When it comes to landing your dream engineering job, your technical skills matter a great deal. However, you can have the world’s most impressive resume and still not manage to receive a great offer. Employers are looking for more than just a list of skills when searching for engineering talent. They are also looking for soft skills. When you are in the interview hot seat, it will be important to showcase some important soft skills that engineers need for success.
The Critical Soft Skills to Focus on in an Interview
Whether you are interviewing at a private firm, a large company or a government agency, hiring managers are going to be on the lookout for these soft skills:
- Communication: Showcase your ability to communicate well verbally, nonverbally and in writing. Remember that communication isn’t just about the messages you send, but your ability to listen and act on the information you receive, as well.
- Emotional Intelligence: The ability to relate to clients, co-workers, contractors and vendors is critical. Employers want to know you can empathize with others, manage stress in a healthy manner and other people’s negative emotions will not impact your ability to stay focused.
- Drive: Engineers have to be driven to succeed, no matter how much pressure is put on them or how many roadblocks pop up during a project.
- Problem-solving ability: Great engineers don’t need to have their hand held through a problem. They think through it analytically, and can take a creative approach to solving complex problems.
- Leadership ability: Engineers have to lead teams both large and small. Even non-managerial engineering positions require the ability to influence others and keep people motivated.
How to Demonstrate Soft Skills in an Interview
Rarely will hiring managers ask direct questions to uncover your soft skills. Instead, they use behavioral questions that ask you to describe experiences from your past. You can spot a behavioral question because it usually leads with, “Tell me about a time when you…”
Be sure to draw from actual examples and always answer the question directly. If they say, “tell me about a time you had to overcome a seemingly impossible problem on a project,” don’t be tempted to say, “I’ve never experienced that.” Even if you can’t draw from an example on the job, it’s ok to use a personal example, as long as you don’t always rely on non-work-related answers.
Are You Seeking New Engineering Career Opportunities?
If you are a talented engineering professional looking to grow your career, PEAK Technical Staffing USA can help you find your ideal position and achieve your career goals. Partner with our recruiting professionals today to take your job search to the next level.
PEAK Technical Staffing can help connect you with employers and opportunities that leverage your engineering expertise and advance your career. We partner with employers nationwide who are looking for people with your skills and experience. Since 1968 PEAK has helped engineering professionals find jobs that offer flexibility, challenges and rewards.
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