Technical Interview Resources

What is a Technical Interview?

In the engineering world, the technical interview is quite common because it enables employers to assess your technical skills through a demonstration of how you solve problems, reach conclusions, and incorporate novel thinking into your approach. Some technical interviews are general, meaning you may be asked to solve math problems or brain teasers. Others may be specific based on the type of work you will be doing with the company. 


Technical Interview Success

  • When answering technical interview questions, make sure to think out loud and talk through how you arrive at your answer. 
  • Pay attention to the information that the interviewer provides to you throughout the process. In many instances, the interviewer will provide clues and direction to help you find the answer. 
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions in the technical interview. If you are stuck or need more information to determine the answer, ask! 
  • If the interviewer provides tools like a whiteboard, use them. Show them visually how you are conceptualizing your answer.
  • Research the company you are interviewing with in order to try and imagine the types of technical questions they would ask. 

Technical Interview Preparation Websites

*Please note, the resources below have been recommended because of their potential interest to the Michigan Engineering community. Inclusion on this list does not imply College of Engineering endorsement of the particular resource, and please be advised that monetary charges and other account requirements may apply.

CodingOpen Databases for Interview QuestionsJob Sourcing & Additional Resources
Project Euler
Top Coder

Sample Technical Interview Questions

*Please note, the questions below are examples of questions that range from brain teasers to discipline specific. This is a small sampling of example questions you may encounter and is not all encompassing. 

  • If you have a glass of water with ice cubes floating in it, does the water level rise, fall or stay the same when the ice melts? Ignore evaporation for this question. 
  • Why does a hot dog split lengthwise when heated?
  • Describe the failure mode of a beam in compression. 
  • Describe the hardest problem you’ve ever had to solve and how you solved it.
  • Knowing that the distance between California and Massachusetts is 3,000 miles, what is the circumference of the Earth in kilometers?
  • Draw a stress-strain curve and define the different features of the graph? What is the difference between a nominal stress-strain curve and a true stress-strain curve?
  • Tell me about a metric you have used to solve a problem
  • In a static structural FEA does a high mesh model or a low mesh model have more degrees of freedom?
  • If a cantilevered beam needs some additional support at the end, is it better to put it above or below the beam?
  • How would you make a reusable rocket that had a sea landing? Describe as many ways as possible.

Additional Tips

Many companies provide interview tips on their websites, as they want candidates to succeed. Try searching the Company Name + Technical Interviews to see what resources may be available. 

Check the ‘Events’ section in Engineering Careers, by 12twenty – Companies periodically offer sessions on preparing for technical interviews.