Going through the interview stage is an important and essential part of getting that next job that moves your engineering career forward. To complete the interview stage successfully, you need to answer questions in a way that gives confidence to the interviewers and ensures they remember you after you leave.
In most interviews for engineering job roles, you will encounter four main types of question:
- Competency questions – to find out about the skills you have. Remember, employers will be interested in your soft skills in addition to your technical skills, so filter information on those into your answers as well.
- Motivation questions – largely centred on why you want to work in the industry, for the company, or in the particular role.
- Scenario questions – this is where the interviewer presents a scenario and asks how you would deal with it. This is to get a better understanding of the approach you take in different situations.
- Strength-based questions – these questions help the interviewer understand what you believe your strengths are. Crucially, it also helps the interviewer understand your main motivations in work.
The important thing to remember is that the interviewer wants to understand more than your technical engineering capabilities and experience.
Example Interview Questions
To give you an idea of the questions you might encounter in an interview for an engineering position, here are some examples:
- What do you like most/least about engineering?
- What motivates you as an engineer?
- Why do you want to work for the company and/or in the industry?
- What interests you about the specific role?
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (remember when answering this one that ambition takes many forms – moving up the ladder is just one, but you might have ambitions for something else)
- What’s the most challenging project you’ve been involved in?
- What is the most successful project you’ve been involved in and why?
- How have you used your skills to solve a problem? (with these sorts of question, interviewers are trying to learn about your problem-solving and creative skills)
- What new skills have you learned in recent times?
Tips for Answering Engineering Job Interview Questions
- Research the company
- Research the industry if you don’t work in it
- Get a thorough understanding of the role from the job description
- Understand in your own mind why you’re applying for the job
- Think about projects and other experiences you have had that you can use as examples
With the last point in the above list, don’t just focus on purely positive experiences. After all, not all engineering projects go according to plan. It’s important to show prospective employers how you deal with difficult situations.
In summary, employers want to find out in job interviews whether you have the necessary competencies. Using varied examples and thinking through some common interview questions in advance will help you do this.