Structural Engineer Interview Questions

Structural Engineer Interview Questions

Modis Posted 07 November 2019

Do you want to hire a structural engineer?

Looking for actionable advice on how to hire the best engineer?

Asking some well-planned, common structural engineering interview questions can help you hire the perfect structural engineer, especially if you want to complete your project successfully.

In this article, you'll discover some proven ways to ensure the candidates you're evaluating have the proper education and expertise to get the job done. We also have an article dedicated to common personality traits of a good engineer to help you evaluate candidates' soft skills when hiring.

You can also refer to this comprehensive guide with our best tips on hiring a structural engineer and visit our main site for more information.

What to look for in a structural engineer interview

When you're looking to hire a reliable engineer, you want to ask a mix of structural engineering basic questions -- both behavioral interview questions and technical interview questions -- so you select a candidate who can meet the requirements of your project.

Here are a few structural engineering interview questions and answers to get you started.

  • Why did you choose your field of study? Which projects or topics did you find most enjoyable and which were the most difficult or challenging?
  • Explain why shear and moment diagrams are important.
  • Tell me about a situation when you solved a technical problem.
  • How would you go about a ground investigation for a building structure?
  • What should you consider when building on a site of special scientific interest (SSSI)?
  • Explain the role of BIM in engineering projects?
  • What do you know about the CDM regulations?
  • Sketch a strip foundation and build up to show how you would construct a suspended slab.
  • Tell me how you go about getting a peer or colleague to accept one of your ideas?
  • What structural engineering project are you most proud of and why?
  • What are you doing to stay current in technology?
  • Describe a time when you used your engineering knowledge to solve a problem that appeared to have no answer.
  • Tell me about the last book you read for fun.
  • What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?
  • How do you decide what gets top priority when scheduling your time?
  • What would you do if a client called you to say that a pump isn't working? How would you solve the problem? What if that solution didn't work?

You've probably noticed most of the technical interview questions and answers for structural engineers fall into three categories:

  • What candidates have done in school or during any internships
  • Technical topics relating to the specific division candidates have applied to
  • How candidates would apply their engineering knowledge in hypothetical situations

The reason is, these are only basic structural engineering interview questions designed to weed out unqualified applicants because you're not looking for a perfect answer to a hypothetical question. You want to use the interview session to filter out poor fits for your project.

work interview

Now you have the interview questions to ask. But what about the answers?

So, what exactly should you look for in a successful candidate's answers?

Ideally, you're looking for that perfect mix of engineering ability, interpersonal skills, and construction knowledge that will help your engineering keep your project safe, on schedule, and on budget.

Here are some more tips on exactly what you should look for in a candidate's answers.

  • Ask questions about past projects to see how the candidate approaches problem solving.
  • Ask questions that assess the candidate's ability to effectively inspect properties.
  • Ask questions that shed light on the candidate's conflict resolution ability.
  • Ask questions that determine whether or not the candidate can work under pressure.
  • Ask questions that evaluate the candidate's ability to communicate data clearly and concisely.
  • Ask questions that will provide insight into the candidate's leadership skills, curiosity, creativity, teamwork, and conflict resolution skills.

Keep in mind, you aren't necessarily looking for neat and precise answers – you're looking to evaluate the information revealed through the answers. Engineering projects offer a variety of challenges so you want to see how candidates approach the various aspects of an engineering project.

If you have questions about how much it costs to hire a structural engineer, we have detailed salary and compensation information in our 2020 IT & Engineering Salary Guide.

Hopefully, these sample structural engineering interview questions help you hire a reliable and high performing structural engineer for your next project. If you need help staffing your next engineering project, get in touch with a Modis team member.

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