In interviews, it can often feel challenging to stand out from the crowd of other engineers, some of whom may be more technically qualified than you. In my last blog post, I talked about three strategies for excelling in the interview process; this time I’d like to drill into specific ways to highlight non-technical skills during an interview.
1. Mention leadership experience
Regardless of whether you are applying for a management position, recruiters are looking to hire individuals who demonstrate leadership skills because they work well in teams, take ownership of their work, and communicate vision to coworkers. Find a way to weave stories from organizational involvement into whatever questions are asked of you. An anecdote about conflict resolution, vision-casting, or even lessons learned from the failure of a project can help you stand out from other candidates.
2. Talk about a non-engineering hobby
Hiring managers not only want engineers who are technically skilled, but also those who are well-rounded and know how to achieve a healthy work-life balance. If you have support systems and activities outside of work that keeps you learning new things and growing personally, be sure you mention it because you will bring a unique personality and angle to the table.
3. Ask questions about engineering development
Interviews are a great time to learn more about what the company does and the technical details of the job. But if you’re interested in eventually attaining a management position, a way to showcase that you value non-technical skills is to ask about the company’s opportunities for engineering development. This can include asking about the promotion path, examples of recent side projects, or suggestions for process improvement. By expressing interest in roles and responsibilities outside the scope of standard technical work, you communicate to your interviewer that you have an eye for improving the way things are done at the company and leading others in that direction.
In every interview, ensure that you communicate what makes you unique, and you can differentiate yourself from other candidates who may be trying to say all the “right answers.”
Want to stand out in your interviews?
The College of Engineering offers a Career Center that holds various events to make you stand out as an applicant, provide feedback on your resumes, and help lock in your confidence to knock out your next interview!
Explore the Career Center and Their Upcoming Events