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Author Topic: Interviewing for an engineering job with a governmental organization  (Read 17638 times)
dougFred
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« on: October 05, 2009, 10:58:52 PM »

Today I had an interview with the FDOT for a project management position. This was my first interview with a governmental organization and I was caught completely off-guard by the interview style and procedures they used.
Typically, engineering interviews I have been involved in follow a similar format consisting of introductions, specific questions from your resume and your experience followed by a question-and-answer session.  Such is the kind of interview I prepared for only to be utterly surprised.
Well, the interview with FDOT followed a structured format which involved a list of preset questions perhaps used on all the interviewees.
What caught me off guard was the fact that the questions had nothing to do with my former experience but included hypothetical situational questions, the how-you-would-act-in-situation-X -given-constraints-A-B-or-C type of questions. These are the type of questions you would get in a customer service type of position.
So, next time you are interviewing be aware of this strategy which I assume is protocol for government engineering jobs.

Have you had to go through an engineering interview with the government?
What was your experience?
What types of questions were asked?

« Last Edit: October 16, 2009, 02:03:03 PM by admin » Logged

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1smartengineer
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2009, 09:50:02 AM »

I had a similar experience in a Federal job interview.
This particular one had to to with managing a number of consultants while also taking an active role in the projects.
So most of the questions had to do with how you would interact with the general public. Being a design engineer and not having prepared for the type of questions, I did not have responses to most of the questions. I was mostly making up answers as I was talking.  I guess I don't have to mention that I never got the job.
One particular question went something like this,
  • Assuming that a project that you were working on had infuriated a number of people and they were all present at the meeting together with the stakeholders, how would you diffuse tensions and make sure everyone is satisfied?
  • What about if the above approach did not work? What would you do then?
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 11:24:50 AM by 1smartengineer » Logged
t_amos
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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2009, 04:36:00 PM »

My experience with a private engineering contractor qualifies as the worst engineering interview.
The job was a project management position where the duties would have involved managing a nuclear facility. While this was a new arena for me as an engineer I was determined to learn as fast as I could.
But then I had to go through the interview from hell.
To start off, there was a multitude of people interviewing for this particular job. The first portion of the interview was what they called a “group interview” where five candidates were interviewed by three hiring managers. Basically, each manager would shoot a series of questions to each candidate and then randomly ask any of the other interviewees to elaborate on what the response was. If you think that was bad, the worst was yet to come.
The second part of the interview was a group presentation, where a group of three randomly selected interviewees were given an engineering situation and told to come up with a solution which they would later present to yet another group of managers.  Realize that the group of three had only met each other that morning but had to somehow work together while each was trying to outshine the other.
I have never been that stressed in my life before.
Needless to say, I never got the job but I always wondered what was their reasoning for using such an interview format.  I assume this was an attempt at introducing the would-be employees to team-work but is it really necessary to do that during the interviewing process?
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 08:12:03 PM by admin » Logged
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