Interview Questions To Ask Building Services Candidates

March 19, 2021

Building services engineers help to turn an empty shell of a building into a fully-functioning space. And when the building work is done, they help to maintain these essential services and keep everything running smoothly. Finding and hiring the best building services candidates requires a robust interviewing system, and this all starts with asking the right questions.

Building services engineers need to be skilled in many different disciplines. They also need to be endlessly curious and willing to stay up-to-date with industry developments. They should also be self-starters and problem-solvers. And finally, they need to be effective leaders, able to take control of a team and communicate with people from every corner of their business.

It’s all very well defining the perfect building services engineer, but how do you go about finding them? By establishing a robust interview technique, you can learn to sort through the candidates to find those with the desired skills.

Just as the candidate needs to prepare for an interview, the hiring manager also needs to prepare. You have to carefully define the role, establish what skills you are looking for, and then design a set of questions that will help you to determine if the person has the skills you are looking for. In this guide, we will explore the questions you should ask building services engineers to find out if they have the skills you are looking for.

General Questions

It’s helpful to start the interview with a few general questions that will help you to find out more about the candidate. This can include questions about their education or work history, their motivation for becoming a building services engineer, and a little more about their personal life. This might include questions like:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Why did you choose to study engineering at university?
  • Why did you choose to complete a placement with [insert company]?
  • What do you like to do outside of work?
  • Which aspect of engineering do you find most engaging?
  • How do you stay up-to-date with engineering industry developments?

Technical Questions

Situational Questions

Now that you know a little more about the candidate and their motivations, you can learn more about their approach to more specific work situations. Think about the key attributes you are looking for in a candidate, and then think of what type of situation would highlight these skills. 

For example, if you require a building services engineer who can think of their feet, you could ask the following questions. 

  • Can you tell me about a time you had to deal with last-minute changes to a project?
  • Can you tell me about a time you 

Situational questions encourage candidates to answer using the STAR method. This stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Below are some more situational questions that can help you to learn more about the candidate.

  • Can you tell me about a time you faced conflict in the workplace? How did you manage this?
  • Tell me about a time you received negative feedback from a manager or colleague.
  • Tell me about the last time you had to learn to use a new software package.
  • Can you tell me about a time you felt overwhelmed at work?
  • Can you tell me about a time you had to explain engineering concepts to a non-engineering audience?
  • Tell me about the most challenging engineering project you have even worked on.

These questions will give you a chance to learn more about how a candidate will react in real-life. It’s difficult for the candidate to embellish their answers in line with what they think you want to hear, as their answer will need to be grounded in a real-life situation.

Technical Questions

Testing a candidate’s technical ability in an interview setting can be very difficult. But asking these back-to-basics questions can be very effective for uncovering hidden strengths.

When you ask candidates questions that would be simple even for an undergraduate engineer, you are also testing their confidence in the subject matter. Some candidates may second guess themselves, certain that an interviewer couldn’t be asking something so simple. To undercover the candidates that are most confident in their abilities, ask simple questions and expect simple answers. For example, you could ask engineering candidates the following questions:

  • What issues might you find when installing underground cables?
  • Where would you start first when designing an air conditioning system for an office?
  • What tools would you use to manage a project budget?

Miscellaneous questions

Miscellaneous questions

Some key factors will be non-negotiable. Salary expectations, work location and scheduling can all cause job offers to fall through at the last moment. You might think you have the ideal candidate in front of you, but if you later discover they are unwilling to work weekend shifts, or they aren’t interested in any international travel, this could throw a spanner in the works.

Don’t forget to ask the questions that will determine if the candidate will even be able to carry out the role. You could ask the following questions.

  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Are you happy to work shifts, including one weekend per month?
  • Would you be willing to travel for work?
  • Are you happier working in the office or on-site?
  • How long is the notice period in your current place of work?
  • Do you have security clearance?

Allow the candidate to ask questions

At the end of the interview, the candidate should always have the chance to ask questions. You may think you have covered all of the relevant information, but there may be something you have missed. And the candidate will likely have prepared a few questions of their own.

A candidate might ask questions about the working environment, training opportunities, career development or about the previous post holder. They might also ask about the management style or feedback process. Giving the candidate a chance to ask questions shows that you are interested in their input and that you’re looking for a good company fit, not just a person to fill a post.

Nolan Recruitment is a Leading Engineering Recruitment Agency. One of the UK's best Engineering & Technical Recruiter

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