36 common power plant interview questions (with answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 9 November 2022

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.

If you're interested in working in a power plant, it's beneficial to understand the intricacies of this unique work environment. When employers interview for roles in the power plant they typically ask questions that look to identify specific skills, like problem-solving, and experience completing the general responsibilities of the job. To improve your chances of success at the interview stage, it's helpful to learn about common interview questions asked by power plant employers. In this article, we discuss some common power plant interview questions and provide example answers to help guide your responses.

General power plant interview questions

There are several general power plant interview questions that an employer may ask you to gauge your overall suitability for working in a power plant environment. Here are some example questions:

  1. Why do you think you're suited to a role in a power plant?

  2. What are your skills in relation to the role of working in a power plant?

  3. Is there anything about working in a power plant that particularly interests you?

  4. Why did you decide to apply to work for this power plant in particular?

  5. Do you have any previous experience working in a power plant or industrial facility?

  6. In your previous work, is there anything that you would like to have done differently?

  7. What can you bring to this role while working in the power plant?

  8. How extensive is your knowledge of power plants and how do you stay up to date with the latest information about power plants?

  9. Do you hold any qualifications or certifications in relation to working in a power plant?

  10. Would you say that you prefer working on your own or as part of a team? Why?

Related: Interview question: ‘why are you interested in this position?'

Power plant interview questions that focus on experience and background

When interviewing for power plant roles, employers typically delve into a candidate's relevant experience and background to learn more about their overall suitability for the job. When it comes to answering these questions, it's an opportunity for you to discuss your previous work, industry expertise and any relevant qualifications you hold. Here are some example questions:

  1. Did you ever use critical thinking or problem-solving skills in your previous work?

  2. How do you effectively manage multiple responsibilities at once to ensure you meet company objectives?

  3. How have you developed your skills in relation to working in a power plant?

  4. What do you think are the most important skills that a successful candidate has for this type of work?

  5. How would you go about educating new colleagues about handling dangerous chemicals in the workplace?

  6. What steps would you take to approach a colleague about their lack of input during a difficult project?

  7. Can you tell me about a complicated project that you were a part of in your previous role?

  8. How do you feel about learning new skills or techniques while on the job?

  9. What, in your opinion, are the most important health and safety aspects while working in a power plant?

  10. Have you ever had to stop your own work to assist or support a colleague in the completion of their workplace responsibilities?

Related: 25 major tips on how to pass an interview: a guide

Technical power plant interview questions

Working in a power plant environment often requires in-depth, technical knowledge about the operation and maintenance of power plants. Below are some questions that might come up during an interview for power plant roles:

  1. What are the main benefits of implementing a high-pressure boiler system into a thermal power plant?

  2. Can you explain what a supercritical boiler and a boiler drought are?

  3. When working in a steam-based power plant, what do we mean when we use the term bleeding?

  4. Do you know what an alternator is and how to use one?

  5. When working in a steam power plant, what makes up a cooling water circuit and a coal and ash circuit?

  6. When working in a diesel engine power plant, what do we use superchargers and air filters for?

  7. When feeding a water heater in a power plant, what are the four main methods used to extract steam?

  8. What are the main differences between pulverised fuel firing and stocker firing?

  9. What are the differences between an overfeed stoker and an underfeed stoker?

  10. What is a pulveriser in the context of a power plant and how does it work?

Related: 6 examples of soft skills interview questions and answers

Common power plant interview questions with answers

To give yourself the best chance of success during the interview stage, take a look at the example power plant interview questions and answers below:

1. Can you tell me about the different forms of waste that a power plant generates?

This is a fairly common question that requires good knowledge of power plant facilities and engineering. The question is a good way for the employer to assess your overall understanding of power plants and it gives you a chance to demonstrate your expertise. Providing an accurate and concise answer can help impress employers.

Example answer: 'Generally speaking, power plants produce four different types of waste which include rubber, paper, general rubbish and industrial waste.'

Related: 7 different types of interview questions (with examples)

2. What are the main differences between out-plant and in-plant handling?

The two concepts of out-plant and in-plant handling are commonly found in power plant environments, so it's useful to understand them. When asked a question like this, it's useful to have a factual answer ready to go.

Example answer: 'Out-plant handling is the overall management of plant resources found outside of the facility, such as transporting fuel. In-plant, as the name suggests, focuses on resources found internally, such as stocks of coal or other fuel for the plant.'

3. What is a high-pressure boiler and do you know of any common types?

This is another question that focuses on your overall knowledge of components and machinery in a power plant. It's a useful way for employers to assess your overall knowledge levels for power plants, so make sure you understand all of the common tools and machinery used in power plants to answer these types of questions.

Example answer: 'In the context of a power plant, a high-pressure boiler is a piece of equipment used to generate electricity at a relatively low cost. Common models include the La Mont and Velox brands of high-pressure boilers.'

Related: Common types of interview formats and styles (with tips)

4. Can you explain the different types of power plants and what makes them different?

There are a wide variety of power plants in operation across the world, so this question allows employers to find out what your knowledge level about the different types of power plants is. It also helps employers know your overall abilities, as if you know a lot about different power plants then it's likely that you have the right skill set to work across different jobs. Try to answer this question as comprehensively and relevantly as possible.

Example answer: 'There are lots of different power plants such as nuclear, coal and hydroelectric power plants. The industry is pushing for cleaner power plants, so eco-friendly designs such as hydroelectric plants are growing in popularity. Nuclear plants are contentious because of their risk of nuclear meltdowns, but in reality, they offer tremendous benefits in terms of efficiency. Other popular systems include tidal, wind and geothermal plants that use natural energy as opposed to harvested energy like coal.'

5. What is regeneration in the context of power plants and what benefits does the regeneration cycle offer?

This is another technical question that is largely used to gauge your knowledge of regeneration cycles in power plants. It's a good idea to answer this question by defining what regeneration is for power plants and the advantages it offers. Keep your response brief and to the point here, because it's quite easy to talk at length about this topic.

Example answer: 'Regeneration in power plants is a term used to describe the process of using steam from turbines to heat the feed water. This uses up all of the steam and feeds it through the regenerator to help with heating. The benefits behind the regeneration cycle for power plants include lower boiler usage and heat, improvements in thermal efficiency and less wear on the turbines.'

6. What are the main safety procedures that staff follow when working in a power plant facility? What can you do to promote health and safety practices in your team?

This two-pronged question looks to identify your awareness of health and safety guidelines for power plants, which is a very important topic to understand. Power plants tend to work with very dangerous chemicals and materials ranging from high-pressure gas to nuclear material, so proper health and safety procedures are vital for the business and staff. Use this question as an opportunity to showcase your knowledge on the subject.

Example answer: 'My previous experience working in power plants taught me the importance of safety protocols in the workplace to keep everyone in a safe environment. So we had lots of barriers in place to ensure no one entered restricted areas and we performed regular assessments to ensure health and safety were upheld throughout the facility. I would encourage my colleagues to stay informed about the latest safety guidelines and procedures and would act as an example to them by performing safely at all times.'

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