Last updated on March 18th, 2020 at 08:20 am

Process engineers can change the world.

And if not the world, they can at least change the entire company and the results of the business, by improving the overall efficiency of the production process.

This amazing job has just one catch–it is not easy to get it in an interview, and you have to prepare for difficult questions.

Ready to learn how to crack this tough nut?

On the following lines we will have a look at some practical, and some behavioral questions you will face in your interview. Let’s start!

 

A practical interview – one of the toughest ones out there

I can give you some ideas about the practical part of this interview, and list questions you may get, but the truth is that in every good company you will deal with several short case studies.

You will have to demonstrate your way of thinking and practical skills when it comes to engineering processes. And there is hardly a way to prepare for such technical questions and tests in advance–either you know your job, or you don’t.

But I can give you at least some advice on how to address these questions:

Two managers have a talk in the room, preparing for an interview with an applicant for a process engineer position.When it comes to practical exercises, try to present your opinions in a right way. What does it mean?

You should present your solution to a proposed problem in a business language (avoiding technical jargon whenever possible).

They should see the benefits of your engineering skills, benefits for their company–in terms of tangible results (improvements) your work will bring to the business, or to a particular business process.

Do not try to look like the smartest person in the world. Stay humble, present your suggestions in a clear and simple way, and show some enthusiasm for the challenges that await you in their company.

You can also get a few simple technical questions, such as:

  • What do we mean by a prototype?
  • Define cascade loop and how it works?
  • What can cause a damage to a hydraulic pump?
  • … (the questions will depends on the particular job you apply for–the processes you will engineer in it).

Special Tip: You can download a full list of questions (without answers) in a one-page long .PDF document, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

 

Personal and behavioral questions – the second part of your interview

Similarly to any other serious job interview, you have to count with personal and behavioral questions, simply with a well-designed and sophisticated interview process¬†that tests way more than just your process engineering skills…

What is your attitude to the job? How do you see your role in their company? What is your motivation to work for them? How will you handle various interactions with your colleagues, and difficult situations you’ll deal with in your work?

All these things are important for the employer.

You will not necessarily get all questions I present below, but you will certainly get some:

  • Can you tell us something more about your education and experience?
  • Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work. How did you handle the pressure?
  • Tell me something about your latest job, the processes you engineered (or helped to engineer, if you haven’t worked as a process engineer before). And why did you leave your last job?
  • Describe a situation when you went above and beyond with your service (for the customer, for the colleague).
  • Where do you see yourself in five years time?
  • What do you want to accomplish on this position in our company?
  • Describe the biggest failure of your professional career.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why should we hire you, and not one of the many other applicants for this great job?
  • Describe me your most successful engineering experience, and tell us who helped you with your success.
  • Tell us about a situation when you reached a goal and tell us how you achieved it.
  • Describe a problem you were unable to solve.
  • Tell me about a time when you showed drive in work.
  • Describe a time when you struggled with motivation in work. How did you overcome the crisis?

Special tip: If you find the questions difficult, or experience anxiety, or feel overwhelmed with information, have a look at our article about behavioral interview questions. It should help you get ready for these tough questions.

Remember that in most interviews for process engineering jobs, personal and behavioral questions prevail, and your answers to them decide about your success and failure. You shouldn’t underestimate this part of your interview preparation…

 

An HR manager is lost in thought as she observes the job applicant, and their effort with behavioral questionsStay human, and honest

The most important thing is to stay honest, and human. To say that you always solved every problem, or never felt stress in your job, would not lead to a success in an interview.

The interviewers want to hear that you can admit making a mistake, and that you can share the workplace with your colleagues--though you may struggle with relationship sometimes–just like everyone else.

 

Conclusion & Next Steps

To succeed in an interview for a process engineer position is not easy. While you won’t compete with many other people for the job (typically less than five candidates in total), you will face a difficult interview.

Personal, behavioral and technical questions, and the ever-threatening practical case studies….

Honestly, it is not easy to prepare for the technical case studies in advance, becasue you can not really tell the exact problems they will ask you to address.

Either you know your job and are ready for the technical questions, or you won’t make it.

On the other hand, you can prepare for the personal and behavioral questions–the second part of the interview, equally important as the technical part. Continue your interview preparation with us:

Matthew Chulaw

Matthew has been working in international recruitment since 2008. He helps job seekers from all walks of life to pursue their career goals, and to prepare for their interviews. He is the founder of InterviewPenguin.com website.
Matthew Chulaw

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