Interviewing can be stressful. Yet, with the right preparation, you will confidently put your best foot forward. These are the top five interview questions that you should be ready to answer when interviewing for engineering opportunities.
Engineering recruiters will most likely ask a mixture of project-based and problem-solving as well as behavioral interview questions. They will be drilling into your project management and analytical skills as well as your ability to work in teams and be client facing. Additionally, they will be assessing your technical expertise. These top five questions cover these areas and more.
1. What Was The Most Challenging Engineering Project You Worked On, And How Did You Overcome These Challenges?
Being a successful engineer requires strategic thinking and problem-solving skills. Hiring managers use this behavioral question to get a better understanding of how you think through and solve issues.
When answering, be specific in your examples. Use the Experience + Learn = Grow model to formulate your answer. Any type of vague answer would show that you may not have many successful projects to recount and perhaps not enough experience for the role.
Remember, this doesn't have to be from a past employment experience; it could also include an academic exercise.
The example you choose should best show your participation and how you instituted your problem-solving skills to overcome obstacles. It will show that you understood how to work as part of a team and collaborate to ensure success. Be specific about the role you played, why your input was necessary, what skills you employed, and how it was instrumental to achieving the desired outcome.
2. What Checks And Balances Do You Institute Into Your Process To Avoid Errors?
Engineers juggle multiple projects on almost impossible timetables. Staying on top of deadlines is crucial. Priorities are constantly shifting as new problems arise. Employers want to be sure that their engineering candidate has a current system in place to reduce the margin of error and improve quality.
You may not even realize you have a system in place. It could be your thorough note-taking, your extreme use of checklists, or perhaps a digital organizational system that assesses project steps. Take a thorough look at your past projects. What were the consistent actions you took during each process to eliminate mistakes and stay organized?
This is an ideal opportunity to depict several key qualities and soft skills such as attention to detail, effective communication, project management, and creative thinking.
3. How Do You Deal With Changing Priorities On A Project?
Managing several projects can be highly stressful. As an engineer, you are faced with tough deadlines that can potentially create tragic results if done wrong. Prospective employers want to know that you can handle difficult situations well.
When engineering projects get off track, they cost the organization a lot of time, money, and other resources. This question gives you the opportunity to show off your time management skills and how you work under pressure.
Have you ever worked on a project that ran off the rails? If so, what did you do to alleviate the situation? How did you re-prioritize? How did you handle offsetting costs?
Problems consistently arise in engineering projects. There is nothing wrong with admitting you ran into problems as long as they show you effectively fixed all issues.
4. What New Skills Have You Developed Over The Last Year?
Engineers have to keep up with the ever-changing landscape and technological advances. Employers want to make sure you are keeping your knowledge and skills up-to-date. What was important two years ago, may be a moot point currently.
Employers will want to drill into your intellectual curiosity. You should provide an answer that highlights your desire to keep up with the cutting edge. Do you subscribe to any engineering journals? Do you attend any conferences?
This also is a chance to share some interesting technical knowledge. Was there an article you read recently that was interesting? A new software that you were introduced to? Don't hesitate to weave these examples into your answer.
5. If You Could Design Your Dream Job, What Would It Look Like?
Employers want to understand your motivations. They want to know what drives you. Look at your experience and come ready with a list of your daily responsibilities that spark joy.
This question has no right or wrong answer, but in order to make an impression your answer should be authentic, display your creative side, and reveal a few of your long-term goals.
Employers want to hire someone who is passionate about engineering with ambition. Don't hesitate to gush about why you chose this profession and how you are going to change the world.
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