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Engineering First Engineering Job Interview

  1. Mar 1, 2012 #1
    I am going to be graduating in May with my BS in Mech Engineering. Next week I have an interview for a job after graduation. For people who have been on engineering interviews or have given them is there anything you would want to tell someone that has never gone on one. Also I have a few questions.

    1. At the end of the interview do you ask somthing like where do we go from here or just thank the interviewer for their time?

    2. Dress code. I have heard a number of different things. I have a black suit with a white shirt and plain grey tie. is this acceptable?

    I may have more questions as I think about this more but for now just these 2 and please give me any advice you think may be useful. Thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 1, 2012 #2


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    I like to see some of the projects that candidates have worked on before. So in addition to my asking my standard interview questions, I can ask questions about the real projects that they have worked on in the past. This way, I can probe with harder questions, since if you've worked on the project, you should understand it pretty well.

    So in the EE field projects can be circuits that they've designed and built in the past, or programs that they've written, or ICs that they've designed, etc.

    For you in ME, it would be things that you've designed and fabricated, design projects that you've been a part of (like building solar racecars or robotic things, etc.).

    What kind of things have you designed and built so far?
  4. Mar 1, 2012 #3


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    Well, keep in mind that your potential employer is well aware that you know nearly nothing when it comes to real engineering. They know this with anyone who is coming out of college. So right off the bat...you have that going. Since you are expected to know nothing.....you can't really go wrong. And I'm being serious when I say that.

    However, he is aware that you have the ability to learn technical things. He is looking for your ability to speak clearly, confidence....will you fit in well with others...etc. If you've done a few projects in school...that's good but more than likely they will not relate to your potential job. And more than likely your interviewer will have no idea what you are talking about since he's been out of school for a long, long time in general.

    I don't think I would ask "where do we go from here"......again, your employer is well aware you are chomping at the bit to get a job. Just go with the flow...and say thank you for your time.

    The suit you described sounds fine.

    Really, you just need to get some experience doing interviews....and the best way is to go on one. Good luck.
  5. Mar 1, 2012 #4


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    The company should explain what will happen next without being asked. Unless it is a very small company, it's VERY unlikely the interviewer(s) will give you an "instant decision", even if they have made one. But if you aren't clear about something, you should certainly ask. In particular, find out when you can expect a reply, so you know how long to wait if you don't hear from them (admin problems do sometimes happen) before asking them what's happening.

    Near the end of the interview you will probably be asked if you have any questions, but if you aren't clear about something that is said at any time, ask. A good interview should be a two-way conversation, not an interrogation, though obviously the interviewers aren't going to let you take control of the situation!

    I agree with Berkeman - be prepared to explain any "projects" you have been involved with. For a team project, the interviewers will be evaluatiing what YOU personally contributed to it, not necesarily to the success (or otherwise) of the project as a whole. From my experience as an interviewer, that is often where you find out the applcants who stand out from the herd in terms of communications, leadership, and general "business awareness" skills, as opposed to the "bare bones" information of exam grades.
  6. Mar 2, 2012 #5
    I would add to what the others have said. Know the company. What they have done, are doing, where they are, etc. For big companies, like Bechtel, MK, etc., know something about their history, etc. Speak positively about where you would like to fit in, and ask what they would have in mind for you. Be open to new experiences, living anywhere, etc. Never talk about the college days of wild parties, spring break, etc., even if prompted, as these folks aren't your friends yet. You can say you enjoyed your college years, but you are looking forward to establishing yourself professionally and growing your value to the company. Present a strong work ethic and willing to work "until it's done" attitude, definitely not a 9-5 job, so never give anyone that impression.

    Skip the drink at dinner, order food you can eat politely, elbows off the table, hold the door when opportunity arises, etc. These sound picky, but if hired, you'd be representing the company, and they do care about how you carry yourself. Lastly, that lady at the reception desk or office has more influence than some may think, and she’s often the boss’s right hand. Be exceedingly polite to everyone you see from the time you hit the parking lot.

    Good luck!
  7. Mar 2, 2012 #6
    Thanks everyone for the replies thus far. I have a few projects I can talk about. One I completed last year. It came out really well and I had it bound into a book. Would that be ok to bring along. Also right now I am working with a local company to help develop a tool for measuring angles on parts they make. This is for my senior design project. Is it ok to mention this even though I am not done with it and if I do mention it should I not mention the company name I am working with or is that ok?
  8. Mar 2, 2012 #7


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    Taking the book would be great. There is no guarantee that they will want to talk about your projects, but it's good to mention that you have some of your own project materials along with you if they'd like to see them.

    On the materials from your work with the company, you would need to get permission to talk about that work with others. If there is anything proprietary or condifential about it, they may not want you discussing it. As long as they say it's okay, you're good to go!
  9. Mar 4, 2012 #8
    After the interview I know you send a thank you note to your interveiwer. However is there anthing else you should do or just send the thank you letter then sit and wait.
  10. Mar 6, 2012 #9
    Send a thank you letter and wait.
    Trust me, if they want you they will be giving you a call.
    Always give a firm handshake, look the interviewer in the eye.
    Leave your phone in the car. PERIOD. do not get caught sending texts in the lobby waiting for your interviewer.

    Eat a mint before the interview. BEFORE, not during.

    This is a personality test for you; you have no real experience and they know this.

    They are probing you for the following things
    Professionalism - Proper dress attire, clean, etc
    Confidence - Able to answer questions with confidence, doesn't pause before answering
    Relaxation - Don't be a tree trunk, relax a little and realize they already want you from your resume`. so just go with the flow..show them you are a nice, clean, professional person.

    Be ready for some probing questions
    "Have you ever got in a confrontation with someone"
    Don't just say No. Use a real example of when you solved a confrontation. (hopefully you have one).
    You are going to get quite a few personality questions like this. I have seen people personally ruin themselves on these questions. They gave out way too much information and started telling the interview their past problems. Do not do this.
    Always be positive during the answering of these questions.
    Turning a negative question into a positive answer is your key to success.
  11. Mar 7, 2012 #10


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    I would agree with this except for one problem. 90% of the interviews I have been on....I've had to fill out some sort of application. On this application....they want past employer phone numbers and reference phone numbers. You will need your phone to look up all these numbers.

    My advice....bring the phone, but only turn on to look up phone numbers.....then turn off after application is complete.
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