This is part 3 in our oil and gas job interview series, helping you find your ideal position.
The Technical Interview
Technical interviews can range from describing how you performed work on a previous oil and gas project, right down to answering an hour long technical exam. For senior engineering specialists it is less likely that they will be asked technical questions, but for junior or graduate interviews these questions should be expected.
Preparing for a technical interview is not easy as there are multiple topics that could be picked, and multiple questions within each topic, meaning you are unlikely to guess what will come up. If you choose to perform some revision, then brushing up on the fundamentals of the area you are applying for (pipelines, process, drilling, etc.) is recommended. It is also worthwhile revising any future trends and developments that might be occurring in your engineering specialist area, as this will show you can consider other factors when making technical decisions.
We asked some of our approved members to tell us of technical questions they have been asked during interviews, and the following are examples of what we received:
- Describe the different SIL levels and how you determine them? (safety job)
- As a first pass – what size well tubing would you use for a new gas field? (flow assurance job)
- Why is a PSV sized for maximum relief at a pressure higher than the system design pressure? (process engineer job)
- How would you determine the stability of an offshore structure in an earthquake zone? (structural job)
- Here is a scope of work from a client – please produce a proposal to win this work, you have 30 minutes (consultancy job)
As with all interviews, the actual answer you give is not the most important factor, but you must at least show that you understand the principles that define your engineering specialist role. The way you approach these problems will also be reviewed, and if you don’t know the final answer but can break down a technical challenge and show some knowledge of the question then it is likely you will still be considered for a role.
Technical interviews for oil and gas jobs are part of the package that companies use to sort through the multiple applicants that apply for each position, and it is worth preparing for them prior to attending an interview to make sure you don’t slip up and miss a role that you should have got.