Interviewing Engineers? Six Questions You Should Ask

By Jezabel Southard

Posted on November 9, 2015

Hiring an engineer can be trickier than many other fields. There are a number of engineering disciplines with specialized roles covering every conceivable need within each discipline. Two engineers with the same title might have performed vastly different roles for different companies

For that reason, interview questions for engineers can vary from standard interviews.

“What work interests you?”

With this question, you want specifics. Good engineers get excited by doing engaging, challenging work. Any engineering professional should be able to talk about the technologies or processes they’ve found the most rewarding.

“Tell me about a problem that really tested your engineering know-how.”

There are two things you’re looking for here: your prospective candidate’s problem-solving skills and their ability to articulate difficult concepts in plain English. It’s good to be highly skilled, but it’s better to be both highly skilled and able to explain issues to non-engineers.

“How do you stay up to date on technological advances?”

Engineering is constantly on the edge of technological breakthroughs, and keeping informed on advancements is a huge part of an engineer’s job. A few minutes spent discussing reading material can tell you how seriously an engineer takes this part of their profession.

“What kinds of hands-on engineering work have you done?”

Going to school and getting an engineering degree requires a lot of hard work and plenty of difficult math, so it’s a given that almost every engineer will be up to the task mentally. But not every engineer has had the opportunity to get their hands dirty and solve physical problems to get equipment running smoothly.

“How have you handled dangerous working conditions?”

When working with industrial equipment, safety concerns are bound to come up. You want to make sure you’re hiring someone who cares about safety, can solve problems, and is willing to take responsibility and address issues.

What are some ways you’ve had to accommodate difficult colleagues or clients?”

Technical experts aren’t always the most understanding when receiving outside input. Asking this question gauges their interpersonal skills under stress as well as their ability to adapt to new circumstances on the fly.

For over 30 years, TERRA Staffing has been providing staffing services to companies in the Pacific Northwest and Arizona. Contact TERRA today to find out how we can connect your business with the right technical job candidates in Portland, Phoenix, and Seattle.

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