Every engineer knows that preparedness is the key to success for a project. It’s also the key to success for every job interview. It’s impossible to know every single question a hiring manager will ask you, but there are many common questions you can bank on hearing almost every time. Here are five of the most common interview questions for engineers and tips for answering them like a consummate professional.
Tell Me About A Project That Did Not Go As Planned
The way you answer this question shows a hiring manager how you handle challenges on a project – because every project has challenges. They want to see your problem-solving approach and your ability to remain flexible under difficult conditions. Choose an anecdote that illustrates your ability to recover when things go wrong. Make sure to include lessons you learned from that challenge to ensure future projects went off more smoothly.
What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
Do not fall into the trap of saying you have no weaknesses or of using a cliché like, “I’m a perfectionist.” Everyone has weaknesses, and the hiring manager is looking to see if you’re self-aware and willing to own up to your shortcomings. When answering this question, focus on an actual weakness but in a skill that isn’t essential to the role, then showcase the ways you’re trying to improve. For example, “I have historically struggled when speaking in front of groups of people, but I joined Toastmasters and have been building my confidence and public speaking skills.”
Tell Me About A Time You Had To Work With A Difficult Client
Difficult clients come with the territory. Some drag their feet. Others change what they want over and over again. Some communicate poorly and a few are just plain jerks. Hiring managers want to know you can work effectively with difficult clients and keep them happy. Choose a situation in which you were able to adjust your approach to the client’s style and ultimately complete the project to their satisfaction.
Why Are You Interested In Working Here?
Here, the interviewer is looking to gauge your enthusiasm for the role and whether you are aligned with the company mission and vision. Study the company’s history, the projects they are currently working on and try to get a feel for the corporate culture before the interview. Answer the question by focusing on the ways your skills, goals and personal values are aligned with the job and the company.
How Do You Build Your Engineering Skills?
Many employers provide opportunities to learn, but the interviewer wants to understand your commitment to learning and development. Engineers must keep their skills updated and their credentials current. Do you read books? Journals? Take courses outside of required CE-credit courses? Do you attend seminars and conferences? Don’t be shy about sharing the ways you keep yourself up-to-date.