MockQuestions

Engineer Mock Interview

To help you prepare for your Engineer interview, here are 34 interview questions and answer examples.

Engineer was written by and updated on February 1st, 2021. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 34

How has your education prepared you for this position?

How to Answer

Show the interviewer that you can connect academic theory to practice and that you know the general academic disciplines that are used in the industry for which you are applying. For a strong answer, summarize your education and then tell the interviewer how you plan to use your education and how you hope to refine your knowledge in the position for which you are applying. The example answer is for a Civil Engineer applying to work in the construction industry.

Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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List of 34 Engineer Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1.

    How has your education prepared you for this position?

      How to Answer

      Show the interviewer that you can connect academic theory to practice and that you know the general academic disciplines that are used in the industry for which you are applying. For a strong answer, summarize your education and then tell the interviewer how you plan to use your education and how you hope to refine your knowledge in the position for which you are applying. The example answer is for a Civil Engineer applying to work in the construction industry.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "My program in civil engineering generally exposed me to the discipline. I took introductory classes in water resources, structures, and geotech. As a construction engineer, I anticipate seeing how projects drawing on these disciplines are built. I knew I wanted to work in construction, so I took my elective courses in Cost Engineering and Construction Scheduling. Since I'm applying for a position as an estimator, I believe much of this coursework will directly transfer to my position. I know I want to work in construction for several years, and I anticipate taking a PE review course before applying for licensure or potentially pursuing a Master's in Construction Management."

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

  • 2.

    What single project or task would you consider the most significant accomplishment in your career so far?

      How to Answer

      Choose a project or task that showcases a combination of your technical and leadership abilities. Additionally, don't be afraid to let your interest in the project shine through. If the project which you choose is not relevant to the job you are applying for, try to draw a connection between the two.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "My most significant accomplishment so far is the development of an Asset Management Plan for the sanitary system for a small town. I created a system to rate the town's pipes and structures and worked with another engineer to review the town's GIS database and pictures to find the ratings and create the plan. Overall, it was a great opportunity to put my technical skills, knowledge of sanitary systems, and writing abilities to work."

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

  • 3.

    Tell me about a problem you faced recently where you were unsure of the answer. How did you research the problem and find a correct solution?

      How to Answer

      Many engineering positions require a structured method for solving problems. Following a problem-solving method shows that you are efficient and can produce measurable work. Each position is different; some jobs will require you to solve problems quickly, while others will allow you to gather data. Some problems may require you to consult with outside resources and others you will be able to solve using information already available. Read the job description to gauge what kinds of problems you will likely have to solve and answer accordingly. The example answer is for an engineer who has previously worked in manufacturing.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "In my previous position, we had an issue where conveyor belts were wearing out more quickly than the manufacturer said they should. We tried replacing the belt and adjusting the tracking more often, but it wasn't solving the problem. Then, I tried using the Root Cause Analysis method of problem solving. After defining the problem, we dedicated two months to collecting data about the belt wear. Then, we made a list of all the possible factors, including the roller, the material the belt was carrying, etc. We figured out that not all of the material was leaving the belt, some of it was getting stuck in the belt and carried back. From there, we were able to come up with a couple different solutions."

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

      Community Answer

      "We were experiencing inexplicable scrap due to dimensional variations on a product on different days despite no changes in production equipment or material. It was always assumed that it was due to the volatile plastic layer that was causing the issues. After researching the characteristics of both the MDF substrate and plastic material, I conducted DOE to study the temperature and humidity impact on the materials. It was determined that a combination of moisture and heat can adversely affect the wood core MDF and thereby potentially causing the product to be non-conforming. The plastic was not greatly affected by the temperature and humidity variations. Controlling these environmental elements allowed us to eliminate these scrap variabilities."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a strong example that illustrates your ability to dig into an issue, research characteristics, and conduct a study to get to the root cause of the problem. You've also highlighted your proficiency in problem-solving by sharing the positive outcome of your effort.

  • 4.

    What area of engineering do you find most challenging?

      How to Answer

      This question could be answered in two different ways: 1) An area of engineering that you found difficult or 2) An area of engineering that excites you. Show the interviewer that you are aware of your disciplinary strengths and weaknesses and that you are capable of performing the job for which you are applying. The sample answer is for an entry-level water resources engineering position.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 5.

    Describe the most significant written technical report or presentation that you had to complete.

      How to Answer

      This question gives you the chance to show off your technical writing skills. If you took a writing class in college and learned about genre conventions or adjusting your writing to a specific audience, mention it here. In your answer, focus less on the mathematical or scientific challenge you faced with this project and instead concentrate on your communication skills.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 6.

    Tell me about the most challenging engineering project that you have been involved with during the past year.

      How to Answer

      When answering this question, make sure you can articulate why the project was challenging. Show your interviewer that you can distinguish between different types of challenges and that you are able to adapt and overcome these challenges.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 7.

    What engineering skills have you developed or improved on in the past year?

      How to Answer

      Use this opportunity to show your awareness of your engineering discipline and to show that you are a motivated self-starter. If you've studied for licensing exams, started graduate school, taken continuing education courses, read relevant journal articles, or learned a new software program relevant to the job you're applying for, now is the time to mention it.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 8.

    What is your overall career objective? Do you see yourself working in engineering ten years from now? If not, what do you think you will be doing?

      How to Answer

      Engineering careers typically follow a management trajectory or a technical trajectory. The management trajectory focuses more on scheduling, communication, and coordinating the 'big picture' efforts of engineering projects. By contrast, technical specialists become experts in one area of engineering, such as cables, semiconductors, bridges, or pavement design. As an entry-level engineer, you may not know for sure which path you plan to take, but you should be able to articulate a narrative that shows your ability to think long-term. The sample answer is for a Civil Engineer interviewing for a Railroad Design position.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 9.

    Tell me about your experience in dealing with routine engineering work. How do you keep from getting bored?

      How to Answer

      After a while, most engineering positions develop some element of routine. When answering this question, remain positive about your work and avoid implying that you quit your job or become disagreeable as soon as something is no longer exciting for you. Instead, tell the interviewer how you remain engaged.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 10.

    What are you doing to keep current in technology?

      How to Answer

      Before your interview, read the job description to determine what type of technology is required for the position. Many software programs, such as AutoCAD Civil 3D or the structural program RISA-3D, have tutorials online either on the program website or through YouTube or blogs. This question gives you the opportunity to show the interviewer that you keep your skills up to date on your own. It also gives you the opportunity to ask about company training. The example answer is for a civil engineer applying to work at a land development company.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 11.

    What do you dislike about being an Engineer?

      How to Answer

      When answering this question, stay positive and tell the interviewer how you have worked around the elements of engineering that you dislike. Choose something that is unlikely to affect your performance in the position for which you are applying. The example answer is for a sales engineering position.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 12.

    What do you think will be your weakness in this position?

      How to Answer

      Before your interview, spend some time reading the job description and think about elements of the position that may be difficult for you. During the interview, be honest about your weaknesses, but show the interviewer that you are already aware of these weaknesses and have developed a plan to move beyond them. This will tell the interviewer that you are self-aware and actively seek to become a better employee. The example answer is for a software engineering position.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 13.

    What programs related to this position are you able to use?

      How to Answer

      Each discipline of engineering will require you to use different computer programs. For example, a transportation engineer position may require you to use Bentley OpenRoads or Synchro. A research position may require you to use MatLab. A mechanical engineering design position might require your use of AutoCAD or SolidWorks. Based on the job description, tell the interviewer your competence level with the programs required for the position. If possible, provide an example of a project you completed using that program. The example below is for an entry-level geotechnical engineering position.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 14.

    What academic courses have you taken that will benefit you in this position?

      How to Answer

      This question gives you the opportunity to share any specific knowledge you might have and to find out more details about the specifics of the technical work you will be doing. The example answers are for a civil engineer applying for a structural engineering position and a mechanical engineer applying to a material handling engineering position.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 15.

    Why did you choose this discipline of engineering?

      How to Answer

      Here is your chance to let your excitement for your discipline shine through. The key here is narrative, be honest, straightforward, and take the time to shape your answer to fit the job description. If there is a specific event in your life that pointed you towards this discipline, mention it here. The example answer is for a computer engineer.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 16.

    How would you deal with an upset client?

      How to Answer

      Many engineering roles, especially in consulting engineering or in smaller companies, will require you to work in an office where you may occasionally answer the phone or greet clients who come into the office. If your role is public facing or client facing, you may occasionally have to deal with a client or a member of the public who is upset with your company. Depending on your position, you may have to deal with them directly, or it may be your job to direct them to someone more qualified than you. In your answer, show your interviewer that you would behave in a mature manner.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 17.

    What trends are you aware of in this industry? How do you think trends should fit in with standard projects?

      How to Answer

      Often there are differences between cool engineering projects featured online, academic developments, industry conferences, and what work engineers actually do on a daily basis. Sometimes trends or the cool factor is different between daily work and highlighted projects. With your answer to this question, show your interviewer that while you are aware of industry trends, you understand that not every project will be cutting-edge all the time. Yet, there are always opportunities to improve and incorporate trends. The example answer is for an engineer applying for a position in stormwater management.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 18.

    Tell me about a time when you influenced the outcome of a project by taking a leadership role.

      How to Answer

      This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer both your teamwork and leadership skills. Tell the interviewer about a project where your idea was critical to the project's development or when your team faced a difficult task and it was your idea that enabled your team to complete the task.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 19.

    Describe a difficult project and how you overcame it.

      How to Answer

      Some engineering work is routine, but difficulties will often arise. Some projects may require you to deal with difficult clients, return faulty parts from a supplier, navigate unclear permitting instructions from government agencies, or the problem you are assigned to solve may just be inherently challenging. When answering this question, show the interviewer that you are capable of working through problems using the resources available to you and that you do not give up at the first sign of difficulty.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 20.

    What was your greatest accomplishment as an Engineer?

      How to Answer

      Tell the interviewer about a project that you thought had a unique challenge or involved topics that make you excited to work as an engineer. For example, if you really enjoy fluid mechanics, you could tell the interviewer about a project where you sized a new pump or installed new piping. If you are passionate about the cultural challenges of engineering, you could tell the interviewer about how you won the trust of a difficult client or successfully negotiated a solution between a government agency and a developer. Let your excitement for engineering and your hard work shine. The example answer is for a software engineer working in the software consulting industry.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 21.

    What was your biggest disappointment as an Engineer?

      How to Answer

      Similar to questions which ask about your weaknesses, avoid giving an answer which is too negative or involves you blaming someone else. Instead, remain positive and tell your interviewer how you moved past the disappointment. Your answer should be applicable to your field of engineering but shouldn't imply that your job performance may be affected.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 22.

    Are you happy with your career as an Engineer?

      How to Answer

      If you are applying for an engineering position, then you should tell the interviewer that you are happy with your career. If you are leveraging your engineering experience into a sales, business, HR, or other position, then you should still be positive about your engineering experience, but is okay to explain why you are dissatisfied and are thus pursuing employment in another sector. In either case, tell the interviewer 1) a specific reason why you are happy with your engineering career and 2) how this has influenced your future career aspirations.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 23.

    By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments.

      How to Answer

      This question mainly applies to engineering positions which have some combination of office work and field work. The time and resources available to solve a problem and the safety requirements to be met may vary depending on whether you are in the field or in the office. This situation also applies in the consulting field because different clients will have different goals, and it is important to be able to approach a problem in a way that makes sense to them. For a strong answer, tell your interviewer about a time when you discussed the same situation in multiple contexts or a previous job or situation that changed every day. The sample answer is for an entry-level position where the applicant had a previous internship.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 24.

    How do you decide what gets top priority when scheduling your time?

      How to Answer

      Most engineering positions will require you to juggle varying deadlines. These deadlines may be internal, such as a design review with the project manager. Or, they may be external, such as ensuring a piece of equipment arrives before a plant shut-down day or a presentation is ready for the next client meeting. When answering this question, show the interviewer that you can balance deadlines and estimate the amount of time it will take you to finish a project. If you use a system to categorize your tasks, such as the Franklin Covey Time Management Matrix or a planner, mention it here. Additionally, if you are applying for a scheduling position, discuss your formal knowledge of project scheduling, such as the Critical Path Method, Design Sequencing, Construction Sequencing, Fast Tracking, etc.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 25.

    What have you done to further your own professional development in the past 5 years?

      How to Answer

      Professional development requirements will vary depending on the discipline of engineering. In some high-liability disciplines, like Civil Engineering, licensure is required for many positions. In positions which require a high level of technical knowledge, such as Finite Element Analysis engineering, a Master's degree or even PhD may be to your advantage. When answering this question, tell the interviewer what you have recently done to meet the requirements of the job you are applying for and what you are planning to do to advance your career. The example answer is for a Biomedical Engineer interested in pursuing a position which requires 3-5 years of previous experience.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 26.

    What do you do when your time schedule or project plan is upset by unforeseen circumstances?

      How to Answer

      Even the most carefully planned project will have problems. Take this opportunity to show the interviewer that you are adaptable and flexible. If you are aware of any formal ways of handling project scheduling, such as re-evaluating scope, fast-tracking, or crashing the schedule, tell your interviewer.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 27.

    Why do you want a career as an Engineer?

      How to Answer

      This question gives you the chance to direct the conversation towards your strengths, your interest in engineering, and your desire to work in the position for which you applied. Avoid giving the interviewer your whole life story, but do provide some background about what initially piqued your interest in engineering. Then, explain why you chose your specific major, and why you are applying for this job. In your answer, show the interviewer the impact you hope to make with your career. This could be general, such as 'improving people's daily lives', or it could be more specific, such as 'contributing to the project to put a man on Mars'. In either case, choose an impact directly related to the job for which you are applying.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 28.

    How do you keep track of work so that it gets done on time?

      How to Answer

      This question investigates your organization skills. Generally, having a method where you write down your tasks, either on paper or on the computer, suggests better organization skills than a method where you just try to remember things. Regardless of what method you use, show the interviewer that your method is successful.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 29.

    Have you ever been overloaded with work?

      How to Answer

      Most engineers have been overloaded with work either in school or at a job. While nobody likes being overloaded with work, keep your answer positive by focusing on your time management skills. Avoid blaming others for any stress caused due to having too much work.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 30.

    What are three personality traits you believe an Engineer should have?

      How to Answer

      While there is no 'right' answer to this question, some personality traits will stand out as particularly useful for engineers. All engineers can benefit from having strong problem-solving skills and from being persistent. Field engineers should be able to think quickly, design engineers should be innovative, and sales engineers may find they perform well if they are personable. Good character traits such as honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, and reliability are important in any position. For a strong answer, read the job description and then make a list of the character traits you have and consider how they would fit with the position. The sample answer is for an engineer applying to an aerospace position at a private company, such as SpaceX.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 31.

    How has your previous work experience prepared you for this position?

      How to Answer

      Show the interviewer that you have progressive career development by explaining how your previous work experience has prepared you for this position. If you've had any previous experience in the industry for which you are applying, such as an internship or other non-engineering role position, mention it here. If you've worked primarily in customer service, show how this experience has attuned you to noticing customers' unique needs. If you've had a previous internship where you learned an applicable skill, now is the time to mention it. The sample answer is for a civil engineer applying for a field engineer position in the construction industry.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 32.

    What is your philosophy towards work?

      How to Answer

      The 'right answer' to this question depends on the work culture at the company to which you are applying. Before the interview, spend some time on the company's website and try to get a feel for company culture. At some engineering companies, you will be expected to work long hours or physically be in the office for all your working hours. Other industries are more flexible and may allow you to choose your own hours or work remotely. In general, focus on the positive elements of your personal work philosophy and take the opportunity to ask about the company culture.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 33.

    What excites you the most about a career as an Engineer?

      How to Answer

      When answering this question, briefly tell the interviewer why you chose a career in engineering and then relate your answer to the job for which you are applying. This is your chance to show off the knowledge you've learned from researching the company before the interview. The sample answer is for a mechanical engineer applying for a position in the General Aviation (GA) industry.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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  • 34.

    What do you feel is the most important skill an Engineer should possess?

      How to Answer

      While most interview answers should address the job for which you are applying, it is okay if your answer to this question is more general. Acknowledge that many skills are important and provide justification for why you chose this skill as the most important.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on February 1st, 2021

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