Interview Questions That Will Challenge Your Engineering Candidates

When interviewing engineering candidates, it’s natural to focus on the person’s area of expertise, but it is important to ask a variety of questions that include technical acumen as well as interpersonal skills, teamwork, values, etc., that tie into both performance and cultural alignment. Here are some interview questions you should include that will challenge your engineering candidates.

Tell me about the most challenging project you’ve worked on this year.

This question allows you to see what a candidate considers to be a “challenge” and why. Make sure to ask follow-up questions that uncover why a particular project stretched them, how they navigated the challenges and the eventual outcome.

Describe the most challenging written technical report or presentation you’ve completed.

This question also focuses on what a candidate finds challenging, but this time in writing and communication. Pay attention to the details on their case for difficulty and evidence of strong communication skills.

What do you do to ensure you don’t make mistakes?

Engineering requires precision and attention to detail – but mistakes happen. This question lets you know what sort of checks and balances a candidate leverages (or doesn’t) to ensure their work is error-free. Strong candidates should have some sort of system in place, even if they don’t consciously consider it to be “check” or “balance.”

Tell me about a time you were asked to shave expenses or work with a slashed budget.

Unfortunately, cost-cutting measures are common in today’s economic landscape. How an engineer handles a slashed budget can tell you a lot about their creativity, flexibility and adaptability.

Why did you select this field of engineering?

There are no right or wrong answers to this question, but the answer can tell you a lot about a candidate. Some candidates may answer with passion when describing how they landed on their specialty. Others may offer a more pragmatic or mechanical response. Red flags might include extremely vague answers or answers that focus on salary alone rather than passion or pragmatism.

What processes have you developed that enhanced engineering performance?

Engineering is process-oriented, and you’re looking for talented professionals who continually work to improve processes that have a real impact on the bottom line. Follow up by asking about the impact of the process on the team/department/firm.

Are You Searching for Engineering Talent?

If you are looking for talented engineers who can help your organization achieve its goals, contact the experts at PEAK Technical Staffing today to learn how we can help you improve your hiring process.


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