MockQuestions

Computer Hardware Engineer Mock Interview

To help you prepare for your Computer Hardware Engineer interview, here are 30 interview questions and answer examples.

Computer Hardware Engineer was written by and updated on September 13th, 2021. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

Can you discuss a time that a team member made a mistake and the steps you took to correct it?

How to Answer

Competent computer hardware engineers know how to recognize and correct mistakes made by themselves or other team members. Recognizes that you may not have the leadership authority to take the initiative to correct somebody else's mistake. You can do this either directly or by collaborating with the person who made the mistake to correct it. The interviewer is interested in your initiative in this area and whether you are willing to take responsibility for other people's mistakes. Make sure your answer addresses not exceeding your authority when correcting someone else's mistake.

Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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List of 30 Computer Hardware Engineer Interview Questions & Answers

  • Behavioral

    1.

    Can you discuss a time that a team member made a mistake and the steps you took to correct it?

      How to Answer

      Competent computer hardware engineers know how to recognize and correct mistakes made by themselves or other team members. Recognizes that you may not have the leadership authority to take the initiative to correct somebody else's mistake. You can do this either directly or by collaborating with the person who made the mistake to correct it. The interviewer is interested in your initiative in this area and whether you are willing to take responsibility for other people's mistakes. Make sure your answer addresses not exceeding your authority when correcting someone else's mistake.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "Whenever I recognize that a mistake was made, either by one of the other team members or me, I take steps to correct it. If I made the mistake, it is my responsibility to fix it. If another team member made it, I would consult with them and collaborate to correct the error. An example of this was when one of my team members forgot to design a heat sink for a very high-speed microprocessor that emitted a great deal of heat. Fortunately, I recognized this early in the design process and pointed it out. My teammate appreciated my intervention, and together we modified the design to include the heat sink. Our management team acknowledged how well we worked together on this."

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

  • Behavioral

    2.

    Tell me about an unsuccessful problem you faced and why you couldn't complete it.

      How to Answer

      Unfortunately, we all fail from time to time, even though we don't like admitting it. Interviewers know this and are likely to ask about your failures during an interview. What they're looking for is for you to admit that you failed, take responsibility for the failure, and describe what you learned. This demonstrates your ability to be self-aware, take responsibility for your actions, and turn a failure into a lesson.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "While it's hard to admit, I have failed several times during my career. One of the more recent failures was when I was assigned to develop a more efficient enclosure for our company's new computing device. Even though enclosures were not my main area of expertise, I accepted the assignment with the idea that I could learn the skills needed to complete the task. Unfortunately, the enclosure I developed did not allow the fan and heat sinks to properly cool the system. The project was turned over to somebody with more experience in this area. What I learned was to acknowledge my lack of experience and skills required to complete an assignment early so that my management team could either reassign the project or provide me with the training needed to complete the job."

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

  • Behavioral

    3.

    Tell me about a crisis you encountered at work and how you handled it.

      How to Answer

      This is an example of a behavioral question. A crisis in the workplace is not common, but they do occur. The interviewer will ask you about a crisis to better understand how you behave when faced with this situation. They are less interested in the actual solution you used to overcome the crisis and more about your ability to remain calm, develop creative solutions to the problem, and work your way through the crisis. You can use the STAR format to frame your answer to this question. Talk about the Situation or crisis, describe the Tasks you needed to accomplish to resolve it, discuss the Actions you took, and review the results you achieved. One of the results may be what you learned that could apply to similar situations if hired by the organization.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "The pandemic severely impacted my last organization. All work was stopped, and all employees were sent home in the early days of the crisis. This left many projects unfinished and the possibility of us missing critical deadlines. It occurred to me that our development team could function remotely if provided the right tools. I created a list of the technology we would need and distributed it to the team for their review and input. Once the list was finalized, we purchased and installed the technology in each team's home offices. We were back to our former levels of productivity within a week of the shutdown. We all worked extra hours to get caught up, and no deadlines were missed. This proved that with a little innovation and creative thinking, we could overcome the most challenging issues."

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

  • Behavioral

    4.

    Tell me about a situation in which you could not create a specified hardware system in the timeframe you were given.

      How to Answer

      Every project you will work on will have both a budget and a deadline. Adhering to these is important and demonstrates your ability to effectively contribute to the organization's business objectives. When describing a project on which you missed a deadline while developing a specified hardware system, provide the interviewer with why you missed the deadline while taking responsibility for having missed it. This will demonstrate that you're committed to making your deadlines and that you take full responsibility for your work.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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  • General

    5.

    What innovations have you made?

      How to Answer

      Companies like to hire employees who bring new ideas, innovations, and improvements to their organizations. The interviewer will ask you about your previous innovations to determine what you've contributed to the organizations you work for in the past and to try to establish a metric, such as money or time saved, to determine its value. Having a story prepared for this question will enable you to demonstrate how you can help the company improve a process, reduce the time it takes to do something, or cut costs without compromising quality. This will differentiate you from the other candidates.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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  • General

    6.

    Can you provide me a brief description of your technical background?

      How to Answer

      This may seem like an odd question to be asked during an interview since you assume the interviewer has read your resume and that you were invited to the interviewer because of your qualifications and experience. However, an interviewer may ask you this question to hear your summary of your background in your own words and so that you can fill in any gaps which were not included in the resume. They also use the question to verify the information in the resume. As with any question, keep your answer brief and to the point and avoid providing too many details. The interviewer will ask you a follow-up question if they need more information.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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  • General

    7.

    Do you have experience as a hardware development team lead, and if so, did you enjoy it?

      How to Answer

      Organizations prefer to hire candidates who are capable of leading teams of individuals similar to themselves. This indicates that the individual is willing to take responsibility for the team's productivity and effectively convinces others to do the work necessary to complete a project. They also can organize people, delegate tasks, and ensure a project stays on schedule and under budget. If you don't have direct experience leading a hardware development team, admit this and discuss your interest in receiving the necessary training.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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  • General

    8.

    What is the most challenging part of your job as a hardware engineer?

      How to Answer

      A computer hardware engineer faces many challenges. Some of these are minor, while others are substantial and can severely impact the productivity and effectiveness of the engineer's performance. The interviewer will ask you about your challenges to better understand some of the things you have overcome. It will also provide them with an idea of how you categorize these challenges. Make sure that the most challenging thing you identify isn't something minor. The hiring manager prefers that you handle minor issues as a standard part of your daily job and don't consider them a challenge.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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  • General

    9.

    Do you consider learning about new technologies a requirement or an opportunity?

      How to Answer

      This is an interesting question. The interviewer will ask this question to gauge your enthusiasm for learning about new technologies. As a computer hardware engineer, you should be naturally curious and anxious to learn about new technologies and developments in your field. This will help you do your job more effectively and benefit the organization because you will become more productive and innovative. The best way to respond to this is to emphasize that you consider learning new technologies a benefit of working for the organization. You may even want to describe how you accomplish this.

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  • General

    10.

    What are some of the specific tasks you have performed in your role as a computer hardware engineer?

      How to Answer

      This question may appear similar to one the interviewer has already asked you. Interviewers will ask similar questions throughout the interview to calibrate your answers and ensure you are consistent. This is important because it indicates that you're answering the questions consistently and knowledgeably. A good way to maintain consistency throughout the interview is to keep your answers brief and to the point. The interviewer will ask follow-up questions if they need additional information or want to explore the topic in more detail.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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  • General

    11.

    Can you discuss the most complex hardware system you have designed, including how long it took you to build it?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer will ask you about the most complex piece of hardware you designed to understand the scope of the work you can perform. When describing your most complex design, you should make sure not to disclose any proprietary information. Not only will this violate your employment agreement with your current or former employers, but it would indicate to the interviewer that you're not careful about sharing industrial secrets. Also, make sure to give credit to your other team members for the contributions they made in completing the complex design.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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  • General

    12.

    Can you walk me through what you do as a hardware engineer daily?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer will ask you this question to better understand how you view this role, the tasks you typically perform, and the accomplishments you focus on. They are also interested in determining if your perspective of the job aligns with that of the organization. You can prepare for this question by researching the job and the organization. Sources for this information are the job posting, the company's website, and speaking with both current and former employees of the organization.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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  • General

    13.

    When did you become interested in computer hardware?

      How to Answer

      This is a typical opening question which the interviewer will use to start the conversation, learn more about your background, and collect information they can use throughout the interview. This question allows you to direct the interview towards topics and areas that you are comfortable discussing. The information you provide the interviewer will be used for subsequent questions, so make sure you only discuss items you are familiar with.

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  • General

    14.

    What new innovations have you read about? How did that impact you?

      How to Answer

      One of the qualities organizations look for in computer hardware engineers is their curiosity and interest in new technologies. The IT industry moves at a rapid pace, and there are new developments daily. Having an interest in using them to bring innovative ideas to the company will make you a valuable employee to the organization. You should easily be able to speak about innovations in the industry that you are interested in and would like to work with in this role.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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  • General

    15.

    What attracts you to our company?

      How to Answer

      This is a common question that an interviewer will ask you during the interview for a computer hardware engineer role. Many candidates will go to an interview without properly researching the company, the job, and even the people interviewing them. When asked this question, they are at a loss. The best way to prepare for an interview is to thoroughly research everything about these three topics. This will provide you the information you can use when asked a question like this and frame any answer to any question in the context of what the company does, what the job involves, and what you will be able to contribute to the organization.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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  • Operational

    16.

    How do you go about evaluating a hardware component you have never used before for inclusion in your hardware design?

      How to Answer

      Computer hardware engineers must constantly evaluate new technology for inclusion in their designs. This will ensure that the hardware they build will be state-of-the-art and perform the most demanding tasks. Interviewers will be interested in the process you use to evaluate new technologies and components to determine if it is efficient, effective, and aligns with the processors their current design team utilizes. As with any operational question, discuss the process you use in a series of discrete steps with little detail. You should anticipate follow-up questions from the interviewer.

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  • Operational

    17.

    Tell me about a difficult engineering problem you have encountered and how you made it through it.

      How to Answer

      Being able to overcome difficult challenges is a critical skill computer hardware engineers need to possess. Not only is the interviewer interested in your ability to do this, but they also want to hear about the details of how you accomplished it. When answering questions like these, you can use the STAR format. Briefly state the situation, talk about the Task you needed to complete, discuss the Actions you took, then provide details of the Results you achieved. Using this framework will help you respond to any question which requires you to tell a story. Additionally, having your stories prepared in advance will make the interview easier and more effective.

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  • Operational

    18.

    How would you troubleshoot the problem involving a slow-running computer system?

      How to Answer

      During your interview, the hiring manager may present you with a case or scenario involving an issue you are likely to encounter in this job and ask you to resolve it. You should keep no mind that the interviewer is less interested in the solution and more interested in your process and how you troubleshoot the problem and develop a solution to mitigate it. When you answer the question, carefully step the interviewer through each stage of the process. Keep your answer brief and anticipate the interviewer interrupting you to ask an additional question to clarify your response.

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  • Operational

    19.

    What is your strategy for staying up to date with developments in the hardware engineering industry?

      How to Answer

      The information technology industry evolves at a rapid pace, with new developments occurring daily. Keeping up with these is a difficult task. However, as a computer hardware engineer, it is your responsibility to be on top of the most recent developments in the industry which could impact your work. You should have a strategy for keeping up with these developments and be able to describe it to the interviewer. Your answer should demonstrate how you do this effectively and efficiently so that it does not take too much of your time.

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  • Operational

    20.

    How do you go about prioritizing the tasks you are assigned on a computer hardware design project?

      How to Answer

      Time management and organization skills are other critical qualifications for a computer hardware engineer. In this role, you need to deal with very complex and competing requirements. Organizing these and assigning them the appropriate priority helps you accomplish the tasks efficiently and on time. A good way to respond to this question is to discuss the differences between urgent and important tasks and use these qualifiers as criteria for prioritizing or delegating tasks.

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  • Operational

    21.

    Can you describe how you would explain a complex technical issue to people who didn't have a technical background?

      How to Answer

      Being able to explain complex technical issues to project stakeholders who do not have a technical background is a critical skill for a computer hardware engineer. The hardware development team needs to interact with stakeholders from across the organization to understand their needs, product requirements, and other issues relevant to the computer hardware design. Interviewers will ask you about this and use your answer as an example of how you communicate effectively and clearly, using simple and easy-to-understand language.

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  • Operational

    22.

    Walk me through your troubleshooting process when you are developing a new computer system.

      How to Answer

      When interviewing candidates for a hardware engineering job, hiring managers prefer individuals who are analytical and are good problem solvers. The interviewer will ask you about your troubleshooting process to see the steps you take to identify the root cause of an issue and then resolve it. Since this is an operational question, your answer should detail of series of steps. You don't need to go into much detail about each step or the results. Just present them in a logical order which leads to a conclusion. The interviewer will ask a follow-up question if they need more details or want to explore the topic further.

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  • Operational

    23.

    How do you design scalability into your computer hardware designs?

      How to Answer

      Making your designs scalable is a critical skill needed for computer hardware engineers. Every type of technology will need to grow as it is used more or used for different applications. Building scalability into your designs is important expertise you will need to communicate to the interviewer if you expect them to hire you. You may want to provide an example of how you have done this in the past to illustrate your answer.

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  • Technical

    24.

    Can you define ASCII and discuss how it is used in your work as a computer hardware engineer?

      How to Answer

      When asked to define a term you use in your profession, you are being asked a technical question. Interviewers use technical questions to calibrate your knowledge and skills. Your answer to this question also gives the interviewer an example of your communication style and ability to explain complex topics to non-technical audiences in easy-to-understand language. Make sure you do this when responding to the question.

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  • Technical

    25.

    Please define architectural risk and discuss how you mitigate it.

      How to Answer

      As a computer hardware engineer, you're expected to design reliable systems that work as specified. It is very costly to remediate errors once the systems are in the field. The interviewer will ask you about the concept of architecture risk to learn how you go about doing this and ensure that you make an effort to design effective systems and ones that are reliable and will work under a variety of different conditions. When you answer this question, you may want a discuss how you addressed this in your previous designs.

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  • Technical

    26.

    What is meant by fault tolerance?

      How to Answer

      During a computer hardware engineer interview, you will be asked about many different terms used in your profession. You are expected to be familiar with these and be able to define them as well as contrast and compare them to similar terms. These questions are known as technical questions. Your answers to these should be brief and to the point, and you should anticipate follow-up questions if the interviewer wants to explore the topic in more detail.

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  • Technical

    27.

    Can you discuss the difference between multiprocessing and multitasking?

      How to Answer

      Multiprocessing and multitasking are both concepts used within a computer hardware system. While the terms sound synonymous, they are actually different. Knowing this and describing the differences to the interviewer will demonstrate your knowledge of microprocessors and the functions they provide within a computer hardware system. This enhances the interviewer's perception of your qualifications for this job.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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  • Technical

    28.

    What is a microprocessor, and how is it used in the design of computer hardware?

      How to Answer

      Throughout the interview for a computer hardware engineering position, you will be asked about technical terms, processes, procedures, and other items used to do your job. This helps the interviewer understand the depth of your technical background and the skills you can bring to the organization. When responding to a technical question like this, make sure you define the term and then discuss how it is used in your designs. You may want to provide an example if it is appropriate and will illustrate your answer.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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  • Technical

    29.

    What are some of the factors that affect the speed of a microprocessor?

      How to Answer

      This is an example of a follow-up question. It refers to a previous question and answer. Interviewers use follow-up questions to clarify any answer or to explore the topic in more detail. They may also use a follow-up question later in the interview to calibrate your answers and make sure you're consistent. As with any question you are asked during an interview for a computer hardware engineering position, keep your answer brief and to the point.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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  • Technical

    30.

    What is a heat sink, and why is it used for?

      How to Answer

      Computer hardware systems contained hundreds if not thousands of components. As a computer hardware engineer, you need to be familiar with each of these and their function. Interviewers can ask you about any of these during the interview and expect you to know about them. Your experience should allow you to do this easily. However, reviewing the common components of a computer hardware system before the interview will help refresh and prepare you. Practicing questions like this one will also enhance your ability to respond to the interviewer's questions.

      Written by William Swansen on September 13th, 2021

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