Interview Questions for Civil Engineering


Civil engineering is a STEM field focused on designing and constructing the environments in which humans live. Civil engineers typically focus on large construction projects such as buildings, roads, bridges, subway systems, dams and water supply networks. 

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“An engineer is someone who is good with figures, but doesn’t have the personality of an accountant”.
– An Arts graduate’s view of engineers.

 Congratulations on getting called for that all-important, career-changing civil engineering interview. But, now comes the hard part. The most important part of preparing for an interview is to be aware of what kind of civil engineering interview questions might be thrown in your direction.

 The Best Interview questions 

Q1. Tell me About Yourself?
A: This is the first question you could be asked in any interview. This may sound simple but if you are unprepared you could be in big problem. So just prepare yourself for this simple yet difficult question Start with one two lines about yourself, who you are? A brief 1 line about your family [ this depends on what kind of interview you are going through] and lastly why are you the best suited person for this job. Tell about your achievements but never sound too proud of your achievements, highlight yourself but with decency. Remember the golden rule.

Q2. Tell me about something you did or failed to do that you now feel a little ashamed of?
A: This question is just to see how you react to embarrassing situations. Of course you just can not say “SKIP THIS PLEASE.” So better prepare yourself. Take your time to reply to this one at first say I am really finding it very hard to find any such situation as I believe the best way to avoid shame is never do such things.

Most of the interviewers just will proceed to another question but if he or she insists to elaborate then give any appropriate reply but be sure it should not sound that you are so regretful that it still has a mental impact on you. Remember
”Life must go on….no matter what”

 Q3. How do you measure concrete?

A: Cubic feet, Cubic yards, Cubic Meter

 Q4. What is aggregate?
A: Aggregate is the component of a composite material used to resist compressive stress.

 Q5. What are the steps involved in the concreting process?

A: The major steps involved in the process of concreting are as follows:
1. Batching
2. Mixing
3. Transporting and placing of concrete
4. Compacting

Q6. What Are The Different Type Of Slump Test Indications?

A: Slump tests are performed to empirically measure the work ability of fresh concrete. It is used to measure the consistency of the concrete. In general there are three different types of slumps that occur in slump tests.

They are as follows:

  • True Slump:This type of slump is characterized by the general drop of the concrete mass evenly without visible signs of deterioration or disintegration.
  • Shear Slump:It indicates that the concrete mix is deficient in cohesion. This type of slump leads to segregation and bleeding. Henceforth in the long run effecting the durability of the concrete.5
  • Collapse Slump:This type of slump is indicates that the mix of concrete is simply too wet. The mix is considered to be harsh and lean.

Q7.  Explain about Batching?

A: Batching: The process of measurement of the different materials for the making of concrete is known as batching. Batching is usually done in two ways: volume batching and weight batching. In case of volume batching the measurement is done in the form of volume whereas in the case of weight batching it is done by the weight.

Q8. What is Compaction of concrete?

A: Compaction of concrete: When concrete is placed it can have air bubbles entrapped in it which can lead to the reduction of the strength by 30%. In order to reduce the air bubbles the process of compaction is performed. Compaction is generally performed in two ways: by hand or by the use of vibrators.

Q9. What year was the keystone power plant in Indiana County constructed?
A: 1967 began commercial operation on unit.

Q10. Describe Briefly The Various Methods Of Concrete Curing?

A: Curing is the process of maintaining the moisture and temperature conditions for freshly deployed concrete. This is done for small duration of time to allow the hardening of concrete.

The methods that are involved in saving the shrinkage of the concrete include:

  • Spraying of water:on walls, and columns can be cured by sprinkling water.
  • Wet covering of surface:can be cured by using the surface with wet gunny bags or straw
  • Ponding:the horizontal surfaces including the slab and floors can be cured by stagnating the water.
  • Steam curing:of pre-fabricated concrete units steam can be cured by passing it over the units that are under closed chambers. It allows faster curing process and results in faster recovery.
  • Application of curing compounds:compounds having calcium chloride can be applied on curing surface. This keeps the surface wet for a very long time.

Q11. Why are steel plates inserted inside bearings in elastomeric bearings?

A: In order to make a elastomeric bearing act/ function as a soft spring it should be made to allow it to bulge laterally and also the stiffness compression can be increased by simply increasing the limiting amount of the lateral bulging. In many cases in order to increase the compression stiffness of the bearing the usage of metal plates is made. Once steel plates are included in the bearings the freedom of the bulge is restricted dramatically, also the deflection of the bearing is reduced as compared to a bearing without the presence of steel plates. The tensile stresses of the bearings are induced into the steel plates. But the presence of the metal plates does not affect the shear stiffness of the bearings.

Q12. What is the force exerted by the Tacoma narrows bridge?

A: The force exerted to the Tacoma narrows bridge was initially the wind resistance. The wind resistance caused the whole bridge to act as a system with forced vibration with damping.

Q13. Why do you want to work at our company?

This question is asked to check whether you know about the company and work profile or it was just that you got a call from your friend and you walked in the interview. So do your homework and check annual reports of company, browse website or any relevant data. See the areas where company is growing and match your skills with it. Show the interviewer how you could add to the overall profit of company.

Q14.  In Case If Concrete Box Girder Bridges How Is The Number Of Cells Determined?

A: When the depth of a box girder bridge exceeds 1/6th or 1/5th of the bridge width then the design recommended is that of a single cell box girder bridge. But in case the depth of the bridge is lower than 1/6th of the bridge width then a twin-cell or in some cases multiple cell is the preferred choice. One should also note that even in the cases of wider bridges where there depths are comparatively low the number of cells should be minimized. This is so as there is noticeably not much improvement in the transverse load distribution when the number of cells of the box girder is higher than three or more.

Q15. How Can You Distinguish Between Sorption, Absorption And Adsorption?

A: Sorption is a concomitant phenomenon of adsorption and absorption. Adsorption describes the phenomenon in which molecules that are present in a fluid (liquid or gas), concentrated spontaneously on a solid surface by a finite time.

Q16. What Is The Meaning Of Soil Reinforcement?

A: Soil reinforcement is the act of improving soil strength to enable it support or carry more load.

Two common examples are:

  • Mixing a soil amendment such as lime into weak clayey soil and re-compacting to improve soil-bearing capacity (often done under the road base in highway construction)
  • Installing plastic or composite webbing layers (called geo-grid material) alternating with compacted soil to produce a stronger sloped soil structure (often done on steep roadway embankments to improve strength and stability).

Q17. What Is Braced Excavation All About?

A: Excavations are braced to prevent the cave-in of surrounding unstable soil.

Q18. What is soil analysis?
A: Soil analysis is the testing of soil to determine the nutritional and elemental composition of soil. It is generally tested for knowing the contents of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous.

Q19. Why should pumping be not used in case of concreting works?

A: During the pumping operation the pump exerted pressure must overcome any friction between the pumping pipes and the concrete, also the weight of the concrete and the pressure head when the concrete is placed above the pumps. Since only water is pump able, all the pressure generated is by the water that is present in the concrete. The major problem due to pumping is segregation effects and bleeding. In order to rectify and reduce these effects, generally the proportion of the cement is increased in order to increase the cohesion, which leads to the reduction of segregation and bleeding. Also if a proper selection of the aggregate grading can vastly improve the concrete pump ability.
Q20. Which Is Stronger Solid Steel Rod Or Hollow Steel Pipe?

A: On a per pound basis, steel pipe is stronger in bending and is less likely to buckle in axial compression.

Q21. What Is Bursting Reinforcements?

A: These kinds of stresses occur in cases where the stress trajectories are concave towards the line of action of load. In order to reduce such stresses reinforcements in the form of bursting is required.

Q22.  Can you describe what a projection line is?

A: Projection line can be described as the way in which the earth is displayed on a flat piece of paper.

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