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What to ask in an Engineering Interview?

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 27 Mar 2019

Interview arms

Most interviewers will expect their candidates to ask at least one question when the interview is coming to an end. It’s polite and shows that you are genuinely interested in the job role. Not to mention, there are two sides to a conversation, both parties should get equally as involved, it makes it less of a task and creates a more natural flow of conversation. Asking questions can be a grey area for some applicants. It can be good practice to think of a list of questions you can ask, when the interviewer gives you the opportunity at the end. Sometimes a list may not be the best way to go, generic questions will often get answered before you’ve even had the chance to ask. However, it’s important to have an idea of what you want to find out from the interviewer. The employers are there to close any gaps in your knowledge and help in the process. Saying you have nothing to ask, doesn’t show much enthusiasm.

Why should you ask questions?

It’s important to show the interviewer that you are just as engaged in the conversation as they are. The business is investing time into you and it could be a missed opportunity or even a bit rude if you don’t have anything for them to answer, also this could potentially make you come across as a bit unprepared. More importantly, you need to understand if the job is going to be a good fit for you as well. Whether you ask about the job role itself, the company as a whole or any interesting projects you may be interested in or get to work on, all questions provide you with a better insight. Show that you have put time into this interview, that you have spent valuable time researching their company and if there are a few gaps in your knowledge, they should be more than happy to answer any questions you may have, take advantage.

Possible questions to ask about the job itself, could include:

  • What would I be expected to do on a day-to-day basis? OR what does a typical week look like in this role?
  • What would my goals be for the first 30 days?
  • What would my first priority in the position be?
  • What can you tell me about the team?

When is a good time to ask questions?

It’s always important to know when to ask questions, but in reality, there never is a set time. The end of the meeting is when the interviewer is likely to verbally give you the opportunity to ask any questions, so make sure you have some at the ready. However, if during the interview, a question pops into your mind and you think it’s a good time to ask it, make sure you do. They won’t fault you for wanting more information about the job, the culture or anything relevant to what has been mentioned. Just make sure you’re not interrupting, and it is relevant.

What questions should you ask at the end of an interview?

It’s important to have a couple of questions ready for this stage of the interview. By not asking anything, it may seem like you haven’t done any research on the role. It’s nice to contribute to the conversation, it is your responsibility as well. Asking questions is a great way to inform them about your knowledge and experience and lets you know if this position is right for you. Make sure you are asking important questions, it’s always good to make the interviewer think about their answer. However, listen and remember what they have already mentioned before this stage. You don’t want to make them repeat themselves, unless it is really important to your overall decision or you are asking for an expansion of their earlier answer. Really, questions should be tailored to your needs as a job-seeker, there is nothing wrong with asking something simple that may be very important to you. The interviewer will expect some questions, others the interviewer may not expect, either way, they should be happy to help.

Possible questions to ask at the end of an interview, could include:

  • What is the most challenging engineering project that you have been involved with?
  • Are there any exciting/important projects happening in the company right now that I may be involved in?
  • Why did you choose this field of engineering as your field of major?
  • I know one of the company’s values is [value]. How is that defined and demonstrated here at the company? – (It can be really good to demonstrate the research you have done and ask them to expand. This shows great enthusiasm)

It’s important to not ask questions that are too personal to the interviewer but can be important to ask about their job values, when relevant. Make sure to avoid any closed questions, it can make the situation a bit awkward if the question has a minimal answer. Keep the questions interesting and bounce back with your knowledge on the company, it’s always nice to have interesting conversation and make both parties feel included, rather than them just talking to you. There are no wrong or right questions to ask during an interview and it’s a part that most people get nervous about. If you stay calm and try and keep to the natural flow of conversation, questions may just come to you. Use this opportunity to show the employer that you are interesting to talk to and are the right candidate for the job. You are worth it, so take the time to prove it.