With the current technician shortage in the skilled trades, most interviews go something like this: “Are you a licensed electrician? You’re hired.” That being said, asking good interview questions is your best opportunity as an employer to learn ahead of time the type of character your electrician has, and whether or not they’ll be a good fit for your current job opening. Figuring out fast which candidates are team players, honest, and have a passion for working with electrical work will lead your company ahead of the competition.
We went ahead and surveyed actual electrical business owners for interview tips to help answer a common problem that new employers run into: “What questions should I ask my technician?”
In this post we’ll break down our template for the top 100 job interview questions to ask professional electricians by category, so that finding the right fit for your job description will be as easy as your new hire's first day on the job.
The best way to get your job interview rolling is by asking common interview questions that help you get-to-know your applicant. This will help dissolve any initial tension between you and your candidate by starting the interview off easy, and will give you a better gauge of their character and background.
Examples of general interview questions to ask an electrician
1. What made you want to get started in this industry?
This is a pretty straightforward question that will give you insight into your candidates’ motivation and drive, both of which are crucial if you want to have a successful long term employee.
2. Why are you looking for new job opportunities at this time?
What motivated this candidate to start looking for new job opportunities? Were they fired, did they need cash fast, are they changing career paths, etc. Knowing why your candidate entered this trade will help you determine whether their hearts are in the right place for the position.
3. What made you decide to apply for our job opening?
On the same lines as the last question, what made them interested in your job opening over others? This will often give you insight on what to highlight for future job listings.
4. Do you have any previous experience or training?
This is pretty straightforward, knowing their past experience will help judge whether or not they really are qualified for the job.
5. What do you consider to be your strengths?
See how they respond to this question in the following way: do they lean more heavily on their technical skills required for the job or their characteristics and personality as leverage? As an employer you’ll have to judge their potential, so knowing their strong suits will let you know whether they’re worth picking up.
6. What are your greatest weaknesses?
You don’t want a candidate who isn’t honest. Integrity is crucial on the job when it comes to accountability, so see if they really showcase their weak points and acknowledge how they’re improving to make their low points stronger.
7. Was there a time you did more than what the customer or supervisor expected of you?
Find out quickly whether they’re an overachiever striving to grow or if they seem like they’ll hit a motivation plateau.
8. What would you do to ensure success on a problem you didn’t know how to solve?
As an employer, you want to make sure employees are comfortable with asking questions when they don’t know the answer. Helping make an environment where your technicians are comfortable learning from mistakes is crucial to running a successful business.
9. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you solved it.
Will they fight to overcome challenges or give up when a task becomes too challenging?
10. How comfortable are you with using technology, and are there any skills you have that will benefit you while on the job?
See if they have any unique skill sets that will be useful for your company. Are they a curious person that’s passionate about learning? Will they be able to pick up how to use business tools like Housecall Pro quickly or will they end up taking up precious time with training?
11. Give me an example of a time when you demonstrated leadership skills.
You want employees who are confident in their abilities, especially those that will one day be leaders in your company.
12. What is your dream job?
See if this industry is just a part time gig, a side hustle, or a lifetime commitment for your candidate. There’s nothing wrong with short-term hires, but know what you’re getting into when you sign a new employee.
13. What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
See how they think about themselves. Use this as an opportunity to dig deeper and understand your candidate on a personal level.
14. Tell me about a time you failed.
This is a good way to gauge whether they learn from mistakes. A strong candidate will admit to an honest mistake and explain what they took away from the experience.
15. How do you deal with stress or pressure?
See if they have a good head on their shoulders and can work through difficult situations. The last thing your company wants is an employee that falls apart when given hard choices.
16. What should I know that’s not on your resume?
Sometimes the best employees just don’t know how to use their resume to their advantage. Chances are there is some unique quality hidden off paper, so get to know if there’s any strengths or weaknesses not highlighted.
Technical questions to ask an electrician
The most obvious and important part of the interview process: figuring out whether your candidate actually understands the scope of work. Use the following questions below along with any other company specific prompts you can think of.
Examples of technical interview questions to ask an electrician
17. Have you ever had an experience on a job where you needed to trade safety for speed?
This question will help you really quickly weed through candidates that cut corners or do a poor job for the sake of finishing faster. As an employer your business will ultimately be held accountable for shoddy work, not the technician, so only hire those who will actually get the job done.
18. Here's an electrical job scenario. Explain how you would take the job and help the client.
Hearing firsthand how your candidate thinks through problems on the job will give you a better idea of what they’re capable of and how they’ll prioritize their work.
19. Are there any types of installation, repairs, or maintenance that you have experience with? What specialties do you have?
20. What are your favorite jobs to do?
21. What are your least favorite jobs to do?
22. What certification(s) do you have and is it up to date?
See our blog post on education and certifications every electrician should have. If any of your current techs need help getting started, they can see how to meet those requirements here.
23. Could you tell me about the most complicated electrical problem you encountered in the past, and how you solved it?
The answer will demonstrate the potential hire's technical and problem-solving skills.
24. Do you have experience working with or servicing a transformer?
If your company works in factories or industrial settings, your employees need experience working with transformers. This type of question will help you weed out inexperienced candidates.
25. Hypothetical: one of your coworkers receives a severe electrical shock. What would you do?
26. What types of wires might be used in a residential electrical job?
27. What are the differences between wiring high-voltage and low-voltage systems?
28. In an electrical system, what role do fuses play? What about breakers?
29. Who is the most challenging person you have dealt with as an Electrician, and how did you deal with them?
Learning how your candidate values customer service can be crucial to your company’s success, so see if they’re patient or hotheaded using this question.
30. How do you keep up to date with the latest advancements in the electrical field?
Electrical jobs continue to be revolutionized by a fast moving industry of upgrades. Not only does this question gauge a candidate’s interest in the field, it also shows whether they will be quick to pick up new skills in the future.
31. What skill(s) would you most like to improve and how can you improve it?
If they respond with “nothing”, it’s an immediate sign they’re not the candidate for the job. You want people working in your company that are constantly trying to improve and grow.
32. What types of situations do you consider “unfixable”?
How far are they willing to go to solve a problem and if they do deem something unfixable, do they create an alternative solution?
33. If you were running the company, what would you do to grow it?
This is a great chance for them to show off any innovative ideas and for you to see if you’d like to implement them in the future.
34. How do you prioritize your work?
This question shows you how they sort through information and projects in their head. Do they start with the hardest task first? Do they knock out any administrative work they need to do? What’s their process?
35. Have you ever strongly disagreed with your boss? What did you do about it?
Do they make their voice heard when it's needed? Or are they constantly butting heads just to sound smart? This will show you how they communicate issues.
36. What do you say to customers that don’t approve of the job you’ve done?
37. What does AC/DC mean and how does it apply to the job?
If they answer this question with a rock and roll response, it’s up to your discretion whether to end the interview there.
38. Do you own a code book?
Our electrical Pros have told us that it's important for an electrician to own a code book, otherwise “they’re just an installer, not an electrician.”
39. What is electricity?
This question seems pretty simple at first, but will help you understand the depth of knowledge they have behind the theory of their job. Technicians are scientists with dirty hands, so finding out how much of the science they understand is crucial to the job.
40. Describe something technical for me, but describe it in plain English so any layperson could understand it.
41. Name some of the equipment, tools or machines that you use on a regular basis.
Situational and soft skill electrician interview questions
Figuring out your trainee’s soft skills and how they think through problems is pretty crucial to the hiring process. Soft skills are non-technical abilities that focus on the way you work and interact with other people around you. Asking potential employees about their soft skills can help you get an idea how your potential tech thinks through past experiences and future problems. When listening to these answers, pay close attention to how they explain the situation and articulate their learnings.
Examples of situational/soft skill interview questions to ask an electrician
42. Ask them to complete a Myers-Briggs personality test.
The Myers-Briggs personality assessment is a great way to get a quick overview of the way an employee thinks and feels. While you shouldn’t replace the interview with a personality test, it will definitely help you see a quick summary of their strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
43. Do you prefer written or verbal communication?
This is a good way to see if they’re more introverted or extroverted when it comes to confrontation.
44. Which one is more important to you and why: to be a good listener or a good communicator?
45. Tell me about your favorite supervisor or manager that you have worked for, what made them great?
This will give you a good idea of what management style they respond best to, does this match up with your company’s supervisor?
46. Which one do you prefer more: teamwork or working alone? Why?
47. Your coworkers all agree on how to approach a task but you disagree. What do you do?
48. You are working on a customer site and are late for the job. The reason you are late is not your fault but the customer is irate, how do you deal with them?
49. How would you deal with a coworker who wasn’t doing their share of work?
50. A Customer is angry about a bill, what do you say to them?
51. Tell me about a time that you took ownership of a situation or took the lead on the floor without being asked to.
52. What is the most difficult change you’ve encountered in your career?
This question will give you insight into how flexible they are.
53. What is one safety violation that you see happen on the jobsite often?
54. How do you rearrange your schedule if something unplanned occurs?
55. Do you prefer routine or spontaneous work?
56. What safety rule/procedure is currently in place that you feel isn’t important?
57. Give me an example of a time when you’ve had to be creative or unconventional in solving a problem on the jobsite.
58. What are the key ingredients needed to build good relationships with other coworkers (customers, employers, etc.)?
59. Describe how you would communicate difficult information or an unpopular opinion to someone?
60. Do you ever multitask?
61. Describe a situation where a co-worker made a mistake and you had to help fix it.
62. Here’s a scenario? (You fill in the scenario) How do you approach it?
63. How do you prioritize your work if you have multiple deadlines to meet?
64. Give me an example of when you faced an ethical dilemma at work.
65. How do you deal with coworkers who are lacking enthusiasm?
66. Describe a difficult negotiation you’ve been in. What was the outcome?
67. What does constructive criticism mean to you?
68. Is there an example of when you used feedback to improve your performance?
Top electrician interview questions – Submitted by electrical companies
We surveyed the top electrical companies that use Housecall Pro to run their business. We asked them their #1 question they ask in every interview. These questions are in no particular order and fall under either a general, technical, situational or soft skill question that they deemed to be the most important in their process.
69. Give your candidate a pen and paper and make them draw out a 3 way and 4 way switch diagram.
This will help you weed out a lot of fakers who fluff up their resume.
70. Ask questions that fit your company culture.
Refer back to soft skill and personality questions.
71. Always ask where they see themselves in five years.
72. What are your favorite hobbies or interests?
73. What is your favorite aspect of the trade?
74. Have you and are you comfortable doing a panel change by yourself?
75. Do you have a driver's license?
76. Are you easily offended?
77. Tell us your experience with both, the best boss you’ve had and the worst boss you’ve had to this point.
78. Toward the end of the interview, "Is there any question you've already answered today, that you'd like to answer again and replace what you said earlier with no judgement?"
I've found that those that tend to choose to re-answer a question show a real skill-trait for attention to detail and a confidence in themselves.
79. What makes or breaks great morale between owner and employee?
80. What is your superpower?
81. On your very best day at work... the day you come home and think you have the best job in the world...what did you do that day?
82. What is the longest you have held a job?
83. Can you pass a drug test right now?
84. What is the biggest misconception others have of you?
85. What traits or characteristics do you most admire in co-workers?
86. "How is your day going today?"
The first interview question and one of the most important. It gauges a candidate's mindset and demeanor in a discreet and conversational manner.
Wrap up questions
These are the logistical, “next-step” questions. End your interview with these wrap up questions to set expectations for both you and your potential technician for things like their availability and start date. If you already know you’re not going to hire this person, you can skip out on these if you want.
Examples of situational/soft skill interview questions to ask an electrician:
87. If selected, when are you available to start?
If they are currently working you want them to say 2 weeks, if they say immediately that likely means they are not going to give their company notice which is a red flag. It may also just mean they know their company has a policy of not accepting notice and they could be available immediately.
88. What are your pay expectations?
89. Have you ever been fired from a position before?
90. Can you provide references or a letter of rec?
Ask them to send you an email. This will give you a sample of their communication skills and their ability to follow directions. You can also see how serious they are about the job based on how quickly they get the references to you.
91. What shifts are you available for and what is your preferred shift?
92. Do you have a clean driving record?
93. Are you interviewing at any other places?
94. What makes you unique?
95. Who would you say are our biggest competitors?
96. How would you keep your passion beyond the first 30 days of work?
97. How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
98. What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
99. Is there anything else you would like us to know?
100. Are there any questions you have for us?
At the end of the interview, always leave time for your candidate to ask you questions as their potential employer. Happy hiring!
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