview

Software engineering manager interviews will consist of both technical and behavioral interviews. The technical interviews will test your knowledge of computer science concepts and your ability to code. The behavioral interviews will test your ability to lead and manage a team. You will likely be asked questions about your experience leading a team and how you handled various situations. You will also be asked questions about your coding ability and how you would solve various technical problems. The interviewers will be looking to see if you have the ability to not only code, but also lead and motivate a team of engineers.

What to practice before a software engineering manager interview

To be best prepared for your software engineering manager interview, you should first brush up on your computer science concepts. You should also practice coding on a whiteboard or online code editor. You should also practice your behavioral interviewing skills. You can do this by preparing answers to common behavioral interview questions. You should also practice your ability to lead and motivate a team. You can do this by preparing answers to questions about your experience leading a team and how you handled various situations.

What questions to ask in a software engineering manager interview

You should ask many questions throughout your interviews. Any time a problem is described to you, make sure to clarify the constraints of the solution that the interviewer is looking for. Are they looking for a certain time complexity? Does the solution have to work for any specific inputs? Try to weed out any edge cases ahead of starting to write code, and ask your interviewer how they expect you to handle them.

Once you have a clear idea of the problem and are starting to write code, you should continue asking questions as they arise. And especially if you are stuck, it’s a good idea to continue to ask questions about the problem to help you think. Questions can also help your interviewer understand whether you are on the right track or not, letting them provide more guidance and help.

Once you’ve solved the problem, you can ask more general questions about the team you're joining as well as questions you might have about the team and culture overall.

What are hiring managers looking for in a software engineering manager

Hiring managers are looking for clear thinkers, problem solvers, and people who are able to autonomously operate as a successful software engineering manager. They’re looking for technical aptitude and a good fit for the requirements of their team. As much weight as your technical knowledge carries, a hiring manager is also assessing your ability to lead and motivate a team. How quickly do you learn? Can you adapt to a dynamic environment? Are you proactive and forward-looking when leading your team or do you stick within the confines of the problem at hand?

How to stand out in a software engineering manager interview

To excel in your technical interviews, you should always start by solving the problem they give you. Once you’ve solved the problem, you can go above and beyond by addressing potential tradeoffs you could make by implementing different solutions. You can also discuss how you may scale your solution for a larger version of the problem. Or what you may do to ensure that your solution can gracefully handle failure. If you end early, you can also ask your interviewer if there’s a more optimal solution that is possible and try to discuss how you may make your solution better and more efficient.

In your behavioral interviews, you should be prepared to discuss your experience leading and managing a team. You should be able to discuss how you motivated your team and how you handled various situations. You should also be prepared to discuss your coding ability and how you would solve various technical problems.

What sort of salaries can I expect as a software engineering manager

Software engineering managers are paid quite well due to the high demand for the job. You can expect to receive a combination of base salary, a stock grant, and various bonuses for the role. While pay still largely depends on location, many professionals are able to work remotely as well.

You can view salaries and filter by different locations, companies, and more over on our Software Engineering Manager salary page.

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