Top 10 Mechanical Engineering Interview Questions (+Answers)

Get a head-start on your interview prep!

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Illustration of a male engineer and a woman sitting at a desk

Whether you’re a recent graduate or an experienced professional, preparing for a job interview is just good sense. This is your window of opportunity to show hiring managers your knowledge, skills and potential, proving that you’re the right candidate for the job.

As a mechanical engineer, you’ll be asked a mixture of technical and behavioral questions to which your answers will determine if you’re a good fit for the company and the role.

In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the most common mechanical engineer interview questions and sample answers — to help you make a lasting first impression.

1. “What is your favorite part of being a mechanical engineer?”

Through this question, the interviewer can better understand why you have pursued this career path and your main interests as a mechanical engineer.

Ideally, your answer should encompass your motivations and some highlights from your career thus far. You want to focus on the reasons you’re passionate about what you do and show the interviewers that you’re dedicated to what you do.


There are a lot of facets to my job that I truly enjoy, but I think being able to solve problems by coming up with effective solutions is my favorite part. I have always delighted in the challenge that comes with any problem needing to be solved, especially when knowing that this could help improve communities and people’s lives. One of my fondest moments as a mechanical engineer was when I designed a system that relied on solar energy, reducing the production plant’s carbon emissions significantly.

2. “In your opinion, what is the most important skill a mechanical engineer should have?”

Interviewers want to understand what you deem makes a good mechanical engineer. You could choose from a number of skills including analytical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, mathematical skills, or whatever else you believe is suitable for this question.

It would bode well to include examples of the ways you have relied on your chosen skill in the past to simultaneously highlight your expertise.


I believe the most obvious answer would be problem-solving; however, I believe that creativity is even more integral to this line of work. Mechanical engineers often need to get quite inventive when coming up with solutions, which is why I consider this particular skill to be crucial. In the past, I found that it was often the most innovative designs that acted as the solutions to the problems we were trying to address.

3. “What was your first engineering design?”

Your answer to this question offers hiring managers a glimpse into your professional background and history. Make sure to walk them through the processes followed and the overall outcome.

Even if the design was not entirely successful, you can talk about the lessons learned and the improvements that were made to optimize it later on.


One of the earliest designs I can remember working on was during my college years. I was fascinated by remote-controlled toy cars, and I spent a semester developing a series of them that could run on solar-powered energy. I believe it was during this time that my passion for using green energy systems blossomed.

4. “What computer programs do you use for your work?”

When answering this question, you want to demonstrate your familiarity with different software and tools that are commonly used in mechanical engineering.

Be honest about your experience with each of them, and if you’re asked about a program you haven’t worked with in the past, show interviewers that you’re willing to learn and expand your knowledge.


In the last decade, I have worked with a variety of programs. I use Fusion 360 and AutoCAD, which I use for 2D drafting and 3D model designs. I also rely on Mathcad for equations and mathematical tasks. Other tools I have worked with in the past include FEA and MATLAB. I am also experienced in using Python, which I have been integrating a lot into my work processes over the last few years.

5. “Can you describe a time you overcame a design challenge?”

This question allows hiring managers to gauge how you will respond to difficulties that could arise during a project. In your answer, you should provide the necessary context, detailing what exactly was the issue, how it was identified and the steps taken to overcome it.


In my previous employment, I was tasked with developing a heating and cooling system with limited resources. I needed to conduct thorough research and analysis, using similar projects as a blueprint. This allowed me to define the project scope and its key objectives. I worked around the necessary principles and standards to ensure that all specifications and user needs could be met. When testing and validating the design, some errors were identified and worked out by the final design solution.

6. “Can you explain the basic principles of thermodynamics?”

This question is meant to test your technical expertise. Your response and way you deliver it are equally important. You need to be confident and show no hesitation when offering your answer, as this is fundamental knowledge for every mechanical engineer.


Thermodynamics deals with the relationship between heat, work, temperature and energy. It is a science that deals with the conversion of energy from one form into another. There are four laws of thermodynamics — although, traditionally, three are considered fundamental. Together, they offer a complete description of how heat and energy behave.

7. “How do you explain designs and processes to non-engineers?”

Soft skills such as communication and collaboration are equally important to technical skills. This is why hiring managers want to assess if you’re able to work with others efficiently and relay information to them in a clear manner.


When working with colleagues without an engineering background, I often rely on visual aids, as this allows me to explain a design or process quite effectively. I am also careful to avoid any engineering jargon in my explanation to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

8. “How do you ensure quality control in a manufacturing process?”

This question aims to assess your attention to detail and analytical skills. It’s wise to show your interviewers that you follow certain procedures and steps to ensure quality control, demonstrating your experience and knowledge as a seasoned mechanical engineer.


I always follow established standards and procedures such as Six Sigma to optimize the manufacturing process. I also think it is integral to carry out inspections and checks throughout each stage of the manufacturing process in case there are any quality issues.

9. “How do you prioritize overlapping projects?”

As a mechanical engineer, you’ll likely have to juggle multiple projects at the same time. This question will allow you to demonstrate your time management and multitasking skills, as well as your ability to work with tight deadlines.


In the past, I have had to manage several projects simultaneously, so I have honed a good system that ensures that all needs and objectives can be met without cutting corners. The first thing I consider is the deadlines of each project. I like to visualize everything on my digital calendar to ensure that everything is marked down. Afterward, I create a timeframe for each project, detailing all pending tasks and the time duration for each of them.

Once I have a clear image of all the components in each project, I can create a clear roadmap that allows me to prioritize the most important tasks. This ensures that both projects are properly managed at the same time.

10. “What is a process flow diagram?”

Once again, this is a question that wants to test your technical expertise. When responding, you need to show that you have an in-depth understanding of what a process flow diagram is and that you are familiar with its utility.


A process flow diagram can be described as a drawing that illustrates the general flow of plant processes and equipment. In other words, it indicates the relationships between the major components of an industrial plant. This is quite important, as it can help mechanical engineers document, analyze and improve a process or model.

Final thoughts

As a mechanical engineer, you can expect a series of behavioral and technical questions related to your field during your interview. So, to achieve interview success, and to avoid being caught off guard, take the time to familiarize yourself with the questions we have listed above.

Your answers could determine whether you’re the best candidate for the job and will be key to impressing hiring managers.

What other questions have you had come up in mechanical engineering interview? Let us know in the comments section below!

Originally published on November 2, 2019.