No matter how much engineering experience you may have, going into an interview can always seem a bit intimidating. It’s easy to be short spoken when you’re nervous. But if you don’t speak up about your knowledge and experience in the field, you’ll end up short selling yourself to a potential employer. With a bit of advanced preparation, you can ensure that your interview skills match up to your engineering skills. These tips for interview preparation for engineers will help you make a great impression at your upcoming interview.
Before the interview begins, take the time to jot down some notes so you can organize your thoughts. You’ll want to write down key points you want to cover and important questions they are likely to ask you during the interview. You can use this as a “study sheet” to review shortly before the interview begins. If you’re taking part in a phone interview, you can even reference your notes while you’re on the call.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
There is one question that comes up in almost every interview you’ll ever have – asking you for a personal evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses. This is a weighty question that provides a lot of valuable insight for the interviewers, so you will want to carefully consider what you will say as part of your interview preparation for engineers.
Be honest and assertive about your strengths. This is your opportunity to really sell yourself as an amazing and valuable employee. While you will want to focus most of your answer on your strengths, you will also need to thoughtfully address your weaknesses. Be careful not to say something that may make you seem unfit for the position. You should also put a positive spin on your weakness by explaining how you’re working to overcome them and better yourself.
Emphasize Your Contributions
During the interview, you’ll discuss the various engineering projects that you have worked on. Remember that the interviewers want to know more than the fact that you participated. Elaborate on what exactly you did and how your contributions were vital to the success of the project. Include quanitifiable data whenever possible to back up your successes (e.g. - "improved equipment uptime from 84% to 96%", or "optimized plant flow resulting in a yearly production increase of 8%").
Research the Company Before Interviewing
Learn as much as you can about the company you’re interviewing with so you can customize your answers to better match their industry. This can make the difference between a good interview and a great one, giving you an advantage over other candidates.
Think of some questions to ask about the company during the interview to help you appear genuinely interested. You will want to come up with several options, as some of the questions you create during your interview preparation for engineers may be covered in other parts of the interview.
Feeling a bit of apprehension going into an interview is normal. Just remember to speak clearly and articulate your expertise thoroughly. The interviewers want to get to know you – so show them exactly what makes you the perfect fit for their company.