When preparing for your upcoming interview it’s important to prepare by considering the questions you might be asked. While some interview questions can be taken at face value, others are designed to delve a little deeper and the right preparation can be incredibly advantageous.
We asked some of our top engineering industry hiring managers, ranging from a managing director to HR manager, for the questions they most commonly ask when interviewing potential candidates.
Why are you interested in the role?
This is a fairly standard question, that spans across all sectors. What the employer really wants from you is to show how much you know (or how much you’ve researched) about the company. When answering, talk about the reputation of the organisation. Do they have progression opportunities? Training schemes?
This would be good to discuss, as it shows not only your interest but your committal to a role. Avoid negativity around your current or previous employer- it makes it seem like you’d be willing to take any role that falls in your lap.
If you could be anything in the world what would you be?
This is essentially a way of telling how happy you’d be in the real role compared to your dream role. It’s also a way of the company telling whether the candidates aims are in sync with the offer on the table. Again, research is key. Answer in a way that is aligned with the way the company operates. Does the company offer appealing work, technology and advanced career opportunities? Mention those. Refrain from mentioning benefits or schemes the company does not offer.
What did you want to do when you were young?
Here, the employer is determining your level of commitment. If your career is unplanned, they may consider your commitment to long-term positions less stable. Start with your earliest memory of interest in your chosen career, describe how you got from there to where you are today, have you taken part in any research? Any notable events?
If you’ve not (like probably most of the adult population) found yourself in exactly the place you thought you’d be as a child, describe the turning point and what inspired you to make the change. Find links between your childhood career path and your current one. Wanted to be an shoe designer but ended up as a software engineer? Did you change your mind? Or did your naturally curious mind relish the challenge of taking on a more advanced role? Use this as a chance to fit in personal qualities such as determination, perseverance, interests and values.
What makes you a good leader?
It’s best to not focus on behaviour of previous bosses you might not have got on with; you’ll look like you’re harbouring resentment and that won’t work in your favour. It is however, fine to praise the traits of a good leader or manager you’ve had in the past. Think about what traits a good manager has. A good answer would be something along the lines of: “I appreciate when managers and leaders are understanding of the needs of their employees, as well as knowledgeable about their strengths. This builds a strong team.”
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time and how to plan to get there?
This can be a bit of a trick question and the interviewer they may be testing your commitment to the role you are about to take on, and whether your ambitions tie in with the scope of their plans. You could say that the role you are applying for combines all the skills you have learned so far as well as presenting the opportunity to progress in your sector.
How would you inspire high levels of employee engagement in your team(s)?
This is a good opportunity to discuss your methods and approaches to leadership and management. It’s also a good chance to provide an example of a time you really excelled when leading a team.
Discuss which methods you have used to inspire engagement amongst your workers, such as benefits, team spirit and a level of recognition for good work. It’s good to express an understanding of how people work best, and how these methods of encouragement often vary with different personality types.
See the interview as an opportunity to really display your achievements and the things you learned during education and your career. Although this might seem like a daunting process, the employer is essentially trying to picture you in the role, working with the team and aiding productivity.
If you fully research both the company and the role, and remember to draw on past experience using examples you will have a head start. You should see the process as a chance to express all the hard work and learning you’ve done to get you where you are today, and try not to panic too much over what is essentially just another learning experience.