Nothing beats a prepared interviewee. After a couple of years working for the construction industry, these interview questions where recurring almost every time I apply for a civil or quality engineer position. This guide should make you at least feel a little less nervous while waiting for your name to be called.
I tried to recall the interview questions during my entry-level years. Most of the questions where about myself. I believe this is a way for interviewers to know your personality and if you are the perfect fit for the role, as interviewers are obliged to find people inclined with their company’s work culture and ethics. Prepare yourself for questions that will make the interviewers have a sense of your personality and character.
1. Tell me about yourself. What are your weaknesses and strengths?
“I graduated at (state your school). I am (state your age) and I love (your hobby). I tend to be impatient but according to the books I’ve read, being impatient is one of the qualities of a leader. I like to lead to people”.
2. What is your life’s greatest achievement?
“I lead a pioneering research thesis in college. That study was used as baseline data for a lot of proceeding researches, I find it satisfying because people are using my study as a reference”.
3. What is the most challenging/ difficult experience during your college days? How did you cope with it?
“There was once I was struggling to pass a subject, only to find out my friends were struggling too. We did a group study for a few days. Eventually, we passed the subject and rewarded ourselves with a quick getaway to the beach”.
4. How do you manage stress?
“When I am stressed, I tend to be (say what you feel when you are stressed). So, to cope it up. I do what normal people do. Hangout with my chosen friends who I can talk to, maybe grab some drinks, talk about it. What’s nice about my friends is that they are really competent in our chosen field, we tend to make each other be the best version of ourselves”.
5. Where do you see yourself 5 years, 10 years from now?
“I see myself a manager. I may be a manager here or a manager in my own construction firm”.
6. Sometimes, work may exceed the normal working hours. Are you willing to do overtime?
“I am currently in a stage where I really want to learn. My mentors say I can only learn in actual site setting solving on-site problems, so, yes. I am willing to work overtime”.
7. Why should we hire you? What can you contribute to the company?
“Because I am healthy and able. Aside from my credentials, I find this company’s culture and ethics perfect for my character. Judging my own personality, I am a good team player with a desire to lead someday. I will thrive to be an asset for you”.
8. We have a candidate with the same qualifications as yours. Why do you think you are perfect for this position?
“Because I am really looking forward to be a part of this team. I find your company’s (state the company vision or a recent outreach program) fulfilling. It is rare to find a company nowadays who are doing what you are doing”.
Be as creative as you can when answering these questions. Say positive things about yourself. When you state your weaknesses, immediately follow it with what are the things you are doing to cope it. Keys to answering these questions is to find a time during your school days that you are most proud of.
Like getting an A on a presentation even when you lack sleep because you prepared for an exam. Should there be a question regarding your future aspirations and dreams, say what you really want. Be it opening your own business because you do not want to be an employee forever. Interviewers tend to be attracted by a person full of dreams.
There will come a time where you will job hop as statistics show that your first company is not where you will be happy.
Most interviewers will ask queries on reasons why you left your previous work. Be it conflict, compensation is too low, or the workload is overwhelming, they will be very eager to know the real reason.
Some of them would even ask for a reference person in your preceding workplace to ask questions about you. If you are not an entry level anymore, expect for any of these questions to arise during your interview.
9. Describe a time where you could say you have helped your previous company.
“What I like about my previous company is that they are open to new ideas. I once created a guide to properly punch list an area. I heard they are using my technique now making the site inspection faster than the traditional way.”
10. Describe your previous managers/subordinates.
“My manager tends to be skeptic asking too many questions. But according to him, it is his way to make young engineers like me act on my own and be independent. What I like about him is that he is approachable and he answers my concerns without holding back. I have learned a lot from him.”
11. Why did you leave your previous job?
“My previous jobs served me well but I am young. I find the work routinary and I have almost memorized my day. I want to expand my horizon, learn more and earn more.”
12. Tell me about the nature of your previous work. Do you have any idea about the role you are applying for?
“My previous work was I developed project documents, checked the drawing, inspected completed activities on site.”
You can reveal some more highest value nature of your work.
“Yes, because in my two years of experience I was able to render all roles of a civil or qaqc engineer. Three of the best roles were, I was able to raise the Inspection for snagging on time. I was able to close the NCR before the consultant withhold a percent of payments.”
If that is one of your answers the interviewer will be very happy.
13. Tell me about an experience with a difficult contractor/client/teamwork. How did you handle the experience?
“There were once my manager’s words heat up because of construction delays. I believe that’s normal in the construction industry. So, I extended my working hours for a few days, tapped key persons I work with, and eventually we were able to catch up.”
If you are an engineer with experience, expect for a different set of questions. The key to answering questions like this is to state positive about your previous company (if you can, say very little to no negative aspect at all) and focus on stating things like self-development or searching for a greener pasture. In addition, be honest on answering these questions as interviewers may ask or call your previous HR on why you left. You can consider these 10 Best Job Interview Strategies for Engineers, you’re more likely to win the interview if you follow.
Since you are applying for a technical position, expect for a technical question. Quality Inspection Engineers need to be skilled and knowledgeable about their roles. The interviewer would likely want to gauge your skills by asking simple on-site questions.
14. What are the most common ways of curing concrete?
“Most common way is by spraying, sometimes we do ponding on suspended slabs or using damp sand. We also use damped burlap for columns.”
15. What is the minimum spacing used between formworks and reinforcing steel bars for suspended slabs? For earth exposed structures like retaining walls?
“Minimum spacing between formwork and rebar is 10 mm. For earth exposed structure, the minimum spacing is 75 mm.”
16. Are you inclined to any engineering software?
“Yes, I know about (state what are the engineering software you use and how did you learn them).”
17. Do you know how to do a concrete slump test?
“Yes. First is to get a fresh sample on the concrete mixer, put it on the cone in approximately three layers, blowing each layer 25 times using a rod. You take out the cone and place it near the sample. You then measure the topmost of the sample with reference to the cone height. That is your slump.”
18. Do you have a certain checklist to follow while doing your quality inspection? Can you state an example of that checklist?
“Our company has a certain checklist to follow during the inspection. Like, during the checking of rebars, the ties should be complete, the diameter bars used must be as planned, the alignment of formworks must be straight and elevations must be correct.”
I believe questions like this is already answerable by you if you have been working as an engineer for quite some time. Anyhow, your future self would thank yourself if you do a little bit of research. It pays when you do simple googling. Should there be questions you do not know the answer at all, honestly say that you have never encountered such concerns but would love to do be learn about it.
Brace yourself for a salary negotiation question. The interviewer might want to know about your previous salary and the benefits offered by your past company, or if your expected salary is on the range of their budget for the role.
19. How much is your expected monthly compensation?
Your expected salary can be based on your previous salary. You can try to double your salary proposal. If you are a new graduate and you don’t have experience yet, try base that on the local wages. Just answer this question as to what is your current situation on your career.
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20. What are other benefits given by your previous employer?
“They provided me health insurance, one-month paid vacations every year, bonus every 6 months, FREE return plane ticket.”
Be honest with your answers.
Now, these questions are a bit personal and cannot find proper words to answer this. Think of your future plans and where you want to be. Only you can properly answer this. Anyhow, if you are asked questions like this, you may see yourself ahead of your competition because your prospect employer is now negotiating your salary. Now, this question may be tricky because some interviewer will instantly disregard you if you are excessively pricey. Stay positive and do a little bit of negotiation.
These interview questions should help every quality inspector engineer aspirants be a step ahead.
Here are the IMPORTANT tips that you should remember.
• Prepare yourself.
• Deliver your answers with confidence but not arrogant.
• Wear formal attire. Come on time. Sit properly.
• Brush your teeth and take your breakfast.
Win the interviewer by showing a character that is very eager to learn. Do some research about the company you are eyeing at. Check their missions and visions online if it is inclined with yours and may the odds be on your favor. Happy job hunting!
Did you experience the above interview questions? If yes, please comment below. If no, please share your thoughts.