Are you preparing for an interview as a Technical Program Manager (TPM)? It’s a career with a ton of responsibilities, so it’s wise to learn all you can about the interview process.
The interview process of a technical program manager is in three phases:
- Recruiter screening
- Phone interview
- Onsite interview rounds
All phases question you about your leadership, technical capabilities, and adaptability. Keep reading to learn more about what your future interviewers are looking for in a TPM.
What Does a Technical Program Manager do?
As a TPM, you’re following a technical object or online service from its idea stage to its development, to its launch and you work closely with the engineers of the tech item or program until it is successfully launched.
A TPM is responsible for…
- Managing the program's governance structure and charter,
- Working with stakeholders that have overlapping functions in the company,
- Making sure multiple complicated projects reach their next phase(s) on time,
- Steering the strategy of the Program to a successful outcome.
Depending on how much technical experience you have, you may be more involved with the business aspects or development (or both!). Because this role is so often deep in the technology itself, preferable candidates for this position are former software engineers.
Phases of the Interview Process
The three phases of the interview process are all made up of individual interviews and screening. Each phase will have you asked specific questions.
This part is about half an hour long and focuses on questions that evaluate your relevant previous experience in program & project management, teamwork, and the fit between what you’ve accomplished in the past and what you're meant to do in the role.
Be prepared for questions such as:
- Tell me about yourself
- What was your biggest achievement?
- What do you do today in your role?
In addition, you might also be asked questions about your salary expectations, notice period, relocation needs, etc.
Hiring Manager Interview
If you pass the screening, the next phase is a phone call with the hiring manager. The hiring manager will probe further on your management skills, your technical skills, and your leadership skills.
Examples of interview questions might be about:
- Previous management experience (your biggest project)
- Behavioral questions (dealing with conflict, managing stakeholders, handling conflicting priorities, etc)
- System architectures & design (theory and applied questions)
Onsite Interview Rounds
In the last phase, you'll be going through multiple rounds of interviews, each meant to evaluate:
- System design capabilities (how would you design Whatsapp, Twitter, etc)
- Software architectures (how would you design a parking lot software)
- Behavioral questions (more of the above :))
As you can see, the interview process is very comprehensive and can be intimidating but, as long as you are confident in your abilities and practice your answers, you’ll already be steps ahead of your competition!