When preparing for an interview with an engineer, it’s important to plan your questions carefully. As well as delving into subject-specific questions to find out about the skills and passions of a candidate, asking common interview questions is equally as vital. Enquiring about an interviewee’s interpersonal communication skills, teamwork and work ethic will ensure you are hiring the best applicant.
What has been your most challenging project?
This question will cause a candidate to think about a past project and allow you to see which part of their field of work they find challenging and why. It will highlight how they overcame a problem within the project and what the outcome was, showing their problem-solving skills.
Tell me about a demanding written technical report you have completed.
Again, this question will make a candidate reflect on a challenging part of their job, but this time focusing on their written and communication skills. A candidate should be able to go into detail about a report and describe why it was demanding, whilst highlighting their strong communication skills which are vital to any job within a team.
What processes do you have in place to check for mistakes and errors?
A strong engineering candidate will have their own system in place to reduce their margin of error. This question will highlight candidates’ own specific ways to check for mistakes, whether they write down a checklist when starting a project or discuss their process with a colleague. Asking this question is important to ensure your company hire someone who will be conscientious and will avert losing time and money on mistakes that could have been prevented.
Tell me about a time when you have demonstrated leadership skills.
Asking a candidate about a time they have stepped into a leadership role is a useful question to ask candidates applying to roles not only at a leadership level. This question will ask a candidate to describe how they define leadership, as well highlighting how they have demonstrated leadership qualities even if just from working on a small project with a team. It is important to have colleagues who can step up and steer the way when needed.
How do you ensure you stick to project deadlines and schedules?
Any candidate should be able to display strong time management skills. In the field of engineering, sticking to project deadlines is imperative to save your company’s time, money and resources from being used unnecessarily.
What has your workload been like in previous experiences?
This important question will establish a candidate’s expectations of workload within your company. It will also show how well they can handle a heavy workload and get tasks done to a deadline.
What do you enjoy most and least about engineering?
In any job, there are parts that not everyone will enjoy. This question reveals more about the passions and skills of a candidate, and how they deal with the parts of the job they don’t enjoy as much – a fact that is good for an employer to know.
Tell me about a time you became aware of a hazardous workplace condition. How did you handle it?
Asking a candidate this will show their respect for workplace safety, as well has how proactive they were about removing the hazard. This question is relevant to most engineering jobs, but especially to manual engineering.
As there are 6 branches of engineering – mechanical, chemical, civil, electrical, geotechnical and management – it is always worth asking subject specific questions.
Why did you choose your specific strand of engineering?
This will show an interviewee’s passions and why they chose to go into their specific strand of engineering. Again, this is a question that will highlight a candidate’s interests and focus, making it clear if they’re suitable for the job they’re applying for.
How much oil is necessary to pollute the ocean? Describe a process for writing a piece of code.
Questions similar to these, for environmental and electrical engineers etc, are perfect to nail down a candidate’s expertise, as well as get them thinking to show their logical reasoning and how they communicate processes and hypothetical queries.
For more information on the perfect questions to ask candidates at an interview, please call us.