Picture this: you’ve just received an email from the prestigious and advantageous mechanical engineering internship you applied for, congratulating you on reaching the interview stage. The next step is preparing for the interview itself, but what happens if you’ve never had any experience in an interview situation for a role in mechanical engineering? While you can’t predict verbatim what you will be asked, there are tried and true general questions about mechanical engineering that you can prepare for. Get your notebooks out, it’s time to prepare to put your best self forward to get your foot in the door in the sector. Here’s our advice on how to confidently answer mechanical engineering interview questions and tailor them in a way that’s unique to your skills and experience.
1. What made you want to go into mechanical engineering?
This is often asked as the first question in mechanical engineering interviews. It’s used as a way for a potential employer to gauge more information about you as a person, such as your interests, passions, and personality. How you answer it will portray what your main motivations are. Don’t mention the perks, or the salary. A great way to answer a question like this is to give a concrete example of how mechanical engineering has changed the lives of people for the better, and that you aspire to become just like them.
2. Do you prefer independent work or collaboration?
Mechanical engineering projects and tasks can either be extremely collaborative or can be completed independently. While answers to job interviews don’t want to sound too formulaic, you can structure your answers in a certain way for clarity.
3. Name a mechanical engineering skill you have learnt recently?
While it’s important for a potential employer or supervisor to gauge your personality and work ethic, a highly skilled career such as mechanical engineering requires a level of expertise. A recent graduate of a mechanical engineering qualification will have an assumed level of knowledge and skills, but the ability to put them into practice might be a whole other arena. This question gives you the opportunity to highlight your current experience, as well as showcase your awareness that learning is an ongoing process regardless of which stage in your mechanical engineering career you are at. If you have no experience, then provide an example of a mechanical engineering skill you have learnt in the classroom and the situations in which you can potentially realise this concept. While having no experience is not a bad thing, there are ways that you can find real-world professional experience. Mechanical engineering internship opportunities are advantageous and potential employers look highly upon them as demonstrated experience.
4. What is a skill that you think is important for a mechanical engineer to have?
A question like this is for you to demonstrate how self-aware you are in your professional life. In any role, it’s important to have the mindset of “learn by doing”. In an interview frame your answer to situate yourself as constantly evolving in a professional sense, and answer in a way that shows that it’s a skill you’ve learnt or had experience with. Think of a situation you’ve been in regarding your mechanical engineering career, even as a student. Maybe there was an expectation you had that you learnt, or maybe you learnt something about yourself and the way you work. All of these situations are examples of how you can answer this question, but answer with grace and a humble attitude. You never know – a potential employer or internship supervisor might just find your perspective to be enlightening! There’s always something to be learnt from a new day as a mechanical engineer.
Preparing for the interview for the coveted mechanical engineering role doesn’t have to be a complicated process. If you’ve made it to the interview stage for any role, then that indicates that future employers see the potential in you, and it’s important to remember that job interviewers aren’t out to trick you or see you fail – in fact, they want you to prove them right by matching their expectations. The interview setting is your chance to shine, and take pride in the fact that you have been shortlisted as a potential fit for the role or company.
Premium Graduate Placements has many programs available for you to gain industry knowledge in the mechanical engineering field. Alongside the many internship opportunities available in the mechanical engineering field across Australian capital cities, Premium Graduate’s K-22 Mentorship Program provides additional tailored advice for you regarding interviewing and increasing your confidence to develop a well-rounded set of soft skills.
If you are looking to start your career, then there’s no better time than the present to give yourself the gift of starting a new year with your best self in mind. Click here to find out more about Premium Graduate Placement’s mechanical engineering internships.
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