In a job interview, asking focused, intelligent questions of your interviewer demonstrates initiative, thoroughness, and careful analysis of your options – qualities every engineer should have.
To get you started, we’ll consider nine solid questions to ask while interviewing for an engineering position. What you learn about the position, your prospective employer, and your team will not only position you to advantage as a candidate but enable you to make a more informed decision moving forward.
We divided our list into three general categories: Job, Company, and Personnel.
Investigate the Job
Not all positions are alike, though key responsibilities and skill sets may appear identical. Every engineering company holds slightly different expectations of its employees, which you’d do well to investigate before accepting a position.
1. What would my first priority be in this role?
There’s a reason the company needs this role filled. Determine what their particular needs are, and you can better present yourself as the solution.
Learn More About the Company
Corporate culture is hard to quantify but should be a critical element in your decision-making. These questions will reward you with insights into what the company values, its overall health, and how its engineers are treated.
4. Is this a newly created position? If not, where is my predecessor?
This may seem like a difficult question to ask, but it’s a very important one. A new position may indicate a healthy, growing company. If not, the fate of the previous engineer in your role is very informative. They may have been promoted, for example, or moved laterally within the firm – this suggests a company which develops its engineers rather than hiring from outside. If the last person quit or was fired, the way an interviewer answers (or doesn’t answer) this question can provide important insights into performance metrics and corporate culture.
Who Will You Be Working With?
Corporations are people, people you will have to work with every day. Ask about the team you’ll be working with, your supervisor, and which particular employees the interviewer might hold up as an example to new hires.
7. What can you tell me about the team?
In the course of your daily responsibilities, the most important relationships you have are with your own team members. How would the interviewer describe the strengths of your team? Are there areas where they need improvement? What is your immediate supervisor like? Not only is this an opportunity to learn about your prospective coworkers but to position yourself as the team’s missing element during the remainder of your interview.