25 questions you should answer before applying for jobs as a rail engineer

author profile picture

by Rebekah Valero-Lee on

You’re looking for a new challenge in the rail sector – but, like many job searchers, you may be out of practice when it comes to the interview process. We’ve compiled a list of 25 questions you should prepare answers for before applying for a rail engineering role. Each of these questions directly address the skills the interviewer will be looking for.


Questions about challenges are hugely popular in any interview, particularly in engineering. Here your interviewer is trying to find out if you are fully equipped to be a key part of difficult projects and to see them through to completion. Make sure you detail the challenges clearly, your role and what the overall outcome was.

1) Tell me about the most challenging engineering project that you have been involved in.

2) Explain a mistake you made on a site and what that taught you.

3) Tell me about the most challenging technical proposal you’ve ever written.

Problem solving

Problem solving is necessary in any job. Usually the format will include asking about a problem you encountered on or offsite and how you combated this. Make sure you explain the effects of this.

4) Describe a time when you confronted a problem that tested your engineering knowledge.

5) Give me an example of a time when your priorities changed quickly. How did you handle it?


It’s important you can demonstrate a broad knowledge of common health and safety restrictions, especially when applying them to a project.

6) Tell me about a time when you became aware of a hazardous workplace condition. What did you do?

7) What factors would you consider in building an engineering department from scratch?


Interviewers want a candidate that has the confidence to make a valued decision.

8) Give me two examples of technical decisions that you had to make on your last job.

9) What step-by-step criteria do you use to make difficult decisions that involve other engineers?


Can you manage a team? Here’s how they’ll find out.

9) For what advice or assistance do fellow engineers turn to you?

10) What have you done to make the work of the engineers who report to you easier?

11) Explain a time when you had to teach a skill to other engineers.

Job role

The interviewer wants to find out what your previous role encompassed and to see what you gained from the experience.

12) Describe a typical day out in the field in your last/current job.

13) What do you enjoy least about engineering?

14) How do you feel about the workload in the engineering department on your present or current job?


Having the confidence and authority to discipline reflects your ability to manage a team.

15) Describe a time when you had to take disciplinary action with an engineer who reported to you.

16) Describe two technical contributions you would make during your first six months if we hired you.

Personal characteristics

This section is where employers find out about your qualities and aspirations to see if you are a good fit for the company.

17) What single technical skill or ability is your best asset?

18) Tell me about the last time you lost your temper on the job?

19) How do you keep from getting bored during routine engineering work?

20) How do you make sure that you don’t make mistakes?

21) What is your biggest weakness?

The Future

This final section allows employers to determine whether you would be a long-term asset to the business, as well as what your career goals may be.

22) If I offer you a position as an engineer with us, how do you plan to get off to a quick start?

23) What could you bring to this company?

24) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

25) With that covered, there should be no reason why your interview will not be successful.

If you feel ready to take the next step, maybe as a rail engineer, check out the latest roles available in rail and transportation.



Subscribe to the Blog

If you enjoy our content, fill out the form below and you will kept up to date with our latest blogs!
Rail and Transportation Jobs Image Map

Cx Jobs

Forecasting Data Analyst

Forecasting Data Analyst Remote/Flexi-working, Central London based - £35,000Are you a recent graduate with experience in Data Analysis or come from a statistical/mathematical background? Want to work for a growing company with a strong ethos and sustainable purpose?A London-based company are growing their Data team looking for a Forecasting Analyst to join them. This is a business that truly invests in their employees, where you will have extensive training available to develop your Data skills and work your way up in the collaborative Data team.This role offers excellent training and development opportunities. You will be working with, and developing your skills in some of the most in-demand technologies available, including Python, R and SQL. What are the key responsibilities?Performing operational forecasting, communicating to suppliers and ad hoc modellingMaintenance of in-house models (written in Python, R, SQL)Assist with reporting and interpretation of performance metricsWorking closely with wider Data team, assisting with data analytics or data insight workSkills Required:A degree in a numerate subject or experience in a role where Data Analysis knowledge is essentialStrong ability with Excel and ability to communicate data in meaningful wayExperience in modelling / forecasting or analysisStrong attention to detail and ability to work with complex technical conceptsAbility to provide insight into data and statistical analysisSome familiarity with either Python / PowerBI / SQL or R. This role will be remote working to begin with - and will remain flexible / part-remote post-lockdown. If you come from a strong statistical/data analysis background and want to develop your skills in an supportive environment, then please apply directly for more information.


Vital are engaged with a Main-Contracting Client who have exciting new projects starting in 2021!We will be delighted to hear from Electricians for a variety of works including Commercial, Fit out and General Building Services. Please forward your CV and ECS along with any other certs for consideration or text Susie on 07703613159 and we will follow-up with you.


Vital are engaged with a Main-Contracting Client who have exciting new projects starting in 2021!We will be delighted to hear from Electricians for a variety of works including Commercial, Fit out and General Building Services. Please forward your CV and ECS along with any other certs for consideration or text Susie on 07703613159 and we will follow-up with you.

Procurement Manager - Raw Materials and Packaging

Title: Procurement Manager - Raw Materials and Packaging Location: Northwich Salary: £45-50k Job overview The Category Manager for Raw Material and Packaging is responsible to the Head of Procurement for delivering the category strategy for Raw Materials and packaging. The Category Manager works closely with the respective Heads of Operations to ensure that suitable contracts are in place to meet operational demand. By working collaboratively with the sites, the operational requirements will be delivered and the opportunities for improved ways of working identified.Key responsibilities Developing a category strategy for raw materials and packaging. Identifying stakeholders and implementing stakeholder management plans to assist in developing the category strategies and operational performance.In developing category strategies identify cost optimisation opportunities and contribute to the broader corporate cost optimisation agenda.Report on Procurement performance against agreed service levels.In conjunction with business leads, as identified in the category strategy, undertake contract management of the suppliers within the category.Implementing Procurement processes and procedures - managing the inputs and responses to the procurement requests from site.Working with the Procurement team to deliver a matrix solution to deliver demand fulfilment. Working collaboratively with Procurement colleagues will help facilitate operational effectiveness.Work with Strategic Procurement to refine Procurement processes and ways of working, including the development of Procurement performance metrics and reporting.Become the P2P subject matter expert for all raw materials and packaging requests and orders; provide guidance and assistance to the business requisitioning community. Liaise and support Operational Procurement in the development and improvement of Procurement systems including P2P.In conjunction with Head of Procurement develop post-contract award contract management and supplier engagement and review. Candidate experience MCIPS or equivalentBachelor's degree in Procurement/ Business/ Finance3+ years in Procurement / Supply chain roles.Manufacturing background or background with mix of direct and indirect spend.Experience of electronic tendering and contract management.Experience of Procurement transformation. For further information please contact Jack Dawkins on / 07966-.531-.875

Austin Distel Va Opp86kf Q Unsplash