Twitter Engineeering Manager

DifficultyhardRounds3

Interview Guide

An engineering manager is a senior company role where one is responsible for ensuring that key projects and engineering duties are fulfilled. They are responsible for solving any engineering issue that comes up in a project. A few of the main duties of an engineering manager are answering technical questions, proposing budgets for projects, recruiting & training new employees, and working with various other departments. They also have to prepare reports on the progress of any project. Some of the jobs titles that an engineering manager could grow into are the director of engineering and chief technology officer.

Twitter is one of the world's largest microblogging and social networking service companies. Twitter has different roles for engineering/ software engineering managers depending upon the team they work for. Some of the teams at Twitter are:

  • Quality Engineering 
  • Client Monetization
  • Core Services
  • Metadata Services
  • Consumer Client Engineering
  • Machine learning

However, there are some responsibilities that engineering managers across the board are expected to fulfil while working at Twitter. 

These are:

Role and responsibilities

  • Own your team’s deliverables and ensure that Twitter continues to ship scalable, highly-available products that delight our users and customers.

  • Initiate collaboration across Engineering, Product, Design, Research, User Services, Trust & Safety, Legal, and Comms to develop high-quality end-to-end user experiences and inspire your team to independently do the same.

  • Mentor the professional development of each direct report through personal and performance management.

  • Be an ambitious source of engineering talent and be comfortable closing candidates.

  • Give engineers the tools, confidence, and motivation to make decisions independently that lead to the recognition of your engineers and not just yourself.

Basic Qualifications required

  • B.S. or Masters in Computer Science with 5+ years of experience
  • Experience building native applications 
  • 2+ years of experience managing software engineering teams
  • Previously managed a team of 4-8 engineers with responsibility for mobile clients.

Engineering Manager a.k.a Software Engineering Manager salary at Twitter:

  • Entry-level salary : USD325,000.
  • Senior positions : USD437,000. 
  • Median salary :     USD380,000 with base component being USD210,000, stock component being USD140,000 and bonus being USD 30,000.

The interview for the post of Twitter Engineering Manager, also called Twitter Software Engineering Manager is a 3-stage process. The process comprises an initial phone screen by a recruiter, followed by a video conference screen with the hiring manager and a senior engineer, and concludes with an onsite interview. There's also a written assignment test between the video conference screen and the onsite round. The onsite round is a full-day event and consists of five 1:1 interviews

Initial Screen

Overview

The initial screen is a 30-minute telephonic interview with the recruiter. The aim of this interview is to ensure that you are a good match for the role you are being interviewed for. The interviewer typically asks questions based on your resume in this round. Also, questions regarding your past work experiences and projects done, along with academic background are highly possible. This makes it important that you go through your resume well and can recount and describe your past experiences as the recruiter asks. Be ready to tell the interviewers the technologies you have worked on, the people you have worked with, and your successes and pitfalls therein. Recruiters love the "Why Twitter" question, so make sure you prepare a crisp and convincing answer for this question. 

Video Conference Screen

Overview

After the initial screen, you will get to face the Video Conference Screen, which is a 45-minute interview with an interview panel that consists of the hiring manager and a senior Twitter engineer.  This interview will test the following sets of skills:

Technical skills

  • System Design, Data Structures, and Distributed System

The interviewers are going to test your system design skills, data structures, coding, and your conceptual understanding of distributed systems.

People Leadership skills

For an organization as large as Twitter, keeping its employees motivated to give their best is of vital importance. To do this, Twitter relies on the ability of its managers to set up a collaborative and cooperative environment at the workplace to give the best results for the company in terms of worker productivity.

Business Leadership Skills

As an Engineering Manager, you are the de facto CEO of your team. You are tasked with delivering results to your shareholders, who happen to be your boss, your customers, your cross-functional stakeholders and others. Your abilities to forge partnerships, mediate and negotiate conflict, set a vision etc will be tested. It would be useful to have crisp examples from your previous experience regarding the work principles/ business philosophies you adhere to.

Tips

  • Focus on preparing people leadership and business leadership questions well.

  • Expect questions on past technologies that you have worked on. Scalable technologies is a topic interviewers love to ask.

Interview Questions

Most commonly asked questions in the Video Conference Screen:

Technical Skills

System Design

  • Bring out the deficiencies in Twitter's front end.
  • In terms of system design, how does a microblogging platform differ from a regular social networking platform?
  • Design a system that can handle millions of card transactions per hour?

Distributed Systems

  • Tell me something about the different security mechanisms used in a distributed system.
  • Name some distributed systems you have worked with? List some of the challenges you faced working with these?

Coding skills

  • You are given a non-empty string, and you are allowed to delete at most one character. Can make it a palindrome?
  • Write a function to Implement the next permutation, which rearranges numbers into the lexicographically next greater permutation of numbers.

People Leadership skills

  • What strategy do you follow to manage your team’s career growth?
  • How hard is it for you to manage difficult conversations?
  • How do you manage underperforming employees?
  • Give an example of a difficult employee situation that you handled well/not so well.

Business/Project Leadership skills

  • Tell me about a time you scaled a system.
  • Describe a project, product or system you worked upon. What were the design and technical problems you faced? How did you solve them?
  • How do you expedite a project that is likely to miss the deadline?

Want to practice more such questions with a Twitter engineering Manager?

Book a mock interview session!

Book now!

Onsite Round

Overview

After clearing the phone screen, the recruiter will set up an onsite interview where you will be interviewed by an interview panel consisting of a hiring manager, a senior engineering manager, and an HR manager. The onsite round comprises 5-6 interviews during the day, each being an hour long. The duration of the onsite round is about 6 hours.

Questions are mostly behavioural and test your management skills. There might be some questions from technical areas such as system design, scalability & distributed systems, and data structures. Following are some key areas from which questions have been asked most recently for the Amazon Engineering Manager role.

Problem Solving & Coding

Engineering Managers are engineers at the end of the day. They are expected to help their teams solve technical problems using analytical thinking, logical reasoning, and code-based execution. Most companies don’t require EMs to be writing code on a day-to-day basis, but they do expect EMs to know how to solve problems by writing good quality code. The assumption is that this skillset is crucial for three aspects:

Hiring ability

A key trait of successful engineering managers is their ability to identify and groom talented individuals who contribute to the growth of the company as a whole.

This is why interviewers have a special interview to test the hiring ability of prospective engineering managers.

Prioritization and Execution of responsibilities

Here interviewers test how you are able to set priorities from a vast deskload of tasks and then deliver results in an effective and time-bound manner.

Interview Questions

Most asked questions in the onsite round:

Problem Solving & Coding

  • Write a function to print duplicate characters from a string?
  • Give the logic to check if two strings are anagrams of each other.
  • How do you print the first non-repeated character from a string?
  • Can a given string be reversed using recursion? How?

Hiring ability

  • When hiring candidates for a role what qualities do you prioritize?
  • How important is a diverse hiring strategy to an organization
  • How long does it take you to hire and source candidates? 

Prioritization and Execution of responsibilities

  • Describe the most technically complex project that you have worked on and why it was complex?
  • How do you collaborate with Product Managers on your team?
  • How do you resolve disagreements over project schedules and priorities among members of your team?

Ace the onsite round by practicing with Twitter Engineering Manager.

Book a mock interview session!

Book now!

To sum it up, focus on preparing your CV well for the initial screen. The phone screen will mainly test your people and project leadership skills. However, interviewers may also test you on some technical areas such as system design, scalability and distributed systems. So these topics need to be prepared well too. For the onsite round, the trick is to weave your professional experiences into short stories and present them as the interviewers demand. With these things in mind, we are sure you will crack the Twitter Engineering Manager interview.

Thanks for reading!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many rounds are there in the Twitter Engineering Manager interview?

There are 3 rounds, namely- Initial Screen, Video Conference Screen, and the Onsite Round.