Engineering Recruitment

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What does the typical Engineering job interview process consist of?

Your CV has sufficiently impressed an engineering recruitment or technical recruitment company and subsequently an employer who has invited you to an interview. Now you are just a couple of steps away from securing the job that you want. But first you need to make a good impression at the interview.

Some recruiters prefer to follow the traditional one-to-one two-stage format which is normally conducted by the departmental head, line manager or someone from HR, whereas others will put you through your paces to test your ability to do what you claim you can do on your CV. In this case you may face a panel of interviewers or be expected to undertake a series of assessments.

Employers will also be looking for reasons why you are choosing a career in engineering and check your understanding of your chosen sector. Maybe you are concerned with environmental issues and want to work in the renewable energy field on projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Why are you applying for this job? Where do you want to be in five years?

Considering your goals

Be prepared for the typical ‘strengths and weaknesses’ questions and questions designed to test your knowledge of your sector. Equally, be up-to-date with what’s happening with the company itself by looking at their website or Googling them. This will give you an insight to how they work, what newsworthy work they are involved in, and clues to questions you can ask your interviewer.

Also consider your short and long-term goals. Why are you applying for this job? Where do you want to be in five years – Senior Engineer? Chartered Engineer? And why do you feel that you have the potential to achieve these ambitions? In other words, show that you are aware of your potential and give them an insight into what they will get if they hire you.

Interviews will invariably take place at the location where the position is based. Or if the selection process involves all candidates coming together to take part in a series of tests and activities, then you may be expected to attend and off-site assessment centre.

Because technical ability is key to many engineering roles, tests are often used to sort out the good candidates from the bad ones. Try and find out before your interview what will be involved in the interview, and revise as if it were an exam so you don't get caught out unexpectedly.

Interviews are a two-way process: they are designed to help employers find the right employee for their business, as well as for you to decide if the organisation is right for you in terms of what you want to do and where you want to take your career.