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Interview Advice for Engineering Hiring Managers

​Hiring Engineers can be demanding work. As a hiring manager in the domains of e-mobility and connected and autonomous cars, you're constantly on the lookout for top engineering talent to drive innovation in your organisation.

Engaging candidates in this tech-driven landscape can be challenging for a few reasons. In competitive fields, there is plenty of work involved just in getting candidates to the interview stage. Not to mention, during an engineering interview, a candidate will be interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them.

The good news is that there are practical strategies to get the most out of the interview process and make optimal hiring decisions without wasting anyone’s time. In our latest blog, we’ll outline useful interview tips for hiring managers you can use today.

Make an Interview Plan

When hiring Engineers, it’s sensible to stick to a well-defined interview structure instead of winging it. The job role in question can be so niche that specific questions will help you narrow your search. Asking each candidate the same questions allows you to compare their responses fairly while leaving room for an open-ended conversation.

Structured interviews can help you avoid forgetting to ask critical questions that pertain to specific roles and skills. With everyone usually under some form of time pressure, a structured interview can also help everyone stay on track.

Another great benefit of a structured interview approach is that a colleague will know how to conduct the interview on your behalf if you are unable to attend.

Ask Targeted Questions

Interviewing candidates for senior positions in automotive engineering goes beyond technical competence. Sure, an EV Engineer should know her way around regenerative braking systems, but how will she mesh with your team?

Whether you are hiring people to lead automotive engineering teams or any individuals with a specialist skillset, aim for a blend of technical and ‘soft skills’ questions. It's about evaluating their leadership potential, strategic thinking, adaptability and cultural fit within your organisation.

Here are some example questions that you may want to ask in an engineering interview:

  • Why did you decide to apply for this job?

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses as an Engineer?

  • What is your experience with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems?

  • Can you tell me about a time when you had to solve a complex engineering problem?

  • How would you describe your leadership (or teamwork) skills?

  • What are your career goals?

Put on a Positive Front

Anyone who interviews a candidate is effectively an ambassador for the organisation — whether they are hiring managers, recruiters, HR coordinators, or executives. It’s wise to create a positive experience for each candidate to make the best possible impression.

There is a middle ground between hyperbolic and stuffy, so remember to relax and keep it friendly! When introducing yourself, offer a rundown of your own role and demonstrate why you enjoy working for the company.

If you’re wondering how to approach your own introduction, think about why a candidate would enjoy working in your team. This is an effective way to break the ice and help candidates get acquainted with the workplace culture and employer brand.

Use Active Listening

There will be occasions when an interview is scheduled right before lunch, late in the working day, or after back-to-back meetings – all risk factors that can lead you to check out mentally.

To avoid getting distracted during interviews, practice active listening. This includes being fully present during the interview, not checking devices or emails, and maintaining frequent eye contact.

Active listening showsyou’re attentive and enable you to ask thoughtful follow-up questions, which is key for a productive interview and making the candidate feel welcome.

Taking notes can be helpful in capturing important points but be mindful not to let it distract you from active listening. Use your notes sparingly to focus on key details that will aid your evaluation later.

Provide Updates

One of the most important interview tips for hiring managers is to be communicative. In an era where ‘ghosting’ is rampant, keeping your candidates updated about where they stand conveys professionalism.

Avoid the temptation to ignore unsuccessful candidates after interviews. Notifying candidates about the outcome is good etiquette. And in competitive talent markets, these niceties can make a critical difference.

Another perk of being communicative is that you can avoid losing candidates to competing job offers. Silence can create uncertainty and push candidates toward other opportunities, so be warned!

Learn More

By adopting these interview strategies, you'll be better equipped to identify top talent and make informed decisions when filling automotive Engineering roles. Consider each interview an opportunity to show why your company is an attractive place to work so that you can shape a positive candidate experience for any critical hire.

Speaking to an expert can give you more than just a few interview tips for hiring managers. At Fields and Rudd, we support employers with detailed interview preparation and guidance on how to shortlist the best candidates. Contact us today to build your automotive Engineering teams.