Construction estimators have a great significance in projects. Designers do not give estimates. The construction estimator is responsible for coming up with the estimates. You need a bachelor’s degree in building science, construction management, or a related field.
Below we outline 20 questions that will help you prepare for the next interview.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
What made you make an application to this particular role? The interviewer is interested in knowing what attracted you to the role. Share what made you apply.
“Having gone through the job description I feel my skills and experience match the job requirements. Through practical and further engagements, I will have an opportunity to explore and acquire more skills in quantity survey and control. I can benefit from both analytical and practical skills. Through this, I will have an opportunity to practice Cost estimation, analysis, and observation skills in various projects assigned.”
2. What Are The Roles Of A Construction Estimator?
The interviewer is interested to know if you can relate the roles to the job description of the advertisement. Share the roles you expect to play.
“The roles I expect to handle are managing and co-coordinating the construction process. I will analyze drawings and specifications and understand contractual terms and conditions. The goal is to assemble accurate and well-organized estimates and proposals on time for the stipulated price, design-build, and construction/project management formatted projects. I will provide and maintain unit pricing and database for material and labor costing and also formulate cost breakdown from estimates and for project progress. Other roles are getting quotations, budgeting, and communicating to clients.”
3. What Are The Qualities That A Construction Estimator Needs To Be Successful?
This role requires an organized person. The interviewer wants to establish whether you can articulate the qualities needed for this role. Share the qualities while keeping to the job description.
“A good construction estimator must be having reading and writing skills which will help in project specifications and interpretation of the drawings. This will help in accurate cost estimation. Both written and verbal communication is significant. Project success requires collaboration with stakeholders therefore interpersonal skills should be great. They should have analytical skills, a clear understanding of the sequence of the project. They should have confidence and field-work experience and finally, they should be team players.”
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?
Managing challenges is a key trait in any role. Share with the interviewer what challenges you have faced and how you mitigated them.
“In my previous role, I under-estimated the budget for the project. I did not factor in the miscellaneous items. This was my first project; I was not keen that cost estimates must be delivered on time. I did not take into consideration that time constraints in construction projects may affect many aspects of estimating such as data collection and validation, data quality, and consistency. I had to talk to the stakeholders of the project who understood and accepted to adjust the budget. One thing that I learned is that construction analytics always want more data, by which good data takes time, which leads to the proper completion of the project”
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Construction Estimator?
The interviewer is interested to know what your day will be like. Share your expected routine tasks.
“Given this role, my daily routine will go as per the plan of meeting the set targets or organizational goals. To begin with, the day starts with wrapping up the project estimates and delivering complete estimates to clients. Then I will review new estimates and assign them to a designated construction estimator. I will put up together accurate and affordable estimates for the clients depending on the client’s job at hand where I will do the following; I will analyze the client’s drawings and plans; I measure by hand the most cost-effective solution for the project. I will research the requirements and communicate to suppliers, subcontractors, and specialists to gather the best possible quotes. I will compile all the information and communicate to clients.”
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience
The interviewer is interested in this information to determine if you are the right fit. Share your work experience and the skills you have developed that are important for this role.
“I have spent two years as a Construction Estimation Supervisor where my roles were analyzing plans, bills of quantities, and other project documentation to estimate costs. Researching, sourcing, negotiating and obtaining the best prices and quotes from suppliers and subcontractors. At the beginning of last year, I normally set targets for my team to ensure they meet the quarterly targets. I understand that this role requires my set of skills, so I want to use my abilities and expertise to attain desirable goals.”
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?
Keep the job description in mind while answering this. Try to relate the attributes of the job to the mindset and strategies you need.
“Given this role, I will first analyze and study the strategy employed by the company. Depending on the plan in place and my job description requirements, I typically will track my strategic goals weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually in the ongoing projects. I will assess and analyze the data available. I will assess the progress by any statistical information relating to construction and expenditure. Depending on what the data suggests, I will either keep my plan or adjust it to try and gain traction with our strategic goals”
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Role?
Use this question to highlight your strengths. Share a challenge and explain how your strengths in the area will enable you to solve it.
“Given this role, one of my big challenges will be adjusting to the new working environment and creating a new type of report to present to clients as per the standard of the organization. But I am a fast learner and I plan to consult and ask questions when preparing my first report and presentation. Having a team will enhance me to learn and get more skill and this is by asking a colleague to review and comment on my report before submission to the client”
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?
What makes you tick? This could be a trick question. Connect this to the company’s goals and share how that motivates you. Go beyond the financial rewards attached to the position in your answer.
“I am motivated by exploring and winning in new projects. At my current position, I carry the role of a Construction Estimator the monthly analytics report on cost estimation and evaluation. The role is more collaborative since it involves meeting new clients with new ideas, civil construction, and development. In addition, it enhances an open mind since it involves challenging targets. In addition, it is a role where being up to date with market prices for materials and products utilized in projects is required. Through the role, I can learn market trends and new technological changes.”
10. Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learnt?
The question needs to examine the experience, which has success and failures. Share the lessons you took from a past failure.
“In my previous role, I had a challenge where I estimated and the stakeholders gave me a fixed budget and schedules which I had estimated without considering miscellaneous allowance. In this project the stakeholders had unrealistic expectations on their fitness to the project budget how quickly the project will be finished, In my past, I always enjoyed working under pressure by this was my mistake on inaccurate reports and estimations. Having reviewed and discovered this I had to communicate to the stakeholders on the inevitable circumstance that the project will be over the budget, leading to excess cost. I communicated and illustrated what caused the underestimation. I apologized for the mistake in the budget that was raised. However, accuracy is paramount to an estimator’s work. Frequently producing inaccurate estimates will harm a construction estimator’s reputation”
11. Why Do You Feel You Are The Most Suited For This Role?
You need to know what makes you stand out from other candidates. Use this chance to showcase that.
“My skill set in analysis, quantity estimation and design are a perfect match for the job requirements. In particular, my planning skills and managerial experience make me an ideal candidate for the position. For example, at my last job, I was able to deliver near accurate estimates.”
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement
When it comes to Construction Estimation jobs, achievements may determine if you are hired. This role requires go-getters committed to delivering results. Share what makes you stand out.
“Well, my last role was as a Construction Estimator. Out of the two years I spent there, one year was a total nightmare. We had many clients and many projects at hand which would force us to work extra time. As a supervisor, I had to ask my team to be efficient at work to make sure that we wouldn’t get overwhelmed. I led by example by being proactive, I created a very strict shift schedule. I employed the recognition technique and I offered support to the team. We completed the projects in time and the clients were happy with the accuracy and good quality of work”
13. How Would You Ensure Complex Documents And Information Are Understood Clearly By Clients?
The interviewer is testing document knowledge, interpretation skills, and presentation skill.
“As an estimator, I understand that we are always required to present finished reports to the stakeholders from time to time. I understand that some metrics are specific and full of jargon that cannot be understood by the report consumers. I will take a step to break them down, to make them, simpler and clear on paper while keeping the meaning of the information. Sometimes information might be confusing to consumers, my role is to be present to show the significance of the estimation of my projection to the stakeholders”
14. How Do You Manage Your Time To Complete Your Job Duties Within Deadlines While Also Maintaining Quality Estimates?
The interview is testing your time management skills. Share what makes you stand out.
“I will be able to provide detailed estimations for a project within set timelines. I will make sure that I stick to timelines by developing a schedule. This will provide everyday panic know sometimes I will lack some information that I need. Therefore, I will communicate with the construction stakeholders to get an extension where I will estimate one or more project components”
15. Describe Your Computer Experience?
The interviewer is trying to test your technical skills on computer applications since the role requires data analysis and presentations.
“In my previous role, I have used construe software, in data analyzing and in calculations which gives proficiency skills in Microsoft Office that is Word, Excel, and PowerPoint which I use time to time in my presentations. I’m very comfortable using new and old programs and have a lot of experience doing so. Mostly we use construction Estimation Software and my combination of skills will help to understand complex details”
16. How Would Previous Colleagues Describe You?
The interviewer wants to establish what you are known for. The way our colleagues describe us can give someone an idea of who we are. Tell the interviewer what your colleagues would say about you.
“More frequently my colleagues have told me that I am extremely well organized, selfless and excellent at time management. In one construction assignment, my team praised me for planning, developing, and sticking to a timeline for all the phases of the project. We ended up completing it ahead of time, and it was a hit”
17. Why Do You Feel You Are Ready For This Position?
The interviewer is testing the confidentiality and knowledge on the job requirement.
“I have been working in this field over the years now and this is the area where my passion is. Having gone through the job description I believe I am a suitable candidate for the role since I have a combination of skills and experience that make me stand out. This position will allow me to use my technical expertise for larger projects with higher impact. I’m eager to combine my artistic talents with my technical skills to make estimates for industry leaders”
18. Can You Walk Me Through The Estimating Process?
The question is testing the knowledge on the steps when carrying out estimation and the entire procedure. Share your answer ensuring to demonstrate your planning and organizational skills.
“I will determine the estimate basis by collecting all information about the project. I will then start preparing base estimates using historical data and databases, market research, and reviewing base estimates if it reflects accurately the project’s scope of work. That schedule and cost items are calculated reasonably and realistically, and required components are not missing or double-counted. As the Construction Estimator, I will examine and determine risks where both internal and external experts, risk analysts, and managers will come up with their input. In the final phase I will Determine how the estimation will be communicated to various stakeholders of the project, and finally, Conduct an independent review before approval”
19. How Do You Ensure The Accuracy Of Your Estimates?
The interviewer is trying to examine the knowledge on data analysis and the capability of validating results to ensure accuracy. Share how you ensure you deliver accurate information.
“An estimator it is better to create time to make better construction estimates to avoid misappropriation and errors. I will collect as initial data as possible since if the data is inaccurate, there will be a downward effect of an issue. I will need to always incorporate different Subject Matter Experts in my estimation process, to review my work, and to criticize it, in various stages. I will try to think one step ahead and consider different variables and market conditions, to make sure I won’t underestimate any risks and factors that will have an impact on the project costs in the future. Last but not least, I will approach my job with utmost responsibility and attention to detail, double-checking everything and not underestimating any variables:
20. What Is Innovative About Construction Estimation?
The interviewer is testing your innovative skills, are you able to stand out and communicate them effectively. Share an answer while keeping enthusiasm for the role.
“Through Construction projects, an Estimator can easily identify available materials and methods to be used in construction. I analyze the quality and quantity of materials to be used. In addition, Innovative skills in new construction techniques can benefit the organization both financially and strategically. It is evident that through construction Estimation we focus on creating and identifying new technological designs which can attract clients. As an Estimator through engagement, I will create new construction solutions, strategies, technologies, and better material and budgeting estimation for a set project”
As a Construction Estimator, you have a combination of skills to succeed in an interview. You need to picture yourself and show expression in what it takes in Estimation. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques should be displayed. Have self-confidence and show the passion that the role belongs to you. Express your expertise to the interviewer using your experience and engagement. Ensure you leave a good impression on how you communicate and answer the questions.