An audio engineer is someone who is able to work well with technology, which is a field that is constantly changing. Through this answer, they should show that they stay up to date with technology and are always looking for ways to improve the way they work to produce the best quality product possible.
"I am constantly talking to other engineers and reading blogs online about current and upcoming technologies. It is so important to stay up to date on this because we are the main sources at the station that people go to for technology questions, and I have to make sure I have the answers."
The candidate should discuss why they have chosen to work in audio. Perhaps audio is a jumping-off point for the candidate to learn more about engineering, producing, or the news or radio industry. Or, perhaps the candidate truly is passionate about audio and wants to be a longtime audio editor. The candidate should talk about their passion and why this job will fuel what they love about audio.
"I chose to work in audio because down the line I want to work in the radio industry and run my own radio show. Having the knowledge of how to run the switchboard myself means that a radio station would only have to hire one person to do all of the audio and hosting duties, and that will make me a valuable person."
Part of the job description for an audio engineer is being able to remedy small engineering glitches that may occur before, during, or after a show. The engineer should be experienced working with an audio switchboard and able to try to fix any issue that comes up.
"I have always been the person who friends and family come to when they are having technology issues. I work well with computers and the audio switchboard, and can even help with other engineering fixes people at the station may have."
It is often difficult in the control room to juggle the responsibilities of running audio while there are so many people speaking orders as well. A good audio engineer is able to do their job while also listening to directors telling them to switch microphones, open and close certain ones, and bring up external audio as well. The candidate must prove to be someone who can juggle multiple responsibilities at once, even in high stress situations, and still work flawlessly.
"I am very good at using my ears to juggle multiple jobs in the control room. While I make my first priority sticking to a script and making sure I bring up all the proper audio, I still keep an ear open for the producers when things change."
The candidate should discuss how they work with their clients and voice subjects to make their voice sound crisp and clear over the air. This involves checking microphones often, reducing any feedback that may create crackling, and having individual meetings with speakers to get a feel for their voice fluctuations and how to regulate it with the audio throughout their speaking.
"I want to make sure I know my subject's voice inside and out, so I like to have multiple microphone checks with them prior to the recording so I can make sure that when their voice naturally increases, I can reduce the audio so it does not get blown out."
The candidate should discuss their experience working under a manager or boss and how they deal with receiving orders and sometimes criticism for their work. The candidate should discuss how they appreciate getting feedback from their manager and how they work well under someone's advisory. They also may talk about how criticism will make them ultimately a better worker.
"I sometimes enjoy receiving some criticism on my work because I want to grow from my mistakes. I would rather be told how to do something right than be doing it wrong for longer."
The salary of an audio engineer ranges job to job, depending on whether it is in the television market, radio market, or for private client business. On average, the starting salary for an audio engineer ranges from $20,000-$30,000 if the job is full time. Audio engineers can expect to make more after spending more time at the station or moving to a higher market or larger company. The candidate should take this time to discuss what they hope to make as a salary to come to an agreement with the hiring manager.
"Since I have much experience already working with your audio board and editing gear, I believe I would be worth between $23,000-$25,000 for this job. However, I am open to discussions about other benefits I may receive."
Working with audio requires audio engineers to pay close attention to sound detail that the average listener may not even notice. They must also be able to recognize over time small nuances in speakers' voices and how to adjust the audio accordingly so the best possible product is produced.
"I consider myself very attentive to detail. In post production, I often spend hours working overtime fine tuning the audio product because I hear small details that others cannot. But ultimately this makes me the greatest candidate."
Oftentimes, audio engineers not only control the audio booth for the speakers, but must edit the video in post-production to upload to websites, or give to a client. Candidates must have some experience editing, and should discuss their ability to edit sound with the hiring manager.
"I have experience editing with Audacity, as I have used it for editing sound for many years. I am a quick learner, and many sound products are similar, so I will be able to learn whatever you use."
The candidate should mention what they like least about the job, but should ultimately be positive about completing that task without issue.
"My least favorite part of the job is the distressing and sad news that often comes across the airwaves that I have to listen to. However, this is balanced by all of the good news that eventually comes across as well."
The candidate should discuss what their favorite part of the job is and why they love it so much. This gives the hiring manager some insight as to what the candidate is most passionate about, and also sees how their best skills fit into the job description.
"My favorite part of the job is fading in and out of the show in each commercial break. I am for the smoothest transitions possible, and once I listen back to the broadcast, I am proud of how the audience only hears the gradual change from show to commercial."
Hiring managers are looking for a candidate who is excited to take the audio engineer position, but also has goals for the future. While they do not want to hire someone who expects to move on rapidly, they want someone who hopes to progress and grow in the position. The candidate should discuss how this position of audio engineer will help them get experience and improve so that they will be an even better member of the team someday.
"Someday, I aspire to be an audio director for National Public Radio. Until I am refined enough for that job, I am looking forward to working here to learn more, improve my skills, and grow so I will become even better."
The candidate should find specific qualities in their professional abilities and personality that make them a good fit to be an audio engineer. Some of these qualities include someone who pays attention to detail, someone who has a keen ear, someone who can think ahead and anticipate changing speakers, and someone who can think and act fast.
"I believe that I am a great fit for the job because I am very good at anticipating when speakers are going to change. I am able to work the audio board while also fielding calls into the radio show, and I can do multiple audio jobs at once."
The candidate should discuss a time where they have lead a group of people or stepped up to make a team work for a common goal. This does not have to be specifically from the audio engineering industry, but should show some of the candidate's personality and how they may react in the job.
"In my previous job, I was the motivating force to help everyone get our work done on time. While everyone else preferred to work slowly, I would get my work done quickly and help everyone else so we could check over our work and make sure it was error free."
Problems audio engineers face may include technology issues, correcting audio, editing, and more. The candidate should discuss their process of resolving an issue, whether it is to ask for help or figure it out on their own. A hiring manager is looking for someone who is a natural problem solver and is able to resolve issues without hesitation. The candidate should discuss their problem solving abilities.
"I consider myself someone who wants to resolve an issue before asking for help. I first analyze exactly what is wrong, and if I see that it is something I can fix myself, I fix it on my own time. However, I am not afraid to ask for help if it means protecting equipment."
While being an audio engineer requires following instruction, hiring managers are looking for a candidate who is not only qualified to do the job but also someone who others can look up to. The candidate must be driven to help a team and want to be a leader for others. The candidate should describe his or herself in terms of being a leader, and talk about how they can step up when the time is right.
"I consider myself a leader because I am someone who likes to help others. While I understand the importance of listening to others during the job, I am a strong person who wants the best product to come out possible and assuming the role of a leader in the audio engineering department will help that happen."
A good audio engineer works well with a team and is able to balance doing their job well with working and compromising with a team at all times. The hiring manager wants to know if the candidate works well as a part of a team and can compromise and take instruction well without issue. The candidate should discuss their experience working with others and how their addition to a team benefits the whole company.
"I consider myself a valuable member of any team because I offer help to others, but also welcome help myself."
The candidate should discuss something that they may need improvement on in the job and how they realize they need to make this improvement over time. The hiring manager wants to see that the candidate is aware of the places where they need improvement and aims to grow on their own.
"My previous boss and I worked hard on my ability to edit quickly in post production for the website. This is something that years ago I was very slow at, and over time I have greatly improved my speed and precision. Although I am still working to be as fast and accurate as I can be, every day I work to be better."
The candidate should discuss their future as it pertains to the current job at hand. Although oftentimes audio engineers ultimately aspire to grow in their career and assume a larger role, they should remain positive about staying within the company to become a strong member of the team.
"In five years from now, I see myself growing and furthering my audio abilities so much so that I become the chief audio engineer at the station. I want to become the most trusted audio runner at the station."
The candidate should respond by discussing their version of success, whether it be a tangible success of producing a great quality product, or an intangible one of being a trustworthy member of the team. The hiring manager is looking for someone who measures success in various ways but ultimately sees measure in doing a great job for the company.
"I measure success by the friends I make through the job. If people are willing to be my friend, it is because I have not only been a kind person, but am trusted to do a good job within the company, and this is the type of worker that I hope to be."
The candidate can mention any disappointment they have about being an audio engineer, from the salary, to the stress of the job. However, the candidate should ultimately talk positively about the job and how this disappointment can be remedied over time.
"My biggest disappointment is when speakers or anchors speak out of turn and I clip the beginning part of their speaking. However, this is something that I will over time have to be better at anticipating."
The candidate should mention a time where their work was particularly difficult for them and how they ultimately succeeded and overcame it. This may be a time where multiple people were talking rapidly and the audio engineer had to keep audio levels in check, or a time during breaking news when they had to listen closely to the producer while doing the audio board. They should ultimately mention how they still produced their best work despite troubled times.
"As an audio engineer in the news industry, breaking news often creates much tension and stress in the control booth. Producers are changing their minds constantly and I am given multiple various orders while I am also listening to the speakers. During these times, I remain calm, and my first priority is making sure all of the audio that comes out is crisp and loud, despite the changes behind the scenes."
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electrical equipment for radio and television broadcasts, concerts, sound recordings, and movies and in office and school buildings.