Perfect Responses to 8 Engineering Job Interview Questions

This article addresses the 8 most common engineering job interview questions, and their (nearly) perfect responses. The sub focus of these questions derive from electrical engineering job interviews, and more specifically, focuses on our power electronic recruitment firm’s expertise in Hardware Engineering recruiting and staffing. Electrical engineers that are searching for a job in the field who want to prepare for an upcoming job interview, can utilize this article to prepare for questions they are most likely to face during the fact-to-face interview process. We’ve scoured countless engineering interview debriefings and interview questions on job seeking sites to bring you the 8 most common engineering job interview questions, accompanied by answers that can help you formulate your own unique response that is personal to you.

  1. What engineering course did you most enjoy during your BSEE or MSEE program?
    Hiring managers like to ask about your favorite course in engineering to get an idea of how you performed in school overall. How you performed in your Masters or Doctoral program is generally thought to be a significant indicator of what you would be good at on the job.  Make sure to also elaborate on why that was also your favorite course.
  1. How do you conduct testing and quality assurance on your own engineering work?
    Testing and QA are integral parts of engineering and overlooked mistakes can waste precious time and resources. By demonstrating a systematic process to test your work, you’ll instill in the hiring manager that you understand the need to find and fix mistakes and that you won’t be a burden to the rest of the team when it comes to passing along work that has inconsistencies.
  1. Tell me about how your engineering skills have developed over the course of your career. What programs, platforms, tools, and operating systems are you familiar with.
    This is where it pays to obtain as much information early on about the company’s typical engineering bench. Odds are, if you’ve been working in the engineering industry then you are probably familiar with the most common platforms. However, some companies are ultra-loyal to the tools that they typically use and can be biased towards competitors.
  1. Explain a project you are currently working on that excites you.
    It can be difficult to gauge people’s motives and passions, however the answer to this question helps to reveal what you would likely excel at.
  1. What is your single greatest accomplishment? Tell me about it?
    Your single greatest accomplishment is perhaps the most significant interview question that could be asked of you during the interview process. It’s so important in fact, that some hiring managers have been known to make it the entire basis for a second face-to-face interview. Don’t panic if you feel that you don’t have one single greatest accomplishment or have many that you are proud of. Preparing for this question requires that you think of an accomplishment that ranks high on your list and fill in as much detail as you can comfortably pack into several minutes. You want to answer very detailed and here’s why: the hiring manager is assessing your ability to put together a verbal report and how detail-oriented you are. They are also assessing the impact that your accomplishment had on your past organization.
  1. Describe an engineering challenge you have faced and how you went about overcoming it.
    Here’s one of the most common and generic behavioral engineering job interview questions that you’ll face. This question is important to the hiring team as it shows how you handle responsibility and how well you can work with others to solve problems. Preparing for a perfect response to this interview question requires some forethought about a problem you helped solve in your previous experience. If you can successfully find a past example where you handled a professional challenge well, you’ll nail this interview question. Try to answer in a way that highlights the benefits to the company and you’ll get extra bonus points.
  1. Tell me about a time you handled multiple projects at once.
    The commonality of this interview question is based highly on reality. In nearly every engineering job in the country, engineers are tasked with leading or working alongside different groups of individuals that are focused on different projects. Hiring managers want to find out how you prioritize engineering projects and how you are able to effectively juggle multiple priorities with individual resources and deadlines.
  1. How do you stay current with modern advances in technology?
    This engineering question is common as technology advances continue to speed forward at breakneck speed. Managers are looking at your answer through two lenses. One is to measure your interest level in your field and the second is to make sure that you are dedicated enough to your craft to continue self-learning in order to stay on the cusp of the newest technology. This question can sometimes be difficult to answer for engineers that have become comfortable with their current environment and haven’t seen much of a reason to venture out into new tools or platforms. Becoming acquainted with ITE and IEEE publications can be a good start. Additionally, EDN, EE Times, Electronic Design, and All about Circuits are all superb electronic and electrical engineering magazines which publish their content online.

Conclusion

You can expect most electrical engineering jobs to be a mix between technical questions that test your engineering knowledge and hypothetical, behavioral questions that require you to reveal how you are likely to act in the future.

Technical Questions

For the technical questions, you could face anything from a staff engineer asking you how a transistor works to what a transformer does. The key to preparing for technical questions is to “go back to the basics” and study the fundamentals of your trade. Study your circuit fundamentals such as electric circuits, resistive network analysis, AC network analysis, transient analysis, and AC power. It’s also a good idea to review your electronic fundamentals such as operational amplifiers, semiconductors, diodes bipolar transistors, circuit models, and digital logic circuits.

Behavioral Questions

As mentioned in engineering job interview question number six, behavioral questions are designed to tap into your past engineering work and experience in an attempt to see how you’ll react in your new job. Behavioral questions give an honest depiction of your behavior and can be difficult to answer. Prepare for these questions by thinking back to time you successfully faced adversity or handled a mistake. Having these examples ready, will help you field these types of questions well during your interview.  Lastly, know your resume inside and out.  Be able to answer questions about your role in different projects and how it affected the success of the product.

Every interview and company are different. Additionally, answering every interview question perfectly doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the job but will increase the likelihood of you landing the engineering job of your dreams. Alternatively, there is no such thing as being over prepared for an engineering interview. If you’ve been selected to interview for an engineering job that you are keen on, devote as much time as you can spare with preparing for the interview to increase your chances of successfully landing the job.

Call to Action

Charles Brown Recruitment helps engineers who design, develop, test, and supervise the production of power management devices and other electrical systems and instruments. If you are considering a career change or are looking for a new job in power engineering, power ic, device engineering, power supply, or compound semiconductors, please reach out to one of our Power Semiconductor Recruiters for assistance with your engineering job search. Contact us online or by calling 408-393-8214 today.

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