Technical Interviews

Technical interviews are less about personal goals and past experiences and more about what you know. Some employers use technical interviews to test the problem-solving and communication skills of candidates. Before going into a technical interview, consider three factors: environment, preparation, and mechanics.


The environment of the technical interview differs from the traditional setting in several key ways. Keep these differences in mind for a successful interview. 

  • An engineer will almost always conduct the interview.You will gain valuable experience from speaking with a potential co-worker.
  • The interviewer will give you problems to work out.
  • The interviewer may watch everything you write. Expect distractions, such as people working or talking, if the technical interview is on site.


Many students feel especially nervous about the technical interview because they feel as if they are being tested for knowledge on the spot. Follow these suggestions for a successful interview. 

  • Practice for the technical interview with a friend.
  • Relax before the interview.
  • Answer questions slowly. The interviewer is testing more for problem-solving skills than for speed.
  • If you cannot answer a question, stay calm. You are not expected to know everything.
  • Do not make excuses for a lack of knowledge.
  • Expect difficulty. You may not solve all problems.
  • Communicate verbally with the interviewer. If you are unsure, explain what you do know.

Remember that it is important to show your problem-solving skills and to communicate effectively. Even if you do not know the answer, tell the interviewer everything you do know, including how you would set up the problem. Also, many times interviewers will increase the difficulty level of the questions until they ask one that you cannot answer. Avoid feeling frustrated or panicked and communicate what you know to the interviewer.


The mechanics of the technical interview usually involve a good knowledge of the basics. 

  • Study information from prerequisite courses such as physics or calculus.
  • Use the FE Exam preparation as a good review.
  • Expect a design or open-ended question during the interview.


  • Know the differences between the technical interview and the traditional interview.
  • Show your problem-solving and communication skills.
  • To prepare, study the proper material and practice communicating the information effectively.
  • Take enough time to answer a question and explain your reasoning.
  • Stay relaxed and focused throughout the interview.