Top 20 Hardware Engineer Interview Questions & Answers 2021


As you prepare for your next interview, you may be wondering which questions your interviewer might ask. There are several common questions you should expect in a hardware engineer interview. In this article, we share the top interview questions along with answers that interviewers will be looking for.

1. What Roles Do a Hardware Engineer Perform?

This question tests whether you are familiar with the roles performed by hardware engineers.

Tip #1: Think fast about several roles done by a hardware engineer

Tip #2: Prove you’re knowledgeable about your roles

Sample Answer

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A hardware engineer performs various roles depending on the company. These include researching, developing, and testing computer systems. Hardware engineers also develop processors, routers, networks, a memory device, circuit boards, and other computer related components. It is also within their roles to discover new trends in computer hardware.

2. Describe Ways in Which Scalability Can Be Addressed?

This question tests your knowledge concerning how systems can be scaled to handle more work.

Tip #1: State two or three ways in which hardware engineers can address scalability

Tip #2: Demonstrate that you are skilled in this area

Sample Answer



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A hardware engineer can achieve scalability by upgrading a system. This could mean increasing the processing power of a system so that I can work faster and hence process more work. Another way to scale a system is to improve architectural designs. This will ensure an enhanced method of deploying codes on hardware. Regarding computer systems, scalability can also be achieved by increasing the memory capacity.

3. Describe What is Meant by Fault Tolerance

Here, the interviewer wants to test your familiarity with fault tolerance.

Tip #1: Define fault tolerance

Tip #2: Give a clear and complete answer to prove your familiarity

Sample Answer

Fault tolerance refers to the property that enables a system to function continuously even when one or more components malfunction. Nonetheless, it is important to identify where the failure has occurred promptly to correct it and restore full functionality.

4. What is Architectural Risk and How Can You Mitigate It

This question is meant to assess whether you are familiar with architectural risks.

Tip #1: Define an architectural risk

Tip #2: State how you can mitigate it

Sample Answer

An architectural risk is a possibility that architectural design might fail to satisfy the requirements of a project. Failure may include substandard quality designs and inefficiencies unapproved by the sponsor. I would mitigate architectural risks by making sure to capture requirements correctly to avoid design flaws and the following standard and accepted software design procedures.

5. Do You Get Excited to Learn About New Technologies?

The interviewer asks this question to know whether you can learn new technologies besides working.

Tip #1: Describe the way you learn about new technologies

Tip #2: Show that you can learn new concepts as you work

Sample Answer

Yes. Since technology keeps on changing, I always make effort to learn more about any new things and developments in the field. I also seek to know how other technological advancements may affect the way things are done in my profession. Learning about new technologies gives me more knowledge about how I can improve current processes or designs.

6. As a Hardware Engineer, Which Area of This Job Do You Find Most Challenging

The interviewer wants to hear whether you anticipate any challenge in your job and how you intend to deal with it.

Tip #1: State a challenge you expect to face

Tip #2: Show how you will deal with it

Sample Answer

I find it quite challenging to develop complex computer systems within very strict deadlines. This is mainly because they may exhibit certain behaviours that need more time to troubleshoot. But I will ensure to work with other experts to ensure problems are identified early and appropriate solutions are implemented to deliver timely products.

7. What is ASCII?

This question is aimed at assessing whether you are familiar with ASCII.

Tip #1: State the meaning of ASCII

Tip #2: Mention its purpose to demonstrate your understanding

Sample Answer

ASCII is an acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It is a format for text files that are widely used in computers. The purpose of ASCII is to make sure that different devices can connect and communicate with each other. Besides, it translates the binary language to make it readable to humans.

8. Have You Ever Led a Team Before? How Was the Experience?

Here, the interviewer wants to know whether you can be trusted to lead a team.

Tip #1: Think about a team you led and share your success

Tip #2: Prove that you are capable of leading a team

Sample Answer

During my previous role, I led a hardware design team to research ways to enhance the performance of a system we were developing. I guided my team in a systematic manner that enabled us to quickly find an appropriate solution. In the end, the performance of the system even exceeded the client’s expectations.

9. What Makes You the Best Candidate for this Job?

This question is meant to assess whether you would be an asset or a liability to the company.

Tip #1: Mention what makes you stand out from other candidates

Tip #2: Be honest and don’t mull over the answer

Sample Answer

I am very passionate about designing computer hardware. I trained in one of the best institutes in the country. Moreover, I have over 7 years of experience as a hardware engineer. Thus, I will execute this role effectively and to the satisfaction of the company.

10. How Would You Explain a Technical Issue to People Who Aren’t Tech-Savvy?

This question tests your ability to explain complex or technical concepts or issues to non-technical persons.

Tip #1: Explain the approach you would use to make them understand

Tip #2: Prove your ability to breakdown technical concepts to make them simple

Sample Answer

I have found using a cheat sheet to be very effective in explaining and making people understand technical issues. Using it will help to explain technical terms in a more simplified manner. I would use analogies and illustrate concepts to enhance understanding.

11. How Do You Prioritize Your Work?

Here, the interviewer seeks to test your ability to prioritize work.

Tip #1: Mention how you order your work

Tip #2: Prove your ability to prioritize tasks based on their order of priority

Sample Answer

First, I develop a list of all projects or tasks that need to be worked on. Then, I determine their deadlines, dependence, and urgency. With this in mind, I identify those that need to be completed first. These are followed by those that are less urgent. The list ends with projects that depend on others or are not urgent. If some projects or tasks need to be completed at the same time, I leverage my multitasking abilities to deliver them on time.

12. How Do Your Stay Current in the Hardware Engineering Industry?

This is one of the common questions asked during a hardware engineer interview. The employer wants an employee who stays current and can integrate new developments in their work.

Tip #1: Mention ways you learn about new developments in the industry

Tip #2: Prove that you can implement changes as they happen in the industry

Sample Answer

I am a member of the engineers association. Through it, I receive updates about what other engineers are doing across the world. Besides, I attend engineering workshops organized in the country from time to time. I have also subscribed to two industry newsletters that publish news and trends about the industry.

13. If You Have a Slow Running Computer System, How Would You Troubleshoot the Problem?

This question requires that you demonstrate an effective strategy for troubleshooting hardware issues.

Tip #1: State how you would troubleshoot the problem

Tip #2: Prove your troubleshooting skills

Sample Answer

First, I would find out how the system should perform versus how it is functioning to understand the variation and extent of the problem. With that in mind, I would evaluate its subsystems to identify one that is causing the problem. Once identified, I would rectify the issue and test the system to ensure it is operating optimally.

14. Briefly Share About Your Technical Background

The interviewer wants to find out whether you have a technical background relevant to this job.

Tip #1: Check the job description and mention your qualifications that relate to this position

Tip #2: Prove that you have relevant technical skills needed to perform effectively

Sample Answer

Five years ago, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. I have also earned CompTIA and PC Hardware certifications from one of the best institutes in the country. In my previous roles, I developed a couple of hardware solutions. Owing to my technical skills and experience in the industry, I will be a valuable asset to this company.

15. What Is a Microprocessor?

The interviewer wants to test your familiarity with this term.

Tip #1: Define a microprocessor

Tip #2: Be direct and provide a complete answer

Sample Answer

A microprocessor is a central unit in a computer that manages and executes logical instructions. In other words, it is an electronic device that contains logic, arithmetic, and control circuitry required to perform various computer functions. A microprocessor and computer CPU are used interchangeably in the personal computer’s domain.

16. Name the Factors that Affect the Speed of a Microprocessor

Hardware engineers develop processors. In this context, the interviewer wants to hear whether you are well-versed with what impacts the speed of microprocessors.

Tip #1: State several factors that affect how fast a microprocessor can be

Tip #2: Prove your knowledge regarding microprocessors

Sample Answer

There are several factors that influence the speed of microprocessors. These are the clock speed, bandwidth, the number of transistors within a processor as well as the instructions built in it. A variation in these factors will impact the speed of a microprocessor.

17. What Would You Do If a Team Member Has Made a Huge Mistake?

This question seeks to test how you would react when your colleagues commit intense mistakes.

Tip #1: State the steps you would take

Tip #2: Show that you respect the chain of authority

Sample Answer

First, I would try to help my colleague find a solution or rectify the error. If this doesn’t work, I would seek assistance from my supervisor or boss. I know I am not responsible for disciplining members who commit mistakes over and over. Therefore, I would always report such cases to the relevant office.

18. State the Difference Between Multiprocessing and Multitasking

Here, interviewers want to test your understanding of these two concepts.

Tip #1: Describe the meaning of each term

Tip #2: Point out the difference in the process

Sample Answer

Multiprocessing is the ability of a CPU to process multiple programs at the same time. Modern computers are fitted with multiple processors to enhance their multiprocessing capabilities. On the other hand, multitasking is the ability of a multiprocessor to switch between multiple programs that are running at the same time.

19. What Is Heat Sink and Why is it Necessary? 

The interviewer asks you about heat sink to test whether you know what it is and why it is used.

Tip #1: Explain what is meant by the heat sink

Tip #2: Mention why it is important to use it

Sample Answer

A heat sink refers to a component that is used to reduce the temperature of a system or its component. It is commonly used to lower temperature in microprocessors. If a heat sink is not fixed properly, a system usually shuts down automatically to prevent heat damage on the CPU.

20. What Does a Hardware Engineer Do on a Daily Basis?

This question is meant to test your familiarity with the daily routine of a hardware engineer.

Tip #1: State the duties performed by a hardware engineer 

Tip #2: Prove that you know your daily routine

Sample Answer

The primary responsibilities of a hardware engineer are designing computer hardware, testing hardware to ensure it’s working properly, identifying defects, designing and testing circuits as well as other electronic components, and assessing safety, reliability, and cost factors. Other duties include supervising technicians, analyzing information and proposing suitable hardware to users, and designing prototypes.

Conclusion

You can use these hardware engineer interview questions and answers to prepare adequately for your next interview. You can customize them to fit your experience, academic background, or company. To succeed in your interview, study, and practice them. This is one of the sure ways to outperform your fellow candidates.

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