An interview is one of the most important parts of a job selection process. However, it is not just an essential aspect for the employer in ensuring they find the right resource, but also for the prospective candidate to get a feel for the culture of the organisation they have applied to. It also allows the incumbent to know more about the job and company; we’ll discuss this in more detail in the sections below.
This article will look at the engineering job interview process, what it entails, what questions you should consider asking, and why it is essential to ask the right questions. To get the best out of this blog, we suggest reading it until the end; we have also listed some frequently asked questions (FAQs) and their answers. So, without further ado, let’s begin.
The Engineering Job Interview Process
When going for an engineering interview, the process might vary slightly depending on the job role you have applied for, whether it’s a junior engineering job, which is more hands-on, or a supervisory or management role. Most job interview processes consist of an introduction, questions by the hiring manager, your questions, and closing. However, there might be other aspects to the selection process, such as an aptitude and cognitive test or other assessments. We have broken down the questions by interviewer into four main parts – getting an overview, gauging technical skills, understanding an employee’s motivation, and their communication and teamwork.
Getting An Overview
Engineers, in general, are required to have a wide range of skills. For example, they need to have strong communication skills. They must be able to explain complex engineering concepts. So you might be asked questions about them. Additionally, if the interview is for a supervisor or project manager position, the person must have the ability and skill to keep projects on budget. Consequently, you might be asked about projects you have led and how you managed them.
Good time management skills can make a difference in meeting deadlines and ensuring projects are completed on time. You might get asked about your current work schedules, as they can give the interviewer insight into the type of organisations you have worked for so far and how well you can be a potential fit with their company and goals; this information can also be used to determine your career progression.
Gauging Technical and Software Skills
Engineering roles are affected by the development of new technologies. Therefore, candidates must have a working knowledge of the software and hardware used in their job and an idea of current and future developments. Some companies only use one specific type of software, while others are interested in knowing how well candidates are trained in other types. As an assessment, you might be asked to use a particular software or hardware to solve a problem or even create or design something.
Understanding The Candidate and their Motivation
Interviewers want to know what motivates a candidate. Engineers have to show a passion for their work. Whether designing a product or installing it, they must be enthusiastic about their work. While they do this, they must also keep up with changing technology. When asked about your favourite work, you should be prepared to explain why you enjoy that particular job. Also, you should include examples of your previous engineering projects. Be sure to include volunteer work and conferences, as these are all ways of showing that you want to stay involved in the field.
Interviewers also want to know how someone works well with other people. That is especially important for engineering jobs since they usually involve working with and sometimes in multiple teams. In addition, engineers often have to juggle projects, which can be complicated. So be prepared to be asked about scenarios regarding interactions with your colleagues, someone from another department, and even your previous boss.
What questions should you ask the interviewer?
If you are preparing for a job interview for an engineering position, there are several questions you should ask the interviewer. As an engineering professional, you know the importance of thorough research and problem-solving skills. These skills should also be applied when preparing for an engineering interview, especially when crafting a list of thoughtful questions to ask your interviewer. These questions will help you determine if the company is a good match for you. They will also provide some insight into the organisation’s culture and values.
Can you tell me more about the team and its dynamic?
As an engineer, you will work closely with a team of other professionals to complete projects and tasks. Understanding the team dynamic and how you will fit in is essential. Are team members encouraged to collaborate and share ideas, or is it more competitive? How are decisions made, and how are conflicts resolved?
Can you describe the company culture and values?
Company culture and values can significantly affect job satisfaction and career development. Asking about the company culture can give you insight into the company’s priorities and how employees are treated. Do they value work-life balance? Do they prioritize diversity and inclusion?
What are the company’s long-term goals, and how does this role fit into those plans?
Understanding the company’s long-term goals and how your role fits into those plans can give you a sense of purpose and direction in your work. It can also help you determine if the company’s goals align with your career aspirations.
Can you tell me more about the engineering projects and tasks for which this role will be responsible?
As an engineer, the specific projects and tasks you will be responsible for will be a crucial part of your job. Asking about these can help you understand the scope of the role and whether or not it aligns with your interests and skills.
How does the company support professional development and career advancement for its engineers?
Professional development and career advancement opportunities are important considerations when evaluating a new job. Knowing about the company’s support for these can help determine if the company is invested in your growth and success.
Can you tell me about the company’s approach to problem-solving and innovation?
As an engineer, you will be responsible for solving complex problems and coming up with innovative solutions. Asking about the company’s approach to these can give you insight into the company’s values and priorities. Do they encourage outside-the-box thinking and experimentation, or do they have a more traditional approach?
How does the company prioritize work and balance competing deadlines?
In engineering, it’s common to have multiple projects with competing deadlines. Asking about the company’s approach to prioritisation and balancing these can help you understand the workload and expectations of the role.
Can you tell me about the company’s approach to collaboration and communication between departments?
Effective collaboration and communication are essential in the engineering field. Asking about the company’s approach to these can help you understand the company’s values and how work is typically completed.
Can you tell me more about the company’s policies and procedures, such as the safety and quality control approach?
Safety and quality control are critical in the engineering field. Asking about what measures a company has taken to ensure the safety of its employees within and outside the workspace speaks volumes regarding the company’s work environment and culture.
Is there an onboarding and training programme for new hires?
This question is usually not asked but is crucial for junior-level engineers and fresh graduates. To ensure that all new employees are on the same level and can navigate the office and workspace, such an onboarding and training plan is critical; otherwise, it results in delays and frustration for both the tenured engineers and the new employee.
With this, we have reached the end of the article and hope we were able to provide insight into what questions you should ask an interviewer for an engineering job. Listed below are some frequently asked questions and their answers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are trick interview questions?
Trick interview questions are designed to be complicated or unusual in some way and are often used to test a candidate’s problem-solving or critical-thinking skills. Examples of trick questions might include asking a candidate to explain a complex concept in simple terms or even asking them to solve a puzzle or riddle.
What questions should I ask at the end of a technical interview?
- Can you describe the company’s development process?
- How do you handle code reviews?
- Can you tell me about a recent project that your team worked on?
- What tools and technologies are you using?
- Can you describe the team culture and working environment?
Is an assessment day an interview?
A full day of activities is typically designed to evaluate a candidate’s skills and abilities. These activities might include interviews, group exercises, aptitude tests, and other assessments. An assessment day can be considered a type of interview, as it is a process used by employers to evaluate candidates.
Which part of the interview is the most important?
The Introduction is considered one of the most critical parts of an interview; the initial 3 or 4 minutes is when you make your first impression on the interviewer. It’s essential to be well-prepared, arrive on time, and be confident and professional. It would be best if you also were prepared to ask thoughtful questions and engage in a meaningful conversation about your skills and experience.