Job interview tips for engineers

Engineering requires the ability to solve problems, but an interview should never be one. As long as you prepare beforehand, you’ll make a great impression and boost your chances of getting the job.

Interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience. However, with a little practice, you’ll soon realise there’s nothing to fear. Reading our advice will help guide you through the interview process, so when the time comes, you’ll be ready to ace that engineering interview.

Make a good first impression

An interviewer will make an assessment in the first few seconds of meeting you, so make it count! It’s crucial to make a great first impression. An integral part of this is dress to impress. Before your interview, you should prepare a professional looking outfit and make sure you’re suitably groomed.

When being introduced to your interviewer, smile and shake their hand. Never turn up late as not only does it look unprofessional, you run the risk of looking flustered.

Research the company

It’s essential to do your research prior to the interview. Demonstrating your knowledge of the company paint you in a positive light and will immediately impress your employer. Google the company, review their website and explore their social media profiles. Find out what makes them tick.

You may want to mention something you read about their company culture or their aspirations for the future. Not only will this prove to the employer that you’re serious about joining the company, it also helps to build a more informed opinion. Not to mention that it may get you thinking about questions you might want to ask.

Practice your answers

Your interview is an opportunity to demonstrate why you’re the best candidate for the job. Questions in an engineering interview will vary depending on which specialist category you’re applying for, e.g. electrical, mechanical, civil or any other type of engineer. Why not take time to practice answering interview questions you’ll likely be asked in your interview. This will then give you the chance to prepare and practice answers. It will ease any pre interview nerves and allow you to answer with confidence as opposed to struggling for a response.

Try to find the right balance that will showcase your technical knowledge, your engineering skills and your ability to communicate with team members and clients. Just be wary of making it relevant to what is being asked.

Engineering can be extraordinarily complex and require serious attention to detail. Any missteps can be costly and the same can be said about your interview. Listen carefully to the interviewer so you don’t slip up on any questions and focus on the answers that you’ve prepared beforehand.

Check your body language

Your body language can say a lot about you. So, make sure you’re aware of how you’re presenting yourself. For example, if you were discussing your greatest achievements and giving examples of when you solved various problems, using your hands can help animate your stories and ease the flow of communication.

Although, be careful you don’t come across as too overzealous. Fidgeting and fiddling with items in the interview can be distracting so try to be mindful of your behaviour. Remember you want to appear confident and professional! Avoid slouching in your chair, try to smile and maintain eye contact with your interviewer too.

Ask questions

An interview isn’t just a chance for the employer to see if you’re right for the role. It’s also a good opportunity for you to consider whether the role is right for you. You should always prepare a few questions before the interview and make sure you write these down.

Never underestimate what these questions could say about you as a candidate so choose wisely. Asking intelligent questions shows you’re interested and serious about the job. For example, asking what they’ll expect of you in your role shows you’re keen to contribute to the success of the company.

On the other hand, asking when you can expect to get a pay rise will simply put the interviewer off.

Take notes

Making notes is important in any job role. More so in engineering career where everything is about detail. This should start from the second you walk into your interview. You might find yourself wanting to recap or ask a question relating back to what you discussed with your interviewer. Take a pen and notepad with you as it demonstrates your initiative and eagerness to learn about the role.

Final thought

Your interview should always be seen as an opportunity to showcase your professionalism and suitability towards the role. Prior to the interview, you should always prepare beforehand by choosing the right attire, researching the company and practising your answers. This will then show employers that you have what it takes to succeed in their distinctive workplace and meet the company’s requirements.

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