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Civil Engineering Interview Questions


Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering in particular is a lucrative career option for Civil Engineers. Structural Engineering offers a rewarding and satisfying career and hence there is a huge competition for the structural job opportunities. Since structural engineering is a responsible job, the structural consultants will always prefer to hire engineers who are technical sound, resourceful , skill full and having ability to use smart tools like ETABS. To ensure that the engineers are capable, the Civil Engineering interview questions are generally very technical covering structural concepts. In this blog, I will cover some of the types of Civil Engineering interview questions asked in technical interviews in structural consulting firms. Note that I will be covering the type of questions and not any examples of interview questions. I am covering these structural engineering interview questions as such in my structural mentoring program.


If you like to learn all the Structural Engineering skills and Civil engineering interview skills from my mentoring program, check out the video below and book a call to discuss.

Bending Moment Diagrams, Shear Force Diagrams & Deflected Profile

BMD, SFD and deflected profile of beams and frames are very common questions in most structural civil engineering interview. Plane frame analysis-based questions are some things that you should expect in any interviews. Sometimes, the analysis questions will be in a test prior to interviews. The question will be to plot BMD, SFD and deflected profiles of beams and frames. You should master theory of structures and develop skills to demonstrate the BMD and SFD of all types of beams and frames with gravity and lateral loads. These skills are considered essential as the structural software result verification can be done by engineers with sound understanding of structural analysis-based problems.


Structural Modelling using ETABS

Many structural companies will test your skills on using structural analysis and design tools like ETABS. ETABS has become one of the most popular and smart tool for analyzing and designing levelled RCC building structures. It is a must that you have skills to demonstrate your skills in using ETABS professionally. The test in interview may be to model a complicated building structure or to apply structural concepts like torsional releases in the ETABS model. It may also be related to applying right input parameters for design of columns. The question also may be related to using ETABS for advanced analysis or handling irregular buildings. Applying certain seismic principles in ETABS needs advanced knowledge and good consulting firms can ask you to demonstrate application of these concepts in ETABS. An example can be performing a 3-dimensional dynamic analysis or a P-Delta analysis.


Structural Design based questions

Many structural consulting offices test your skills based on design questions. It could be related to the design steps of columns or beams or foundations. I have come across many consultants asking fresh engineers about the handling of slenderness moments, eccentricity moments and frame moments in column design. Also, critical section for design of shear and punching for footings is a very commonly asked question in tests and interviews. The entire design process of isolated foundations is also commonly asked.


Structural Concepts

Many basic structural concepts like difference between singly reinforced section, doubly reinforced section and balance sections are very regular interview questions. The point to win the interview is to have the ability to explain the answer in the most practical manner. A text book way of answering rarely helps as the expectation is to know if you conceptually understand the technical point. So, you should have the ability to explain these in a very practical sense as well.

There can be many questions on seismic analysis and concepts. I have seen many consultants asking about the significance of R value and thereby ductility.


IS code-based questions

A good structural engineers’ role is not limited to structural analysis and design. There are lot of IS code provisions that needs to be adhered to by structural engineers. There can be a lot of civil interview questions from different IS codes. IS 456, IS 875, IS 1893 and IS 13920 are all important codes and questions can be from any of these.

From IS 456, the questions can be about the minimum reinforcement, maximum allowed spacings. The pattern of detailing and so on. There can be questions about load combinations. Significance of certain types of load combinations are often asked.

From 1893, there can be questions on seismic analysis concepts, Time Period calculations, drift limitations, Live load reduction. Various irregularities and how to tackle those can be very important questions. I have heard questions like, when to perform Dynamic analysis in many engineering companies.

Ductile detailing code IS 13920 is very important and the need of ductile detailing can be an interview question. There can be many other questions can be as listed below

Minimum beam dimensions needed for ductility can be a general question. Minimum column dimensions needed for ductility requirements is revised as per the latest IS 13920 and this also can be a question often.

Special detailing requirement needed for floating columns are quite important as well and preparing all these helps you to crack important technical interviews.

How to incorporate Strong column – weak beam theory in designs also is an important civil engineering interview.

It will be a good idea to summarize all the code provisions in an excel sheet in order to refer it quickly before the interviews.

Structural detailing-based questions

Structural detailing is a very important step in structural design. A good structural engineer should know how to convert the design intent in to a proper readable structural detail. Since this is the case, there is every possibility that a structural engineering consulting firm ask you about detailing in a structural interview. The question can be to test your understanding about tension face. You may be asked to detail a cantilever beam to test if you know that the top steel has to be more. There can be questions on special detailing or code provisions on detailing.

Project based questions

Certain structural consultants can ask you to explain about the real projects you have done in the past to know the way you can handle technical challenges in projects. You should be prepared to explain the entire scheme of the project and the technical challenges you experienced and the way you solved the technical challenges. A great ability to demonstrate this should in fact help you to land a structural engineering job. It will be good if you prepare a Design Basis Report in advance and carry with you during structural engineering interviews. Also, a project portfolio can be prepared in addition to your CV.

Summary

There are many more questions that can be expected in a structural engineering interview. The questions could be situation based or based on your experience or even based on what you have written in your CV. If you are an all round engineer with sufficient understanding on structural basics and if you have done a few real projects and have reinforced your technical understanding by doing real projects, you should be able to crack it and have a structural engineering career. If you want to join my mentoring program that mentors you to an all-round capable structural engineer, then click here and see the video and book a call to see if you qualify for the program.


If you like to learn all the Structural Engineering skills and Civil engineering interview skills from my mentoring program, check out the video below and book a call to discuss.




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