If you have an electrical engineer interview coming up, you might be worried about making a good first impression and providing answers that impress the interviewer and help you land the job.
To help you prepare, we’ve compiled this list of the most common electrical engineering interview questions and how to answer them. We’ve also listed tips and advice on how to prepare your resume. Let’s dive in.
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What Is an Electrical Engineer?
Electrical engineers design, create, evaluate, and improve electrical systems, products, applications, and components. They specialize in electrical circuits and electronic devices. These professionals are also involved in manufacturing, installing, and testing electrical equipment to ensure that various products meet specifications and set standards.
Today, countless industries depend on electrical machines and components. Electrical engineers work in many industries, including aerospace, research and development, automotive, manufacturing, telecommunications, the federal government, utilities, and construction.
Answers to the Most Common Electrical Engineer Interview Questions
If your application is successful, you will be scheduled for a job interview to answer a wide array of questions. These electrical engineering interview questions are designed to test both your technical and soft skills. Keep reading to find out about the most common questions you’re likely to be asked during your electrical engineering interview and how to answer them.
Top 5 Technical Electrical Engineer Interview Questions and Answers
Technical interview questions are designed to test your knowledge of a particular field. During the technical portion of your electrical engineering interview, you’ll be asked specialized and rigorous questions designed to test your problem-solving abilities and understanding of physics and engineering. Below you’ll find some examples of these questions.
Explain the importance of Thevenin’s Theorem.
Thevenin’s theorem is useful in analyzing power systems and circuits where a load resistor is prone to change. This theory states that any network, no matter its complexity, can be substituted by an equivalent circuit with series resistance and a single voltage source.
When electrical engineers talk about input or output impedance, they are referring to this theorem in practice. It is applicable when analyzing power systems and other circuits. It is also used in source modeling and resistance measurement.
List the most common cable types used in power transmission.
Electrical cables are used to transmit electrical energy from one point to another. Depending on their application these cables can have different configurations. Electric cables are categorized according to their use and can have thermoplastic insulation or thermosetting insulation.
Electric cables, power cables, helix cables, twin lead, coaxial cables, armored cables, rubber cables, halogen-free cables, fire-resistant cables, control cables, solar cables, instrumentation cables, and aluminum cables are all used for low-tension cables. RHZ1, HEPRZ1, MV-90 and RHVhMVh are medium tension cables.
Define the terms inductance and capacitance.
Capacitance is the ability to keep charge inside a capacitor. A simple capacitor has two parallel plates that allow direct current from a battery or other voltage source. One plate receives an excess of electrons significantly less than the other plate. If the battery or the other voltage source is removed, it will retain its charge unless a resistor is placed across these plates.
Inductance, on the other hand, is an inductor’s ability to keep energy through a magnetic field created by the flow of an electric current. There are two ways in which inductance is used, mutual inductance and self-inductance.
What role does a transistor play in a circuit?
A transistor is a semiconductor device used for generating, controlling, and amplifying electrical signals. These devices are the active components of microchips. Transistors often have three electrical leads, namely, the emitter, the base, and the collector. Transistors can amplify current flow because the output power is often higher than the input power.
What is reverse polarity and how can it be fixed?
Reverse polarity occurs when a receptacle electrical wire, also known as the ‘hot’ wire, is configured on the neutral side, and the neutral wire is wired on the ‘hot’ side. When the receptacles are incorrectly connected, the outlet will reverse polarity, which can cause an electric charge in certain items to be present at all times, even when the appliance is turned off.
Colors of wires indicate what is a hot wire and what is a neutral wire. To fix reverse polarity, attach the ‘hot’ black wire to the copper or brass screw. The ‘neutral’ white wire then goes to the silver screw. The ground wire should be left as it is. But because of obvious risks, consulting a licensed electrician is the best course of action.
Top 5 Behavioral Electrical Engineer Interview Questions and Answers
Behavioral questions are designed to reveal how an interviewee will act in a given scenario based on their previous experience and logic. These basic questions are used by hiring managers to predict your future performance. Here are the top behavioral questions for electrical engineers and how to answer them.
Have you ever disagreed with your coworkers? How did you handle it?
This question is designed to test your communication and problem-solving skills. A team’s success lies in everyone’s ability to talk and settle their differences. In this case, you should describe a situation where you had a conflict and a compromise was found.
Remember that the way you handled this disagreement does not need to be public or formal. Whatever the solution was, make sure you highlight your problem-solving and diplomacy skills.
Think of a successful team project you were involved with. What role did you play?
Hiring managers often ask this question to determine how well you work with other members of a team. Your answer should reveal how your approach team dynamics, what interpersonal and communication skills you possess, and whether you show signs of leadership. Think of a past project where your input was valuable. If you encountered challenges, make sure to mention how you overcame them.
What do you think about the use of sustainable materials in electrical engineering?
This question is designed to find out about your knowledge of eco-design and its role in reducing environmental pollution stemming from electrical products, systems, and related services. This is becoming an increasingly common question as more companies are looking for professionals who can incorporate the latest green and high-performance systems.
Make sure to show your awareness of the importance of green ethics and your willingness to stay up to date with eco-conscious practices in your field.
How do you compile and maintain records when working on installed equipment, engineering schematics, or corrective actions?
Interviewers want to find out if you use an engineering requirements document (ERD) to break large projects into smaller tasks. Make sure you mention any procedures you usually follow to prevent miscommunication between departments or teams. Show you are familiar with such processes and have prior experience delegating tasks to your coworkers.
Describe a stressful situation at work and how you handled it.
Your interviewer wants to know how well you deal with stress. No employer expects you to remain calm and level-headed all the time. What matters is you show awareness of how stressful situations might impact your productivity. Make sure you mention whatever strategies help you cope with the more stressful aspects of your work.
Top 5 General Electrical Engineer Interview Questions and Answers
The main purpose of general interview questions is to find out more about the candidate’s education and previous work experience. These questions are usually asked at the beginning of an interview as a way to break the ice.
Why should we hire you?
Employers ask this question to find out what differentiates you from all other candidates. What value would you add to the company? To answer this question, make sure you research the company and go over the job listing, so you know exactly what they are looking for and whether you can match their expectations. Make sure to highlight your accomplishments and skills as well.
As an electrical engineer, how do you develop professional relationships in the workplace?
It’s essential to present yourself as an effective team player. Answer this question by highlighting the importance of building professional relationships with your colleagues. There are many steps you can take, including scheduling the time to get to know your coworkers, being a good listener, offering help, taking responsibility for your actions, and keeping your commitments.
What is your greatest success as an electrical engineer?
The interviewer wants to know whether you’re confident in your skills and whether you’ll add value to the company. To answer this question, think of a project that you’re particularly proud of. Make sure to mention the context, the challenges you faced, the actions you took, and the results you achieved.
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Why do you want to work for us?
To answer this question, you need to have studied the job post and how it fits your skills and competencies. You also need to research the hiring company, including their tasks, projects, and human resource practices. Give your reasons for wanting to join this company specifically, and how your skills or experiences can add value to the company.
What are your biggest weaknesses?
It can be challenging to answer this question as most people expect to talk about their strengths and how they make them the ideal candidates for the job. With this question, the interviewer wants to assess your self-awareness and your commitment to continually grow and improve. To answer, think of a weakness that you are actively working on, and explain what steps you are taking to improve.
Tips to Prepare for an Electrical Engineer Interview
Research the Company Beforehand
You should always research the company, its culture, and common practices before your interview. Find out about their values and how they align with your own. Find out what opportunities for growth they offer to their employees and relate them to your own career goals.
Learning about the company will show the interviewer that you take this opportunity seriously and you are committed to succeeding at their company as an electrical engineer.
Review the Basics of Electrical Engineering
Your electrical engineer interview will have a ton of tough technical questions. For this reason, you should consider brushing up on fundamental electrical engineering concepts and how they apply to the role you’re applying to. Make sure to practice your answers to common technical questions to boost your confidence.
Make sure you remember specifics like continuous signals, types of rectifiers, linear circuits as well as definitions of key terms like input signal, thermal capacity, analog circuit, and magnetic field. You never know what questions might come up to test your technical knowledge during the interview.
Work on Your Body Language
According to a study by the Minnesota State University, about 93 percent of communication is non-verbal. In order to make a good impression, make sure you work on your body language as well as your answers.
Focus on keeping your back straight, using your hands without distracting the interviewers, making eye contact, and leaning slightly forward to show interest. Avoid crossing your legs or placing items on your lap. Additionally, try as much as possible to suppress any sign of restlessness.
What Skills Should I Put on My Electrical Engineer Resume?
Electrical engineering draws from different fields, including mathematics and physics. However, successful electrical engineers need to have specific skills to help move complex projects forward. As a top resume writing tip, you should consider highlighting these skills to increase your chances of getting shortlisted for an interview.
Data Collection and Analysis
Part of your job as an electrical engineer involves collecting and compiling data to write reports regarding current or potential electrical engineering projects. For this reason, you need to have excellent data collection and analysis skills.
Circuit Design Skills
Circuit design involves working out the physical form that an electric or digital circuit will take. You need to know what type of circuit is best suited to a given project. Your job will involve designing electrical facilities and systems for commercial, industrial, or utility purposes. You will also perform detailed calculations to ensure specifications have been met.
Electronic Equipment Maintenance Skills
Electronic equipment maintenance involves installing, repairing, and maintaining electronic equipment such as electrical circuits, components, telemetering, power systems, and any other related electrical component used in electronic systems. Highlighting these skills on your resume increases your chances of landing that job.
How to Find Electrical Engineer Jobs
There are many ways to find electrical engineering jobs, including online job boards. Here are some resources to help you in your job search, whether you want to work for a private corporation, the federal government, or simply want to join a community of electrical engineers.
USAJobs is the official website used by the Federal Government for listing civil service job opportunities. You can find hundreds of electrical engineer jobs here, as this website cross-references openings with qualified applicants.
LinkedIn is a popular website that connects professionals and companies all over the world. You can easily create a profile to start connecting with other professionals in your field and applying to openings. This platform has over 30,000 electrical engineering jobs based in different locations, with different requirements and salaries.
Indeed is a site that allows job seekers to search for openings, post resumes, and research companies for free. You can upload your electrical engineer resume and search for openings based on your location.
Electrical Engineer Interview Questions FAQ
Electrical engineers design, create, maintain and repair electrical equipment and components such as communication systems, motors, generators, navigation systems, and aircraft systems. They use their extensive knowledge in math, physics, and electromagnetism and apply it to both large and small-scale systems.
Yes, electrical engineers get paid fairly well. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for electrical and electronics engineers is $103,390. This number will vary according to location, company, and experience level.
Electrical engineers work in a variety of industries. According to BLS, about 21 percent of electrical engineers work in engineering services, 10 percent work in electric power generation, transmission, and distribution, 18 percent work in telecommunications, and 14 percent work in the federal government.
Many people consider electrical engineering hard because this field primarily focuses on physics and the mathematics of electricity, electromagnetism, and electronics. Additionally, the abstract thinking involved is also tough for most students. However, you can ace your interview if you make sure to research the company and practice your answers to the most common questions beforehand.
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