Are you preparing to interview for a job as an electrical engineer?
This field is very diverse, and there can be a wide range of responsibilities depending on the position. Therefore, it is important to read the job description carefully when preparing for the interview.
Electrical engineers are held to very high standards and need to follow strict safety codes. Therefore, it is a good idea to do a little revision before the interview to make sure your knowledge is up to date.
So, here are some electrical engineer interview questions that are likely to come up and how to answer them.
Personal Interview Questions
It is important to try and establish a rapport with the interviewer as quickly as possible. Personal interview questions are a good time to display personality traits, skills, and attributes. You may be able to find common ground with the interviewer that helps to make you more memorable.
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Why did you want to become an electrical engineer?
It is important to make sure the interviewer understands that you are passionate about electrical engineering. You can prepare for this question by reviewing your resume and cover letter before the interview. Create a short narrative to explain why you were drawn to electrical engineering in the first place.
What classes did you excel in during school?
This question is about more than your favorite classes; the interviewer wants to know how you prepared for your career. It is important to highlight the classes and skills that directly connect to your career. Even though home economics may have been your favorite subject, mentioning this in the interview will not help.
What do you find most interesting about our company?
This question is designed to find out whether or not you have done your homework and are genuinely interested in the company. Realistically, you may have applied to a large number of companies when searching for a new job. However, it is important to show that you understand the values of this particular company.
The technical requirements of the job should guide you to discuss your experience in that subfield. You should be able to identify and highlight two or three things that make the company special. These could be related to the field, the working environment, and even the company’s reputation and innovations.
How do you get your work done on time when you are on a strict deadline?
Being able to effectively manage a workload is a valuable skill in any industry. This question gives you the chance to highlight your organizational and planning skills. Even if you have a very heavy workload, you should be able to prioritize work according to deadlines.
This question also relates to problem-solving and how you manage stress. This gives you the perfect opportunity to give a working example of how you have done this in the past. It is also a good idea to have a second example ready in case the interviewer asks follow-up questions.
Electrical Engineer Interview Questions – Technical
There are potentially hundreds of technical questions that the interviewer would ask to test your knowledge. While you need to answer these technical questions correctly, this is only part of the battle. The interviewer also wants to find out how comfortable you are speaking about engineering and how clear your explanations are.
The complexity of the technical questions will depend on the job you are interviewing for. There may be times when you do not immediately know the answer to the question. When this occurs, take a deep breath and approach the problem logically and methodically to find the answer.
What is the the difference between an alternator and a generator
This is a relatively easy technical question that is used to test your knowledge. When answering this question, you need to supply a brief definition of the two terms. You then need to give an example of how generators and alternators are used.
What is the difference between an analog circuit and a digital circuit?
This is a fairly fundamental question for an electrical engineer, and it is important to answer it correctly. However, the interviewer usually asks this type of question close to the start of the interview to break the ice. In addition to answering the question, try to give a working example from your experience.
What is indicated by the different colors on wires?
This should be a fairly simple question for any electrical engineer and is designed to test your knowledge and personality. Instead of giving a basic answer, try to provide a working example. While your answer should be short and to the point, you also want to let your personality shine through.
How do you select the size of the electrical wire you use on a job?
While this is a technical question, it also relates to how you do your job. When answering this question, try to be as specific as possible. You can draw on an example from the past to highlight your experience, skill, and knowledge.
Can you define the terms inductance and capacitance?
If you are an experienced electrical engineer, answering this question should be a piece of cake. When answers come to you easily, this gives you the opportunity to work on your body language. Try to maintain eye contact without staring and avoid fidgeting while you answer the question.
For power transmission, what type of cables are used and what are their capacities?
This question is likely to come up if you are interviewing for a job involving the transmission of a large amount of power. In many working situations, you need to be able to make quick and accurate decisions. Understanding which cables are right for the job is essential, and the consequences can be serious if you get the calculations wrong.
Can you explain an RLC circuit?
It is a good sign if you are asked intricate and very technical questions like this during the interview. This indicates that the interviewer is becoming confident in your abilities and is ready to ramp things up a notch. Continue to use the same type of format to answer the harder technical questions and display confidence.
Can you define reverse polarity and how you would fix it?
This is a good example of a hybrid operational and technical question. The interviewer wants you to define a term and then explain how you would correct the issue it describes. In addition to answering the question, try to give an example of a time when you have done this in the past.
What is a rectifier is and what are the different types?
While you are likely to find this question easy to answer, you need to keep your explanation clear and simple. Be aware of the fact that the interviewer may not fully understand a very technical answer. Take care to avoid using jargon and explain any acronyms if you choose to use them.
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How can you tell if a circuit is inductive, capacitive, or purely resistive?
You can use the total impedance of the circuit to identify the circuit. Therefore, if the imaginary part of the total impedance is positive, you can be sure that it is an inductive circuit. If the imaginary part is negative, it is a capacitive circuit, while if it is zero, the circuit is purely resistive.
Looking for More Advice?
For more useful interview advice, take a look at our guide to Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview. Or you may need to know how to answer questions such as Why We Should Hire You or Why Do You Want to Work Here in a way that will set you apart from the competition.
Or, if you’re planning on leaving your current position, check out our advice on How to Write a Resignation Letter. And for a touch of light relief through the process, I would highly recommend Work Sucks!: A Funny View of a Serious Problem, Good Luck Finding Awesome Coworkers Like Us Again, or How to Quit Your Job Gracefully.
And while on the subject of light relief, check out these fantastic T-shirts that will put a smile on your face every time you wear one; just remember not to wear it to your next interview. I personally love the Electrical Engineer Definition T-shirt Funny Engineering Tee Shirt, but the Electrical Engineer What Part Of Don’t You Understand Gift Tee Shirt and the Engineers From Best To Worst Electrical Engineering T-Shirt are also worth having in your wardrobe.
Back to today’s topic…
Your electrical engineer interview is likely to be a balance of technical and personality questions. Therefore, it is important to be ready for both sets of questions. If there are any slight gaps in your technical knowledge, make sure you revise before the interview.
Even if your knowledge is perfect, nerves during the interview can make your mind go blank. If this happens, it is best to be honest with the interviewer and ask for a minute to think. This is much preferable to making it seem as though you are not actually qualified to do the job.
All the best with your next interview.