Imagine a blank sheet of paper. Now close your eyes and try to think about your upcoming job interview. What could you tell about yourself? What from your previous career could be relevant for getting the job as an electrical estimator?
Important factors are your training and the experience you have gained in this profession. Just think about what the HR manager might want to know from you in the interview. It is best to write down your ideas as well, as this will prepare you enormously for your upcoming interview. To help you in this process, we present you with the top 25 electrical estimator interview questions and answers.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
When it comes to the electrical installation, many people still have an image of the past in their heads: two to four sockets per room, connect the lighting installation, and think about the kitchen power supply – and that’s it.
However, the high comfort that we have today also places much higher demands on the electrical network in the house than was the case in the 80s. Not only the number of sockets that we need per room has increased – more and more complicated and sometimes very powerful devices are connected, but many devices are also charged, controls and modern built-in lights are added. Even the number of cables in the house is significantly higher than earlier.
It is a fact that anyone who builds a new house, as well as any kind of construction project, is confronted with the costs of the electrical installation. And they are often underestimated by builders in advance. What electrical installation costs in practice and what the costs depend on should be revealed in detail by the estimator. And this is where I want to step in – to help determine the costs, and provide advice on how to make the project energy-efficient and budget-friendly.
2. What Are The Roles Of An Electrical Estimator?
Classic job descriptions prevent flexibility and are not typical for the modern workplace. I know that the roles of an electrical estimator vary greatly, but I can think of several responsibilities that can be part of the job:
- Estimating the cost and labor and electrical materials needed
- Oversees all estimates and compares them with the implementation during all phases of the construction project
- Use manual or computer calculations to ensure efficiency and safety while respecting investor electrical requirements
- Visit the site to gather more data and finalize a plan that includes cost estimates.
- Use forms to submit cost information to building contractor owners or other employers.
3. What Are The Qualities That An Electrical Estimator Need To Be Successful?
The electrical estimator should have a great sense of responsibility and care. There is also technical understanding and expertise. Other important qualities are resilience, willingness to perform, teamwork, and reliability.
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?
Experience shows that there is no upper limit to the costs of the electrical installation, but there is a lower limit. If the costs cannot be high enough, you can easily gild your switches and find more cost-efficient solutions. However, risky solutions are not an option. Savings should only be made where it is possible and where quality and safety do not have to be sacrificed. If you build below the standard, you will quickly have an outdated electrical installation and then saved nothing afterward.
There was one client who insisted to lower the costs at any price. I was not willing to do the project on those terms – I am not putting anyone at risk or approving an installation that is way below standard and electrical recommendations. I talked with my supervisors and got their support. I am happy to say that we did manage to agree with the client. It was challenging, but in the end, we built a house that was according to all electrical standards, and we did not go over the budget.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As An Electrical Estimator?
I don’t think that electrical estimators have a typical daily routine. It depends on the project they are taking. Sometimes we have a ready electrical drawing and our part is to estimate costs – materials needed, labor and construction work, transport, and equipment. Other times we visit sites and oversee how the implementation of the project is running. We can offer advice and solutions, and talk to clients, constructors, and other project leaders.
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience?
During my studies in electrical engineering, I had a 1-year training in a construction company. I helped the team of electrical engineers: they designed, monitored, and evaluated electrical and automation systems. My job consisted of planning and organizing work, advising customers, helping with the installation of systems, measuring and analyzing, and checking the protective measures. After I graduated, I got my training as an electrical estimator. Meanwhile, I worked as an electrical installation designer for 3 years. My main duties were the implementation of customer requirements, planning of electrical installations, drawing electrical schemes, analysis and elimination of faults and errors, and documentation of work carried out.
I learned a lot and gained experience both in technical skills, as well as communicating with clients, and engineers for the successful completion of projects. It was not an easy choice to leave the company. I got very close with my team colleagues, and I am well respected by my supervisors and mentors. However, I think that it’s time to focus on my dream job – being an electrical estimator.
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Are Required For This Role?
Electrical estimators are part of a broad and challenging field of work. The requirements of every electrical estimator are slightly different, and the equipment also differs from one project to the next. So, quoting flat-rate prices right away is not just difficult, but unacceptable. As an estimator, you should strive for perfection – looking for maximal optimization of every aspect of the electrical project – efficiency, cost-saving, state-of-the-art equipment, practicality, visual aspect…
Also, the electrical estimator should constantly try to improve and follow electrical trends. They should develop their networking opportunities, have and access to the latest techniques and technology. In the end, I must mention what is probably most important – the commitment to quality and integrity. Safety should always come first.
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge You Foresee In This Job?
Although experience is very important in this job, the electrical estimator should never stop thinking out of the box and creatively. They can’t just rely on tried and tested ways.
Whether new or old, every electrical installation is different, and therefore the associated costs cannot be precisely quantified in a simple manner. However, the fact that there is no fixed price has its advantages: the costs can be influenced. Factors such as the standard of equipment, the integrated elements, the proportion of personal work, and the electrician carrying out the work determine the total costs. So, the electrical estimator must respect the client’s vision. They can greatly influence the electrical project and installation, but, at the end of the day, the most important thing is to put the client’s needs and wishes first.
The electrical installation is an important investment and influences the living comfort. A successful electrical estimator turns a client’s dreams into reality.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated At Work?
That is quite easy. I need variety and that should also be the case in my job. Always working in the same place, would be too boring for me. So, my orientation went straight to electrical engineering, because there is a pretty good chance of finding something that can be used on different construction sites. I wanted to become an electrical estimator because the job is very demanding, varied, and, above all, constantly changing due to the rapid developments in technology. So, you never stop learning and always have new challenges.
10. Describe A Time You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned?
Certain projects were more challenging than others. However, I don’t feel that I have failed, as I do think that my clients are satisfied with my work. I have always tried to go out of my way to come to the best solution possible, and I do remember spending hours out of the office thinking about particularly difficult projects.
One of them taught me a valuable lesson. There was a client who at the initial stages of the project, had basic electrical installation requirements, and was looking for a basic solution. I did the entire estimation and project along with those requirements. Later in the project, the client changed his mind, and the electrical installation got way more complex. We integrated all these add-ons later in the project, but it was more time-consuming and would have been easier if we agreed to that from the start. Now I take my time when planning with the client. I keep going over the details and ask what they want to do on the site and what devices they want to put in there. This is the best way to think of everything.
11. Why Do You Feel You Are Qualified For This Role?
First of all, I have known the industry very well for years and have extensive and up-to-date experience in the areas of electrical installation designing and estimating. I am very reliable, resilient, and customer-focused. I am oriented toward solutions that work best both for the clients and the company. I’m also very familiar with technological trends and software. Therefore, I am sure that I will achieve the results you want in the advertised position.
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement
I am proud of every one of my projects. I used all my knowledge and expertise to provide the clients with the best solution possible. At my previous workplace, I was known for solving problems using rather unconventional approaches and suggesting new suppliers. I was not afraid of thinking outside the box. Creativity is very important to me, and I think that technology nowadays relies on it. I want to continue with the same passion for the job.
13. Why Do You Want To Get This Job?
I will not hide my interest in this position from you. At the first glance, this work is 99% known to me, which will allow me to quickly understand and start working. And secondly, I already mentioned that this is my dream job.
Another factor is that I will be as motivated as possible located not far from me. The combination of interesting work and work close to home is a great success.
14. What Do You Know About This Company?
I am especially enthusiastic about the company’s innovative aspirations. In addition, I have not only a desire but experience in the preparation and successful implementation of truly breakthrough projects. I would be very proud to work for a company that has a long tradition, but at the same time implements the newest solutions and follows tech trends.
15. Why Should We Hire You?
I have already gotten to know the challenges that the industry is currently facing through other practical work. I, therefore, have many ideas and experiences as to how these things can be solved. And I always put my clients first.
16. How Can You Save Costs With Electrical Installation?
There are many ways that lead to cost reduction in electrical installation, none of which should compromise safety. For example, the equipment is always a matter of taste. Safety and functionality are also given with simple equipment. And of course, you can always save a little with the less expensive switch series. And if you don’t have sockets installed individually, but instead always install several as a series of sockets, you can also reduce the costs a little.
You can also save a bit on lighting: If you don’t necessarily need a large number of built-in lights, you often save the electrician a lot of effort – and yourself the costs.
17. Which Cost Factors Have To Be Considered for The Electrical Installation?
The most common answer to a cost question is the price of the material. However, when it comes to electrical installation, the answer is not that simple. Because the costs of the electrical installation vary and depend on the following factors, among others:
- Equipment type and manufacturer
- Material prices
- Number of sockets, switches, junction boxes, and lighting elements
- Number of conduits and required wiring
- Type and quantity of the additional equipment elements
18. How Do You Stay Connected And Organized When Working On Multiple Projects At The Same Time?
Electrical estimators are used to working in several places and on several projects at the same time. I have methods and techniques to help me organize and maintain the best possible efficiency during these hectic periods. I use calendars, spreadsheets, tables, and software tools. And I always have my work diary with me, so I remember everything I need to do.
19. How Do You Keep Up To Date With The Latest Trends And Changes In The Industry?
Regulations, laws, trends, and practices are constantly changing in the electrical industry. It’s a great advantage when you are informed about these innovations and improvements. I am subscribed to a few tech industry magazines. I am also regularly attending seminars and workshops. My previous company had a practice of investing in our learning and development, and I hope that is the case with this company as well. I would certainly like to follow industry trends.
20. How Do You Stay Positive And Professional When Working With A Particularly Difficult Client?
Being a great electrical estimator takes more than just being able to handle wires and lighting. A good electrical estimator must also have a certain level of people skills, especially if they will be working closely with outside customers. The certainty that the electrical estimator behaves politely and professionally even toward picky customers contributes to a positive image of the company.
21. If You Were Working With An Electrician Apprentice And Noticed That They Often Made Mistakes, What Would You Do?
Safety and quality must come first for the applicant. In this situation, applicants should feel safe to report the mistakes to the trainee in a professional manner as soon as they notice them. In that case, I can instruct the trainee in the proper manner in which they should complete their duties.
22. How Long Do You See Yourself Working For Our Company?
Your company attracts me with the opportunity to work in one job for a long time. Stability is important to me. I like it when you get used to the leader, the team, and the working conditions. In that kind of work environment, you do the work efficiently and you feel confident.
23. Suppose You Receive Critical Feedback From A Customer. How Do You Accept It, How Do You Correct Your Work, And How Do You Learn From It For The Future?
The electrical estimator should take all possible actions that can resolve the client’s problem. This could mean improving their work or providing feedback to a dedicated team. Then they should learn some lessons from it.
24. What Steps Would You Take If A Colleague Requested A Change To Your Schematics And You Weren’t Sure How To Proceed?
Communication and negotiation skills are required here. I would ask the colleague for more precision and information about the changes to be made. I would hope to be able to negotiate and discuss the changes. When both of us present our views on the project, we should come to a solution that works best.
25. Is This The Only Company In Which You Apply For A Job?
This isn’t the only opportunity I’m thinking about, but your business is the only place where my qualifications will be fully required. Especially as an electrical estimator, I have special knowledge in the field of electrical engineering, and this will be the demand in your company. This is a job I will look forward to every morning.
We came to the end of the top 25 interview Q&A for an electrical estimator. Now you are prepared to show your qualities and get the job! Good Luck!