Improving these skills could give you the edge in a nuclear engineering interview

Rebekah Valero-Lee Nuclear Engineer


One of the hardest parts of any interview is demonstrating you’ve got the necessary skills to excel in the role you’ve applied for. When it comes to jobs in nuclear engineering, where particular skills are paramount to being a reliable engineer, employers are going to be keen to quiz you on your abilities.

So, what skills are going to give you the edge on the other candidates? Aside from excellent mathematical and computer skills and a good knowledge of your field, there are a few key assets that employers are looking for in nuclear engineering candidates.

Wondering what qualifications you need to become a nuclear engineer? Check out our guide to pursuing a career in nuclear engineering.

1. Critical thinking and problem solving

The ability to use logic in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of current procedures is an essential part of nuclear engineering, as is being able to quickly identify problems and find their solutions.

Think of scenarios where you’ve had to find a solution to a complex issue and needed to use a good level of reasoning to resolve it. Did you have to think analytically during your degree? Or do you partake in any hobbies that require you to be resourceful or think creatively to find a solution? Whether your example is nuclear engineering focussed or not, ensure your answer draws upon the desired outcome of the challenge and the reasoning behind your decisions.

2. Evaluation and decision making

As well as being able to think critically, you’ll also need to show you have the confidence to act on your decisions and implement solutions. In nuclear engineering, you’ll often be required to analyse current systems and processes, then offer better ways of practice. Employers will also be looking to determine how well you can work under pressure and whether you can act quickly and calmly in stressful situations.

3. Written and verbal communication

As a nuclear engineer, you’ll often be required to communicate with a range of people who have different levels of technical knowledge. Whether you’re discussing maintenance work with fellow engineers or explaining security and safety regulations to other members of staff, you’re going to need to be able to convey your information clearly and concisely.

To demonstrate your communication skills, draw upon examples where you’ve had to explain processes to audiences with both less and more specialist knowledge than you do. Your written skills are just as important as your verbal abilities, so don’t forget to also highlight your literacy skills.

4. Planning and organisation

An essential quality of being a nuclear engineer is being able to manage your own time and work to strict deadlines. Since safety comes first and foremost in all nuclear engineering projects, accurate and efficient planning of tasks is crucial, as is ensuring all projects run to schedule. Employers are likely to ask questions regarding your ability to establish realistic objectives, prioritise tasks and work to tight time parameters, so ensure you’re able to show that you can work independently, as well as in a team.

5. Active listening

Being able to focus and take on board information is crucial for any job, however it’s even more essential in high-risk industries such as nuclear engineering. Active listening requires individuals to give their full attention when being spoken to by colleagues, to process information and to ask questions or offer feedback where appropriate.

A particularly difficult skill to develop, active listening can take a lot of practice to perfect. Employers may assess your active listening skills throughout your whole interview, so try to demonstrate a few non-verbal indications of your complete attention, such as smiling, eye contact and not fidgeting, as well as offering well thought out answers.

Are you looking to take the next step in your career as a nuclear engineer? Take a look at our latest job listings to see if you can find your dream role.


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