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The best mechanical engineering questions you ask in an interview are determined by the industry your company is in.

In this article, we go over some common interview questions, behavioral interview questions, and technical questions you can ask a mechanical engineer when speaking with them for an interview.

General Mechanical Engineering Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

To start off the interview you can start by asking some general engineering interview questions related to mechanical engineering. These will help break the ice and give you a good understanding of the candidate

Why did you choose to study mechanical engineering?

This mechanical interview question gives the interviewer a chance to learn about the candidate’s interests in mechanical engineering. It helps reveal their passion for the field, and what interests them about engineering in general.

Do they want any job or are they looking to better society through quality engineering design? 

Talk about your first engineering design

By having mechanical engineering candidates talk about their early design work, hiring managers are able to better understand the engineer’s history in mechanical engineering.

They also gain insight into their thought processes and some of their favorite engineering designs.

What is the top skill a mechanical engineer must have?

This interview question gives the mechanical engineering interviewee a chance to explain what makes a great engineer.

There are a variety of answers you may receive. These answers include strong analytical skills, problem-solving skills, math skills, creative design skills, or strong knowledge of engineering fundamentals.

What is your CAD system of choice? And Why?

Do they prefer SolidWorks, CATIA, Inventor, or other CAD software? There is no wrong answer here and their experience with CAD software will depend on a lot on what industries they have worked in.

Different industries prefer CAD software systems that are more suited to their workflows and design processes. 

The interviewer will also get a chance to ask additional questions about the CAD software they have used. This will give the interviewer an opportunity to make sure the candidate has the CAD knowledge necessary for the job.

Name an engineering skill have you learned recently?

Good engineers are interested in learning new skills, computer programs, and ways to solve problems. Listen carefully to what the interviewee says to see if they have a love of learning new things and are adaptable to various situations.

Tell me about your most successful engineering project

This gives the mechanical engineer the chance to talk about their most successful engineering projects. Explain why they succeeded, what contributions they made to it, any technical skills that are used, and what they learned from the process.

Have you worked on an engineering project that failed?

Some of the greatest learning experiences come from failed projects. At some point when an engineer has worked on many projects, there are times that things don’t work out just right.

An engineer that can admit mistakes and learn from them has the potential to grow into a better engineer.

What mechanical engineering tasks interest you?

The only bad answer is saying “Any task”. Every engineer has engineering tasks they prefer over others, like solving equations, design engineering, building prototypes, testing, engineering analysis, or communicating the design.

This question gives you a chance to see if the main tasks the job calls for are ones the engineer enjoys doing.

Describe your process in checking for flaws

By asking this mechanical engineering interview question you will be able to get a better understanding of the mechanical engineer’s thought processes.

You can also gain insight into their daily workflows and problem-solving skills.

Do you prefer working alone or with an engineering team?

This mechanical engineering interview question can help determine if they work well with teams or are perhaps better suited for solo type projects and work.

Have you ever sent uncompleted engineering work to a client? If so Why? 

Companies and employees are often on tight deadlines to get work out the door. This can cause drawings and engineering work to be sent to a client which may be incomplete.

These sloppy methods can frustrate an engineer or manager that has to later clean up the mess.

How would you explain a complex design to a non-technical person?

An engineer that can explain complex ideas and engineering designs in easy-to-understand terms may be a good resource for a variety of reasons.

One of these is meeting with potential clients to win a bid.

They can also help a current client who’s been asking technical questions to understand the project engineering variables better.

Behavioral Interview Questions to Ask Mechanical Engineers

  • How do you prioritize projects under pressure?
  • How would handle your schedule when it’s interrupted?
  • Describe a time when you had to work with a difficult coworker. How were you able to handle interactions with that person?
  • How have you handled engineering setbacks at work?
  • Tell me how you communicated with your previous engineering managers?

Technical Mechanical Engineering Interview Questions to ask Candidates

Interested in testing the technical knowledge of the mechanical engineer you’re interviewing?

Asking some questions listed below should be helpful depending on the industry your company is in.

Explain how hydraulics work on a machine

Using a incompressible fluid machines use hydraulics to transmit force from one point to another. In most cases, this increases the force applied at one end for a given amount of effort.

What is a process flow diagram?

Commonly used in chemical and process engineering. A process flow diagram (PFD) is a diagram that is used to indicate the general flow of equipment and plant processes.

The PFD displays the relationship between major equipment of a plant facility and but doesn’t minor details such as designations and piping details.

What is the difference between a strut and a column? 

A Column is always vertical but a strut could carry an axial compressive load in any direction. A strut and column both carry the compressive load.

To increase the corrosion resistance of steel which elements do you need?

Chromium and nickel.

What are the principal constituents of brass?

Copper and since are principal constituents of brass are copper.

An elastomer is a polymer when its percentage elongation rate is?

Greater than 100%.

Distinguish between fatigue and creep.

Fatigue is the reduced tendency of a material to offer resistance to applied stress under repeated or fluctuating loading conditions. 

Creep is low and progressive deformation of a material with time under constant stress at high-temperature applications.

What is the second law of thermodynamics?

The second law of thermodynamics states that total entropy will always increase within a closed system and can never decrease over time.

What is the process flow diagram? 

A process flow diagram is a diagram commonly used in chemical and process engineering to indicate the general flow of plant processes and equipment.

Explain mechanical refrigeration

Using an artificial heat exchange system mechanical refrigeration is a process where heated is removed from a chosen location.

This refrigeration system can be thermoelectric, magnetic, non-cyclic, cyclic, and will depend on the refrigeration application needed.

Describe the difference between a tube and a pipe

Pipes are always round while tubes can come in different shapes such as rectangular, square, or cylindrical.

A pressure force is evenly distributed due to the circular shape of a pipe.

Outside diameter (OD) and wall thickness (WT) are used to measure a tube.

Explain what a bearing is?

Bearings precision-made components that enable machinery to move at high speeds while reducing friction between moving parts.

What is a P&ID? 

Used in the process industry a P&ID is a piping and instrumentation diagram. This diagram shows process equipment and piping together with control devices and instrumentation in detail.

Explain what GD&T is

GD&T stands for geometric dimensioning and tolerancing which is a system for defining and communicating engineering tolerances.

Conclusion

Is important to use a mix of mechanical engineering interview questions when searching for the right engineer.

If your searching for additional general interviewing question check out our article on questions to ask an interviewee. Want a more expansive list of behavioral interview questions? Read our article here.

Have you been interview mechanical engineers but not finding the right candidate? Reach out to one of the leading mechanical engineering staffing agencies Apollo Technical and contact us today.