What would you do if while sitting in an interview, the hiring manager tosses you a random rusty part from an old pump he kept on his shelf and asks you to tell him how it works? Or the interviewer might pull out a full system schematic and ask you to walk him through it. Would this surprise you? You might get this type of question if you are in an engineering interview.
Interviewing for an engineering position is different than interviewing for other positions. You will need to prepare differently, approach the questions differently and expect a different approach from the hiring manager. Engineer interview questions are part technical and part soft skills. You should expect and prepare for both.
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What the Hiring Manager is Looking For
Just because you are interviewing for an engineering position, do not expect a strictly technical interview. You can expect both engineer interview questions as well as questions gauging your soft skills. The hiring manager needs to determine what type of engineer you are, what your strengths are and how well you will fit into the existing team. All of this needs to come out in roughly an hour's worth of time, so the questions are often strategic and well planned.
You will need to demonstrate that you are a team player and can thrive in a team environment. Teamwork is integral to an engineering team, and not all engineers work well with other people. You can really shine in a technical interview by showing that you have more than just book smarts.
How to Prepare for an Engineering Interview
Preparing for an engineering interview is not entirely different from preparing for any other interview. You will need to brush up on your technical skills as related to the position you are interviewing for. You should also prepare for engineering interview questions by researching the company. Know what product they sell and how the position you are interviewing will fit into the business model. The more you know about them, the easier it will be to impress them. Ensure your resume is up to date and completely accurate. Dress for success and show up on time.