This is a collection of interview questions from various sources.
For Any Candidate
What’s your background, how did you end up where you are?
Talk about a recent project. What did you do personally?
Why do you want join this company?
Talk about a mistake you made, and what you learned.
Why are you leaving your current gig?
What’s your understanding of our mission?
What are you into in your own time?
Tell me about a time when you received negative professional feedback. How did that affect you? I expect a good leader to be open and honest and tell a story that actually changed their thinking or behavior. If they are a truly experienced leader they must have multiple stories.
Grit / Persistence
Tell me about a time when you wanted something so badly that you were unstoppable.
Tell me about a time when you overcame an obstacle.
Tell me about a time when you used data to make a decision.
Tell me about the measurable impact you had there.
Tell me about an organization that you admire and why you think they made an impact.
When working on a team, what’s hardest for you? What about a time you worked on a difficult team? What was your role and experience? What makes you happiest and most effective when working with others?
What would your friends describe as your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
Tell me about a time when you experienced an injustice.
What do you care about?
What problems do you like to solve?
What are your interests?
What was your last revelation and how did that affect you?
How do they conduct themselves when they interject?
Do they send a thoughtful thank you note following your conversation?
Do they communicate gracefully and efficiently, saying whip-smart things in the fewest words possible?
Explain something technical and complex, with whiteboard if you need it.
Do you have personal projects that are technical?
Can you show me your favorite project on Github etc.?
For Product Managers
There are five areas we want to test and some general questions, see below. Please pick two areas and get a good reading of the candidate. On a scale of 1-5, how did they do in each? How did they do overall?
Many questions below are taken from an article by Ken Norton.
Why Product Management?
How do you deal with assumptions?
Describe a product launch success. What made it successful? What would you do differently?
Describe a product launch failure? What were the causes? What would you do differently?
What’s one of the best ideas you’ve ever had?
What is one of the worst?
How do you get credibility/buy-in with engineers?
Give me an example of your creativity.
What have you learned about saying no?
What is the biggest advantage of having a technical background?
What is the biggest disadvantage?
What aspects of product management do you find the least interesting and why?
Holistic View of Product
What makes a great product?
Talk about an interface that really bothers you. How would you change it?
Select a product you use everyday and discuss its weaknesses.
Tell me about a great product you’ve encountered recently. Why do you like it?
How would you improve our product?
What kind of customer or end user do you identify with most?
Who are the key decision makers in a typical enterprise IT organization?
What are the main challenges that enterprise IT is facing today?
What are the current trends in datacenter software?
Who are the main players in our industry and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
What are the challenges with on-premise installs?
Can you explain the enterprise storage landscape?
Can you explain Layer 2 and Layer 3 networking?
Customer Discovery Process
What’s your process from discovering a customer need, to delivering it?
What is the best way to interface with customers?
How do you identify early reference customers?
What do you do to turn them into champions for your product?
Product Discovery Process
How do you deal with the feature request firehose?
Explain your process from idea to shipping a product.
How do you know when to cut corners to get a product out the door?
How do you find out early if your product is going to be successful?
How do you validate that what you’re building is solving the customer’s problem?
How can you build confidence that customers will buy your product once it’s ready?
How do you find out if your solution can be built?
For Project/Delivery Managers
Talk about a successful project where you had to execute to a deadline. What would you do differently?
Talk about a delivery that didn’t go so well. What would you do differently?
What was good and bad about the last project planning method (e.g. Scrum) you used?
Can you talk about coordinating multiple engineering teams?
Which issue/ticket tracking systems have you used? What was good, bad about them?
How much do you need to technically understand what you’re delivering? How do you achieve that understanding?
How do you like to do estimates?
What makes a good milestone?
How do you gain trust with Engineering teams?
Do you find you can treat all engineers the same way?
Talk about a time when it’s been difficult to convince someone to follow a plan.
For Eng Managers
Managing Projects and Delivery
What was good and bad about the last project planning method you used?
How do you estimate?
Talk about a tight deadline where you had to make a difficult decision?
What makes a good milestone?
What’s a difficult tradeoff you had to make recently?
Quality And Testing
How do you get engineers to write tests?
Dealing with people and emotions
What’s your approach to hiring?
In your experience what are the most effective approaches to hiring? What about least effective?
Talk about a time you’ve handled conflict in the team.
Talk about time when it’s been difficult to persuade someone to follow a plan.
Someone is being aggressive, obstinate, making your life difficult. What do you do?
How do you help your direct reports progress in their careers?
What’s the last thing you coded on? Anything in github to walk me through?
For Directors and other Leaders
What’s the largest group you’ve managed? Were there scale challenges?
Have you taken part in a reorganization? How did it go? What did you learn?
Have you ever created and communicated a vision? Did you get good buy-in?
How do you measure the success of your team against your vision?
What have you learned about leadership?
What kind of leader are you?
How do you stay present and visible to your org?
Talk about a time you tried to raise standards (engineering or otherwise) in your organization.
What kind of performance management works best in your experience?