Engineering Interview Process

Learn about the various stages in a typical engineering interview process.

The software engineering and engineering manager interview process can vary depending on the company and position you are applying for, but generally, it follows a standard structure with a series of steps designed to assess your technical knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and leadership skills.

In the majority of companies, the process consists of the following steps:

  1. Resume review

  2. Recruiter screen

  3. Technical screen

  4. Onsite interview

  5. Hiring manager interview

  6. Hiring decision

  7. Offer

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Engineering interview process
Engineering interview process

Resume review

During resume review, a hiring team reviews your resume and evaluates your qualifications and experience to determine if you are a good fit for the position. They will look for specific skills and experience relevant to the role. For example, if the position requires experience with a specific programming language or technology stack, the team will look for evidence of that experience in your resume. They will also evaluate your education, previous work experience, and the types of problems you've solved before.

In addition to technical qualifications, the team may also look for other qualities that indicate a good fit for the organization. For example, they may look for evidence of good communication skills, teamwork, mentorship, and leadership abilities.

To ensure that your resume stands out during this step, it's best to tailor it to the specific job description and highlight your most relevant experience and qualifications. After reviewing the job description, highlight similar projects and technologies you've worked on and any notable achievements or contributions you've made to previous companies or organizations.

Note: A resume should not include every single thing you have ever done—it should focus on the most notable and outstanding experiences and achievements that are most relevant to the position you are applying for.

By creating a strong, tailored resume, you can increase your chances of getting selected for an interview and ultimately landing the job.

Recruiter screen

The interview process often begins with a phone screening, which typically lasts for 30 minutes. This is a short conversation with a recruiter or a hiring manager to discuss your background, experience, and qualifications. The purpose of this initial screening is to assess your general fit for the role and to answer any questions you may have about the position or the company.

If you passed the resume review, you likely have the qualifications. The goal of the screen is to confirm that you meet the basic qualifications for the position, such as the required education, experience, or skills.

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If you are unable to effectively communicate your qualifications and experience during the screening process, the recruiter may reject you. Speaking incoherently, giving vague answers, or not being able to explain your previous work experience could lead to being rejected at this stage.

The recruiter also considers whether your career aspirations match the team's goals, taking into account the current seniority level of the team and its growth plans. For instance, if a team is seeking a senior engineer who is interested in tech lead or management positions, but you have different career goals, you may not be a good fit for that particular team.

The recruiter may also reject you if they feel that you do not have the right attitude for the organization. Not having the right attitude can include things like being overly aggressive, not being a team player, not sharing the company's values, or speaking negatively about past employers, coworkers, or experiences. All of that can reflect poorly on you and make the recruiter question your ability to work well with others. During the screening, be sure to focus on positive experiences, and when mentioning negative experiences, focus on what you learned from those situations.

Showing enthusiasm for the position and the company can make a big difference in the recruiter's impression of you. Make sure to express your interest in the position and the company, and ask questions about the role.

It's important to note that rejection in the recruiter screen does not necessarily mean that you are not qualified for the position or that you are not a good candidate. It simply means that you may not be the right fit for that particular role or organization at this moment. It's important to take feedback from the recruiter and learn any areas where you may need to improve to increase your chances of success in future job searches.

Technical screen

After the phone screen, you may be asked to complete a technical assessment. This can take many forms, such as a coding challenge or a take-home assignment. In case of a coding challenge, you’ll have a 45- to 60-minute remote technical assessment over Google Meet or Zoom. The purpose of this assessment is to evaluate your technical skills and abilities, to assess how you build software, and to understand how you learn and teach. It also helps the interviewer to gauge how well you can apply your knowledge to solving real-world problems.

The following is a typical technical screening interview format:

  1. Introductions (5-10 minutes): When you introduce yourself to the interviewer, it provides an opportunity to briefly share information about yourself, such as your current job and how your day is going. It's not necessary to provide a detailed account of your resume and past projects, but rather offer a concise summary of your professional background and experience. This is commonly referred to as an "elevator pitch."

  2. Coding Exercise (25-45 minutes): Every company has its own style of coding exercises. Some give you real-world problems to solve, while others might test your skills with LeetCode-styleIn LeetCode-style interviews, you're given an algorithm/data structure challenge that you have to solve either on a whiteboard or computer. coding challenges. Make sure you ask the recruiter about what kind of coding exercise you should expect! For engineering management positions, some companies swap a technical screen with a behavioral interview. However, most companies still require engineering managers to prove they can code.

  3. Question and Answer (5-10 minutes): This is the time during the interview when you can ask the interviewer any questions you may have.

Onsite interview

If you pass the technical screening, you will be invited for an onsite interview. This can be a full-day or a half-day event, and it typically involves multiple rounds of interviews with different members of the team. These interviews can be a mix of technical and behavioral questions, and the format may vary depending on the company.

The technical interview is one of the most critical parts of the interview process. This is where you will be asked to demonstrate your technical expertise. You may be asked to solve coding problems or design algorithms, and the interviewer may also ask you to explain your thought process or to walk them through your code.

The behavioral interview is designed to assess your soft skills. You may be asked about your previous work experience, how you handle conflict or difficult situations, and how you work with others.

This course will help you nail behavioral leadership interviews. The number of these interviews can differ based on your seniority level and the company you're interviewing with. Typically, Senior Software Engineer roles have one leadership interview, while Engineering Manager positions might have up to five of them.

Hiring manager interview

The manager interview is usually the final interview in the process, and it is typically conducted by a hiring manager or senior member of the team. The purpose of this interview is to evaluate your overall fit for the organization and to discuss the specifics of the position.

The hiring manager might ask a bunch of different questions to see if you're a good fit. They'll want to know things like what you're interested in, what experience you have, and what your career goals are. They might also ask you to describe a tough situation you've been in and how you dealt with it. And of course, you'll have a chance to ask your questions too!

A hiring manager can reject a candidate after an interview if they don't seem like they'd fit in well with the company or team. They might also reject a candidate if they have a bad attitude, don't meet the salary requirements, or have a history of switching jobs frequently. Other reasons that a manager may reject a candidate include weak problem-solving skills, poor communication skills, or bad references.

Hiring decision

Different companies have different ways of making hiring decisions. Sometimes the hiring manager has full authority to decide who to hire, while in other companies, the hiring manager only provides input and a hiring committee makes the final decision. Having a committee can help ensure fairness, reduce bias, and maintain consistent hiring standards—but it can also prolong the process.


If you make it through the interview process and the company decides to move forward with an offer, you’ll receive a formal offer letter. This will include details about your compensation package, benefits, and start date. You may also be given time to negotiate your offer or to ask any additional questions.