Interview

17 Mechanical Engineer Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a mechanical engineer, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacturing of machines and mechanical systems. They work on everything from medical devices and car engines to power plants and aircraft. Mechanical engineers need to be able to think on their feet and come up with creative solutions to problems, both in the design process and when things go wrong in the field.

That’s why interviewers often ask mechanical engineering job candidates a range of questions to test their problem-solving skills, creativity, and engineering knowledge. If you’re applying for a job in this field, it’s important to be prepared for questions that cover everything from the basics of thermodynamics to the specifics of a particular machine or system.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common mechanical engineering interview questions. We’ve also included sample responses that will help you prepare for your interview.

Are you comfortable working with a team of engineers to solve complex problems?

Mechanical engineers often work in teams to solve complex problems. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re comfortable working with others and that you have the interpersonal skills necessary for teamwork. In your answer, explain how you enjoy collaborating with other professionals. Share a specific example of a time when you worked well with a team.

Example: “I love working on complex projects with a team of mechanical engineers. I find it rewarding to see everyone’s unique contributions come together to create something amazing. At my last job, we were tasked with designing an automated system for a factory. My team and I spent several weeks researching different systems and brainstorming ideas. We eventually came up with a solution that saved the company thousands of dollars.”

What are some of the most important skills for a mechanical engineer to have?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills necessary to succeed in this role. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a few of your strongest skills and how they relate to the job.

Example: “The most important skill for a mechanical engineer is problem-solving because we are constantly solving problems. I am also very good at math, which is another essential skill for this position. In my last role, I was tasked with creating a new design for an engine that would increase fuel efficiency by 20%. I used my math skills to calculate what changes needed to be made to achieve this goal.”

How do you go about solving complex engineering problems?

Mechanical engineers often work on complex projects that require a lot of time and effort to complete. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills necessary to succeed in their company. Use your answer to explain how you approach solving problems. Share some examples of past experiences where you solved challenging engineering issues.

Example: “I start by researching all of my options. I look at different materials, designs and processes to find out which ones would be best for the project. Once I’ve decided on an option, I create a plan of action. This involves creating a timeline so I know when certain tasks need to be completed. Then, I begin working on the problem until it’s resolved.”

What is your experience with using computer-aided design software?

Mechanical engineers use computer-aided design software to create and test prototypes of machines. The interviewer may ask this question to learn about your experience with using CAD software, which is a common skill for mechanical engineers to have. In your answer, describe the types of programs you’ve used in the past and how they helped you complete projects.

Example: “I’ve worked with several different types of CAD software throughout my career. I started out working with Solid Edge, but I also know how to use AutoCAD, Creo Parametric and SolidWorks. These programs are all similar, so it’s easy to switch between them. I find that each program has its own strengths, so I like to use whichever one will be most helpful for the project at hand.”

Provide an example of a product you helped design and explain what made it successful.

This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you have experience with designing products and can apply what you’ve learned in the past. When answering this question, it’s important to provide specific details about the product you’re discussing so the interviewer can understand how you helped make it successful.

Example: “In my last position as a mechanical engineer, I worked on a project where we had to design a new type of car engine. We started by researching different types of engines already available and decided to create an engine that was more fuel-efficient than most other models. After creating a prototype, we tested it for several months to ensure it could handle various driving conditions. The final product was very successful because it saved drivers money on gas while also being safe.”

If hired, what area of mechanical engineering would you like to focus on during your time with our company?

This question is a great way for employers to learn more about your interests and goals. When answering this question, it can be beneficial to mention an area of mechanical engineering that you are passionate about or have experience in.

Example: “I would love to focus on the design and development of new products. I find it exciting to create something from scratch and see how it performs under different conditions. I also enjoy working with other engineers to solve problems and develop solutions.”

What would you do if you were assigned to work on a project you had no prior experience with?

This question can help interviewers understand how you approach new projects and learn about them. Use your answer to highlight your ability to research, ask questions and apply what you learn to the project.

Example: “If I were assigned to work on a project that I had no prior experience with, I would first do my best to read through all of the information available about it. Then, I would speak with my manager or other team members who have worked on similar projects in the past. From there, I would try to find any resources online that could provide more information about the project. Finally, I would use this information to create a plan for completing the project.”

How well do you understand the safety regulations that apply to the products you design?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your understanding of the safety regulations that apply to the products you design. Use your answer to highlight your knowledge of how these regulations affect the products you create and the steps you take to ensure compliance with them.

Example: “I understand that it’s my responsibility as a mechanical engineer to ensure the safety of the products I design. To do so, I always research the applicable safety regulations before beginning any project. For example, when designing a new car, I would look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards for vehicle safety. If I found that the product I was creating did not meet those standards, I would redesign it until it did.”

Do you have experience working with alternative energy sources?

Mechanical engineers often work with alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power. Employers ask this question to see if you have experience working in this field. If you do, share your past experiences. If you don’t, explain that you’re willing to learn about these types of energy.

Example: “I’ve worked on several projects involving renewable energy. I helped design a solar-powered water filtration system for a small company last year. We also used wind turbines to generate electricity at the construction site. These systems are great because they reduce our carbon footprint while providing clean energy.”

When is it appropriate to use trial and error when designing a product?

Mechanical engineers often use trial and error to test their designs. This is a common practice in the industry, but it’s important to know when it’s appropriate to do so. Your answer should show that you understand when this method of testing is necessary and how to avoid wasting time on unnecessary tests.

Example: “Trial and error can be an effective way to determine if your design will work as intended. However, I try to limit my use of this method because it can take up a lot of time. Instead, I prefer to create multiple versions of my design using computer software. Then, I compare each version to see which one works best. If there are several elements of the design that need improvement, I’ll make those changes before conducting additional trials.”

We want to improve our product’s performance in certain areas. How would you go about doing that?

This question is a great way to show your problem-solving skills and ability to work with others. When answering this question, it can be helpful to give an example of how you would approach the situation.

Example: “If I were working on improving product performance in certain areas, I would first look at the current design and see if there are any changes that could be made to improve its performance. If not, then I would start brainstorming ideas for new designs that could help improve performance. After coming up with several different options, I would test each one to see which ones worked best.”

Describe your process for testing a product once you’ve finished designing it.

This question can give the interviewer insight into how you approach your work and how you organize yourself. Your answer should show that you have a system for organizing your time, prioritize tasks and manage projects effectively.

Example: “I usually start by testing the product’s durability and strength to make sure it will hold up under normal use. I also test its resistance to heat or cold, depending on what the product is designed to do. After this initial round of testing, I then perform more in-depth tests to see if there are any weak points or areas where the product might break down over time. This helps me determine whether I need to redesign the product before mass production begins.”

What makes you stand out from other mechanical engineers?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your personality and how you can contribute to their company. When answering, it’s important to highlight a skill or trait that makes you unique from other mechanical engineers. You can also mention any certifications you have earned.

Example: “I think what makes me stand out is my ability to work well under pressure. I am always prepared for tight deadlines and know how to prioritize tasks so I can meet them on time. Another thing that makes me unique is my creativity. I enjoy coming up with new solutions to problems and finding ways to improve current designs.”

Which mechanical engineering certifications do you hold?

Employers may ask this question to learn more about your experience and qualifications. If you have certifications, share which ones you hold and what they mean. You can also mention any other relevant credentials or training programs you’ve completed.

Example: “I am a certified Six Sigma Black Belt, which I earned after completing the program through my employer. This certification shows that I understand the principles of quality management and how to apply them in my work. I’m also a Certified Professional Engineer, which means I passed all three parts of the exam for mechanical engineers. These two certifications show that I have extensive knowledge of engineering and am qualified to perform my job.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of customer service for engineers?

Customer service is an important part of any job, but it’s especially so for engineers. The interviewer may ask this question to see how you would interact with clients and other stakeholders in your role as a mechanical engineer. Use examples from past experiences to show the interviewer that you can be empathetic and helpful when interacting with others.

Example: “I think customer service is extremely important because I want my clients to feel like they’re getting the best possible product or service. In my last position, I had a client who was very particular about his designs. He wanted everything to be perfect, which meant I needed to work extra hard to make sure he was happy with our final product. I spent more time on each project than usual to ensure that he was satisfied.”

How often do you update your knowledge and skills as a mechanical engineer?

Employers want to know that you are committed to your career and continuously learning new things. They may ask this question to see if you have a plan for continuing your education throughout your career. In your answer, explain how you stay up-to-date on the latest mechanical engineering news and trends. Share any certifications or educational programs you’ve completed in the past.

Example: “I am always looking for ways to improve my skills as a mechanical engineer. I recently took an online course through MIT about 3D modeling software. It was challenging but rewarding, and it helped me learn more about the different types of modeling software available. I also subscribe to several mechanical engineering blogs so I can read articles from experts in the field.”

There is a problem with a product you designed. What is your process for identifying and addressing the issue?

This question can help interviewers understand how you approach problems and make decisions. Your answer should include a specific example of a time when you encountered a problem with a product you designed, the steps you took to identify the issue and what actions you took to resolve it.

Example: “When I first started working as a mechanical engineer, I was tasked with designing a new type of car engine that would be more efficient than current models. After completing my initial design, I realized there were some issues with the way the engine cooled itself. The cooling system needed to be redesigned so that it could keep the engine from overheating. I worked with other engineers to redesign the cooling system, which helped us create an engine that was both fuel-efficient and safe.”

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