44 Engineering Interview Questions

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 12 October 2022

Published 25 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Engineering interviews can be challenging. It can be difficult to know which questions you'll be asked, and that's why it's essential to prepare thoroughly for your interview. The best way to prepare is to answer common engineering questions and research the employer. This article will explore the STAR interview method and list common engineering questions, along with sample answers.

What is the STAR method for answering engineering interview questions?

The STAR method is a beneficial technique when structuring engineering interview answers. It can help you prepare for your interview and especially behavioural questions that require you to use your own experiences. STAR stands for situation, task, action and result.

The situation means you describe the challenge faced, the task explains your role in the situation, action offers the steps taken to meet the challenge and the result describes your actions. Giving a thorough explanation to all engineering interview questions can help you to leave a positive impression on the interviewer.

Related: How To Use the STAR Interview Technique in Competency-Based Interviews

Common engineering interview questions

Engineering questions can be classified into the following categories:

General engineering interview questions

General questions are common in most interviews. The questions might not be relevant to your engineering role, but they help the interviewer get an impression of who you are. Take this opportunity to talk about your skills and strengths relevant to the position.

  • Why should we hire you?

  • Why are you interested in this role?

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  • How do you spend your free time?

  • How do you handle challenging situations?

  • What would you do if some of your colleagues are constantly criticising you?

  • What would your previous co-workers say about you?

  • Given several tasks with a set timeline, can you multitask? How do you ensure the timeline is met?

  • If we hire you, what will be your action plan for the next 30 days?

  • Why do you want to leave your current job?

  • What is your work philosophy?

  • If hired, when can you start?

Related: 31 Common Interview Questions and Answers

Education and experience questions

Education and experience questions give your potential employer an idea of your qualifications and why you're the perfect fit for the job. Be sure to practice answering such questions to jog your memory before attending the interview. Update your CV with your current education and work status, for most questions might be based on that.

  • Why did you study engineering?

  • What do you like most about engineering?

  • Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult client.

  • Have you ever lost your temper while working? How did you recover from it?

  • Have you ever had to work on a project with a tight timeline and budget?

  • What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?

  • What appeals to you most about our company?

  • How do you ensure your team is motivated even when a project is failing?

  • What do you think makes a successful engineer?

  • Do you have clearance to work on classified projects?

  • What is your most outstanding achievement as an engineer?

  • What was your favourite subject in school? Do you think it's applicable in real life?

  • Do you have any additional certificates and training related to engineering?

Related: Engineer requirements, plus degrees, certificates and skills

Engineering related questions

These are questions specific to your engineering career. Take this opportunity to prove to the employer that you know what the role entails and are ready to take up challenging roles.

  • If given a challenging project that you have to complete within a specific deadline, how would you handle it?

  • What are the steps of planning a successful project?

  • How do you collaborate with other departments to achieve a certain objective?

  • Describe the most technical job you've had to do?

  • How do you plan to be up to date with emerging trends in engineering?

  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake in your workplace and the steps taken to correct it?

  • How can we improve our engineering department?

  • How do you prioritise your daily tasks?

  • What would you do if the management suddenly changed the priorities of a project you were working on?

  • How do you encourage open communication in your workplace?

  • What's the most valuable lesson you've learned so far?

  • What do you think is the future of engineering?

  • What is your philosophy towards work?

Related: Engineering Skills: Definition and Examples

Engineer interview questions and answers

Here are popular interview questions for engineers, along with sample answers to give you insight into tackling your interview. Be sure to communicate clearly and confidently. If you are not sure of something, simply say you don't know it but are willing to learn.

How do you stay current with engineering industry developments?

The engineering sector is constantly changing and evolving. You need to make sure you stay up to date with new developments, which may be helpful in your work. The question gives you a chance to demonstrate your proactiveness and plan of staying current with relevant issues related to your position. Your answer should include:

  • A plan to keep current

  • Examples of how you keep your skills and knowledge up to date

  • Promptness to implement changes

Example: 'I attend engineering conferences every time I get a chance. Also, I have subscriptions to various engineering blogs and magazines. This allows me to connect with fellow engineers and stay current with changes in my industry.'

Related: What is self-learning? (And benefits and tips for improving)

Describe a time when you discovered a hazardous work condition. How did you handle it?

As an engineer, it's paramount that you adhere to workplace safety. A small mistake or hazardous condition could lead to severe damage. The interviewer wants to see if you respect workplace safety conditions and your ability to think rationally in challenging situations. Your answer should indicate:

  • Ability to think and act rationally

  • A clear understanding of health and safety guidelines

Example: 'I once saw colleagues go to a working site with no safety goggles and protective gear. I confronted them and requested them to wear protective gear to be safe. I believe it's best to speak up instead of escalating issues. Unless the persons are unapproachable or arrogant, you can rectify the problem.'

How do you manage your time to complete a project on the scheduled time?

When answering this question, make sure to highlight your project management and time management skills. The interviewer wants to know if you can handle working on projects with tight schedules. Your answer should indicate:

  • A plan to handle tasks

  • Time management skills

  • Project management skills

Example: 'For any given task, I first analyse the tasks at hand and then prioritise what needs to be done urgently. To keep track of time, I set deadlines for each project and follow the plan. If I cannot complete the project in time, regardless of how many hours I put into the work, I consult my superiors to see if I can get additional support or team members.'

Related: Time Management Interview Questions

Where do you see yourself in five years?

The interviewer asks this question to see if you're committed to the position at hand. Most employers want an employee that's reliable in the long run. Let the interviewer know that their company has everything you hoped for, especially room for growth. Your answer should include:

  • Growth opportunities in your potential employer's company

  • Plan to master and gain new skills in the workplace

  • Plan to advance your education

Example: 'I've always looked forward to working in a challenging environment. Your company has various departments, which gives me an opportunity for growth. In five years, I'd like to advance my education by undertaking various engineering courses and hope to have gained skills relevant to engineering in this role.'

Related: What are interview questionnaires?

How do you respond to constructive criticism?

The interviewer poses this question to gauge your ability to handle criticism. You should demonstrate your willingness to learn and handle criticism without allowing it to affect your job. Your answer should demonstrate:

  • Self–awareness

  • Ability to accept correction

  • Willingness to learn

Example: 'I believe constructive criticism is good for growth. It helps one know where to improve. If I receive constructive criticism, I'll listen and try to change my behaviour.'

Related: What To Say in an Interview

How do you explain technical engineering projects to executives who have no engineering background?

Engineers have to give presentations on their ideas sometimes. It's not always that your audience will have an engineering background or knowledge. The interviewer seeks to gauge your technical and communication skills. Your answer should include:

  • Understanding of engineering concepts

  • Techniques of giving a presentation

  • A Plan to use simple and understandable language

Example: 'I use examples to explain technical engineering concepts and make sure everyone understands. Relating technical ideas to real situations can help my audience understand the concepts better. I'd also use drawings and pictures related to the engineering topic to give people a visual picture of the presentation. Most importantly, I'd use simple terms that everyone can relate to.'

Related:

  • Tips for Writing Your Engineering Personal Statement


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