Planning engineers play an essential role in project teams as they help deliver projects on time. They mostly come up with the best strategies and monitor the entire team’s performance. Their duties stretch to determining material and labor costs and ensuring that the teams stick to health and safety regulations. If you have been eyeing a planning engineer job, this is the best article.
We will look at some of the common questions in planning engineer interviews that you should have in mind. Note that the interviewer will assess different aspects of this field; therefore, you must ensure that you are at your best through early preparation. Take a look at the following questions:
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
After spending five years in the retail industry, I believe it is time to usher in change. I want to try something different and get to meet new people and a horde of other challenges that will better my career. Also, I am in awe of your company, given your excellent work policies and conducive environment that will help me deliver. I couldn’t, therefore, forego the chance when an opportunity presented itself.
2. What Are The Roles Of A Planning Engineer?
A planning engineer plays several in the organization given their importance in the project planning and management processes. They monitor and track project progress and draft reports, attend and schedule meetings, delegate tasks as offer feedback to workers, communicate with supervisors, managers, and team members, ensure that all the projects are done within the right time and budget, observe all the existing processes and address any deficiency, look into and understand all the project specifications as well as come up with time schedules and budgets that ensure they are met.
3. What Are The Qualities That A Planning Engineer Needs To Be Successful?
A planning engineer needs several skills and attributes to be good at whatever they do. One must be proficient in MS Office, have proper planning and project management skills, possess strong multitasking abilities, and have a detailed understanding of safety protocols. Other qualities include working under pressure without compromising the quality of work, possessing strong critical, analytical and logical thinking skills, having the right academic qualifications, and possessing excellent driving skills. These qualities are vital since they help planning engineers deliver in their roles.
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?
I faced hostility in my last role as a planning engineer. I was the youngest member of the team, and a couple of other members felt that I didn’t deserve the chance, given my age. I hadn’t even spent three years planning to engineer and was still relatively ‘new’. I decided to approach the two team members, questioned them, and made them understand that my age didn’t matter, provided that I could deliver. I walked then through some of the former projects I had worked on and the returns, and by the time I was done with the meeting, they all agreed that I deserved the chance.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Planning Engineer?
My day as a planning engineer consists of performing activities meant to deliver the project quickly and cost-effectively. I mainly research and understand the project specifications as well as come up with time schedules and budgets, negotiate with vendors and contractors, monitor and track the progress of ongoing projects as well as prepare reports, observe all the existing processes, and looking I to staff performance, delegating tasks and offering feedback to different workers.
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience
This is my sixth year as a planning engineer. I have worked with three companies, helping in the timely and economical delivery of projects. I have had the chance to sit on diverse teams and interact with top executives from across the divide, gaining valuable experience and insights. I also have experience using several planning software and applications, which I believe will come in handy in this job. I am willing to work with all the technicians in this work and share ideas and experiences which can help me get better at my job.
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?
I have learned that the best strategy for any planning engineer is to involve all the stakeholders in the planning process and get hold of all the necessary documents before coming up with anything tangible. Some of the most important stakeholders are the product owner or their representatives, the project manager, and the entire team. As for the right mindset, a high level of productivity is needed to succeed in this job, given the number of roles planning engineers are tasked with.
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?
I have only worked in a few industries before, and therefore, this will be my first time in retail. I may need some time to adjust and be wary of the different processes and projects. However, I am proud that I am a fast learner and highly adaptable to change. I will have an easy time transitioning.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?
Planning engineering can be quite challenging given that it plays a vital role in project management and the entire delivery process. Therefore to stay motivated at work, I usually remind myself of all the successes I have had in this field whenever things get rough. I also plan myself accordingly before embarking on the planning engineering process so that I don’t run into unnecessary challenges that can demotivate me. Lastly, I work closely with my team members, who constantly push me to be at my best.
10. Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned?
I once negotiated with a contractor only to learn that a close business partner had better deals. I would have saved the company an additional 10% on the project’s cost had I taken some time to weigh all the available options. I got a cheaper contractor and proceeded not knowing that better deals lay ahead. Even though I didn’t bring this to the company’s attention at first, I knew that I had failed in my role. This experience taught me the importance of extensive research before deciding on anything that touches on the project.
11. Why Do You Feel You Are The Most Suited For This Role?
This is my tenth year as a project manager. I have worked with different companies and teams and obtained vast experience that I know will come in handy in my work here. I know to create meaningful relationships and networks, manage expectations and risks, and encourage other employees to be at their best. I have also worked with several project managers and even CEOs before, which gives me the confidence that I will perform highly given a chance. I am looking forward to working with you.
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement.
I have been in project engineering for quite some time since this is my twelfth year in this field. I have had several achievements, even though one significant one stands out. I managed to increase the profitability of one of the renowned companies in this region when they were struggling financially by helping them scale down on their budget. I negotiated with contractors and vendors for better prices and, at the same time, looked for cheaper resources, which saw their budgets cut by half. The increase in profitability was tremendous, which earned me a promotion.
13. Do You Think Communication Plays An Important Role In Your Work?
Yes. Every planning engineer knows that they have to be great communicators, given their roles in the team. They usually meet and communicate with the managers, supervisors, and the entire team on strategies that can ensure timely delivery. Communication plays a significant role when delegating tasks and negotiating with vendors and contractors to ensure fair prices.
14. What Do You Love Most About This Job?
I love that I am always at the forefront of project planning. My job helps the entity save on resources and time and stick to the provided project budgets. It also lets me interact with most stakeholders, gain valuable insights about the project, and act on them actively. Lastly, as a person who lives planning every little aspect of his life, I feel at home in this job. I am proud of the great work I have done so far.
15. How Do You Normally Ensure That The Project Stays Within The Allocated Budget?
I understand that one of my roles as the planning engineer is to come up with economically viable means of project delivery. I usually determine material and labor costs to ensure that the team doesn’t waste money or resources on the project. To stick within the allocated budget, I usually negotiate with both vendors and contractors to get goods at the best prices and monitor and track project progress. I also work closely with the project manager and conduct budget oversight.
16. One Of Your Roles Is Delegating Tasks. How Will You Go About That?
I am well aware that I have to delegate tasks to other team or staff members as a planning engineer. However, task delegation has to be done well and with utmost care to determine the team’s performance. When delegating tasks, I usually consider all potential team members’ abilities, experience, and skill levels and let the most experienced or skilled handle the most technical aspects. At the end of the day, the staff members end up with what they can handle.
17. Comment On Your Negotiation Skills
I am a good negotiator. I even took a course on contract negotiation, which has helped me in my undertakings. I have always secured the best prices from vendors and contractors, helping different projects teams stay within the allocated budget. I usually negotiate with the company’s interest in mind. I ensure that the final decision made is in the best interest of the company and ensures profitability. I am glad that most of the companies I have worked in recognize my negotiation skills and, therefore, allow me to lead different negotiation teams.
18. What Do You Think About Feedback? How Do You Handle Or Give Feedback?
I understand that one of my roles is ensuring that workers receive feedback, which I also expect from my seniors. I believe that feedback is crucial since it reveals areas that should be reinforced, taking us back to the drawing board. Also, positive feedback motivates us to give our best and keep on performing. I particularly love giving constructive feedback to workers to help them get better at their jobs. I also offer real-time feedback where necessary.
19. Can You Define The Main Driver Of A Project
As the name suggests, the main driver of a project refers to a culmination of significant activities that drive the project towards the critical path. It is easy to find since all you have to do is check with the last activity, identify its driving activity, and afterward mark the latter as the driving activity. It would be best to continue with the same process until you reach the first activity.
20. What Can You Tell Us About The Key Performance Indicators Of A Project?
The critical performance indicator, popularly known as KPI, is a measurable value that sheds light on a company’s effectiveness in achieving its important business objectives. It is worth noting that this is a quantifiable measure of performance after a while, which targets a specific objective. Every organization has its KPIs, and therefore, one needs to perform a careful study and analysis when defining key performance indicators.
21. How Do You Normally Measure Project Success?
There are six different ways of measuring the success of a project. First, you can use the units completed for repeated tasks with easy-to-measure iterations. This is possible since repeated tasks usually consume the same amount of resources, effort, and time, making tracking the units easier. Other methods include the start/finish method, which focuses solely on the starting and finishing points of the task, as well as the cost ration method, which is implemented on projects with tasks that take longer or occur throughout the entire project. One can also use incremental milestones used for cost accounts with subtasks that should be completed in a particular way. Others are the weighted/equivalent units and experience/opinion methods.
22. What Do You Know About The Kick-Off Meeting?
The kick-off meeting is one of the most critical meetings in the project lifecycle as it occurs at the beginning of the project. It brings together all the major stakeholders for the first time and is also attended by the project manager, product owners or their representatives, as well as the entire project team. All high-level overall plans, such as means of execution, are discussed during the kick-off meeting. It is usually followed by rolling wave planning which occurs as the project progresses and many things become clearer.
23. Can You Tell Us More About The Reflection Schedule
Primavera P6 professional has a reflection function that plays an important role, even though it does not receive the applause it deserves. It offers users a copy of the program, allowing them to view different scenarios after effecting necessary changes. All you have to do afterward is merge the native program to the copy, and you are good to go. It is worth noting that project management uses reflection periods, which allow the project team to ascertain whether the completed tasks align with the project specifications, timelines, and purpose.
24. Can You Differentiate Change Order And Variation Order Request
Change Order Request, popularly known as COR, refers to a contractor-generated document detailing a change in the scope of work, complete with detailed drawings, specifications, and descriptions. It requests changes in costs or time and informs the product owner of the type of the requested change. On the other hand, a variation order refers to a written agreement requesting a change of work from what was entered in the contract. As the name suggests, it suggests variation from the agreed contract.
25. Can You Mention Some Of The Things You Need When Coming Up With A Plan?
A planning engineer requires a number of documents when coming up with a plan. These include the contract document, which helps them understand the scope of the project, and the bill of quantity, popularly known as the BOQ, which comprises the cost and scheduling software. Also, a planning engineer must make great strides to understand the project team and their productivity rate before coming up with a plan.
We have covered some of the questions you should anticipate in your upcoming planning engineer interview. Take some time and slowly review them, thinking about all the possible answers to increase your chances of landing the job. We wish you all the best in your upcoming interview.