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Cost Estimator Interview Questions

Author
Ryan Brown
    Job Interviews Careers Architecture Cost Estimator

28 Cost Estimator
Interview Questions

  1. As a cost estimator, we would expect you to have strong writing skills. Do you have experience writing proposals?

  2. What program or software are you best versed in when it comes to data collection?

  3. What would your previous manager say about your overall performance?

  4. Are you already familiar with our suppliers?

    Community Answers

    • "4PM AND THEN GYM AND THEN I slept some hours and went ot job."
    • "Suppliers are more common. We need to develop more vendors for better business development."
    • "I am eager to build relationships with all of the suppliers on this program."
    • "Yes, I've worked with many in the past."
    • "Yes we are familiar with our suppliers because negotiable cost."
    • "Not sure, when you give me abreakdown I can elaborate."
  5. What was the most difficult estimating assignment you have faced? How did you get through?

    Community Answers

    • "Shipping of structures as full modularised. Need to check all the points during transportation..."
    • "Cost Controlling a running projects for more than a one year, Revised the Book of quantity, Studied the contract and the aggrements."
    • "Each task is different to another and so far I worked with great team where we were able to perform a great team effort."
    • "Count the no. Of hose reels."
    • "Working on Reimbursable scope for Eiffel Project. Detailed communication with my boss and respective managers."
    • "Building on a limited budget. I completed the task with a lot of research in order to find reasonable material and labor costs."
    • "Clients not knowing what they want."
    • "Taking the Continues Miner out from underground. Team work, ideas, and strategy."
    • "Most difficult would be where I was given the task of supervising an under performing team whose manager had just walked out on. I geared the guys up, threw in some incentives and did some monitoring and evaluation on each individual."
    • "We receive the incomplete drawing and specification."
  6. What do you enjoy most about being a cost estimator?

    Community Answers

    • "Being up to date with market prices for materials and products utilized in projects."
    • "Challenging target, meet new clients with new ideas, civil construction and development."
    • "I believe that the fun of finding all the small details from so many drawings is thrilling and with more practice, Even I would be able to excel it."
    • "Winning competitive and difficult pojects."
    • "What I enjoy most about being a cost estimator is meticulously going through every part of a process or blueprint and calculating and valuing the cost of a project."
    • "Playing numerological number & used thumb rules, logic."
    • "I enjoy calculations. I see it as a game that I must win. For having to win in my mind my estimates are most times very close to reality."
    • "I meet companies target and satisfy the clients, customer service."
    • "I have a great passion in drywall business. I genuinely enjoy calculating the amount of drywall materials needed to complete the project and enjoy installing, taping, mudding and painting... Every aspect of drywall installation. I believe having a beautiful interior finish is something that opens up happiness in human beings; in other words, being able to provide an excellent drywall installation service which makes clients satisfied which in turn makes me happy, proud and motivated which I would like to be a part of Korban drywall... Which is I started my drywall business and I ensure that my clients get a satisfactory drywall interior finish that is done on schedule and not over the budget with excellent work. I give pride in what I do and my attention to details, team work skills. Communications and leadership skills define me a suitable candidate for this junior estimator position alongside with my education and technical skills I have obtained from Civil Engineering Technology program. I have gained commercial and residential estimating/project management side - scope of work, change orders and CCDC documentation and I am capable of reading drawing plans and OBC."
    • "Being an esimator is really a part of a company profit."
  7. Have you ever led a project or team? Describe your leadership style in 3 words.

  8. As a cost estimator you must pay attention to the smallest detail. What would your previous manager have to say about your attention to detail?

    Community Answers

    • "My rule is to check the results with design and inspect the outcome of resources. Verify with previous factors and common mistakes. Justify and improve."
    • "Very well because I deal with and report huge figures."
    • "I feel its a necessity as if you are not detail oriented you will miss things that can cost both the customer and company."
    • "Good, as to the point of understaing what could go wrong."
    • "We are assume the different details to receive the project."
    • "Quite fanatically, your website is a good example of this."
    • "Details is a important part of any work because that help to do a correct work."
  9. How well do you know our company?

    Community Answers

    • "Nothing. Only that I watched on internet."
    • "Well, a developed company that is gradually building their reputation in the competitive world."
    • "Very well. I have done my research and understand that the company provides services such as power and I.T"
    • "I researched your company on your website and whatever I could find on google, it seems as if you take a lot of pride in what you do."
    • "Your company will be search to market are organised,"
    • "I know whats your main area of business, more or less the functions of the business which is to design, manufacture and install structural steel buildings."
  10. How well do you know this industry?

    Community Answers

    • "Very well. I have been in the industry for over 6 years."
    • "Yes I complete the seven years in this industry and these industry are market base."
    • "Well im now in this indusrty for 7 years, I have gained some insight."
  11. What made you choose a career as a cost estimator?

    Community Answers

    • "I worked with my father from I was 15 year old. I really like this profession."
    • "Loved to chase targets.... Every tender is a target."
    • "Every one ask for your oppinion and your advice."
    • "I enjoy calculations and it makes me think deep."
    • "I enjoy the construction industry, you always learn from jobs."
    • "I started working at Printing as an Intern so from there I grew interest in what the estimating department were doing."
    • "Its a bit different dimension of engineering other than physical design. It takes planning to reality within a certain amout of time within a certain budget."
    • "Cost estimators work mostly in offices, and some estimators visit construction sites and factory floors during the course of their work."
    • "More aligned with my overall career goals."
  12. Tell me about your post-secondary education. Which program did you graduate from? Which course was your favorite?

  13. In your career as a cost estimator, have you ever created and made a presentation to a group of decision makers?

  14. Tell me about a time when you made a decision or discovery that resulted in a huge cost savings for your company or project.

  15. Would you consider yourself a confident individual?

  16. What is your least favorite task within estimating?

    Community Answers

    • "Never.... I love it always."
    • "You have to be updated daily."
    • "People providing data late."
    • "Sincerely I like the profession. Unlike other professions, you have to pay more attention and always have a keen eye in what you do."
    • "I've met several people who have been dishonest."
    • "That some tasks are beyond your control."
    • "No I am not dislike about this profession."
    • "Well, there isn't nothing much that I don't like about the drywall. I kind of enjoy every aspect from rough estimation to final estimation of the drywall projects. However, when installing the drywall, mudding and sanding process might be challenging and complicated to deal if proper equipment and technique are not applied. For example, if too much mudding, sanding process might be longer to make it look flat and level and if sanding too much, extra mud must be applied to fix it. Therefore, having professional tapers on the team is handy to get the job done good, and appropriate waste factor should be included in the calculation."
    • "Well, I think is spend time working in a project and don't award or get it."
    • "I go sometimes in very deep and forget the outstandings."
  17. Do you take pride in your work? Give me an example.

    Community Answers

    • "I do take pride in my work, I am focused on the project at hand and strive to complete it ahead of time and try to produce the best quality of work possible."
    • "I am the finance minister for my estimation."
    • "I love to perform tasks as well as encourage teamwork, people love me for that."
    • "Yes, I always do the best I can when doing work, for example when I was in the internship I was involved in steel detailing work and concrete pour."
    • "Yes I am proud of doing this work."
    • "Yes, I feel very good when we win the job and getting more prequalified for the new jobs."
    • "Yes, I do, what is the use you give something your all without bragging about it."
    • "Yes I take pride in my work. Putting fences and security gates gives me alot of satisfaction as I may have helped the customer in terms of security for his business or home or his children."
    • "I take great pride in my work. I once was given an assignment to project the cost of a battery testing project and present the costs for each item. I realized this may be a process that would be repeated again in the future. So I decided to do more than just estimate the cost of the project. I developed an excel spreadsheet with formulas that would estimate the cost of supplies for the project just by inputting the appropriate values into the appropriate cells."
    • "Yes, I feel it is a necessity. Recently, I completed a renovation which I would not finish until I could find nothing wrong, it gave me a sense of pride to know I've did all I could do."
  18. What are your first steps when analyzing the costs of a new project?

    Community Answers

    • "Standard, Specification & schedule."
    • "Review the design with budget and resources."
    • "Revising the 3 resources, Manpower, Materials, Machineires."
    • "Look at the construction drawings and their references."
    • "Planimplementation, check total cost framework, plan, check stastics and propability."
    • "The first step before starting the estimation of a project. I would survey the site to look for indirect costs, unseen costs and the availability of resources like electricity, water and transportation to the site."
    • "Go through thoroughly with pre tender meeting, going through specification, finding which trade has more scope of work and which sub contractor to be invited for getting edges in getting the job."
    • "Getting as much data on the project as possible."
    • "I would identify first of all the customers needs and desires for a project. Itemize each item in the project and if necessary categorize or group the items to allocate and display the costs projected for the project."
    • "The quality or the final outcome of the project."
  19. Do you have an estimating assignment from the past that you feel you did not complete well?

    Community Answers

    • "The Worst assignment I did is Submiting a report to the Projects manager without Revising it with the project manager."
    • "Well, never faced that worst situation, mayb once when we were in a group and project dead line was so close to submit."
    • "I dont know, I never made a mistake."
    • "Some formula in the excel file I was working on was not 100% correct."
    • "Not getting a rental ready on time, I underestimated the difficulty and time the job would take."
    • "Not giving a clients reasonable pricing."
    • "My worst assignment was on contaminated land. I did put in enough reading on the background area and couldn't give an informed response."
    • "I am not in to any big project so that still dont make any mistakes."
    • "Well, mistake is sometime tough to avoid, but big obvious mistake should be avoided with no tolerance. In my previous project, apart from the drywall contract, I also dealt with fencing and interlocking. Because without using proper equipment and trying to finish the job ahead of schedule, while doing the re-interlocking, I slipped a stone and it fell over my finger and ended up injured myself then I had to the day off to recover. Since then, I try to take extra precaution and pay more attention to every single detail possible to prevent self injury and mistake. I would consider going to the job field to analyze possible hazards and restrictions that could slow down the project."
    • "When the company I am workin on won the first project where I did the take-off."
  20. Would you say you are an organized person? Give me an example.

    Community Answers

    • "Yes I am. i wasnted so much to travel. I decided to work part time 8 hours in a call centre to earn money to trAVEL. AND THAT TIME I WAS DOING COLLEGE B CLASSES AS"
    • "Have good documentation separately for each project date wise and register for each for review."
    • "Controlled two running projects at one time, with different activities."
    • "I like to set all my paperwork as well as from the student life I used to take note in every classes and make them in a folder with different section so that I can easily find out what I looking for in shortest time."
    • "Yes, I enjoy working in organized enviroment is makes my job easier."
    • "Yes- I like to have my things organised and in order."
    • "Yes I am organized. In order to perform optimally in my task, I make sure that necessary information are well documented and saved correctly in folders."
    • "Yes, for 19 years, I owned and operated a small business that could not afford to hire out many jobs, I had to to maintain a structured schedule in order to operate the business properly."
    • "Yes. I prioritize my work on each day."
    • "Yesh. I like to have most of my next day planned so I know what needs done and it gives structure to my day."
  21. Tell me about your post-secondary education. Which program did you graduate from? Which course was the most challenging for you?

  22. Do you have a valid certification through the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE)?

  23. If you hadn't pursued a career as a cost estimator, what would you have chosen?

  24. Communication and strong interpersonal relationship skills are important to us. Tell me about your communication style.

  25. Would you consider yourself to have strong mathematical aptitude?

  26. What do you typically find the hardest cost to project?

    Community Answers

    • "Nothing if everything is clear."
    • "Maybe weather conditions delays the time frame as well as increase the labour cost."
    • "Nothing as long as there are details for such estimation."
    • "Labour, its never as accurate is you would want."
  27. In what ways, could you improve as a cost estimator? What can you do to improve in those areas?

    Community Answers

    • "Experience makes it best always."
    • "Pay attention to the smallest detail, meetings with the concerned people."
    • "More experiences in different condition."
    • "Knowing more abt the project-- and products."
    • "Estimation for various entities / projects."
    • "Becoming more familiar with new construction."
    • "Develop more and know the skills."
    • "Attending relavant courses and taking on more challange."
    • "Practice makes perfect, and course could help too."
    • "Actual hours" database of the recorded time spent on each aspect of your projects,Create and use planning documents, such as specifications and project plans,Perform a detailed task analysis of the work to be performed."
  28. As a cost estimator, what is your proudest accomplishment to date?

    Community Answers

    • "Everything in my past experience because that is I am today."
    • "Creating a report that control the daily progress and daily cost."
    • "Will check in deep before start costing."
    • "As a good human being and of course as a team player."
    • "Currently I am the lead of construction aspect of Egina project worth billions of dollars. We are within budget."
    • "Maintaining a small business for almost 2 decades on an extremely limited budget."
    • "Getting recognition for a job well done."
    • "I finish what I started even if it kills me."
    • "The complete renewal of the hull on a cargo ship. On time, under budget and minimal risk."
    • "Self experince to calculate BOQ"