If you're a maintenance engineer, regardless of the stage you're at in your career, job interviews can be daunting. One of the most effective ways to overcome those pre-interview jitters to present the best version of yourself is through practice and preparation.
This week, we’re helping maintenance engineers get off to the best start by looking at the 10 most common interview questions and the best way to answer them.
1. "What Do You Enjoy Most/Least About Being A Maintenance Engineer?"
It’s easy to talk about the aspects of maintenance engineering that you’re most passionate about. The real challenge comes in talking about what you don’t enjoy without sounding too negative. The employer is aware that every role has an undesirable component and simply want to find out where your preferences lie. That said, try to choose a negative that doesn’t sit within the core responsibilities of the role you’re applying for. Above all, remember to treat questions about matters that sound negative in nature by showing how you have or would turn them into a positive.
2. "What New Skills Have You Developed Recently?"
Interviewers ask this question to find out committed you are to keeping your skills fresh and up-to-date. With technology evolving at such a rapid rate, it’s vital that maintenance engineers keep pace with any changes and developments. If you’ve undertaken any training or gained accreditations, let them know. If not, tell them about trade publications or news feeds you subscribe to and how this information has helped to expand your knowledge.
3. "Tell Us About An Occasion When A Project Or Assignment Didn’t Go As Planned. How Did You React?"
From poor task instructions to inadequate equipment forcing project delays, maintenance engineering projects are not without pitfalls and the unexpected. The above question is a typical behavioural interview question where the employer is looking to understand your problem-solving skills. Take some time before your interview to think about previous examples of how you’ve recovered a situation that went wrong, and why you took the steps you did. It doesn’t matter if the issue occurred due to an error you made, just as long as you explain how you recovered it.
4. "Can You Describe A Work Situation Where You Had To Deal With A Difficult Person?"
This is a general interview question that professionals across all disciplines are likely to be asked. The aim is to gain an understanding of how you perform under pressure. Try to have a scenario in your mind where you had to deal with a tricky client or colleague (steering clear of issues with management), and how you resolved them to continue doing your job effectively.
5. "How Do You Prioritise Your Workload?"
You know the role of maintenance engineer requires you to juggle various tasks at all times and prioritise the most important. The interviewer wants to establish that you have great organisational skills so that you can cope with and manage workloads when things get busy. Examples of how you usually work go a long way here. If you have a particular system that you adhere to, then make sure you share it with them.
6. "Have You Ever Identified A Hazardous Condition In The Workplace? If So, How Did You Deal With It?"
Obviously, safety is of the utmost importance for a maintenance engineer. Interviewers ask this question to assess your commitment to safe working practices, as well as how swiftly you will react to ensure the safety of those around you. If you don’t have a specific situation to talk through, then provide some information on your safety training and how seriously you take it.
7. "What Has Been Your Greatest Achievement As A Maintenance Engineer So Far?"
Here, the interviewer wants to gain an understanding of what you view as an achievement and how you explain it. Try to choose a career highlight that involved you applying your skills to overcome obstacles and one that showcases your strengths as an engineer. It doesn’t have to be big or dramatic, just as long as you were instrumental in a positive outcome.
8. "What Characteristics Are Required To Be A Successful Maintenance Engineer?"
The interviewer is asking about your personality, approach and values. This is an opportunity to give them more information about who you are as a person, and how you've studied your particular field of work. Think about the characteristics that have enabled you to do your job properly, i.e. communication, problem-solving. Choose three to five qualities and discuss why they’re important to you.
9. "Do You Prefer Working On Your Own Or As Part Of A Team?"
This is as close to a trick question as you’re likely to get, as the answer is both! As you know, the role of maintenance engineer requires working in solitary confinement as well as being part of a team. Potential employers want to see that you can thrive in a team environment as well as be able to work autonomously to solve problems when they arise.
10. "Where Do You See Yourself Five Years From Now?"
This question aims to help the interviewer find out how ambitious you are, and the type of role you’re looking to move into (if that’s your plan). If you’re serious about staying with the company in the long-term, then do some research on what the career path looks like with them from your position upwards. If you do want to progress up the ladder, then make sure you outline your commitment to mastering the demands of each post that comes before it first.