Technical Interviews for Engineers

The company is already pretty sure you have the technical skills they are looking for. They wouldn’t be interviewing you otherwise. The interviewers just want to look at your logical, analytical and possibly numerical skills just to see how they match up to the role you are applying to.

Wind turbinesWhat questions are asked at a technical interview?

About your final year project

Every organisation will have its own approach to how technical interviews are structured. They may, for example, ask you to talk about your final year project. If so, it would be an idea to show the transferable technical skills you used that would be beneficial to both the new role and company. It is also possible that the interviewer is not an expert in your final-year project area. As a result, they may well be looking to see how you communicate a technical subject to a non-specialist.

You could be asked:

  • What is the key to effective project management?
  • Do you prefer to start or finish a project?
  • Can you give me evidence that you are someone who has the flair for generating and communicating ideas?

Company Operations

They may also show you details of one or their own products or technical projects which are related to the position, and ask you to talk about it. As a result, it would be useful to familiarise yourself as much as possible with their operations. During such questions, you could also mention their underlying values – if they are big on sustainability or waste reduction, mention how this was important to the product or project.

You could be asked

  • What is the biggest challenge facing XXXXX and how would you tackle it?
  • How do you feel XXXXX should deal with issues such as health and safety and public relations in the work we do?

About their Industry

They could also ask you about the technical/commercial factors that are affecting their industry i.e. new technology, sustainability, cost of raw materials, demographics. Researching into the industry shows you to be a strategic thinker as well as demonstrating that you have a commercial mindset as well as a technical one.

  • What engineering innovation would you introduce to change XXXXX and why

Numerical

It might also be a good idea to refresh your mathematical skills as they may well put these to the test at interview or, more commonly, at the assessment centre stage. These could involve data interpretation, problem-solving, ratios and mathematical questions. You should, however, be informed if your interview will involve a numerical section.

Have a look at our psychometric test preparation resources

Other ways to gain numeracy skills

…and finally

As with all interviews, don’t forget to ask them questions at the end. Technical queries you have regarding their processes, products or operations will show you are interested and really want the role.

By Pablo Costa
Careers Consultant, The University of Manchester

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