How to Prepare For Your First Electrical Engineering Job Interview

You have spent the last few years perfecting the craft of electrical engineering. Now is the time to finally put all of all your hard-earned knowledge to good. Let your knowledge shine at your first electrical engineering job interview. You already have all of the puzzle pieces that you need to nail the interview and now it’s time to put them all together.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for your first interview:

Properly Prepare For Your First Electrical Engineering Job Interview 

Before the Interview, Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.

Always, research the company, the person conducting the interview, the market, and the competition. The Internet makes all of these possible and extremely easy. Google, Bing, Yahoo, whatever search engine you use – it’s right there at your fingertips. Read the company’s website – that’s your best source for learning what they develop, sell, and services that they offer. Other sites that offer helpful insight into organizations include Glassdoor, CruchBase (for start-ups) NYSE, NASDAQ, and other financial reporting sites. Learn as much as you can about the person you will be speaking with – search the Internet for published works, LinkedIn for their work history and to see if you have any common connections.

See if they are active on other social media sites – Twitter, Facebook, etc. Aside from their work history and accomplishments, try to learn more about their interests too. It sounds the makings of a creeper – but if the interviewer sees that you are prepared and have done your research it will bode well for your interview ranking. Lastly, research the market, the economy, and the competition.

Once you have researched the company, you can begin to plan answers to the questions that they may ask. Not only will you be asked to answer questions at a theoretical level, but also at a practical level to demonstrate your knowledge about current practices in your branch of engineering. Be prepared to share your insights about the latest developments in your area of expertise and how you would apply them to their company.

There is one aspect of any interview that is predictable – there will be questions. Be prepared to answer the standard questions:

  • “What do you know about our company?”
  • “What do you know about our products/services?”

You should be able to answer these questions without hesitation. Furthermore, you are likely to be asked why you want to specifically work for the company, your answer should align with their mission, goals and core values. If you have no background or history on the company – you will not be able to provide an insightful answer to the questions.

Then there are the general engineering questions:

  • “What do you enjoy most/least about engineering?“
  • “What is the most challenging engineering project you have been involved with during past year?”
  • “What were some of the aspects of the project that you spent the most time on? How much time? In hindsight what could you have don’t to cut back on the time spent?

A job in electrical engineering means that you will often be working on projects in a group, so plan to respond to questions about working well with others. They may ask questions such as, “When was a time that you worked with others on a project?” Have a good example ready that exemplifies your teamwork as well as what you gained from that experience. Be prepared for a follow up question such as “Do you enjoy working with others?” or “Are you a team player?” Be honest and open, but keep in mind that they are looking for specific qualities in their employees that will help their company ultimately succeed.

Closing the interview or sealing the deal.

Interviews aren’t just about providing the right answers to a barrage of questions. They are also about selling yourself; you have to be your own biggest advocate. Once the interviewer is done asking you questions, s/he will give you the opportunity to ask questions. Show sincere interest in the company; ask direct questions about product features/roadmap and recent company endeavors. This is your opportunity to impress with how much you know about the company as well as take interest in what they do. Additional questions like “What are you looking for from a person in this position?”, “How do you measure success?”, “What’s your management style?”, “What are the next steps in the interview process?” will exhibit your interest. Most prospective employees will answer the interview questions in similar ways, so try to set yourself apart by beginning an open conversation about the company, how you will fit in and the value you bring.

After the Interview, stay front of mind.

Almost as important as your face-to-face interview is impression you leave in the interviewer’s mind; make yourself stand out from all of the other applicants by being a real person instead of what you think makes the ideal engineer. Although you may be extremely nervous for your first interview, just remember that the person interviewing you is just a person who probably once sat exactly where you are. S/he wants to hire someone who keeps cool under pressure, especially when working under pressure and with tight time constraints. Send a thank you letter; it’s not an option; it's a requirement. Address the highlights of your conversation and reinforce the values that you can bring to the position/company. Conclude with a statement as to why you are perfect for the job.

As your interview approaches just remember these tips. Ultimately, treat the interview as an opportunity for showcasing your talent, achievements and personality. Be yourself, how could the interviewer not love you?

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