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The Best Questions for a Field Service Engineer Interview

November 21, 2017 - Team Management - 5 minutes

It’s time to learn about the best field service engineer interview questions. After following the advice in our recent posts on creative ways to attract the best field service engineers and what to do once you have a nice stack of job applications, you’re now faced with the prospect of conducting interviews with your chosen candidates…

…and feeling pretty awkward about it.

Your engineers are on the front line with customers all day, so it’s essential that they be able to present themselves well, handle difficult customer situations, work independently, troubleshoot common problems, and think on their feet. Asking the right questions during the field service engineer interview can help you figure out if a candidate has what it takes—and asking the wrong ones can waste everyone’s time and saddle you with a nightmare employee. (No pressure!)

So what questions will help you figure out which candidate is your perfect field service engineer? You could flip through the dozens of books out there for hiring managers, and pore over the hundreds of websites that claim to have the perfect list of questions. Or you could just keep reading here, because we did all the work for you and researched the types of job interview questions that are sure to help you find the right employee.

(Also, check out our free downloadable Complete Hiring Checklist for Field Service Businesses at the end of this post, which will simplify the whole process even more.)

1. Position-Specific Questions

Position-specific questions let you know whether the candidate has the basic qualifications for the job. For example:

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  • Do you have a clean driving record?
  • What kind of training or certifications do you have?
  • What’s the first step you’d take when diagnosing a fault in a customer’s boiler?
  • What’s the most common type of plumbing issue you’ve handled?

If you missed any key questions during the application process or while on the phone, now’s the time to ask them.

2. Motivational Questions

Finding out what motivates candidates and what their goals and ideals are can give you a sneak peek at their future performance, according to Geoff Hoppe in his article ‘5 Essential Field Service Interview Questions’ on the Capterra blog. While this article is meant for field service job candidates, you can borrow the questions for your own interviews. Motivational questions include:

  • Describe your ideal boss.
  • What would a major ‘win’ look like for you?
  • What did you like best about your last job?
  • Where would you like to be in the next year (five years, 10 years)?

The way a candidate answers motivational questions can reveal just as much about them as their actual answer; for example, if they can’t find a single positive thing to say about their last job or they need five minutes to come up with an answer to a question, they may not be the right field service engineer for you.

Bonus: This type of job interview question can help you figure out what makes a candidate tick—so if you do hire them, you’ll know how to keep them motivated. We’ll be offering creative, inexpensive ways to motivate your employees in next week’s post.

The WAY a job candidate answers interview questions can reveal as much about them as their actual answer.

3. Behavioural Questions

In their article ‘Field Service Technician Interview questions’, Workable suggests asking questions that reveal the candidate’s personality and how they would handle various situations in the field. Behavioural questions include: 

  • Tell me about a time when you dealt with an angry customer. How did you handle their complaints?
  • What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far as a field service engineer, and how did you handle it?
  • What new skills would you like to learn as a field service engineer? 

Listen carefully to the answers. For example, does the candidate sound excited about the idea of learning new skills? Do they handle customer conflict well? Can they deal with problems in the field without having to ask for help?e

4. Curveball Questions

Hiring employees is time-consuming and expensive, and it stinks when it quickly becomes clear that your newest hire won’t work out.

We can blame eighty-nine percent of hiring failures on a poor cultural fit, says Erika Andersen of Forbes.com. Asking curveball questions during the field service engineer interview can help head off this problem by revealing whether the candidate will jibe with your company culture. Some oddball examples:

  • What’s the first thing you should do in a zombie apocalypse?
  • What’s the last book you read?
  • On a scale from 1 to 10, rate me as an interviewer. (This one is from Jobsite’s article on curveball questions.)
  • What’s something you believe that no one else agrees with you on?
  • Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses? (Whole Foods interviewers ask this question, according to Glassdoor.)

The candidate’s answers to curveball questions—and also the way they react when they’re hit with weirdo queries like these—will show whether they have the confidence, humor, or smarts to make it as an employee in your business. 

Hiring the right employees for your field service business can turn your customers into raving fans, and your company bank account into an overflowing abundance of profits. That’s why we at Commusoft put together the free Complete Hiring Checklist for Field Service Businesses.

Just click on the banner below and download our comprehensive, fillable checklist to your hard drive—and we’ll walk you through every step of the hiring process, so you can get started finding the perfect field service engineer today. Enjoy!

Hiring checklist

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Linda is a long-time journalist and content writer in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.