Frequently Asked Mechanical Engineer Interview Questions

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 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.

Mechanical engineers perform highly technical work and are effective problem solvers while being capable of working under pressure. Because of this, recruiters ask specific questions when they're interviewing candidates for a role as a mechanical engineer. Knowing what to expect and being prepared can improve your chances of being successful at an interview. In this article, we discuss some of the most common mechanical engineer interview questions and their relevance.

Mechanical engineer interview questions

When applying for a role as a mechanical engineer, you may benefit from showing recruiters that you have the right personal qualities, experience and relevant technical knowledge and skills. Typically, mechanical engineer interview questions comprise three different categories that focus on different aspects of your skills and experience. It's important that you're prepared to answer questions from all three categories. By understanding the types of questions recruiters are likely to ask during an interview, can help you prepare in advance and answer questions from all three sections with confidence.

Related: 10 Essential Mechanical Engineer Skills

Frequently asked interview questions for a mechanical engineer

When applying for a role, knowing what questions the interviewer may ask can help you prepare properly. Below are some questions that commonly appear for mechanical engineer interviews:

Personal questions:

Job interviews for mechanical engineers usually start with some personal and general questions. These questions help you to relax and settle into the interview. They also give the interviewers a chance to get to know more about you and your experience with mechanical engineering. Questions like this can give the interviewer some insight into your personality, future goals and motivations. This information helps them to decide whether you're a good fit for their team. Here are some personal questions interviewers may ask during an interview:

Tell me about yourself

This question helps to uncover more about your background and why you're interested in mechanical engineering. Answer honestly about your experience and how your interest in the field developed. You might also want to talk about your education and how you progressed from studying to mechanical engineering work. If you're applying for a graduate role, you can discuss how your educational experience has prepared you for transitioning into this type of work. You can also briefly mention hobbies or personal facts, which show some personality and can be useful for creating a relaxed atmosphere at the interview.

Why do you want to be a mechanical engineer?

Recruiters want to see that you're motivated and passionate about working as a mechanical engineer. To show that you're genuinely interested in this type of work, discuss how your background and past experiences have encouraged you to pursue this career and show that you have confidence in your own skills as an engineer. For example, you may talk about your leadership role in university as a club president of the auto club and how you helped train other students. You're more likely to impress recruiters if you can demonstrate that you're committed and really want to do the job.

What's your favourite part of being a mechanical engineer?

This is another question that focuses on your passion and motivation for being a mechanical engineer. Try explaining what you like most about the work and why you choose this field, to help demonstrate that you understand the job requirements and genuinely enjoy what you do. It also helps interviewers to understand what motivates you and is an opportunity to talk about any special interests or skills you have in mechanical engineering. These specialisms might mean you have an advantage over other candidates.

What are your career goals?

It's great to show that you're ambitious and want to progress, but you also gain approval by showing recruiters that you genuinely want the job you're applying for. Talk about how you hope to progress your career in the future and what your long-term aims are, but also talk about your immediate goals. This means discussing your desire to do the job you're applying for and to continue to develop your skills and experience in the role. You want to show that you're passionate about doing the job rather than using it as a stepping stone to something else.

Related: How To Become A Mechanical Engineer

Behavioural questions

Mechanical engineering interview questions also include questions about your behaviour. Mechanical engineers often work on tight deadlines or perform under pressure. Recruiters want to find out if you're able to handle this successfully. Behavioural interview questions also help to reveal your attitude towards work, your style of working and how well you function as part of a team. These questions indicate how well you cope with the day-to-day demands of the job and help interviewers decide how well you fit into the existing team and company culture. Here are behavioural questions to consider when preparing for an interview:

Describe a conflict you had with a manager or colleague

This question helps recruiters to understand your interpersonal and conflict resolution skills, and how well you work within a team. Conflict can arise in a stressful environment, but being able to overcome it and resolve it is essential for teams who are working closely together. Discuss a situation that had a positive outcome and explain what steps you specifically took to find a solution. This question reveals whether you're proactive about solving difficulties.

Related: What Are Conflict Resolution Skills? Definition And Examples

Describe a time when you were under pressure at work

Mechanical engineers work well under pressure, so interviewers sometimes ask about a time you've succeeded under pressure in the past. It could be a situation where you were under pressure because of tight deadlines, conflicting projects or challenging goals. It's important to show that you overcame the pressure and ultimately succeeded in your work, and to explain how you could do this. This question gives an insight into how you react to stressful situations and cope with the demands of a mechanical engineering role.

Describe a time when you failed to accomplish something

It's inevitable that you have had some failures in your past work experience. Pretending otherwise can give the wrong impression, so be honest about it. This can show that you're aware of your own failures and mistakes. Explain what you learned from the experience and how you've applied what you learned since then, or what you would do differently in the future. Answering this question honestly also shows recruiters you're willing to learn from your mistakes and make progress.

Describe a time when you had to make a decision without all the information you needed

Mechanical engineers are problem solvers, and this question helps recruiters to understand what you do when confronted with a problem. This also shows interviewers your analytical skills, logic and ability to make judgements based on facts. Explain how you arrived at the decision you made and what the outcome ultimately was. Ideally, you can discuss a situation that had a successful outcome.

Related: Job Interview Tips: How To Make a Great Impression

Technical questions

Interviewers may ask technical interview questions during your meeting to understand your experience. This is because it's a highly technical role and recruiters ensure that you're equipped with the knowledge to work successfully. These questions focus on the technical part of a mechanical engineer's work and assess whether you're ready to take on the role you're applying for. The level of detail and the complexity of these questions depends on the job you're applying for, with more senior and advanced roles having more detailed technical questions than other positions.

The technical questions you're asked depend on the work you're applying for, but there are some technical questions that apply to almost any mechanical engineering job. Make sure you thoroughly read and understand the job description to understand what the technical requirements are. This may give you some insight into what to expect from the technical interview questions for the role. Familiarise yourself with relevant technical information or concepts before your interview:

  • What is the significance of tolerance in engineering?

  • What are the various types of brakes?

  • What is a process flow diagram?

  • What is knurling?

  • What are the advantages of cycloidal gears?

  • How can you identify different types of steel?

  • Define latent heat

  • Explain the law of thermodynamic

  • What is the benefit of pneumatics?

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