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What Are Common Electrical Engineering Interview Questions?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 08 April 2014
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Electrical engineers are responsible for managing the ways power flows in business and home settings. During an interview, several questions will generally revolve around the candidate's expertise with electrical principles and the technology associated with it. Interviewers also ask questions regarding the prospective employee's past success in school and at work. In addition, interviewers also typical ask about situations where lessons were learned by the interviewee. Personality also plays a major role in electrical engineering interview questions because a company is interested in finding a mindset that fits well with an engineering team.

Technical electrical engineering interview questions are among the most frequently asked of a potential employee. Questions regarding Ohm's law, circuit-related theorems, mutual induction, and the like are frequently asked of anyone wishing to become an engineer. Complex problems involving electrical engineering applications are also common during the interview process. For example, an interviewer could ask about an electrical related problem and how the interviewee would resolve the issue. These questions are posed to gauge how quickly a candidate's thought process works and to also assess the applicant's intelligence and aptitude.

Many interviewers will ask electrical engineering interview questions that focus on successes in the electrical engineering field. Usually drawing from experiences in school and from professional life, the applicant often will be called upon to talk about projects that concluded with positive results. This is an opportunity for the candidate to showcase a strong work ethic, problem solving abilities, and leadership.

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Lessons learned through missteps are also frequent topics for electrical engineering interview questions. This topic can be turned into a positive by the potential employee because interviewers are looking to see how well the candidate battles adversity through this type of quizzing. Interviewers may inquire about a time when the candidate attempted to solve a difficult engineering problem and fell short. This can be an opportunity to explain how well the candidate learned to adapt and evolve during a career.

Electrical engineering interview questions also frequently focus on a candidate's personality. Questions about how a candidate deals with stress, what an ideal manager is like, and how to best communicate with coworkers all serve a specific purpose. Answers of this kind not only give an interviewer a deeper look at the candidate's personality, but also the person's work style. Many companies are concerned with finding someone knowledgeable in electrical engineering as well as a personality that will fit with the team.

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Discuss this Article

David09
Post 4

Personally, I think that if you’re going to pursue any jobs in electrical engineering an internship will be the most important factor in determining whether you land the job you want.

With an internship, you get to step into the “real world” and discover how what you know (or think you know) matches up against the everyday demands of business.

I also think that you should pursue internships during summer months, rather than waiting until you graduate.

That way there’s less pressure on the candidate to try to get the employer to convert the internship into a full time job, and less pressure on the employer to rush the candidate into permanent employment when they’re not up to snuff yet.

allenJo
Post 3

@Mammmood - Yeah, but that question almost never gets asked anymore. You’re right, it is cliché, right up there with “What’s your biggest weakness?” Seriously, who is going to answer that with candor?

I would think that electrical engineer interview questions would focus heavily on the technical side, and maybe even ask if the candidate has patented any ideas or inventions. That would show their dedication and technical expertise in my opinion.

I also think that it’s important to ask questions meant to reveal soft skills. For example, has the candidate ever managed a group of other engineers or worked as a liaison between engineers and other people in a corporation?

You want to get an idea of the candidate’s project management skills, as much as you can gather in an interview anyway, because that will determine how they tackle tasks and complete them on time.

Mammmood
Post 2

@SkyWhisperer - That’s quite a lesson, and there’s probably no way you could have learned it from the interview alone.

But common interview questions and answers will give you a glimpse into the candidate’s fitness for a particular position.

For example, we often ask our candidates the cliché (but necessary), “Where do you see yourself in five years?” This question is really meant to reveal more about the candidate’s commitment to the company than it is about the candidate’s commitment to his own career.

Most people don’t get that, however. If a candidate tells us, “I want to be an expert engineer” – so what? That doesn’t help the company in any way.

If, on the other hand, he says, “I’d like to help this company transition into technology XYZ, utilizing my current skills and experience”, then that’s a better response. That shows you’re thinking about helping the company.

SkyWhisperer
Post 1

Our company services the electrical utility industry. I can tell you from past experience that what we look for in a candidate, in addition to everything mentioned above, is hands on experience – and an ability to pick up new technologies and concepts very quickly.

We interviewed one candidate who had a double major in computer science and electrical engineering. He had a masters degree, I think, too. He had a good personality and had all the right answers to interview questions.

We hired him, and we let him go within six months. It had nothing to do with his intelligence. It had to do with his ability to learn our applications quickly.

He was very theoretical; he knew the math, but transitioning to the concepts and the applied technologies was slow. We have a small business, and simply didn’t have time to train him. In our company, if we hire you, you have to hit the ground running.

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