How To Ace an Engineering Interview

The Interviewing Process
In order to know how to ace an engineering interview, it's necessary to understand the interviewing process and variables that comprise engineering disciplines. In large engineering companies, the first interview may take place with human resources or personnel department staffers. The objective of this interview is to determine viability of the candidate for the job, in terms of experience in the particular engineering discipline, ability to work in a team engineering setting and to insure the salary range is compatible to the company's stated range. In this type interview, the candidate is also viewed on demeanor, ability to answer questions comprehensively and overall presentation.  If this part of the engineering interview is aced, being called for a second interview implies a potential for hire.  Smaller companies prefer engineering management to perform interviews. This interview is more direct and the hiring is somewhat faster, depending on company staffing needs.

The All-Important Engineering Interview
There are several things engineering companies look for when interviewing:

  1. The ability to quickly adapt to the new company's engineering workflow
  2. A proven track record of design
  3. Implementation or consulting skills in the particular engineering discipline
  4. A clearly defined job objective.

In most cases, the interviewer will scan the resume you submitted and query any areas that are unclear or require a more in-depth explanation of duties and responsibilities in prior engineering positions.  Answer all questions as asked. Offering too much information may provoke negativity during the interview.  If there is a positive aspect of work experience not listed on your resume, work this into the interview at an opportune moment.  Engineering companies want to hire the best and brightest engineers in their particular field of engineering.  Certain engineering positions include design or consulting, depending on the type of engineering.  For those in design engineering, it may be a good idea to present a portfolio of non-proprietary designs as an example of your work. This helps open up a discussion that clearly indicates your design proficiency as well as your use of AutoCAD or other engineering software.

Consulting Engineering Interviews
Consulting engineering interviews rely heavily on the job applicant's skills in dealing with various regulatory compliance issues as well as direct vendor-to-client interaction. Engineering consultants who are interviewing should focus on their accomplishments in problem solving with clients as well as their interface with regulatory authorities. The interviewer will judge the expediency with which clients' needs are managed and problems are resolved.  In addition, if the engineering discipline is fairly specific, such as project engineering, facility or industrial engineering and environmental engineering, the interviewer may have questions related to these disciplines.  Use only the most current information when answering interview questions.  An engineering interviewer can easily spot obsolete engineering skills and techniques.


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