A career in engineering often begins with an internship for engineering students aimed to offer insight and experience. Obtaining an internship usually involves an interview to ensure the qualifications for the position are properly met. In this article, you can learn about some common interview questions and sample answers to help you prepare for an engineering internship interview.
Common engineering internship interview questions
Here are some typical interview questions that engineering interns are often asked:
Have you ever interned before, and what engineering experience did you gain?
By asking this question, an interviewer wants to know if you have some experience working as an engineer and if you know how to act in a professional setting. They also want to see if you will require any training upon being recruited.
You should be very careful when answering this question because you should try to present your capabilities with confidence. Your answer should address your experience or any other internships. It should also highlight your strong working knowledge of industry platforms and programs.
Example: ‘I interned at Laxeguma Engineering Firm for one year. During this period, I was tasked with managing repair and maintenance requests, ensuring the proper cleaning of engineering equipment and tools, handling the engineering equipment effectively and safely to avoid accidents and addressing complaints raised by clients in an accurate and timely manner.
I also gained a wealth of experience in maintaining the work area and ensuring it was safe and organized. Other times, I would be tasked to support conducting energy audits and work with the management in developing budgets for various projects. I believe that these technical skills, together with the soft skills that I acquired during the one-year internship program, helped me to understand the industry.’
Why did you choose to pursue a career in engineering, and why did you choose our company for an internship?
Through this question, the interviewer wants to know the driving force behind your choice for a career in engineering. The interviewer also wants to determine if you are aware of the opportunities that an internship brings, such as networking with peers, meeting invaluable guides and mentors and getting hands-on experience in your engineering career path.
Example: ‘When I was a young boy, I had great admiration for my uncle who was a civil engineer. He was passionate about his job and even mentored me on what it takes to be an engineer. When it was time to decide my career path, I knew without a doubt that I had to pursue engineering. I have taken a few engineering classes and I’m ready to focus on engineering as my ultimate career goal. I’ve spent the last five years learning the academic side of civil engineering, so I’m very interested in joining your team as an intern and seeing first-hand how structures and roads are built. Your company is known for its excellent construction work and high integrity.’
What skills do you have that will help you excel as an engineering intern, and how will you implement them while interning with us?
The interviewer wants to know your ability and if you have the skills to do the work you are applying for. Your answer will enable the employer to gauge how much training you might need in order to master their required skills. The answer you give will also enable the interviewer to decide whether you are a good fit for the position. When answering this question, try to talk about your leadership skills, technical skills and communication skills.
Example: ‘I have various skills that apply to the engineering job. I am an expert data and problem analyst with excellent design thinking and creative problem-solving skills. I also possess the technical skills and the knowledge required for the design and operation of core products and services. I also have excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to create and deliver presentations. During my internship with your company, I will use my problem-solving skills to develop new solutions by first identifying the source of the problem, then creating and testing viable solutions. I will also use my math skills in calculus and mathematical analysis for design and troubleshooting.’
Why do interviewers expect you to ask questions at the end of an interview?
Here are sample questions you could ask your interviewer:
- What will be my duties and responsibilities if hired for this internship?
- How will my performance at the company be evaluated?
- Who will I report to if I am hired for this internship?
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
It is strongly advised that you ask questions rather than telling the interviewer that you have none. Asking questions enables you to learn more about the company and the internship position. It also shows the interviewer your level of interest and enthusiasm for the opportunity when you actively engage in further questions.