Employee termination can be an awkward and uncomfortable task. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of being the pragmatic leader that they need.
Exponent Interview Questions
Have you ever had to terminate an employee?
Employee termination can be an awkward and uncomfortable task. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of being the pragmatic leader that they need.
"I do have experience with employee termination. Although this is a task that no leader loves to do, I am confident in my ability to communicate with underperforming team members. I do not shy away from uncomfortable tasks such as employee terminations and exit interviews."
"I have not been responsible for terminating an employee in the past; however, I do know that this is a task I would be capable of doing. I can give constructive feedback. My knack for giving direction, but also being a dedicated mentor, would make me a person of positive influence when it comes to employee relationships."
At Exponent we put the safety of our employees first. How familiar are you when it comes to construction safety standards?
Assure the interviewer that you understand safety construction standards and regulation. You also want to display to the interviewer that you put safety first.
"I admire the fact that Exponent puts the safety of their employees first. I am very immersed in the current safety standards for the engineering and construction industry. I do have a recent certification in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and am committed to applying that knowledge to a position with Exponent. If there are additional pieces of training and certifications that you would like to see, I am happy to comply."
"I believe that safety on site is incredibly important and, for that reason, I am eager to take any safety courses that you recommend. At this point, I have taken coursework in fatigue management, reporting, safe lifting, alcohol and drug awareness, and PPE guidelines."
We are looking for strong team players to join Exponent. What role do you usually take in team projects?
The interviewer truly wants to understand the role that you naturally take on, when put into a team-based environment. Let the interviewer know that you tend to take the lead, without seeming overbearing. If you usually like to generate new ideas and allow someone else to execute them, share your creative side but express that you prefer for others to take the lead.
"I am usually the 'ideas person' in team projects. In my current position, I am not the most influential salesperson, but I am highly creative. This creative edge means that, in most projects, I am great at creating a plan of action but am most comfortable passing the final client-facing tasks to our more extroverted personnel."
"I like to take the lead on team projects. I am vocal and organized which makes me a natural leader."
What was your least favorite job? Why?
Most people have had a job that they don't particularly love. Think about your least favorite situation and break down for the interviewer what made it so tiresome.
Perhaps the responsibilities were mundane, or the co-workers were unfriendly. Discuss with the interviewer what made the job so complicated, and what you did to make it better for yourself. The interviewer wants to see that you are proactive in situations like this rather than just giving up and quitting.
"Many years ago, I worked as a waitress at a local sports bar. I liked the job because of the customers, but I didn't feel appreciated by my boss. It was discouraging because he was so negative rather than offering encouragement- even during the busiest and most challenging shifts. I did my best and worked hard, but moved on when I had the opportunity. I learned that having a boss who is encouraging and motivating can make such a world of difference!"
"I like to think that every job I have held has offered me something positive. My least favorite job came with a challenging schedule and a boss with very little leadership training. I learned how I wanted to show up in the business world and what did and did not work for me."
At Exponent we know that efficiency is directly related to profitability. How do you accurately assess the progress of each project you manage?
Talk to the interviewer about your experience in assessing project progress. Are you able to remain on top of the needs of a project? Assure the interviewer that you can stay ahead of project needs and predict any possible productivity roadblocks.
"I understand that efficiency is the primary factor in the profitability of a construction project. Because I bring six years of project management experience, I am confident that I can predict, early on, the inefficient factors on a job site. In my most recent position, I was able to increase employee productivity which directly resulted in faster delivery time and increased profits."
"Before I begin a project, I will map out a project blueprint and timeline. I refer to this timeline on a daily basis to ensure that I am on target. It's an organized technique that has worked incredibly well for me."
In your opinion, what are the top 3 qualities every engineering/construction professional should possess?
When you list the top 3 qualities that every engineering/construction professional should possess you most certainly want to have personal examples. How do you display those specific qualities? This question is your time to assure the interviewer that you have what it takes to be a leader in the engineering/construction profession.
"I believe that every engineering/construction professional should have strong attention to detail, be a bit of a perfectionist, and be able to multitask. These are all areas of strength for me, and I look forward to bringing these talents to work for Exponent."
"Here are some qualities an engineering / construction professional should have:
- Solid negotiation skills
- Confidence in matters of project management
- Ability to work well in a diverse environment
- Strong mathematical knowledge
- Solid ethics
- Ability to be diplomatic"
What is your long-range career objective with Exponent?
Onboarding new employees is a time consuming and costly endeavor, so the interviewer wants to make sure that this role will be a long-term fit for you. Be open with the interviewer about your dreams within this company, on a long-term basis. Share what promotions you hope to eventually receive and discuss what you wish to learn from being a part of their organization. The key to answering this question is to express to the interviewer that you plan to be employed by the company for many years to come.
"While visiting your company website I noticed that you have some leadership opportunities available in a variety of locations. I would love to work my way into a management or leadership role with your organization and would be willing to relocate to do so. I really like what your organization stands for, and I hope to see a current fit, and future growth, here."
"My long-range objective is to be a director within your organization. I am constantly looking to improve myself professionally and personally and would welcome the opportunity to do that for your organization."
We are asking for 8 years of industry experience and you have just 5. Why do you think you are qualified for this position?
To many employers, the number of years' experience is flexible - so long as you have the results to show for the years that you do have. Talk to the interviewer about your major career successes. This answer is the time to sell yourself. Make no apologies for your lack of years!
"Although I have five years' experience vs. eight years' experience I can do this job well. In my previous role, I was outperforming colleagues who had 12 years of experience. To me, it's all about drive and ability to be a quick study. I have all of these qualities and more."
"Along with my five years working in this industry, I have worked in related industries my entire career. Also, I hope that my graduate degree gives me a little boost in experience over the required undergraduate degree."
At Exponent we put a lot of pride into the organization of our projects. Do you consider yourself to be highly organized?
Organization in the engineering and construction space can save a lot of time and money. This skill is of immense value to any employer. Assure the interviewer that you are a well organized and thoughtful planner.
"I have always been an organized person, and since obtaining my Project Management certificate, I find that I am even more dedicated to the organization than I had been in the past. My references will tell you that I am very organized as well. Rest assured, I understand the direct correlation between the organization, productivity, and profitability."
"Even as a child, my mom would tease me about my organizational skills. I had every pencil etched with my name before the first day of school! All jokes aside, yes - I do consider myself to be very organized. I do my best work when my day's activities are pre-planned."
At Exponent we prefer to hire individuals invested in their professional development. Walk me through any industry related coursework you have completed.
The interviewer would like to know if you have taken any formal education and training related to the engineering/construction industry. This question will help the interviewer to assess your commitment to the company and industry.
"I have taken a variety of coursework related to the construction and engineering industry. In addition to my Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering, I also have a Project Management certificate. I bring full dedication to forging a strong career in this field and look forward to bringing my knowledge to work for Exponent."
"As I am new to the industry I have not had the opportunity to attend many industry related courses or workshops. With that said, I do have a certificate in construction safety and am CPR, and First Aid certified. Are there any particular courses you are looking for in your next hire? I would be happy to get a head start on anything required for me to be successful in this position."
How would your co-workers describe your attention to detail?
It is always best to support your reply with a real-life example. Talk to the interviewer about your level of attentiveness when it comes to details on the job.
"My co-workers would describe my attention to detail as very strong. I can very easily point out spelling discrepancies in communication and will notice the small things. I think big-picture as well but have always had a knack for details."
"My attention to detail is a point that I have been working on a lot this past year. I am meticulous but, in the past, have pushed my documentation back a little bit. It's something I am conscious of and continually working on."
Tell me about a time at work when your integrity was challenged. How did you handle it?
Have you ever faced a time, in the workplace, where you were put to the test when it came to your integrity? Perhaps a co-worker has asked you to lie, or you were tempted to be dishonest on your time sheet when the boss was away. Talk to the interviewer about a time when you overcame the temptation to be dishonest.
"Last year our manager went away on vacation for three weeks. Some of my co-workers wanted to falsify our time sheets to reflect overtime hours that we did not work. I disagreed and was able to convince them that it was a bad idea and certainly not worth being fired over."
"I once had a subordinate that would perform work after clocking out. There was a rumor later that I forced my team to work off the clock to save the company money. I did not know it was happening, and I certainly did not ask anyone to work outside of their scheduled shift. The situation was cleared up later."
Why do you think you will be successful in this role with Exponent?
Rather than just sharing how you have gone above and beyond, focus on how your qualities will help you to meet and exceed expectations. Discuss the reasons why will you be great at this job. Talk about your qualifications and skills that will help you to do this job well. If you can, match your strengths to the requirements outlined in the job description.
"I know I will be successful in this role because I have been working in this industry for five years with great training and mentorship. I have a solid understanding of X, Y, and Z (skills listed in the job description). Also, I have all of my updated certifications as outlined in your job description. I am well-prepared for this next step in my career."
"Success comes from dedication and hard work. I am purposeful in my work which makes me confident in the fact that I will be a success here at Exponent."
How do you handle a situation where your supervisor does not properly communicate information to you?
You cannot force others to communicate with you in a way that you would always prefer. Talk to the interviewer about a time that you have handled a supervisor who does not correspond with you in a way that you like.
"Whenever I have had a supervisor who does not properly communicate with me, I try to learn their style of communication and emulate it. Sometimes you have to relate to others in their style to be understood."
"There are times in business when this happens. I make sure I regroup with the supervisor to explain the strain a gap in communication causes on the team. I then go into mending mode, ensuring the information that needs communicating gets disseminated out to the team."
Do you have experience in determining labor requirements on large-scale construction projects?
Have you ever had a hand in hiring teams of employees for large-scale engineering and construction projects? Talk to the interviewer about any related experience and what it has taught you when it comes to smart hiring.
"In my most recent position I was responsible for hiring construction crews up to 25 people at a time. I understand the importance of hiring well-qualified individuals who have a reliable track record. Last year our retention rate increased by 24% once I began leading our hiring initiatives."
"I have not had direct experience in determining labor requirements; however, I do bring experience with interviewing, onboarding, and training. I have a strong record when it comes to employee retention."
Tell me about any experience you may have in overseeing the performance of other contractors.
Tell me about your experience with ordering and overseeing the delivery of engineering/construction related materials and equipment.
Do you ever use your sense of humor to diffuse a situation at work?
In your opinion, who are the strongest competitors for Exponent?
Tell me about a time when you effectively delegated tasks.
How do you successfully motivate your team?
How do you handle stress on the job?
How would you rate your performance in this interview so far?
Tell me about a time you handled an incredibly difficult client. How did you come to a resolution with this person?
What are your salary expectations?
Do you feel that you are currently paid what you are worth?
What makes you a great problem solver?
What is your definition of hard work?
Describe to me your ideal employer.
Tell me about a time when you took the initiative to improve work related procedures.
What questions do you have for me about Exponent, and this role?