System Design & Leadership Questions

List of Companies :

Leadership Questions

  1. Tell me about your yourself (the general icebreaker).
  2. Tell me about tim when you faced a difficult challenge.
  3. Tell me about a time when you needed help from someone during a project.
    Tell me about a time when you thought of an unpopular idea.
  4. Tell me about a time when you had to decide upon something without consulting your superior.
  5. Tell me about a time when you had to face tight time constraints during a project.
    Tell me about a time when you did not meet your deadlines for a project.
  6. Tell me about a time when you had conflicting ideas with your teammates and how did you resolve them?
    Have you ever faced any challenges/conflicts with colleagues.
  7. Challenge with manager when you had to disagree with your manager and manager agreed with your point.
  8. Challenge with manager when you had to agree with manager even though he was wrong.
  9. What you could have done for above so that you could have convinced your manager?
  10. What is your biggest strength and weakness?
  11. Situation when you had to agree with your junior.
  12. Your improvement areas.
  13. Recent improvements which helped your in professional and personal life.
  14. Describe the project that you had the most trouble with. What would you have done differently?โ€‹
  15. Talk about a time where you had to make a decision in a lot of ambiguity.
  16. What was the biggest takeaway from your current job that you’ll carry with you throughout your career?โ€‹
  17. How do you keep your team engaged?
  18. Give an example of how you set your goals and achieve themโ€‹.
  19. Tell me about a time when you solved a conflict at work.
  20. Give examples of situations where you have shown effectiveness, empathy, adaptability, and humbleness.
  21. Why do you want to change jobs? Why now?
  22. Share an example of how you were able to motivate employees or co-workers.
  23. What do you do when the requirement from the stakeholder is vague?
  24. How do you make a case for your vision and opinion?
  25. How do you stay organized?
  26. Give an example of an occasion when you used logic to solve a problem.
  27. What do you do if you don’t know the solution for a certain problem and nobody can help at the moment?
  28. Have you handled a difficult situation with a coworker? How?
  29. How do you experiment?
  30. What websites do you spend a lot of time on?
  31. What do you do if you disagree with your boss?
  32. Talk about a time when you failed.
  33. Where do you see yourself in next 5/10 years?
  34. How do you know a feature you have built is working ?
  35. Tell me about a time when your suggestions brought positive changes/impact to the team.


Tell me about a situation where you had a conflict with someone on your team. What was it about? What did you do? How did they react? What was the outcome?

Give an example of when you saw a peer struggling and decided to step in and help. What was the situation and what actions did you take? What was the outcome?
Tell me about a time you committed a mistake?

Tell me about a time when your earned your teammate’s trust?

Tell me about a time when you couldn’t meet your deadline?

Tell me about a time when your teammate didn’t agree with you? What did you do?

Tell me about a time when you invented something?

Tell me about a time when you took important decision without any data?

Tell me about a time when you helped one of your teammates?

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to make a choice among a few options, but did not have a lot of time to explore each option

Have you ever failed at something? What did you learn from it?

name time when you went out of your way to help someone?

Time when you came up with novel solution.
Received negative feedback from manager and how you responded.
Time when you went above and beyond your job responsibilities.
Time when you did not have enough data and had to use judgement to make decision.
Time when you helped someone in their work.
Time when you helped someone grow in career and it benefited them.
Time when you helped someone grow but did not benefit them.
Time when you were 75% through a project and realized you had the wrong goal.
Time when your team members were not supporting something but you pushed and went for a more optimal solution.
Time when you pushed back a decision from your management for better long term benefits.
Time when you failed to meet your commitment

Tell me about yourself. Tell me about a project you’re working on.

Time when you were working on a project on a time constraint

Time when you didn’t meet a deadline

Time when you needed help from somebody

Tell me about yourself.
Tell me about a time you had to help a team member struggling with a task.
Tell me about a time you faced an obstacle and how you overcame it.

Tell me about one of your projects?
Tell me about one of your projects so the same as the first guy.
Tell me a time you took some on some risk

Have you ever gone out of your way to help a peer? (ownership)
Have you ever had to make a tough decision without consulting anybody? (bias for action)
asked me about my past projects that I’ve worked on and gave me detailed explaination about the Internship.

Tell me about a time when you learned new technologies
Tell me about a time when you took a decision on your own without the manager’s prior approval
Tell me about a time you had multiple solutions and you had to select an optimal one

Tell me about a time when you innovated and exceeded the expectation

Tell me about a time where you had to make a decision based on limited information and how it impacted the outcome.

Tell me about a time where you had limited time and how it impacted

Tell me about a time where you did not know something and how you tackled it(Something related to it)

first one was about handling a tight deadline, second is setbacks on projects?

Handling a tight deadline
How would you help a new employee who is facing technical difficulties?

disagree and commit and ownership LPs.

  • An approach you took when you had enough data available.
  • An approach you took when you had less data available.
  • A choice you made when there were multiple solutions available.
  • A time when you leveraged data to develop a solution.
    A time when you devised a simple solution to a complex problem.
  • A time when you raised the bar.
  • A time when you solved a pain point.
  • A time when you influenced a change by asking questions.
  • A time when you invented something.
  • A time when you did more than what was required.
  • A time when you did something for customer satisfaction.

Tell me about your yourself (the general icebreaker).
Tell me about tim when you faced a difficult challenge.
Tell me about a time when you needed help from someone during a project.

Tell me about a time when you thought of an unpopular idea.
Tell me about a time when you had to decide upon something without consulting your superior.
Tell me about a time when you had to face tight time constraints during a project.

Tell me about yourself.
Tell me about a time when you did not meet your deadlines for a project.
Tell me about a time when you had conflicting ideas with your teammates and how did you resolve them?

a project you’re proud of
a time when you faced a setback initially but still achieved the goal.
a time when you had to cut corners to meet a deadline

“Tell me about a time when you felt under pressure that you wouldn’t be able to get something done or had to take a pivot at the last minute”

addition to these questions, I was asked this question recently:

Q. How do you give constructive feedback to your peers.
A. I have a very open relationship with my peers, and if I feel that the task that they are working on or the code that they have written is not up to the mark, I always discuss the same with them. I usually do this by giving them suggestions like maybe you can try doing this task in this way, or sharing links with them which might help them in understanding how they could have done their current task in a better way.

If they are not performing well, then I like to have a frank discussion with them regarding if they are going through some problems which are hindering their performance? If there’s any way in which I can help them, then I try to do the same. Like sometimes someone isn’t performing well because they are not enjoying the task at hand, at that time it becomes a pointer for me that maybe those kinds of tasks need to be distributed to other members of the team who might enjoy that type of task more.

These questions are very commonly asked in HR/behaviourial/managerial rounds of companies.

The reality is – in such rounds, it is important to sound diplomatic and politically correct.
Yes, it might sound like faking at times, but that is precisely what is needed.

As candidates, we definitely need to appear diplomatic and mature – specially for senior positions (say 5+ years of experience). In these rounds, these soft skills matter way more than your stellar coding rounds or design rounds.

0. The MOST IMPORTANT POINT – Resume DrillDown – Know your resume inside out. Each and every word written in your resume can be questioned, it can be about your technical skills, it can be about your hobbies or some award won by you. Be very very sure about everything which you have written in your resume.

Even a HR person may ask question about some fancy technical term(s) mentioned in your skill set. You need to be ready to explain technical terms at a high level in 2-3 sentences. And do not under-estimate the HR – I have personally known people working in HR who have a background in Computer Science, and they are equally capable to grill you technically as well.

1. Why do you want to quit your current job ?

Always frame the answer around things like – not learning anything new as product is in a saturated state, and unable to switch teams due to internal policies. NEVER EVER talk about bad boss, politics etc – it will backfire bigtime.
We can also talk about your interest in the technology on which the company (who is interviewing you) is working on.

In case your current company is recently acquired by another bigger company, then you can always talk diplomatically about uncertainity in the environment in your company, several key people leaving after acquisition, product being discontinued or put in maintenance mode etc.

2. Why do you want to join us ?

This is a similar question to first one. Only difference is – for this question – we need to be able to talk about 1-2 core products created by that company, the tech stack, and being able to express our interest in the same. A sample answer maybe – I came to know about your company because of product X, and I found it a very interesting concept.
I would love to get an opportunity to learn new things by working on this product. Also, use this opportunity to try to get insights into any new features planned for the product in next version.

Expressing interest in their technology is 50% job done for behavioral interviews.
MOST IMPORTANT PART – you must SOUND genuinely passionate when answering this question. Practise rehearsing your lines in front of a mirror for this question – it may help.

3. What has been the biggest failure of your career till now ?
What is the most critical feedback received from your boss in your entire career ?

Even if there is no such thing in reality (for people with say less than 3 years of experience), do craft a reasonable story.
Talk about a time when you caused a major feature break, or a serious bug missed by you which came through customer etc.
You can add that it caused a lot of chaos and I received very critical feedback from my boss saying – “I did not expect this mistake from you“.
Then talk about some corrective actions which you took, like enhancing test automation, or getting into TDD mode etc and this helped in minimizing future recurrences of such nature. YES, talking about corrective actions is the most important part here.

If possible, support with data like – this enhancement in our process helped in preventing at least 20 show stopper bugs from slipping in.

4. What does your typical day at work look like ?

Talk about your routine like – we have daily status meetings as first thing in the morning, then we get onto development/debugging work, customer calls etc. Try to compress in 3-4 sentences at max.
Again, SOUND passionate and energetic when answering this question.

Here the interviewer may ask a follow-up question – what do you do in your free time at work?
Possible answer – I prefer to read about other components of the product on which I have not worked, and try to understand how to debug/troubleshoot those pieces of code.
Or else – my company has a huge repository of learning resources – I try to learn new things etc

Basic motive is to showcase being eager to learn.

Another flavor of above question – describe your current role.
In this case, give an overview of your current responsibilities, like I am developer/lead on this project, working in a team of X number of people. I am responsible for X, Y and Z parts of the project. Be honest about whether you are a hands-on coder or a hybrid of coding and team management or a pure manager.
In case you are more on the management side, then be prepared to justify how do you keep your technical skills up-to-date.

5. Explain about your current product/project at a high level.

Here, we need to be very cautious. NO – never disclose any confidential details.
Try to explain the product using a high level architectural/block diagram (if interviewer allows) or else prepare a crisp 5-6 sentence description of the same.

6. What would you like to improve at your current workplace ?
What do you dislike/hate at your current job/workplace ?

Again a trap – if you badmouth your current employer or use any words like hate or dislike, it is guaranteed to go against you.

Talk about generic things like – sometimes code reviews take a long time due to senior developers being busy – probably that can be streamlined.
Or say – we should invest more in enhancing the test automation infrastructure, which often takes a backseat due to various constraints

Basically, try to stay around technical things, and avoid talking about poor cafeteria or no free cab pickup-drop services etc.
The motive is to show your passion towards work related things and not focus on secondary things like cafeteria or cabs or playgrounds etc.

7. Are you happy at your current job ?

This is also a big trap.
If you talk only about goody-goody positive things, then this question will be immediately followed by – if you like your job, then why are you looking around for another job?

So, answer it diplomatically around point 1 of this post. Talk about good things like – I have gotten to learn a lot.

If by any chance your current job is your first job – then definitely talk about things like – I learnt the ways of working of industry in this job and hence this job will always be special for me etc etc.

Then talk about negatives – again in polished way – now the product has really evolved and hence there is not much productive work to do other than customer support or maintenance etc. Or else say that I have worked for a really long time on same technology stack, and want to expand my breadth by getting a chance to work on other technologies.

You may also borrow few points listed in “Why do you want to quit your current job” above in this post.

8. How would you react if you get to know that your boss is younger than you (or has less years of experience than you) ?

This one is a make-or-break cultural fit question. Always answer diplomatically saying that age/years etc are irrelevent for me. What matters for me is what can I learn from someone irrespective of whether that person is junior or senior to me. I can learn a few things from my boss for sure, and if it turns out that I am more experienced or older than my boss, then I am sure I can be a valuable resource for my boss in terms of helping out with critical decision making.
My experience will definitely be an asset for my boss in such cases.

Throw in examples of successful sports team of any sport which you like, there will be several examples where the captain of a successful sports team is younger than a senior important veteran player of the team. If you can give that type of analogy, your answer will sound more genuine/natural.

9. What would you do if you find your senior or boss doing something unethical or violating a company policy ?

Always talk about that you would gently point out to that person directly, and request that person to follow the correct process. In case the violations continue, then I would like to know about the violation reporting policy of your company.

Here, you can turnaround the interview by cross-questioning your interviewer – “by the way, can you give a brief insight into policy violation reporting mechanism which exists in this company ?

10. Who has been your ideal/best boss ?

Talk about any boss who was a strong decision maker, always stood by the team, and openly praised contributions by team members, and also clearly guided the team members towards career growth.

Yes, such bosses are very rare in real life – but even if you did not have one such boss in your real life, do talk along these lines.

Nobody is going to conduct an enquiry about whether you really had a boss who had all these qualities or not.
Just be careful – not to take any person’s name while talking about these qualities. If explicitly asked, just politely say that I want to respect the privacy of that person, hence won’t take any names.

You can talk like – “Yes, I have been very fortunate to work under one/two such boss(es) earlier in my career. I learnt a lot from him/her/them. I always found that person to be always supportive of the team, and that person was the only person who actually told me the difference between a Software Engineer and a Senior Software Engineer in clear measurable terms etc etc.”

11. Describe the worst boss you have ever worked under.

NEVER NEVER EVER start describing that one bad boss you may have encountered. Be very very diplomatic here.
One slip of tongue in answering this one – and you are already rejected as “being a poor culture fit“.

You can say something like this and create a reasonable story like this – “Well, nobody is perfect – everyone is good in some things and not so good in other things. Regarding my bosses, I am not able to think of anyone who can be labelled as worst as such. I learnt something or other from each and every boss I worked under.
If I have to explicitly describe the shortcomings of any particular boss, then I will not exactly call it a shortcoming, but I feel it was his extradordinary passion towards his work. I had a boss who often used to get so carried away in work when working with us in brainstorming/discussion sessions that we would often end up getting very delayed for lunch.
Initially I found it irritating, but with the passage of time, I realised that he was a person of extreme dedication and passion towards his work. The more I worked with him, the more I learnt from him.
And coming to this lunch time issue, I hesitatingly brought up this point once with him privately, and he happily agreed to have working lunch in such cases.

So, in a nutshell – there are no bad bosses – it is just that their way of working/thinking is drastically different from ours.

Prepare 2-3 stories of this type, just in case the interviewer adds a follow-up like – “any other irritating bosses you worked under“.

So, the whole idea is to mould a highly negative conversation towards a positive direction.

12. If you are say 5+ years experienced and mention that you yourself are an interviewer – then you may be asked to describe your strategy of taking interviews – stuff like what type of questions you ask, and what are you trying to judge based on that question.

In such case, be ready with 2-3 questions and present them as your pet questions.
Be ready with justification like – by asking this tricky coding problem, I try to judge upto what extent the candidate can think, can the candidate come up with different approaches etc.
By asking this question Y – I try to get a feel as to whether the candidate will be a decent cultural fit in our company or not.

Be prepared for a follow-up like – “if you have to look at your own interview rounds going on right now in this company, what do you think the interviewers were trying to judge about you.
Try to answer on similar lines staying close to job description. You can say – “as this job is for a Senior Software Engineer, so it is expected that the interviewer would like to be fully convinced about my coding abilities. So, it is quite natural that I was asked X, Y, Z. In the current round, I believe you are trying to take a call as to whether people would like to work with me as a teammate, and hence you are trying your best not to er in judging me as a person.”

13. What is your greatest weakness ?
No, NO, NO – please do not talk about being impatient or pushing your team hard etc etc. These are all very very well-known answers.

Talk about something more genuine and possibly not related to work – I am not so good at remembering road directions, or maybe people whose first/second language is not English may feel that occasionally I speak too fast.

But be prepared to answer – what are you doing to overcome this weakness ?
Possible answers to above examples may be – I am trying to get better at remembering road directions by observing the landmarks more closely when I pass through any road
I consciously try to speak at a slower pace and in a neutral accent when interacting with people whose first/second language may not be English. I am actually trying to learn more about different cultures across the globe to be sensitive to their requirements.
If you talk about culture, be prepared to talk about a few interesting facts about culture of few countries – e.g. using left hand to give/take something in Asian countries may be considered offensive, tipping is not considered good in some countries but is a natural expectation in some other countries etc.

Being culturally sensitive is very very important for working in any MNC.

14. Why should we hire you?
Why do you think you are a good fit for this role/job ?

Again a cliche question. Just talk about your passion for the role, talk about how your skills are a perfect match for this role, definitely do highlight any not-so-common achievement of yours (may be you have been a state level player, or maybe you appeared on a TV show – use it to market your people skills, maybe you won multiple scholarships in your career).
And at the end say – I strongly believe these qualities of mine make me a worthy candidate for this role.
Mark the wording – worthy – NOT perfect. Be very cautious as to NOT to sound arrogant.

15. [For fresh graduates/postgraduates only] What is your favorite subject and why ?
Be prepared with 2-3 names, because sometimes the interviewer may dig like – second favorite subject ?

It is upto you whether you want to stay with routine subjects like Algorithms, Data Structures etc or choose something else like Machine Learning, AI, Computer Graphics, Computer Networks.
To answer the why part, NEVER EVER say things like because I always score good grades/marks in this subject. You must be able to give a solid justification about the real world applicability of the concepts taught in those subjects.

Some examples maybe – Data structures is the basic foundation of any software which we use in real life.
Machine learning is the basic concept behind so many useful features like recommended news, purchase suggestions on e-commerce sites etc
Computer Graphics is the very reason we get to see such amazing 3D/4D movies like <name any of your favorite 3D/4D movies>

Also, a word of caution here – maybe you studied a subject named Advanced Algorithms or say Advanced Concepts in Computer Networks – AVOID the word advanced if you can. Because, using the word advanced may open up a pandora box and you may get bombarded with several questions about concepts which you may not even have heard of !!

16. [For fresh graduates/postgraduates only] Which subject(s) do you HATE and why ?
This one is a very tricky question to answer, and you need a solid justification for the same.

You should NEVER use the word HATE but say something like I am not very much interested in this subject X.

X can be some compulsory elective course which is not exactly related to Computer Science but is a part of your college/university curricullum. You can justify by saying that I have tried very hard to understand where would I need to apply the concept taught in that subject, in the field of software engineering.

By any chance, if your least favorite subject is related to Computer Science, then the only possible way to justify it could be – I have never gotten any chance to practically apply the concepts taught in that subject. There are indeed some subjects which are taught only theoretically – if that is the case then you can give this justification.

Or even better – you can also say that there is no subject which I would put in the category of dislike/hate, because every subject has its own importance.

17. [For fresh graduates/postgraduates only] Tell me about your major/degree project.
Be prepared to explain each and everything in thorough detail.
Try to structure your answer like this

Motive – what inspired you to take up this project? Justify with some real world application – max 2-3 sentences
Initial exploration – what all did you read up about it – max 2-3 sentences
Implementation details – preferably a flow/block diagram (if possible), and 5-6 sentence summary explanation
What did you learn from this task – I learnt how to actually implement a Classifier/NeuralNetwork, I learnt a new tool/language named X etc. (2-3 sentences at max)


My interactions with many students preparing and giving interviews have made me realise that students do not prepare enough for behavioural questions in general. They treat these categories of questions as secondary but fail to realise that a good leadership answer can change the interviewers perspective towards them as a prospective new hire. A good response can be a decisive factor if there is confusion in the mind of interviewers regarding your technical prowess. It is extremely important to realise that apart from assessing the technical abilities, the interviewers also assess your ability to understand the culture and the values of the company. They want to see how you tackle different situations and how well you can gel into the company as a prospective employee. Hence, this category demands a thorough preparation. While this seems like a wastage of time at first, the benefits are immense. A good preparation of only about a week can prepare you for the long term. Once you get a knack for answering these questions, not enough practise is required to maintain this skill, and you can ace the leadership round of pretty much every company. Companies like Amazon stress too much on their leadership principles. In fact, for interns, the final round is more of a behavioural than a technical round. Hence, good preparation is required.

A general mindset of students is to know just the intricacies of the projects they have worked on in college and the company and knit a story during the interview. While that is a plausible approach, the resultant answers are usually not well structured and fail to impress the interviewers. To them, instead of the technologies and the intricacies of the project, the approach, the mindset, and the learnings are far more important, which we as interviewees sometimes fail to address. I agree that there are so many different types of leadership questions that it is virtually impossible to prepare for all such questions. But the good news is, just like DSA, we can segregate these questions into categories and then smartly target those categories. I will be talking about some patterns that I have seen, some tips I have found useful, and then address how to structure your answers.

The categories:

  • Data: Many times, the interviewer wants to know how you handle the data. Data is unarguably one of the major factors to devise solutions, and the interviewer wants to know how your decision making is affected by different amounts of data. Your approach when you have say, a large amount of data, just enough data, or not enough data available tells a lot about your problem-solving skills. While answering such questions, you need to make sure that you leverage the data to come up with a robust and scalable solution that does not exploit much of the company’s resources. You should talk about general trends, observations, insights, and outliers.
    Related questions:
    • An approach you took when you had enough data available.
    • An approach you took when you had less data available.
    • A choice you made when there were multiple solutions available.
    • A time when you leveraged data to develop a solution.
  • Decision: This category includes questions where you have to take key decisions based on different situations. Those decisions can be instinctive, quick, risky, etc. The interviewer wants to know how you handle pressure and take important decisions when a lot is at stake. Make sure your decisions are sound, scalable, and have solid data backing.
    Related questions:
    • A time when you took a quick/instinctive decision and succeeded.
    • A time when you took a risky decision and failed.
  • Innovation and hard work: This is a general category of positive questions where the interviewer wants to know more about how you think and how curious you are to learn more about new technologies and culture. Curiosity drives innovation which along with hard work improves your chances of succeeding at a company. It would be great if you have some projects where you have solved a problem using a not so usual approach and solved a pain point of the customers. The qualities you want to show while answering such questions are curiosity, hard work, inquisitiveness, and modesty.
    Related questions:
    • A time when you devised a simple solution to a complex problem.
    • A time when you raised the bar.
    • A time when you solved a pain point.
    • A time when you influenced a change by asking questions.
    • A time when you invented something.
    • A time when you did more than what was required.
    • A time when you did something for customer satisfaction.
  • Deadline: It is a very important category of questions. Working in a company, deadlines keep the engineers on their toes. Many times to fulfil the deadlines, the quality of the code might get compromised. Sometimes a last-minute bug or a late dependency resolution results in a deadline shift. Instead of playing the blame game, you need to take ownership of the mistakes and ensure that the customer impact is minimal. Some viable reasons for missing the deadlines are late dependency resolution, short-term sacrifices for long-term gain like developing a scalable and a more robust solution, an insufficient case study resulting in incorrect time estimates. An important aspect of this category is learnings. What steps did you take to mitigate the damage (for instance, keeping the manager in the loop instead of informing him at the last moment that the deadline might be missed), and what measures did you take so that such a thing is never repeated. How you learnt from your mistakes and grew as an engineer is something you should address.
    Related questions:
    • A time when you missed a deadline
    • A time when you had to shift a deadline.
  • Mistakes: It is a category of negative questions that should be answered with care. Just like the deadline category, you should take ownership of the mistakes committed and focus more on how you mitigated the damage. Ensure that the customer impact is minimal. You can also talk about why the approach you took seemed right then and what went wrong. Understanding where you went wrong and the steps you took to avoid such mistakes from happening in the future is crucial.
    Related questions:
    • A time when you made a mistake.
    • A time you used the wrong approach when there was a better one.
    • Something you did you thought was right, but it failed.
    • A situation where you used external client/organizations plugin/adapter, which was faulty.
  • Motivation: Just like innovation, it is a positive category of questions that in a way is coupled with innovation. While innovation is mostly about your tangible impact on the project, motivation is more about your psychological impact on the team. You can motivate others around you by being a leader or even an intern. Having a sense of empathy, collaboration, taking initiative, helping fellow employees, and leading by example are some of the qualities you should try to portray while answering such questions. In this category, apart from projects, you can also talk about organising team-bonding activities to improve the cohesion between team members.
    Related questions:
    • A time when you took an initiative.
    • A time when you lead a project.
    • A time when you boosted the morale of the team.
  • Conflict: Conflicts are a common phenomenon in any group project. There might be conflicts about work division, who committed a mistake, conflicts about technology choice, and designs. It is important to resolve the conflicts as soon as possible in the most practical way taking into account the well being of the project and eventually the customers. We need to understand that it’s not a personal battle between engineers about who is right but what’s best for the company. Many times, there is no correct answer, but an answer that suits a particular situation in the best possible way. A balance between the company’s resources and customer satisfaction needs to be established.
    Related questions:
    • A time when you handled a crisis.
    • A time when you resolved a group conflict.

The approach:

First of all, it seems intimidating to come up with situations/ stories/ projects for so many different questions I have mentioned above. What you need to understand is that you only need to be thorough with 3-4 projects you have worked upon in your company/ college. Most of the categories can be addressed by talking about a single example. For instance, describing the same project, you can talk about innovation, raising the bar, or say missing the deadline. It is always better to talk about different projects answering different questions as most companies will not ask more than three questions. Other questions would be the follow-ups. You just need to decide which project fits the best in the above categories. For all the questions, you need to be well-versed with the situations/ projects you would be talking about, and everything else would be easy following the category guidelines I have mentioned above and the structure and tips I would be writing below. Try to incorporate the company’s ideologies, principles, and values in your answers. It is a bonus to know how the company’s goals are aligned with yours.

Coming to the structure, all of us might have heard about the STAR method of answering leadership questions promoted by Amazon. I believe that, with minor tweaks, it is a very structured way of answering leadership questions irrespective of the company.
The STAR methodology:

  • Situation: Like first impressions, the beginnings are important. A good beginning acts as a hook and decide how the rest of your answer unfolds. A good beginning immediately grabs the interviewer’s attention which increases his involvement, which in turn boosts your confidence while answering. I should mention that students are not very good at describing their projects. You need to understand that there are a plethora of software technologies and domains. Hence, it is hard to be well-versed with everything even for the interviewers. Since you have worked extensively in a particular domain, it does not mean the interviewer has the required expertise in it as well. Students rush into the technicalities of the project instead of discussing the managerial aspects of it. In this part, we should address why the project started, why the project was important, what was your role in the project, and what was the impact of the project. After that, you start setting the pretext. Depending on the question, start talking about say the scope of innovation, a situation where a morale boost of the team was required, a situation where you needed to abide by the deadline or a key decision was to be made.
  • Task: The tasks are just like the JIRA tasks. In this part, you need to talk about what was needed to be done and not how. Focus on your tasks and not that of the entire team. Focus on the goals needed to be accomplished in order to address what was asked in the question.
  • Action: In this section, you talk about the “how”. How the task was completed and what actions you took. In this section, you talk about the technical details of your tasks. You also talk about how your technical and personal actions impacted the team and the project. Again focus on your actions and not that of the team’s.
  • Result: In this section, you talk about the quantitative and qualitative results of your actions. How your actions given a particular situation impacted the project. Talk about the accomplishments, the metrics and the consequences of your actions.
  • Conclusion: To me, conclusions are the second most important part after the beginning. This is where you want to leave a lasting positive impact on the interviewer. You essentially wrap up your answer and try to show your positive outlook towards the entire situation as a whole. Both positive and negative situations pose a scope for learning and you should discuss it with the interviewer. While positive situations reinforce your faith in the right process, facing negative situations with the right mindset helps you grow as an engineer and as a person.

Important tips:

  • Properly structure your answers. Like a good essay, your answers should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. The STAR format can be thought of as the SBI approach. You first talk about the Situation, followed by your Behaviour towards it, concluded by the Impact.
  • Focus on the details. Be as descriptive as possible. Include who was involved, the specifics of the project, and key metrics.
  • Focus on “I”. You want to talk more about your ideas, approach, solutions, skills than that of the team as a whole.
  • Don’t shy away from failures. Take ownership of the mistakes committed and focus on the learnings.
  • If the interviewer is asking follow-ups, listen carefully as to what specifics they want to know.
  • Be clear about what you expect from that particular company, and how it will help you achieve your goals. Identify the values and results that resonate with you.


  1. A time when you faced a problem that had multiple solutions
  2. When did you take a risk, make a mistake or fail? How did you respond?
  3. What did you do when you needed to motivate a group of individuals?
  4. How have you leveraged data to develop a strategy?
  5. A time when a team member didn’t meet your expectations on a project
  6. Tell me about a time you failed and what you learned from it
  7. The last time you had to apologize to someone
  8. A time when you were 75% through a project, and you had to pivot strategy
  9. How do you show your customer Obsession?
  10. How do you wow your customers?
  11. How do you develop client relationships?
  12. How do you understand your customer’s needs?
  13. Describe a time when you made a judgement call with limited information
  14. Describe a time when you improved a process with limited budget
  15. Describe a problem you solved. What was the root cause of the problem?
  16. An example of when you had to push back to HQ or challenged a decision
  17. Provide an example of when you had personally demonstrated ownership
  18. Tell me about a time you went above and beyond
  19. When you took on something outside your area of responsibility. Outcome?
  20. An example of when you saw a peer struggling and decided to step in and help
  21. Describe a situation where you disagreed with a supervisor?
  22. Tell me about a time you recovered from a difficult situation
  23. Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem
  24. Describe a project or idea (not necessarily your own) that was implemented primarily because of your efforts
  25. Do you feel you work well under pressure? If so, describe a time when you have done so…
  26. Give me an example of when you motivated others
  27. Tell me about a time where you had to delegate tasks during a project
  28. Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead
  29. Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem
  30. Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment
  31. Tell me about a time you handled a crisis
  32. Tell me about a time you had to deal with ambiguity
  33. Are you easy to get along with?
  34. Do you collaborate well?
  35. Tell me about a team project you worked on
  36. Describe a time when you had to bring two departments together to work more efficiently with each other
  37. Tell me about a time you stepped up into a leadership role
  38. Tell me about a time you led an important meeting
  39. How do you motivate other people to work with you?
  40. Describe your style in dealing with irate customers
  41. Describe a difficult decision you had to make in your business life and how you went about doing it
  42. Tell me about a time you made a mistake that affected a client adversely and how you coped with it
  43. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a rule or approach
  44. Describe a situation when you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way
  45. Tell me about a time when you were asked to take sides regarding another employee and you remained neutral
  46. We’ve all had to work with people that don’t like us. How do you deal with someone that doesn’t like you?
  47. Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it
  48. Describe a time when you went beyond your job description to save your company time and money
  49. Give an example of a situation in which you took specific steps to further your career
  50. Talk about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours
  51. Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
  52. Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that?
  53. We all make mistakes we wish we could take back. Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague?
  54. Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who wasn’t very responsive. What did you do?
  55. Describe a time when it was especially important to make a good impression on a client. How did you go about doing so?
  56. Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectation. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
  57. Tell me about a time when you made sure a customer was pleased with your service
  58. When you’re working with a large number of customers, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. How do you go about prioritizing your customers’ needs?
  59. Tell me about a time when you were under a lot of pressure. What was going on, and how did you get through it?
  60. Describe a time when your team or company was undergoing some change. How did that impact you, and how did you adapt?
  61. What is the most difficult decision you ever took in software?
  62. Tell me about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities
  63. Describe a long-term project that you managed. How did you keep everything along in a timely manner?
  64. Sometimes it’ jut not possible to get everything on your to-do lit done. Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a bit overwhelming. What did you do?
  65. Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself. How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
  66. Describe a time when you were the resident technical expert. What did you do to make sure everyone was able to understand you?
  67. Tell me about a time when you had to rely on written communication to get your ideas across to your team.
  68. Tell me about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit
  69. Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it
  70. Tell me about a time when you worked under close supervision or extremely loose supervision. How did you handle that?
  71. Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
  72. Tell me about a time you were dissatisfied in your work. What could have been done to make it better?
  73. How do you handle a challenge? Give an example.
  74. Describe a decision you made that wasn’t popular and how you handled implementing it
  75. Share an example of how you were able to motivate employees or co-workers
  76. Tell me about the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the past six months
  77. Tell me about a major mistake you made, and what you did to correct it
  78. Tell me about the last time a customer or coworker got upset with you
  79. Tell me about a time you knew you were right, but still had to follow directions or guidelines
  80. Tell me about the lat time your workday ended before you were able to get everything done
  81. Tell me about a time you had to raise an uncomfortable issue with your boss
  82. Tell me about a goal you failed to achieve
  83. Tell me about a time you worked on a team with individuals from different cultural backgrounds
  84. Describe a time when you found it difficult to work with someone from a different background
  85. Give an example of a situation where you had to take into account the sensitiveness of different parties
  86. Tell me about a time you observed culturally insensitive behavior on the job
  87. What experiences have you had with recruiting, hiring, training, and/or supervising a diverse workforce?
  88. Tell me about a time recently when you had to take someone’s cultural perspective into account in dealing with themselves
  89. When have you worked the hardest?
  90. Tell me about a time when you had to juggle multiple important projects
  91. What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
  92. Tell me about a decision that you regret
  93. What’s your greatest professional regret?
  94. Describe a situation in which you found a creative way to overcome an obstacle
  95. Tell me about a time when you came up with a new approach to a problems
  96. What’s the most innovative new idea that you have implemented?
  97. Tell me about a two improvements you have made in the last six months
  98. Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures
  99. Tell me about a time when you had to analyze information and make a recommendation
  100. Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills
  101. When have you delegated efficiently?
  102. Describe a time when you led by example
  103. Who have you coached or mentored to achieve success?
  104. Describe a project that required input from people at different levels in the organization
  105. Share a rewarding team experience
  106. Tell me about a time when you worked with a difficult team member
  107. Give me an example of a team project that failed
  108. Tell me about a time you stepped up into a leadership role
  109. Let’s say you need something important from a coworker and that person isn’t responding. How would you deal with this?
  110. Tell me about a time when you had to manage multiple responsibilities. How did you handle it?
  111. Let’s say you’re working on a major project and you’r in the weeds. How do you find your way out?
  112. We all deal with difficult customers from time to time. Tell me about a challenging client-facing situation and how you handled it.
  113. Sometimes we have an all-hands-on-deck situation that may require everyone to work extra hours. How would you handle that?
  114. Everyone starts somewhere. Talk about a time when you were new on the job and had a lot to learn. How did you manage?
  115. I’m interested in how you recharge when you’re not working. What do you do with your downtime?
  116. Has your manager/supervisor ever asked you to do something that you were uncomfortable with? How did you handle this?
  117. Tell me about a time you witnessed a fellow employee do something you didn’t think was appropriate
  118. Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work. How did you deal with it?
  119. How have you reacted to a colleague who regularly lets the team down?
  120. Tell me about a time you had to work at a fast pace for an extended period of time. How did you maintain your work pace?
  121. Tell me about the longest time it took you to conclude a deal with a customer
  122. Describe a situation when you had to overcome a number of obstacles to achieve an objective
  123. Describe what you do to control mistakes in your work
  124. Describe a situation in which you had to schedule your activities to meet a work objective
  125. Describe a new idea or suggestion that you made to your supervisor recently
  126. Describe a situation when you negotiated with others in your organization to reach agreement
  127. Tell me about a time you had to quickly adjust your work priorities to meet changing demands
  128. Tell me about a time you had to make decision under pressure to meet a deadline
  129. Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation and used your coping skills
  130. Describe a time that you demonstrated the ability to be an effective team member
  131. Describe a time when you sacrificed short term goals for long term success
  132. Tell me about a time when you had to choose between technologies for a project
  133. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your hiring manager. What did you do?
  134. Tell me about a time when you had to coach an employee
  135. Tell me about a time you heard difficult feedback and how you handled it
  136. Describe a time when you had to convince the leaders of your team despite their disagreement. What did you do to convince them?
  137. Tell me about a time when you were not able to meet a time commitment. What prevented you from meeting it? What was the outcome and what did you learn from it?
  138. Describe an example of when you took risk and failed
  139. Tell me about a time when you overcame an obstacle and delivered results
  140. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss
  141. What is the most significant impact of your work inside a team?
  142. Tell me about a time when you helped improve an internal work process. How you did it and what was the result?
  143. What is the best invention or idea you had in the past two years?
  144. Tell me about a time you exceeded your expectations
  145. Describe a project that you are particularly proud of. How did it impact your company? What challenges did you encounter and how did you solve them?
  146. Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work
  147. Tell me about a time when you took the lead on a difficult project
  148. Tell me about a time when you received negative feedback from your manager. How did you respond?
  149. How would you handle a project that is expected to be behind schedule
  150. Describe a time when you received criticism and how you handled it
  151. Tell me about a time when you had to make a judgement call without having time to refer to a manager/supervisor
  152. Give me an example where you strongly held an opinion and you were the outlier
  153. Why Amazon?
  154. Explain a situation where you faced a problem and how did you deal with it?
  155. Tell me about a time you made a decision without consulting your manager
  156. What’s your greatest strength?
  157. Tell me about a time when you were curious; what were your expectations and what did you learn from them?

System Design
 Design a service for sending notifications when a stock price changes.

  1. Design Parking Lot
  • Single Entry and Exit Gates
  • Multiple Entry and Exit Gates
  1. Design Multiplayer Sudoku Game
  • Players have to Rotate the Pin in order to decide the turn.
  • Player who is able to fill the last empty cell will win.
  1. Design LRU (Static + Dynamic Input Flow)
  • Follow Up : Implement LFU with Least Changes in the previous design (LRU)
  1. Design In Memory Cache
  2. Design Snake and Ladder Game
  • How would you change the design if wild cards are allowed.
  1. Design Exception Class With Test Cases
  • Note: Don’t forget to use Singleton Pattern Here.
  1. Design Money Splitter
  2. Design Notification Service
  3. Design Message Queue
  4. Design a Terminal/Command Prompt

๐‡๐ข๐ ๐ก ๐‹๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ฅ ๐ƒ๐ž๐ฌ๐ข๐ ๐ง ๐๐ฎ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ:

  1. Design Whatsapp
  2. Design Uber Backend
  3. Design Tiny URL
  4. Design Dream11
  5. Design Leetcode
  6. Design MS Teams
  7. Design Dominos/PizzaHut
  8. Design Big Bazaar
  9. Design Zomato/Swiggy
  10. Design Docker

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