7 key interview questions for engineers

7 key interview questions for engineers

Interviews are almost always nerve-racking, regardless of how many interviews you’ve attended before. While each interviewer might differ in their interview styles, there are certain key questions that might pop up at some point. Contrary to common belief, a successful interview isn’t determined by the number of correct answers you come up with — it’s how well you understand the question and the quality of your responses.

We’ve curated 7 key questions that are most applicable for Engineering interviews, complete with our insights into what each question really means, and the best way to answer each.


1. How would you define engineering?

What it means

The interviewer wants to gauge your general attitude and level of passion for the profession.

Best way to answer

You should look at the big picture in answering this question. Think about what the company does, the kind of products or services it provides, and focus your answer on the role engineering plays in improving the lives of customers in that context.


2. What is your most noteworthy success in solving an engineering problem?

What it means

The interviewer wants to see: a) how you sell your achievements, and b) your application of problem-solving skills in overcoming obstacles.

Best way to answer

Think about a specific example which demonstrates your strengths and skills as an engineer. If possible, cite an example where you contributed a valuable solution that benefited your team at the time.


3. Have you developed any new engineering skills in the past year?

What it means

Your prospective employer wants to know if you’ve been proactive in keeping up with the latest technological developments, and whether you invest time and effort in learning new technical skills.

Best way to answer

In an ideal world, you will have been proactive in acquiring new skills in the past year which you can then detail with ease. But in the event that you haven’t, you can talk about courses you’ve been looking into and your plans to enrol in them. The point is to show enthusiasm for learning new things, regardless of how experienced you are in the field.


4. What do you enjoy most about being an engineer?

What it means

The interviewer wants to know what it is about the profession that motivates you and keeps you inspired.

Best way to answer

Drawing from personal experience, talk about how what you do benefits society (or the environment, if applicable) and how that makes you feel. Make it personal — this shows passion and authenticity.


5. How was the workload in your previous job?

What it means

They are looking to gauge your work expectations and assess your capability to handle a heavy workload.

Best way to answer

It is never professional to complain about a previous employer, even if the working conditions were less than ideal. Remain neutral in your reply and focus on the positives, such as how you enhanced your efficiency and time-management skills.


6. What are the essential qualities of a successful engineer, in your opinion?

What it means

It’s a subtle way to get a read on your personality and values.

Best way to answer

Identify a few attributes and share your thoughts on why you think they’re important. You could also cite an example of a previous manager who embodied these qualities well, whose footsteps you follow in.


7. What would you say are the biggest challenges of working in engineering and how do you deal with them?

What it means

The interviewer is looking to identify your weaknesses and evaluate how you perform under pressure.

Best way to answer

Be honest in your response. Tell them about the areas you struggle with most, and what you’re doing to address your shortcomings. What matters is to show initiative and willingness to improve and progress.

 

Final tip: Don’t panic if the interviewer throws you a curveball.

Expect the unexpected, and you’ll do fine. Best of luck! 

Further reading: 

How to teach engineers management and leadership skills

Engineering: a profession that contributes to the society and environment

Interested in engineering positions and want to know more market information? Visit our “Engineering Page”!

 

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