Most Common Interview Questions (with possible answers)

The exact questions you will be asked in any interview will vary according to the type of interview, type of position, and career field you are pursuing. However, there are some questions that occur frequently across a wide spectrum of interview types, so be prepared with strong answers!

1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
The employer is looking for general information about your academic history and interests that ultimately led you to choose your major and career path.
Avoid answering this question with personal details (e.g., where you grew up, likes/dislikes, etc.).

2. What do you know about our company and why do you want to work for us?
Make sure you have done your homework! Has the company been in the news lately? Who are the key people in the company you should know about?
Emphasize the strengths and experience that you would bring to the company rather than talk about what the company would do for you.

3. Why should I hire you?
Present at least three examples of your strongest personal qualities or skills that would be relevant to the position, e.g., "I have excellent organizational skills; I developed the business model for our student project, assigned 12 group members to tasks, and followed up on training with each person."

4. How would you describe your ideal working environment?
The interviewer wants to know what type of workplace is most comfortable for you (e.g., noisy, quiet, formal, casual, etc.) in order to figure out whether or not you'd be a good fit for the company. Be honest! It's as important to be happy with your workplace as it is to be happy with the work itself.

5. Can you tell me about your three greatest strengths/Do you have any weaknesses?
Be positive and focus on examples of at least three strengths that would be valued in almost any workplace (e.g., you work well under pressure, you motivate others, you have outstanding attention to detail).
Additional personal qualities that most employers look for include honesty, collegiality, reliability, integrity, common sense, and enthusiasm.
Be careful with the weaknesses you choose to discuss—for example, don't say that you're "not a morning person" or that you are always late. Focus on one work-related weakness and talk about how you are working to improve.

6. How would someone who knows you well describe you?
Think of how a former boss or colleague—rather than a friend, family member, or significant other—would describe you.
Focus on attributes that would be useful in the workplace, e.g., "When I was a work-study student, my supervisor always appreciated my creativity on projects and the attention to detail I showed in my work."

7. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Emphasize any volunteer work you like to do (if applicable) or your involvement with student organizations related to your major/field of study.
If you don't participate in extracurricular activities, emphasize positive personal interests that contribute to your own health or well-being (e.g., reading, working out, playing sports, playing a musical instrument).

8. How did you choose your college/university/company?
Your response should focus on good academic reputation and strong engineering (or other major) program. It's also okay to mention legacy reasons, e.g., if your parents chose the same or similar college /university/ company, and it is a family tradition.

9. Can you describe a challenging situation that you have faced during your college years, and how you resolved it?
This a behavioral question designed to see how you approach and solve problems. Choose a fairly benign situation (such as a conflict with a roommate) and focus on how you worked collaboratively to find a solution.

10. What are your salary requirements?
Although the topic of salary doesn't usually come up in an initial interview, some recruiters will want to know whether or not you are aware of the average pay rates for students or recent graduates in your major. Try not to give a specific salary figure; if you are pressed to do so, give a range. You might find this information about average starting salaries to be helpful in coming up with an acceptable range.

Engineering Interview Questions

What to Expect at the Interview

Sample Interview Questions For Engineers

1. Tell me about the most challenging engineering project that you have been involved with during past year.

2. Describe the most significant written technical report or presentation that you had to complete.

3. In your last engineering position, what were some of the things that you spent the most time on, and how much time did you spend on each?

4. What do you enjoy most/least about engineering?

5. What new engineering specialty skills have you developed during the past year?

6. Do you have any patents? If so, tell me about them. If not, is it something you see yourself pursuing and why or why not?

7. Think of a specific engineering project when you answer this question. What could you have done to be more successful in achieving your goal(s)?

8. Describe a time when you confronted a problem that really tested your engineering know-how.

9. What is your overall career objective? Do you see yourself working in engineering ten years from now? If not, what do you think you will be doing?

10. Give me an example of a time in which you were effective in doing away with the “constant emergencies” and “surprises” that engineers often face.

11. Describe a time when as a member of the engineering department, you were instrumental in building a good long-term relationship with another department within the company.

12. Tell me about your greatest success in using the principles of logic to solve an engineering problem in your last job.

13. Give me an example of a time when you applied your ability to use analytical techniques to define problems or design solutions.

14. To what extent has your engineering background required you to be skilled in the analysis of technical reports or information?

15. Describe a time when you used your engineering knowledge to solve a problem for which there appeared to be no answer.

16. Tell me about a time when you became aware of a hazardous workplace condition. How did you handle it?

17. Tell me about your experience in dealing with routine engineering work. How do you keep from getting bored?

18. I expect the engineer that I hire for this position to be precise – detailed oriented in everything he or she does. What checks and balances do you use to make sure that you don’t make mistakes?

19. Give me an example of a time when you had to teach a skill to other engineers.

20. Some of the best-engineered ideas are born out of an individual’s ability to challenge, others’ ways of thinking. Tell me about a time when you were successful in do this.

21. On your last project assignment, what problems did you identify that had been previously overlooked?

22. How has your present or last engineering job changed while you’ve held it?

23. If I offer you a position as an engineer with us, how do you plan to get off to a jackrabbit start?

24. Give me an example of something that you have learned from a mistake that you made on a job at a client site.

25. Tell me about a time when a project team effort that you were involved in failed. 

26. For what advice or assistance do fellow engineers turn to you?

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

28. What factors would you consider in building an engineering department from scratch?

29. How do you communicate priority projects with a team of other engineers without making them feel overwhelmed?

30. Describe a specific engineering project that you were responsible for that required a lot of interaction with a variety of people over a long period of time.

31. What do you get out of engineering that you couldn’t get from any other kind of work?

32. Describe a typical day out in the field in your last or present job.

33. What media contacts do you have that would help us market our technical products/services?

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

35. To whom did you turn for help the last time that you ran into a major technical problem, and why did you choose that person?

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

37. Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult decision that affected the entire engineering department.

38. In the field of engineering, priorities often change quickly. Give me an example of a time when that happened. How did you handle it?

39. How can you best use your engineering education and prior work experience to help our company grow?

40. How long have you been looking for an engineering spot? Have you had any job offers yet? If so, why are you still looking?

41. Tell me about a time when you had to take disciplinary action with an engineer who reported to you.

42. Tell me about the last time you lost your temper in the field.

43. What personal characteristics do you feel are necessary to be a successful engineer?

44. What single technical skill or ability is your best asset?

45. What kind of hours did you typically work in your most recent engineering job?

46. What kinds of information would you request or require before you felt you could do justice to a project assignment?

47. Describe two specific technical contributions you would expect to make during the first six months on the job if you joined our company.

48. Tell me about a time when you surpassed all expectations by going “above and beyond” for a client.

49. What have you specifically done to make the work of the engineers who report to you easier?

50. How do you feel about the workload in the engineering department on your present or previous job? 

51. What software do you really know?

52. Can you solve problems with your hands as well as your head?

53. Do you truly understand clients/customers and teamwork?

54. When did you start your job search? Have you been offered any positions?

55. What do you enjoy most/least about engineering?

56. Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

57. What would you consider to be your greatest success in using your skills to solve an engineering problem?

58. What new engineering specialty skills have you developed during the past year?

59. What do you get out of engineering that you couldn’t get from any other kind of work?

60. On your last project assignment, what problems did you identify that had been previously overlooked?

61. What was the workload like in your previous engineering department?

62. What personal characteristics do you feel are necessary to be a successful engineer?

63. Describe an experience with a difficult client. How did you handle the situation?

64. Engineering continues to be a male-dominated profession despite real prospects for women. So how can we encourage more females into the industry?

65. What are your strengths?

66. What are your weaknesses?

67. Can you give an example of a time you worked on a team to complete a project?

68. What do you know about the position for which I am interviewing you?

69. Why did you choose to be an engineer?

70. Why did you choose your major?

71. How would you describe your ideal job?

72. What criteria are you using to evaluate the company for which you hope to work?

73. What are your short-range goals?

74. What are your long-range goals?

75. Tell me about your leadership experiences.

76. Describe your most rewarding college experience.

77. Describe a time you failed and what you learned from the failure.

78. Why should I hire you?

79. What are your tips for success?

80. Why is your profession important and what are the most important development trends in your profession?

Questions You Might Ask

What is the exact title of the position?
What are the specific duties?
Describe typical first-year assignments.
What kind of training program do you have?
How long does the training last?
What qualities do you look for in new hires?
What are the short- and long-range plans of the organization?
What are your expectations from me?


Electrical Engineering Interview Questions and Answers

1. Why star delta starter is preferred with induction motor?

Star delta starter is preferred with induction motor due to following reasons:
• Starting current is reduced 3-4 times of the direct current due to which voltage drops and hence it causes fewer losses.
• Star delta starter circuit comes in circuit first during starting of the motor, which reduces voltage 3 times, that is why current also reduces up to 3 times and hence less motor burning is caused.
• In addition, starting torque is increased and it prevents the damage of motor winding.

2. State the difference between generator and alternator

Generator and alternator are two devices, which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Both have the same principle of electromagnetic induction, the only difference is that their construction. Generator persists stationary magnetic field and rotating conductor which rolls on the armature with slip rings and brushes riding against each other, hence it converts the induced emf into dc current for external load whereas an alternator has a stationary armature and rotating magnetic field for high voltages but for low voltage output rotating armature and stationary magnetic field is used.

3. Why AC systems are preferred over DC systems?

Due to following reasons, AC systems are preferred over DC systems:
a. It is easy to maintain and change the voltage of AC electricity for transmission and distribution.
b. Plant cost for AC transmission (circuit breakers, transformers etc) is much lower than the equivalent DC transmission
c. From power stations, AC is produced so it is better to use AC then DC instead of converting it.
d. When a large fault occurs in a network, it is easier to interrupt in an AC system, as the sine wave current will naturally tend to zero at some point making the current easier to interrupt.

4. How can you relate power engineering with electrical engineering?

Power engineering is a subdivision of electrical engineering. It deals with the generation, transmission, and distribution of energy in electrical form. Design of all power equipment also comes under power engineering. Power engineers may work on the design and maintenance of the power grid i.e. called on grid systems and they might work on off-grid systems that are not connected to the system.

5. What is the various kind of cables used for transmission?

Cables, which are used for transmitting power, can be categorized in three forms:
• Low-tension cables, which can transmit voltage up to 1000 volts.
• High-tension cables can transmit voltage up to 23000 volts.
• Super tension cables can transmit voltage 66 kV to 132 kV.

6. Why back emf used for a dc motor? highlight its significance.

The induced emf developed when the rotating conductors of the armature between the poles of a magnet, in a DC motor, cut the magnetic flux, opposes the current flowing through the conductor, when the armature rotates, is called back emf. Its value depends upon the speed of rotation of the armature conductors. In starting, the value of back emf is zero.

7. What is the slip in an induction motor?

Slip can be defined as the difference between the flux speed (Ns) and the rotor speed (N). The speed of the rotor of an induction motor is always less than its synchronous speed. It is usually expressed as a percentage of synchronous speed (Ns) and represented by the symbol ‘S’.

8. Explain the application of storage batteries.

Storage batteries are used for various purposes, some of the applications are mentioned below:

• For the operation of protective devices and for emergency lighting at generating stations and substations.
• For starting, ignition, and lighting of automobiles, aircraft, etc.
• For lighting on steam and diesel railways trains.
• As a supply power source in the telephone exchange, laboratories, and broadcasting stations.
• For emergency lighting at hospitals, banks, rural areas where electricity supplies are not possible.

9. Explain advantages of storage batteries

Few advantages of storage batteries are mentioned below:
• A most efficient form of storing energy portable.
• Stored energy is available immediately because there is no lag of time for delivering the stored energy.
• A reliable source for supply of energy.
• The energy can be drawn at a fairly constant rate.

10. What are the different methods for the starting of a synchronous motor?

Starting methods: Synchronous motor can be started by the following two methods:
• By means of an auxiliary motor: The rotor of a synchronous motor is rotated by an auxiliary motor. The rotor poles are excited due to which the rotor field is locked with the stator-revolving field and continuous rotation is obtained.
• By providing damper winding: Here, bar conductors are embedded in the outer periphery of the rotor poles and are short-circuited with the short-circuiting rings at both sides. The machine is started as a squirrel cage induction motor first. When it picks up speed, excitation is given to the rotor and the rotor starts rotating continuously as the rotor field is locked with stator revolving field.

11. Name the types of motors used in vacuum cleaners, phonographic appliances, vending machines, refrigerators, rolling mills, lathes, power factor improvement, and cranes.

Following motors are used: 
• Vacuum cleaners- Universal motor.
• Phonographic appliances – Hysteresis motor.
• Vending machines – Shaded pole motor.
• Refrigerators – Capacitor split phase motors.
• Rolling mills – Cumulative motors.
• Lathes – DC shunt motors.
• Power factor improvement – Synchronous motors.

12. State Thevenin’s Theorem:

According to Thevenin's theorem, the current flowing through a load resistance 
Connected across any two terminals of a linear active bilateral network are the ratio open circuit voltage (i.e. the voltage across the two terminals when RL is removed) and the sum of load resistance and internal resistance of the network. It is given by Voc / (Ri + RL).

13. State Norton’s Theorem

The Norton’s theorem explains the fact that there are two terminals and they are as follows:
• One is terminal active network containing voltage sources 
• Another is the resistance that is viewed from the output terminals. The output terminals are equivalent to the constant source of current and it allows giving the parallel resistance. 
The Norton’s theorem also explains about the constant current that is equal to the current of the short circuit placed across the terminals. The parallel resistance of the network can be viewed from the open circuit terminals when all the voltage and current sources are removed and replaced by the internal resistance.

14. State Maximum power transfer theorem

The Maximum power transfer theorem explains about the load that a resistance will extract from the network. This includes the maximum power of the network and in this case, the load resistance is being equal to the resistance of the network and it also allows the resistance to be equal to the resistance of the network. This resistance can be viewed by the output terminals and the energy sources can be removed by leaving the internal resistance behind.

Retrieved from Career Ride.