Interview Questions for Engineers (With Example Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published November 7, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Prospective employers often ask candidates interviewing for engineering roles an array of questions. These prospective employers may feel interested in learning more about an engineering candidate's professional skills, experiences, habits, and goals. Learning more about the types of questions that you might receive if you're going in for an engineering interview can help you better prepare and potentially advance further in the job application process. In this article, we explore general, background and experience, and in-depth questions, and provide some sample answers to common questions that you can use as models when preparing yours.
General interview questions for engineers
Here are some general interview questions for engineers that you might want to prepare answers for ahead of time:
Tell me about yourself.
Why did you apply for this position?
What are your top skills as an engineer?
What made you want to become an engineer?
What do you know about this organization?
What kinds of engineering projects do you prefer to work on and why?
What do you like most about being an engineer?
What are your salary requirements?
Tell me about your ideal work environment.
What are three skills or traits that make a great engineer?
Questions about experience and background
A prospective employer typically asks engineering candidates questions about their professional history to develop a deeper understanding of their qualifying experiences and credentials. Some of these questions might vary depending on your engineering specialty or experience. Here are some questions that you might receive during an engineering interview about your professional background:
What types of engineering software have you used before?
What did you study at school?
What factors led you to choose your engineering school?
Tell me about your very first engineering design. How have your designs evolved since then?
How do you stay current with the latest trends or developments related to engineering?
Describe the best manager you ever had. What qualities did you most appreciate about them?
Related: How to Write an Engineer Resume
Hiring managers usually ask more in-depth engineering interview questions after learning about a candidate's primary qualifications. In-depth engineering questions often ask engineers to offer specific examples about how they've handled engineering projects in the past or how they might approach hypothetical engineering scenarios. Prospective employers who ask engineers these types of in-depth interview questions typically want to assess candidates' skills in areas such as verbal clarity, confidence, critical thinking, and adaptability. Some of these questions may depend on what type of engineering role you're pursuing.
Following are some in-depth interview questions that can help you prepare ahead of time for an engineering interview:
What do you consider your professional weaknesses and why? How have you taken steps to improve these professional skills or traits?
Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership in a previous or current role.
How do you check for or discover potential errors in your projects?
Have you ever had a challenging interaction with a colleague or client? If so, how did you overcome it?
How do you receive constructive feedback?
Do you hold any patents? If so, can you tell me about them? If not, are there any potential patent ideas you're interested in pursuing and are you able to discuss them?
What do you anticipate potentially being your biggest challenges if given this engineering role?
5 interview questions with sample answers
Here are five interview questions for engineers with brief explanations why a hiring manager might ask them. There are also example answers to these questions that can give you ideas for how you might potentially answer:
1. How do you explain engineering ideas to an audience who is unfamiliar with the topic during a presentation or an important meeting?
An engineer may work with many people during projects, and it's essential to let your interviewer know that you're confident in communicating complex engineering topics to people of any skill level. In your answer, clarify that you have a strong understanding of engineering concepts.
Example: “I do my best to give examples of engineering that are easy to understand and that might relate to a person or their situation. For instance, if I'm sitting down with a group of construction workers, I might compare what I am saying to the process of how they pave roads. Relating the engineering ideas to actual situations gives my audience a better understanding every time.”
2. What kind of safety procedures do you have in place for when you check your engineering work for mistakes? Do the procedures ensure you don't overlook any mistakes?
This question gives you the chance to show how serious you are about safety measures at work and how you minimize potential issues. A good answer might explain your knowledge of safety standards for your engineering specialization and show your drive to keep projects safe.
Example: “My engineering solution has features to constantly check for mistakes or errors, and I always triple-check any measurements or math with which I'm working. Whether or not I'm rushing to meet deadlines, I get a fellow engineer to check my work before marking it as complete. Implementing these steps makes it easy to ensure there aren't any mistakes.”
3. What resources do you use to keep up with the newest engineering technology and developments?
Many engineering fields continually change and update with the invention of new tools and software. By answering this question, you're letting the interviewer know if you stay up to date with technology and how you proactively improve your skills. In your answer, tell them about your willingness to learn new engineering technology and concepts, and how adaptable you are to new processes.
Example: “I have a subscription to several authoritative engineer journals and I'm an active participant in a few engineer-based chat rooms. I gain quite a bit of knowledge by reading blogs and articles on the latest research and staying in contact with peers in an environment outside of work.”
4. What is the most difficult project you have worked on, and how did you get through the challenging tasks?
Engineers often work on complex and tasking projects that involve multiple resources, timelines, and teams. Your response to this question can show you can multitask and manage your time well. Make sure you thoroughly explain your thought processes for overcoming challenges and the practical ways you used your skills to get through the adverse conditions. If you have any first-hand experience with challenging engineering situations, you can also describe that.
Example: “I once worked on an engineering project that involved developing predictions about mountains and the roadways near them. I changed the data that I was used to working with to include any climate or environmental changes, as the risk factors changed based on the wildlife, the weather, and the people in that area. With these adaptations, I was able to complete the project despite how challenging I thought it was in the beginning.”
5. What do you do to manage your time and stay on schedule? Have your time management skills improved since starting your career?
When answering this question, inform the interviewer you have some project management abilities. This is your opportunity to discuss how developed your time-management skills are and how you continue to improve them. It's also a good idea to reflect on how well you handle demanding projects.
Example: “Before I begin any work, I set aside some time to prioritize what tasks are to be done right away, and follow my list, doing the most time-sensitive parts first. Using this process has kept me on time and continues to improve my time-management skills.”
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