When applying for an engineering job in construction, you should expect a face-to-face interview which is mixed with both personal and technical questions. The aim of the interview is to talk through your CV, your prospects and recent engineering projects, while the interviewer assesses if you’re a suitable candidate.
The first thing you need to do is research. All interviews require research into the company and job role as potential employers are always willing to test this. Keep in mind that if you’re working in design or onsite, the questions will vary. If you’re switching industries, from construction to utilities for example, expect questions on why.
Personal interview questions are designed to offer an insight into you as an individual, not just as an employee. While these are the most common, other interview questions for a job in construction cover topics such as teamwork, engineering projects and research.
1) Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?
How dedicated are you? Contractors can progress quickly in the industry and training is frequently available with the introduction of new equipment, practices and accreditations. Employers want to hire an individual who will grow with the company. Do you see yourself as a manager or specialising in a particular area? Explain how you’ve progressed so far and what this has meant for your previous/current employer.
2) What is your main weakness?
A favourite in any interview, weaknesses allow interviewers to grasp how you perceive yourself. The key to this question is to turn a weakness into a positive. Apply your answer to everyday construction tasks and finish with how you combat the problem. It’s about detail, analysis and a solution.
3) Tell us about a time you handled stress successfully
Engineering can be stressful; interviewers want to know if you can handle this successfully and whether it affects your work. Other questions may include: how do you destress in your spare time and what has been the most stressful project you’ve worked on? Remember to always finish on a positive.
4) What problems did you identify in your last engineering project and how did you combat these?
Problem-solving is an area often broached in an interview. Identify an issue and explain the steps you took to resolve it, before highlighting the results.
5) Tell us what you know about this company
Rather than turn to obvious facts – such as the founding date and areas of specialism – research into the company’s biggest or most recent engineering project; feel free to express your opinion – how would you have done things differently or what could you have added to the project? Browse social media platforms for the latest news and read up on the company’s policies and procedures.
6) Explain what you think you can bring to this engineering role
Here you should study the job specification and highlight your areas of specialism that are relevant, before evaluating what positives you can add to the job. For example, can you bring better results or quicker procedures? Explain what you did in your last role and how this benefited the company.
7) What has been your biggest construction project to date?
Nothing speaks louder than your experience. Although interviewers can observe details on your CV, they may want you to explain what projects you’ve been involved with and what your role was. This is where you can expand on your technical knowledge, use industry terms while offering a professional analysis.
8) Have you ever encountered an employee disagreement onsite and if so, how did you deal with this?
Particularly for managerial positions, interviewers want to see if you can resolve difficult situations, predominantly onsite, which is usually more stressful. In construction, sectors work together frequently and therefore teamwork is often a key influencer in an interview.
9) How much cement will you need for 1sqm of brick work?
This is just one example of a technical question but be prepared for interviewers to test your knowledge of materials and procedures. But, don’t worry; these aren’t the be-all and end-all of an interview.
10) What personal characteristics do you think are important to be a successful engineer?
With this question, you should explain traits of a good candidate. Highlight personal characteristics and refer to your own engineering experience, for example, what personal trait has a previous manager had that made them a good role model or a successful engineer?
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