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What are the most commonly asked questions in a Systems Engineering Interview?

Clarification: This topic relates to the engineering of systems and development of complex systems using the ISO15288 process. This doesn’t relate to the administration of backend systems.

Onto the important point then, What are you going to get asked in the interview?

Well, first and foremost, you must ask THIS question BEFORE the interview.

Who will be on the interview panel and what sort of background do they have?

Why do you ask this? You’re looking to gauge how technical the interview will be.

You could have three possible outcomes.

  1. Experience based - likely to discuss your previous experience with a Talent Acquisition Lead or Recruiter. Likely to know less about Systems Engineering than you!

  2. Technical based - a panel of technical experts, practitioners or experienced engineers. More likely to be focused on technical questions.

  3. A mixture of both - both mixed into one, probably starting with experience and finishing with technical.

Understanding your audience is one of the most important questions you can ask prior to your interview.

WHAT questions are asked in the interview? Here’s a list.

  • Tell us about yourself?

  • Please give us a short synopsis of your career?

  • Why did you choose us? (The company)

  • Can you tell us about a particular project that interests you within our company?

  • In your mind, what is a Systems Engineer?

  • What is the role of a Systems Engineer?

  • What is the V Lifecycle?

  • What are the key stages of the V Lifecycle?

  • What part of the V lifecycle have you worked in the past?

  • What is MBSE?

  • What frameworks exist for MBSE?

  • What is ISO15288?

  • What aspect of Systems Engineering do you enjoy the most?

  • What is requirements engineering?

  • Whats the characteristics of a good requirement?

  • What tools would you use to manage requirements?

  • How would you manage requirements?

  • Whats verification?

  • Whats validation?

  • Whats the difference between verification and validation?

  • How would you use verification and validation?

  • Can you give an example of verification?

  • Can you give an example of validation?

  • What's a test plan?

  • Based on your experience, can you give an example of:

    • Stakeholder Management

    • Requirements

    • Architecture

    • Design

    • Analysis

    • Integration

    • Verification & Validation

    • Implementation

    • ILS

    • Disposal

    • Safety Case

  • What is a trade study?

  • What is an interface?

  • How would you control an interface?

  • What is integration?

  • How would you conduct an integration of a large programme?

  • What is functional safety?

  • What is qualification?

  • What is acceptance testing?

  • What is FMEA?

  • How would you go about conducting an FMEA?

  • Can you give an example of a time when you had a difficult experience on project?

  • Can you give an example of when a project went wrong and how you fixed it?

  • How would you deal with difficult people?

  • How do you use configuration management?

  • What systems engineering qualifications do you have?

  • Who are INCOSE?

  • Are you interested in pursuing certification or chartership?

  • What Systems Engineering training have you done?

If you have a good appreciation of everything listed above, you’re pretty well set for your interview. You don’t have to know everything in the above, but at the very least your response should be…

“Yes, I know a little about XXXX and how it could be used to do YYYYY, however, I don’t have much experience in this area.”

If you want to learn more about how to get hired as a Systems Engineer, check out our Free Ultimate Guide on How to Get Hired as a Systems Engineer here.

Good luck!


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