What to Ask Engineering Candidates in an Interview

Interviewing engineers can be tough, especially if you don’t happen to be an engineer yourself. At times, it can even seem like they speak an entirely different language. Fortunately, there are some specific questions you can use to guide the interview and help you determine which engineering candidates should make the cut.

Describe Your Most Difficult Engineering Project

This is a great multi-purpose question that you can use for all engineering candidates, regardless of career level or area of specialization. Everyone has faced tough projects before, whether in school or on the job. You’re looking for two things in the answer: how the candidate handles challenges, and how well they can convey complex engineering jargon in simple, plain language.

What Do You Do When You Notice Errors After Delivering a Project or Report?

This question also works for engineering candidates of all levels and specializations. And it’s very important to know the answer. No one is perfect, and mistakes happen. You want someone who owns their error, apologizes for it, and suggests solutions.

What Would You Do if Your Project Faced Budget Cuts?

Unfortunately, budget cuts (and other change requests) are a fact of life for engineers. Look for an answer that demonstrates the ability to prioritize, to push back on important elements (such as safety), and to adapt on the fly.

What Happens When You’re on a Team That Can’t Agree on a Design?

They say teamwork makes the dream work. But disagreements are an inevitable part of being on a team. Top engineering candidates know how to negotiate and build consensus. They also understand that they won’t always get everything they want on a project.

You may also want to ask a few questions that focus on the engineer’s specialization, such as mechanical or industrial engineering. If you’re interviewing for a management role, you’ll also need to determine the candidate’s leadership skills. But the four questions above can serve as a framework to guide an interview with any type or level of engineer.

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If you are looking for talented engineering professionals who can help your organization achieve its goals, contact the experts at PEAK Technical Staffing today to learn how we can help you access cutting-edge talent.



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