Technical Manager Interview Preparation Guide
Download PDF

Technical Manager related Frequently Asked Questions by expert members with experience in Technical Manager. These questions and answers will help you strengthen your technical skills, prepare for the new job test and quickly revise the concepts

42 Technical Manager Questions and Answers:

1 :: Staff Manager Interview Questions:

► How do you judge or evaluate other managers?
► What are the most important skills, traits and how do you measure them?
► Describe your ideal performance management process. What are the benefits? Downsides?
► How do you handle an employee that has historically performed well, but falters or lapses on a project?
► Have you ever had to fire someone? How did it go? What did you learn and would you do anything differently?
► What is your favorite interview question(s)? How do you interview for talent?
► Have you ever made a hiring mistake? If so, what did you change to prevent the same mistake in your future hiring?
► Who was the best hire you ever made? Why?
► Is it ever okay to lower your hiring bar? What do you do when you have a tight deadline and need help fast?
► What is the most creative way to find and recruit good people?
► How to you track or keep your finger on the pulse of morale? What are some ideas, or things you have done in the past, to improve morale?

2 :: Business-minded Strategist Interview Questions:

► What is your leadership philosophy?
► Favorite book on management or leadership. Or what book has made the biggest impact on your leadership style?
► The CEO makes a decision/call you don't agree with - has this ever happened to you? How would/did you handle it?
► How did you know you wanted to be a manager or CTO/VP Eng? What motivated you to pursue that path?
► What do you think you are best at as a CTO/VP Eng? What part of the role are you amazing at? What areas could you stand to improve?
► How do you harness the power of others? Promote the ideas on your team? Brainstorm?
► The team has a major operational outage for one of the services. Customers are really upset. How do you respond? What would be your recommended course of action to the executive team?
► Have you presented to a board of directors? What are the key components of your presentation? How did you come up with the content/template/outline?
► What is the biggest piece of advice you have with regards to managing up? How did you come by that advice?
► One of your peers is not managing their team/organization, and you have valuable criticism that can help them correct their behavior. How do you communicate it? What if they aren't receptive or don't listen - how do you ensure the right thing happens for the business?

3 :: Culture Fit Manager Interview Questions:

► In your past, when did you work the hardest?
► What has been your greatest success?
► Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? What do you need to do to get there? How does this role fit into that goal?
► When have you had the most fun at work?
► What has been your biggest career mistake? What did you learn? How did it change you, or your behavior?
► What would your manager say about you? Your team? Your peers?
► What is your ideal/work life balance? Is that different from your team? How do you achieve it and defend it?
► What aren't you good at it? Who fills that role now on your team? How do you work together?

4 :: What interview questions should I ask a technical project manager?

► Tell me about a time you managed a diverse team and arrived at a successful or unsuccessful project.
► Describe the most complex project you have managed from start to finish.
► How do you go about selecting and allocating resources?
► How do you update stakeholders and how do you communicate those updates?
► What project management methodologies are you familiar with?
► Are you a listener or a talker?
► When was the last time you made a big impact in a leadership role?
► Are you planning to every go on for your masters?
► How would you convince a manager at a hospital that your solution would help them? What if they continually pushback?
► You are a group leader. You want to do option A and everyone on your team wants to do option B. What do you do?
► Name three things that you have and you have not for this job

5 :: What educational qualification required as Technical Manager?

As a senior Cisco IT implementation manager you are required to have CCIE (at least W but full CCIE) level with a proven Cisco accreditation in CCNA, CCNP etc. You may also need to show experience on Juniper M and T series.
Depending on the specific job requirements, the above qualifications may change, but this is easily obtained information. Request it before the job interview to ensure you qualify.
You should also present your strong/in-depth knowledge and experience in -

☛ Cisco/VoIP environment, the LAN/WAN/WLAN network and Firewalls.
☛ Other products/protocols such as - TDM, NMS, Soft Switches, DSLAM/MSAG.
☛ IP/MPLS knowledge of installation and configuration of variety of IT Cisco switches/routers using engineering installation documentation.
☛ Consulting, analyzing, designing and managing IT systems projects.
☛ Cross-functional project management methodologies and techniques.
☛ Most importantly, your ability to effectively lead an IT team capable of delivering wide ranging core of LAN/WAN solutions to organizations.

6 :: Explain your responsibilities/duties?

As an IT project manager prepare to describe the following types of processes performed within the project lifecycle:

☛ Defining project requirements, budgeting and planning project schedules utilizing MS project and/or other managerial tools such as BI tools.
☛ Establishing the appropriate SOW, scope of work, for the project.
☛ Performing strategic IT analysis for the project.
☛ Identifying/Assigning resources for project/program implementation based on the project business plan.
☛ Planning project deliverables, goals and its milestones.
☛ Preparing RFP, Requests for Proposals, and conducting sub-contractors/vendors selection process.
☛ How did you demonstrate leadership to define requirements for project risk?
☛ How did you efficiently solve project issues?

7 :: What is a Technical Project Manager?

The short answer, someone who is a project manager with deep technical understanding.

Now let's explain the difference in having a technical project manager (TPM) versus just any project manager (PM) on your team.

In this explanation, the main difference is their technical aptitude for understanding data center construction, server, network and storage configuration; and the fact many technical project managers have hands on experience, which helps them understand the complexity of most project tasks.

8 :: Why do think you fit the job of an IT manager? What are your skills?

You can list and describe (examples preferred) the following IT project manager skill sets -

☷ Strong organizational, presentation, and customer service skills.
☷ Ability to employ strong project management skills and methodologies such as: prioritization, problem analysis, decisive judgment and ability to solve problems efficiently.
☷ Ability to communicate effectively with senior management.
☷ Ability to build effective working relationship with co-workers, team members, clients and colleagues.
☷ Analytical thinking, planning, accuracy and attention to details.
☷ Strong verbal communication skills.

9 :: Flawless Project Manager Interview Questions:

► How can you coach developers/engineers to get better at estimates and hitting deadlines?
► How do you like to build and test software?
► If every project has to ship on time, what safeguards/measures can you employ to make that possible?
► What kind of process do you use know for software? What do you like about it? What would you change?
► How do you set the team roadmap? Does that work well? How often do things change?

10 :: Talented Technologist Manager Interview Questions:

► In your opinion, what is the best way to manage technical operations? What are some techniques to keep systems up all the time, and handle situations gracefully when they're not?
► What are the key parts of a successful post mortem? How to your manage the discussion and make them productive?
► What was your biggest post launch failure/bug? What could you have done to prevent it? How did that change your method/process going forward?
► You are in a design review, and see a major flaw in the design. Has this ever happened? How do you bring it up? What happens if the presenter refuses to listen to your points? How do you make sure that the right system is built?
► What is the process/tools needed to improve software quality? How would you setup a culture that valued software quality?
► What is your opinion on pair programming? Test driven development? Is there ever a time to do these or not do them?
► You have MySQL database in production for one of the applications. There is a new project and the team lead wants to use Postgres instead. How would you advise them? What are the pros and cons or your approach?
► The production system is running on top of Cassandra and it is having issues that seem to be within the db itself. How do you advise the team? How do you manage those issues and the impact to the new development work? How do you communicate this to non-technical people?

11 :: Explain a challenge or conflict you've faced at work, and how you dealt with it?

In asking this question, "your interviewer wants to get a sense of how you will respond to conflict. Anyone can seem nice and pleasant in a job interview, but what will happen if you're hired and Gladys in Compliance starts getting in your face?" says Skillings. Again, you'll want to use the S-T-A-R method, being sure to focus on how you handled the situation professionally and productively, and ideally closing with a happy ending, like how you came to a resolution or compromise.

12 :: Where do you see yourself as Technical Manager in five years?

If asked this question, be honest and specific about your future goals, but consider this: A hiring manager wants to know a) if you've set realistic expectations for your career, b) if you have ambition (a.k.a., this interview isn't the first time you're considering the question), and c) if the position aligns with your goals and growth. Your best bet is to think realistically about where this position could take you and answer along those lines. And if the position isn't necessarily a one-way ticket to your aspirations? It's OK to say that you're not quite sure what the future holds, but that you see this experience playing an important role in helping you make that decision.

13 :: What's your dream job?

Along similar lines, the interviewer wants to uncover whether this position is really in line with your ultimate career goals. While "an NBA star" might get you a few laughs, a better bet is to talk about your goals and ambitions-and why this job will get you closer to them.

14 :: Tell me what other companies are you interviewing with?

Companies ask this for a number of reasons, from wanting to see what the competition is for you to sniffing out whether you're serious about the industry. "Often the best approach is to mention that you are exploring a number of other similar options in the company's industry," says job search expert Alison Doyle. "It can be helpful to mention that a common characteristic of all the jobs you are applying to is the opportunity to apply some critical abilities and skills that you possess. For example, you might say 'I am applying for several positions with IT consulting firms where I can analyze client needs and translate them to development teams in order to find solutions to technology problems.'"

15 :: Tell us why are you leaving your current job?

This is a toughie, but one you can be sure you'll be asked. Definitely keep things positive-you have nothing to gain by being negative about your past employers. Instead, frame things in a way that shows that you're eager to take on new opportunities and that the role you're interviewing for is a better fit for you than your current or last position. For example, "I'd really love to be part of product development from beginning to end, and I know I'd have that opportunity here." And if you were let go? Keep it simple: "Unfortunately, I was let go," is a totally OK answer.

16 :: Tell us what is your greatest professional achievement?

Nothing says "hire me" better than a track record of achieving amazing results in past jobs, so don't be shy when answering this question! A great way to do so is by using the S-T-A-R method: Set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context (e.g., "In my last job as a junior analyst, it was my role to manage the invoicing process"), but spend the bulk of your time describing what you actually did (the action) and what you achieved (the result). For example, "In one month, I streamlined the process, which saved my group 10 man-hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 25%."

17 :: Tell us what do you consider to be your weaknesses?

What your interviewer is really trying to do with this question-beyond identifying any major red flags-is to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. So, "I can't meet a deadline to save my life" is not an option-but neither is "Nothing! I'm perfect!" Strike a balance by thinking of something that you struggle with but that you're working to improve. For example, maybe you've never been strong at public speaking, but you've recently volunteered to run meetings to help you be more comfortable when addressing a crowd.

18 :: Explain what are your greatest professional strengths?

When answering this question, interview coach Pamela Skillings recommends being accurate (share your true strengths, not those you think the interviewer wants to hear); relevant (choose your strengths that are most targeted to this particular position); and specific (for example, instead of "people skills," choose "persuasive communication" or "relationship building"). Then, follow up with an example of how you've demonstrated these traits in a professional setting.

19 :: What's your management style?

The best managers are strong but flexible, and that's exactly what you want to show off in your answer. (Think something like, "While every situation and every team member requires a bit of a different strategy, I tend to approach my employee relationships as a coach...") Then, share a couple of your best managerial moments, like when you grew your team from five to 15 or coached an underperforming employee to become the company's top salesperson.

20 :: Tell me what type of work environment do you prefer?

Hint: Ideally one that's similar to the environment of the company you're applying to. Be specific.