Interview Question: "Why Do You Want To Be a Chemical Engineer?"

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Chemical engineers are professionals who test substances and materials to develop new products. During interviews for chemical engineering positions, hiring managers may ask you about your motivation for being a chemical engineer. If you're interviewing for chemical engineering positions, learning more about how to answer important questions can be beneficial. In this article, we explain why employers ask why you want to be a chemical engineer, describe the steps you can follow to answer the question and provide some example answers to use as a guide.

Related: 24 Chemical Engineering Careers (With Average Salaries and Duties)

Why employers ask why you want to be a chemical engineer

Skilled interviewers ask questions that allow them to learn more about you and your motivations. They may ask you this question to determine what your passions are. This question can also help them learn more about your career goals and plans for the future. How you answer this question can provide insight to the hiring manager about your communication abilities and how you articulate.

Related: Chemical Engineering vs. Computer Science: What's the Difference?

How to answer "Why do you want to be a chemical engineer?"

These are some steps you can follow to answer this interview question successfully:

1. Start with a story

Depending on your personal reasons for becoming a chemical engineer, it may be a good idea to share a story about what motivated you to follow the career path. This can help to captivate the hiring manager's attention and make a good impression. For example, if you had a close relative who was a chemical engineer and inspired you, you may include that. You could explain how a product of chemical engineering, such as anti-fire technology or biomaterials, improved your life and inspired your career.

Example: "I was working as an intern for a technology company when I was in college, and some of the equipment in the server room caught fire. They had a system set up that dispersed anti-fire substances, which quickly put out the fires without harming any of the technology. I was so impressed by the stuff that I started to learn more about it and discovered the world of chemical engineering."

2. Emphasize your passion

It can be a good idea to share your passion for chemical engineering with the hiring manager. You can relate it to a story or begin with it if you don't have something to reference for inspiring your career. To emphasize your passion, explain which parts of chemical engineering you like most and what most attracts you to the field. You can focus on your traits and abilities that complement the study and practice of chemical engineering.

Example: "I'm a very curious and experimental person, and I love that chemical engineering offers us the ability to create new substances and materials that can improve people's lives. I started as an engineering major in college but changed to chemical engineering after I discovered how interesting chemistry is. I've been developing my passion since, and plan to pursue an advanced chemistry degree in the future."

Related: How To Create a Chemical Engineering Resume (With Example)

3. Describe your goals

Another method you can use to frame your interest in chemical engineering is describing your career goals. Explaining to the hiring manager how being a chemical engineer helps you achieve important professional and personal goals can help them understand your motivations. For example, if you want to create something new or solve a major problem, you can explain how being a chemical engineer allows you to do so.

Example: "From my studies, I believe it's possible to create a substance that allows people to maintain a certain internal temperature without additional clothing or protective materials. This kind of substance could be very valuable for space exploration, scientists in cold climates, and those who work in extreme heat. My career goal is to create this substance and make the patent public so everyone can benefit from it. Becoming a chemical engineer allows me to progress toward this goal."

4. Focus on your value

You can explain your interest in chemical engineering while focusing on the value you can bring to the company. To do this, you can emphasize your previous achievements and the value you contributed to other positions. Framing your answer in a way that focuses on how you can add to the company's success can create a good impression for the hiring manager.

Example: "In my previous position, I worked with a team that created a new type of adhesive for aircraft. The adhesive can replace some other less environmentally friendly options, and our team celebrated when we finally figured it out. It's those kinds of products and achievements that make me love being a chemical engineer, and I want to continue making strides in chemical engineering in a position with this company."

Related: Petroleum Engineer vs. Chemical Engineer: What's the Difference?

Examples answers for "Why do you want to be a chemical engineer?"

Here are some examples to help you answer this interview question:

Example 1

"My uncle was the first person in my family to earn his college degree, and he became a chemical engineer. I used to go to work with him and learn more about their laboratory practices, and when I was a kid, he got me a little chemistry set to practice with. I've always been interested in science, and I love the opportunities this field of work offers for the professionals within it."

Example 2

"I love experimenting and creating medicines that can help people and improve their lives. I applied with this company specifically because I believe your methods allow for more efficient innovation in the field of pharmaceuticals. My passion is helping others, but I didn't want to become a doctor, so I assumed chemical engineering with a focus on pharmaceutical was the next best option."

Related: What Is a Chemical Engineering License? (Plus How To Get One)

Example 3

"I'm interested in furthering technology with my work. I've always loved working with and using computers and other devices, and I believe through our work, we can help technology professionals create faster and more powerful machines. For example, in my previous positions, I helped to create a cooling substance for gaming PCs that allows them to run high-powered games without becoming overheated."

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