When attending an interview, it’s important to be prepared for anything! There will be a lot of tough questions thrown at you, with even a few trick questions mixed in. Thankfully, we can help you prepare.
Here are the top questions engineers can expect to be asked:
1. What has been your most challenging project to date?
This is a chance for you to brag (a little) about any tough hurdles you’ve had to overcome, any tough designs you’ve mastered, or any challenges that you’ve faced and surmounted with confidence.
2. What has been your biggest failure?
All engineers fail, but how "big" was your failure? Are we talking "bug in the software" big, or "faulty bridge construction" big? This is a chance to talk about the things that you’ve learned from your failure, spinning the answer to something positive.
3. How do you handle difficult clients?
One might think that people skills aren’t vital for engineers, but the truth is that you do need to know how to handle tough clients. Take some time to think about how you handle difficult people, as this question WILL be asked.
4. What checks and balances do you use to avoid mistakes?
There is no wrong answer here, provided that you actually do have a system in place to check, double check, and triple check your work. The interviewer wants to know why they should trust you with their engineering projects. This question gives them an insight into your reasoning and logic, helping them to believe in you.
5. Do you have any patents?
Engineering patents are proof that you are a creative individual who is always looking for better ways to do things. If you don’t have patents, don’t worry about it. If you do or you are working towards one, now is the time to show off.
6. Why do you want to work for us?
This is a more generic question, but one that tends to come up in nearly every interview. Think about what makes the company special - a unique project, opportunity, method of operating, location, etc. - and talk about why you want to be part of that "something special".
7. How do you expect to be challenged here?
The interviewer isn’t expecting a detailed answer, but a more generic one along the lines of "I know it will take time to learn your method of operating, but I believe it will make me a better engineer."
8. What is your biggest weakness?
This is another question that every interviewer will ask, and it’s an easy one to answer. Think about one of your shortcomings (time management, too focused on details, limited people skills), and think of how you can make it into either a positive or something you can use to learn and grow from. Everyone has weaknesses; the interviewer just wants to know what you plan to do about yours!
9. What engineering skills have you developed in the last year?
They are asking this question because they want to know how much you care about your profession. Top engineers are always learning and developing new skills, staying current with the latest changes and trends in the industry. Talk about any courses or certification programs you have undergone in the last year, or mention the one you are "planning to take" or are "signing up for" in the near future.
10. Why should we hire you?
The interviewer is really asking, "What makes YOU special and what makes YOU the right choice?" This is where you can talk about your strengths, such as your attention to detail, your advanced knowledge of engineering, your adaptability to challenges, and so on.
The questions may seem tough, but they’re really not as hard as you might think! Follow the advice here, and you’ll ace that interview. Let us know if you’ve been asked any other tough interview questions in the comment section below.