View Full Version : Interview next week - any tips?

20th Nov '09, 16:27
Got an interview next week for a new job as a mechanical engineer, would be interested to hear any hints and tips from either side of the desk!

Do you use a portfolio? What's the format? What's the content? Sketching? CAD? Drafting?

"What sort of salary would you be expecting?" - aim high or be modest?

What do you with your hands?

Any input welcome!

20th Nov '09, 17:31
If its your first Engineering Job, I might be inclined to bring a portfolio. Most companies my guess wouldnt care if you presented yourself properly. I found honesty is the best policy. If you dont know something or have the knowledge, dont ********. I would recommend getting a book on salary negotiations. I read one called "Get paid what your worth" I believe was the title. Great tips! Quick read also. Gook Luck!


20th Nov '09, 23:39
I have always used a portfolio in interviews - nothing too flashy or arty. Just lots of images of the best projects/parts/assys I've worked on or designed over the years: a few pics of CAD models, one or two renderings and a 2D drawing or two. I also throw in some thermal or FEA stuff for good measure. I find that it effectively communicates to the potential employer what you can do (so much easier pointing at a picture) It also helps bring a bit of structure to the interview and you never run out of conversation (or forget to mention something important) when you have a portfolio to talk around!

23rd Nov '09, 08:48
Interview Tips
General tips
∑ Never be late
∑ Know the location
∑ Read the job specification (also take with you)
∑ Research company - get a brochure, view website
∑ Know about their products and/or services/markets they target
∑ Communication skills are ranked higher than qualifications
∑ An interview is a two way process Ė ask questions
∑ Take it seriously - this 30 minutes may determine the course of your life
∑ Practice with a friend or family member beforehand
∑ An interviewer is a skilled professional and they know what they are looking for
∑ Act like you are determined to get the job
∑ Be positive and confident
∑ Fill out forms carefully and neatly
∑ Shake hands
∑ Donít sit down until asked
∑ Look interviewer in the eye
∑ Be factual
∑ Be sincere
∑ Tell the truth
∑ Speak positively about reason to move on from current job
∑ Be clear and to the point
∑ Turn phone off
∑ Wear a suit and tie (males) or smart business attire (females)
∑ Shave (males)
∑ Polish shoes
∑ Ties Ė reflect your personality
∑ No earrings or jewelry (males)
∑ No chewing gum
∑ Take a briefcase to store documents
Good questions to ask
∑ Reason for vacancy?
∑ A detailed job description?
∑ Training?
∑ Expansion plans?
∑ For a tour of the office?
∑ Career progression?
Be prepared to answer
∑ Why work for us?
∑ Why leave your current role?
∑ Where do you want to be in 5 years time?
∑ Achievements to date?
∑ What have you learned from your last job?
∑ How could you benefit us?
∑ Personal life?
∑ Strengths?
∑ Weaknesses?
∑ How would people describe you?
∑ How do you cope with pressure?
∑ Donít be over-aggressive
∑ Ask about benefits and holiday
∑ Waffle too much
∑ Be nervous
∑ Be evasive
∑ Criticise
∑ Look at the floor
∑ Have a limp handshake
∑ Never criticise current/last employer
∑ Request feedback
∑ Ask about next stage at end of meeting
∑ Accept any offer on the spot or be tactful and give a date for a decision
∑ Shake their hand and thank them for their time
∑ Call agent immediately after

I would also take a portfolio is possible. Depending on the type of company, tailor the portfolio to suit (i.e more sketches if it's a product design company)

23rd Nov '09, 19:00
Wow, thanks for the info- particularly the questions to ask the company! Would also love to know how to not be nervous!! :D

I've heard a couple of people mention that you should ask for feedback on the interview - Iíve never been brave enough to do it without sounding a bit odd... Any suggestions?

This will be my third job since leaving Middlesex Uni last summer!

(Not as bad as it sounds!)

After a 6 month placement on my MSc course, I got taken on permanently as a Design Engineer, and had a fantastic time - great company and friendly from top to bottom with a very literal open door policy. Then got made redundant after 6 months along with 25% of the company and 50% of the R&D Dept...

Following that I took up an offer of a 6 month KTP style scheme at Anglia Ruskin University. Here Iím effectively working as a consultant with a company to design a mobile patient hoist from scratch. Itís a bit of an odd set-up, but I have total responsibility for the design and management of the product and project, which is a fantastic (and slightly stressful) experience that I didn't get and probably wouldnít get in 'industry'.

Anyhow, that's up in Jan, so am looking for job number 3!

15th Sep '10, 16:14
Ditto on the portfolio... I keep a looseleaf binder with samples (mostly assembly drawings, but some 2D drawings and renderings) from nearly everywhere I've worked. Started it while working as a consultant, but kept it up after returning to direct employment. I've been told numerous times that that's what got me the job.