Skip to Main Content

Interviewing for a new role as a contract engineer can be an intimidating task, but with a well-planned strategy, you can approach the interview with confidence. The expectations for engineers have evolved over time. While engineers still play a crucial role in driving innovation and growth, it has become increasingly important to showcase their interpersonal skills to stand out in today’s competitive job market. Business Development Director and former Engineering Manager Ed Pastelak, shares his unique perspective on how to maximize your time and adapt to new expectations while interviewing.  

Create a Positive Impression  

When attending an interview, it’s crucial to make a positive first impression. The first impression sets the tone and informs the hiring manager that you are dedicated to the position. Arrive a few minutes early and be genuinely open to following the interviewer’s lead on the structure and pace of the interview. It is important to keep your answers concise and to the point, without dominating the conversation. Also, hiring managers appreciate it when you acknowledge your shortcomings and are truthful about your learning limitations. Lastly, do your research. A great way to impress a hiring manager is by highlighting your knowledge regarding the company and the role.  

Showcase the Correct Knowledge and Experience 

During an interview, you have a short time to showcase your technical knowledge. To make the most of this opportunity, it is important to discuss how you have used your technical expertise to solve specific problems and alleviated pain points in past assignments. This will demonstrate why you are a good technical fit and how you can add value to the project. Don’t hesitate to talk about the lessons you have learned from your mistakes, as this shows that you are teachable and can use your past experiences to become even more valuable. Lastly, it’s important to highlight your individual contributions. While teamwork is essential, explaining how you have uniquely contributed to a project will increase your credibility as an engineer. 

Ask the “Right” Questions  

Questions to Ask 

The best questions to ask in an interview will allow you to differentiate yourself. Effective questions confirm your interest in the role and leave a positive impression on the manager.  

The following questions are a great way to stimulate meaningful dialog with a hiring manager (and learn more about the role): 

  • What is the biggest challenge you hope to have me solve? 
  • What goals do you have for this assignment?  
  • How would you describe your team culture?  

Questions to Avoid 

The following types of questions should never be asked in an interview: 

  • Asking questions about a manager’s personal life, even in a casual manner.  
  • Asking questions about problem leadership and problem employees on the managers’ team. 
  • Asking questions about negative themes. Keep the questions positive.  

An interview can be intimidating, but having the correct strategy will allow you to navigate the process seamlessly. Creating a positive first impression, highlighting the correct knowledge, and asking the correct questions will allow you to stand out from other candidates. Remember, hiring managers want well-spoken engineers who can communicate effectively. If you need help finding a new opportunity and wish to put your new interviewing skills to use, contact us today at