DoorDash Engineering Manager Interview Guide

Interview Guide Jan 13

Detailed, specific guidance on the DoorDash Engineering Manager interview process - with a breakdown of different stages and interview questions asked at each stage

The role of a DoorDash Engineering Manager

DoorDash is a major American online food order and delivery company. The platform allows customers to connect with local and national food delivery businesses. With its dedication to building new products to improve the last-mile delivery infrastructure, DoorDash requires experienced and innovative engineers. 

The engineering managers are responsible for building the backend systems to create thoughtful and well-designed products. Furthermore, they must work on data structuring and algorithms, which is essential for a food delivery company like DoorDash. If you are good with coding and leadership and have a complete insight into the technical aspects of systems, the engineering managerial role at DoorDash is for you. 

Engineering managers are expected to get involved entirely in the role of executive project and lead the team to complete it. DoorDash invests heavily in the process of training new managers for long-term success. For each new engineering manager, they have an onboarding plan that allows them to notch up technically and understand their responsibilities skillfully. 

There are thousands of candidates applying for the engineering manager role at DoorDash. However, getting into the role is quite challenging, so having a 360-degree strategy can help you pass through the DoorDash engineering manager interview.

Role of the DoorDash Engineering Manager

  • Examine and develop backend architecture and tech products for the company
  • Improving the performance and scalability of the backend system
  • Managing the engineering team and mobilizing to work on the required project
  • Carry a strong product sense and oversee the engineering team
  • Look at the flagship subscription product- DashPass.
  • Strategize and develop subscriber experience using the product
  • Recruiting and training software engineers
  • You will be responsible to lead a full-stack team
  • Partnering with key stakeholders to develop a clear ecosystem of products

How to Apply for the DoorDash Engineering Manager Job?

You need to present your technical and behavioral skills to apply for the job. Remember your CV is a document that will create the first impression and allow you to advance to the next interview stages hence, ensure that it is crisp, to the point, and contains all keywords required for the job. You can opt for Prepfully's resume review service to get it reviewed by an expert recruiter at DoorDash.

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Interview Overview 

For the role of engineering manager at DoorDash, the candidate will undergo three rounds of interviews-

1) Telephonic Interview

It is also a non-technical process by a senior manager. Here you can expect questions on Behavioral skills and resume-related information. This will allow the manager to know your communication skills.

2) Video Call Process

It is a technical round and can be for 1 hour 45 minutes, wherein you will be examined about your technical expertise and team building assessments.

3) On Site

This round will majorly focus on system design, coding, and other technical areas.

The 2nd and 3rd rounds can be merged into a single round depending upon your team and the team's hiring manager's decision.

Relevant Guides

DoorDash EM - Telephonic Interview

Overview

The telephonic interview is done to view your personal and professional background. The senior manager would often check your technical expertise or behavioral inclination. The interviewer will also include management experience questions.

Interview Questions

The sample interview questions are-

  • Brief me about your work experience and expertise
  • Why DoorDash for this role?
  • What role do you know an engineering manager needs to perform?
  • Tell us when you had to take a risk on a project.
  • How will you manage your team's performance?
  • Tell us how you managed to overcome the situation wherein you had to take a tough decision regarding the project while under pressure.
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DoorDash EM - Technical Round/ Video Call Process

Overview

If the candidate is located in an outstation location, interviewers prefer video calls. This round is also about stating your knowledge of coding. The interviewer will ask you to add or change features in the already-built application. The interviewer will also examine your proficiency in a coding programming language, with a significant focus on strings, edge cases, and arrays.

Interview Questions

The sample interview questions are-

  • Write a program to complete the partially filled (9x9) Sudoku
  • For a given N number of elements, write a program for counting the number of triplets that have a sum less than the given value.
  • Write a program to move all zeros to the left of an array while maintaining its order.
  • Write a program to return the type of a triangle based on the length value of the three of a triangle. Assumption- test for the input data type is already in place. You get only numeric values.
  • Write a query using SQL that returns a list of the bottom 2% of revenue-generating restaurants. Return a list of restaurant IDs and their total revenue from when customers placed orders over a specified period.
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DoorDash EM - On-Site Interview

Overview

The final round of DoorDash engineering manager interviews. This round will examine your skills in system design, programming language skills, data structuring, and other technical areas. You can also expect to face people management rounds. Let's look at some of the important aspects of these rounds:-

1. People Management Interview:  You will be asked situational questions about team leadership in which the interviewer will evaluate your people leadership skills. This round also evaluates your cultural fit within the company ensuring that you align with DoorDash's values. Aspects of people leadership like hiring approach, development thinking and retention, management of high vs low performers, creation of opportunities and growth driving capabilities are tested in this round. This is a trait that's quite similar to what hiring managers look when it comes to the Amazon Engineering Manager interview as well. Think about how to effectively lead in a non-hierarchical team environment and what your personal leadership style and people management philosophy is. You should expect both situational and experiential questions - so “how would you achieve X” and “how did you handle Y” sorts.

Some sample interview questions for this round:

  • How did you ensure you dealt with team challenges in a balanced way?
  • How would you take ownership and stay creative while moving quickly?
  • How would you address a skills gap or personality conflict?
  • How would you ensure your team is diverse and inclusive?
  • How could you spot burn out?
  • How would you organize day to day work activities?
  • How would you convince a team to adopt a new technology?

2. System Design Interview: In this round, you’re basically being evaluated for your ability to design a system which solves for a specific problem – always eventually at scale. You’re expected to know all major components that go into the architecture of a high performing technical system - and the tradeoffs involved in each of the options within. I have 4 tips specifically for this section:

First -> really make sure you’re understanding the problem. I can’t stress this enough, one of the most common mistakes which candidates make is to jump straight into solution mode. Make sure you clarify stuff, define a scope and articulate it, explain what your goals are and how you’re going to attack the problem. This also lets the interviewer drive you into the direction they want.

Which brings me to my second point -> Listen very carefully for feedback from your interviewer. They know the scope is infinite. They’ve got a list of themes they’d really like to cover in the interview, so they can assess you across a range of topics. You’ll regularly get hints such as “alright, let’s assume xyz isn’t a constraint” -> this is your cue to move on to the next theme since they’re not interested in whatever direction you were about to take. Or for instance you might be asked specifically “how about if this is going to be accessed multiple times daily, by our global pool of users” -> this is then your cue to go into the tangent of how you might scale your product up geographically, maybe through CDNs - and how you might drive performance through designing a cache since it’ll be accessed multiple times - these are just examples.

Which then brings me to my third point -> You’ll constantly be coming up with multiple ideas, or at least - you should be, for the constraints you’re presented with. That’s a good thing. Make sure you succinctly mention them, explain the tradeoffs, but then make a deliberate decision and pick one.

Finally -> there will also be times where you get stuck, or don’t know what the interviewer wants from you. That’s alright and it happens to everyone. The only right action here is to admit that you don’t know. Offer the interviewer if they want you to spend time exploring through guesswork, but don’t try to bluff your way through.

Here’s a quick and easy way to start getting some practice. Just pick a major product that you interact with, and spend some time thinking about how you’d design it - so for instance, How would you design Meta’s News Feed? How would you design the architecture of a photo sharing app? What about a new website for booking hotels? … and so on. And think about the end-to-end aspects of this design, from user touchpoints, to scaling this geographically and driving performance through caching, to the backend architecture and your choice of databases, how you’d speed up reads and writes through indexing and partitioning or sharding, how you’d ensure redundancy, and so on.

Some sample interview questions for this round:

  • How would you design TikTok?
  • How would you design an app for takeaway orders?
  • What do you understand about Greedy Algorithms?
  • What do you understand about the space complexity of the insertion sort algorithm?
  • Write an algorithm to insert a node in a Binary Search Tree.
  • Which Data Structures can be used for implementing LRU cache?

Quick note: Data structures and algorithms make up for a key aspect in selection when it comes to similar roles in BigTech, for instance Google Engineering Manager Interview.

Schedule a mock interview with a DoorDash recruiter and increase your chances of cracking the interview.

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Differences in EM, Senior EM and Director of Engineering interviews at DoorDash

The interview process at DoorDash for different EM roles, including EM, Senior EM, and Director of Engineering, varies in terms of expectations and evaluation criteria. While the focus here is on the EM role, it's important to note that seniority levels beyond EM exist, which come with additional responsibilities and complexities.

At DoorDash, the engineering management hierarchy includes the EM, Senior EM, and Director of Engineering positions. The Senior EM role corresponds to a higher seniority level compared to the EM role, and the Director of Engineering role represents an even higher level.

As a Senior EM at DoorDash, you'll be responsible for managing other EMs as well as a few ICs. The ICs you manage are typically at the Staff level, and they play a crucial role in executing cross-team initiatives. As a Senior EM, your scope of influence expands either in terms of breadth or depth. You may either have a broader range of topics to oversee or be assigned a more complex space where you're expected to make a significant impact. With increased seniority, you're expected to abstract your work through scalable mechanisms. Delegation and the ability to create structures that allow you to scale your impact become increasingly important. Your evaluation during the interview process will reflect these expectations and focus on your ability to delegate effectively and demonstrate a strategic approach to managing your team's impact.

Moving up the hierarchy, the Director of Engineering role holds a distinct position from an EM or Senior EM. As a Director of Engineering, you are responsible for establishing the long-term engineering backbone of the company. In terms of people management, you primarily oversee Senior EMs, occasionally some EMs, and a few ICs, typically at the Staff or Senior Staff level. Your accountability extends to the engineering success of an entire organization or a critical area of the business. This level of responsibility often involves managing large-scale projects and initiatives. For example, you might be in charge of implementing AI models in DoorDash's recommendation system or optimizing the entire user experience of the platform. As a Director of Engineering, your success hinges on the execution of your team, and it's essential to set an engineering strategy that aligns with the company's growth goals. Your interviews for this role will delve into your skills in delegation, influencing stakeholders, leadership, strategic thinking, and organizational design. You'll be assessed on your ability to guide and empower your team to drive value while aligning with the company's objectives.

In summary, the interview processes for the EM, Senior EM, and Director of Engineering roles at DoorDash differ based on the increasing levels of responsibility, complexity, and scope. The evaluation criteria evolve to reflect the specific expectations and challenges of each position. Whether it's assessing delegation skills for the Senior EM role or evaluating strategic thinking and organizational design for the Director of Engineering role, DoorDash's interviews aim to identify candidates who can thrive in their respective seniority levels and contribute to the company's engineering success.

Tips to Prepare for Engineering Manager interview at DoorDash

One simple measure to answer technical and behavioral round questions is to understand the job role. Once you are aware, get down with potential questions to be asked. One great way is to have strong experience in programming and analytical skills. Other than these-

  • Strong experience in using SQL to build complex tool
  • Strong experience in using advanced Excel
  • Strong analytical concepts in database structure, scripting languages, and BI Tools (Power BI, Tableau, and others)
  • Use a communicative approach when demonstrating your collaborative abilities when solving challenges. When responding to questions about coding in a DoorDash engineering manager interview, you can outline important decision-making processes for the interviewer.
  • Spend some time considering the interview question to come up with a logical response. If you do not communicate the problem to the interviewer, you risk missing edge cases. DoorDash also generates some ambiguous questions with some specific limitations that aren't mentioned in the question description.

Conclusion

Get yourself clear with the list of possible questions during the DoorDash engineering manager interview. As a manager, you must have excellent communication skills to get the role. Interviewers will evaluate it by seeing how you communicate the issues resolved and the circumstances you have encountered. They also pay close attention to how candidates talk about past choices.

One of the best ways to prepare for the interview is by undergoing the mock interview process, available on the Prepfully website.

Frequently Asked Questions