How to Prepare for a Civil Engineering Job Interview

An employer interviewing a candidate

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Civil engineering is one of the most in-demand branches of engineering on the market. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States, jobs in civil engineering are likely to grow by 8 percent in the next few years. But getting these jobs is challenging due to increasing job demands and rising market competition.

Many candidates opt for higher degrees while others work on developing a diverse skill set to get their dream civil engineering job. In this process, many neglect to prepare for the job interview, assuming they’ll get through it on education and expertise alone.

Preparing and focusing on interview skills is as important as enhancing your technical skills. The interview is an initial interaction with a potential employer, meaning you need to prepare and give your best to create a positive first impression.

To help you get your dream civil engineering job, we’ve curated an interview preparation guide with some result-orientated tips. Read on to find out some common questions asked in a job interview.

Preparing for a civil engineering job interview

Civil engineering is a demanding and highly competitive field, which means you’re required to showcase much more than a distinction in your transcript. The interviewer may judge you based on your technical knowledge, engineering skills, experience level, and soft skills, including communication, attitude, interpersonal abilities, and decision-making.

Before an interview, spend time reading about the company and the job you’re applying for, think about how your education and previous experiences make you an ideal candidate for the position. The interview process is unique to each company, it may be simple and consist of a single phone call, or it may be a multi-step process involving several interviewers, screening tests, or homework assignments. Whatever the case may be, always be prepared and always ask questions.  

Interviewers look for candidates that demonstrate a holistic knowledge and understanding of their respective fields. As such, candidates need to showcase both practical and theoretical knowledge of their field. Providing details of previous projects and roles/responsibilities is a great way to demonstrate specialization and an in-depth understanding of the field.

Six interview preparation tips 

Apart from mastering interview skills, there are a few other things you need to work on to get your ideal job in civil engineering. We outline them below.

1. Resume and cover letter

Make sure your resume is up-to-date. It should be search engine optimized, meaning you need to incorporate important industry-standard keywords to score better in the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Another essential item is your cover letter. It’s an additional document that helps employers learn more about you apart from what’s written in your resume. You can add a memorable experience from your internship or how hard you worked to turn around your thesis/dissertation. The cover letter should talk about things you can do for a company or how you can prove beneficial to them.

2. Research the company 

Interviewers often ask candidates why they want to join their company. In-depth company research will help you answer this question if you don’t already know. Read the “About Us” section on their website, as well as every other web page they have, and go through news articles and press releases to understand their history, the types of projects they work on, their values, work culture, and reputation. Your answer to the “why us?” question should circle back to something you discovered in the company research you did.  You can also follow and browse the company’s social media pages/accounts to know their target audience, corporate social responsibility practices, and audience engagement. 

3. Practice common interview questions

You’ll never know what you’ll be asked in an interview beforehand, but there are a few common questions interviewers ask, regardless of the field and position:

  • Why did you opt for civil engineering?
  • Please tell us about your experience working with your previous company (if applicable).
  • Why are you looking for a new opportunity? 
  • What do you consider a strength? 
  • Tell us about a challenge or problem you have faced in the workplace, how did you overcome it? What software and tools are you familiar with? 
  • What area would you say is a weakness for you?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What motivates you?

4. Do a mock interview

Through mock interviews, you can determine areas of improvement and refine them to perform better during the interview process. Reviewing answers to possible questions out loud with a partner can help ease nerves and make you feel more confident.

5. Ask questions 

In an interview, ask questions about the role, expectations, work culture, work-life balance, annual bonus/salary increment, growth in the specific role, and other policies. In any role, job satisfaction is important, and by asking these questions, you demonstrate what you want from an organization, rather than just showing what you can do in an interview. Dig in and ask them all the questions you need to feel confident that this role could be the position for you.

6. Dress professionally

The rule is to dress one step above what you might wear when you start working with that company. Learn the culture and dress code of the company beforehand. Avoid casual and bright clothes, and opt for formal trousers, a blazer, a button-down shirt, and classy, closed-toe shoes.

How Certis Solutions’ civil engineering staffing agency can help you prepare

At Certis Solutions, a team of dedicated professionals works closely with each candidate to give a personalized candidate experience. We offer candidates an opportunity to work with many of the top Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (ACE) firms in the country. Along with providing access to a variety of project-based roles, Certis Solutions also offers a platform for finding long-term career opportunities. 

We operate as the primary contact to ensure you seamlessly go through each process,  from resume and interview prep to onboarding paperwork and first-day details. With pay rate transparency, Certis Solutions ensures all candidates receive a fair remuneration rate, meaning you don’t need to negotiate every time you get involved in a project. As a dedicated AEC staffing agency, we ensure all projects and careers we promote are aligned with your professional and personal requirements.Want to learn more about the employment opportunities and services by Certis Solutions? Then contact us now or write to us at [email protected].

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