1. Prepare for technical questions
One thing every employer will be looking for when hiring a structural engineer is the basis of technical understanding gained from your course. To help them build an understanding of this, they’re likely to ask lots of technical questions, so, get ready to show off the best of your knowledge!
Technical questions may include:
- A case study, asking you to find a solution to a problem.
- What is a crack width limit and why is it important?
- Where would the tension and the compression be on a truss member?
- Should steel be placed on the front face or back face of a retaining wall, and why?
- What is involved in conducting a ground investigation?
2. Bring examples of projects you’ve worked on
During your course, you will have gained valuable experience designing fictional projects. You may also have worked on real-life projects in the industry during year or summer placements – perhaps in a consultancy or on-site.
Employers will love to see examples of this work (drawings, calculations, photos) and hear you talk through the problems set and how you solved them. Showing your abilities and that you enjoy problem-solving will be a surefire way to impress your interviewers.
3. Take your time when responding to questions
This isn’t specific to interviews for structural engineering roles, but it’s worth noting. Just because the interviewer has asked you a question, doesn’t mean you need to respond straight away.
Take a drink and ask for a few moments to collect your thoughts. During this time, write down some things that come to mind and consider how to frame your response in a way that directly answers the question. Whether you’re good at thinking on your feet or need some practice, this approach helps to improve interview scores every time.
4. Prepare your own set of questions
It looks good if an employer can tell you’ve carried out some research about the job, the company and recent projects. The best time to showcase this is at the end of the interview when the interviewee asks if you have any questions for them.
In advance of the interview, put together a set of questions that demonstrate your understanding of the company and the industry. Come prepared with 5-10 positively framed questions about the following topics:
- The team and overall company culture
- Recent projects and how they like to approach any problems that arise
- Where they see the company in the future
- Whether there are internal CPD sessions available
5. Don’t overthink
Easier said than done, right? You don’t know the candidates you’ll be up against or if there’s a niche the company is looking for.
That’s exactly what you should use to your advantage. Picture yourself as the best candidate, and someone who is able to offer the company something that they don’t know they need. The interviewer only wants to see the best of you and the only way to achieve that is not to worry.
Careers at AWA
Whether you’re an experienced professional, considering your first job as a graduate, or looking to enroll in our apprenticeship scheme, we can offer you the opportunity to work within a collaborative and friendly environment on a broad range of engineering projects.
We always welcome applications from talented people who are keen to join our growing practice, please send your CV with a covering letter to email@example.com.