Quantity Surveyor Interview Questions & Answers

Gearing Up for Your Quantity Surveyor Interview: Tips, Tactics, and Common Questions

Congratulate yourself - you've secured an interview for a Quantity Surveyor position! This specialized role offers an intriguing mix of construction expertise, financial management, and contract handling. It's a challenging career path but one that rewards you with an impressive salary.

Feeling anxious about your interview is natural. However, we're here to alleviate your worries with a comprehensive guide on common Quantity Surveyor interview questions. Additionally, we've prepared examples to help you structure your answers effectively and confidently. So, without further ado, let's begin!


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Ace Your Quantity Surveyor Interview: Top Tips

1. Comprehend Your Role

Fully understand what being a Quantity Surveyor entails - from managing construction projects to financial operations. Be ready to articulate your role succinctly.

2. Exhibit Your Experience

Show off your professional background during the interview. Speak about projects where you've successfully governed costs, formulated budgets, and navigated contracts.

3. Flaunt Your Numeracy Skills

A Quantity Surveyor deals with numbers daily. Be ready to prove your numeracy skills and ease with crunching numbers.

4. Get a Grip on the Industry

A solid grasp of the construction industry, current trends, and pertinent issues can give you an upper hand. Be well-versed with any relevant laws or regulations.

5. Demonstrate Your Problem-Solving Abilities

Quantity Surveyors frequently face complex issues. Prepare scenarios where you've confronted challenges and the methods you used to overcome them.

6. Prepare for Technical Questions

You may encounter technical questions regarding construction and financial management. Ensure you refresh your knowledge in these areas.

7. Highlight Your Communication Skills

Effective communication is crucial for Quantity Surveyors. Be prepared to illustrate how you've efficiently communicated with various stakeholders, such as clients, architects, and contractors.

8. Display Your Negotiation Skills

Negotiating contracts and costs forms a significant part of a Quantity Surveyor's job. Share instances where you've utilized your negotiation skills to secure advantageous outcomes.

9. Show Your Eye for Detail

A keen eye for detail is essential in this role. Provide examples from your work history where your meticulous attention to detail made a significant difference.

10. Remain Calm and Composed

Quantity Surveyors often face high-pressure decisions. Maintain a serene, confident demeanor throughout your interview, illustrating that you can handle the challenges that come your way.

Structuring Your Quantity Surveyor Interview Answers: Use the BSTAR Method

B - Belief

As you prepare, reflect on your convictions regarding the Quantity Surveyor role. Your belief about the duties and responsibilities of a Quantity Surveyor can reveal your unique approach to this crucial role in the construction industry.

S - Situation

Come to the interview armed with real-life scenarios from your previous work experiences that led to significant outcomes. Choose instances that directly relate to the duties of a Quantity Surveyor where you played a pivotal role.

T - Task

For each situation, state what your task was clearly. Highlight your active involvement in each situation and how it corresponds to the role of a Quantity Surveyor.

A - Activity (or Action)

Outline the actions you undertook in each situation. Describe your strategies and the rationale behind them from a Quantity Surveyor's viewpoint.

R - Results

Lastly, clarify the outcomes of your actions. Whenever possible, quantify your achievements, demonstrating that you're a hands-on professional who can produce tangible results.

Avoid These Mistakes When Answering Questions

  • Evading the question.
  • Discussing a failure (unless asked).
  • Minimizing the situation.
  • Exaggerating the situation.
  • Claiming you have no experience with the topic.
  • Denying the premise of the question.
  • Adopting a passive role in the situation.
  • Giving a one-sentence answer.
  • Over-explaining the scenario and not focusing on the action.

Quantity Surveyor Interview Question & Answers

"Tell me about a time you had to make a critical decision under pressure."

At my previous job, we were working on a large-scale project which required the import of some specialized materials. However, a sudden change in international trade laws significantly raised import costs, putting us at risk of going over budget. There was considerable pressure to make a swift decision.

Instead of panicking, I decided to reassess the situation. I spent some time researching alternative local suppliers who could provide materials of the same quality. I also re-examined the project budget to see if we could make savings elsewhere to offset the increased cost.

Finally, after a rigorous analysis and negotiation process, I was able to locate a local supplier who could provide the materials at a slightly higher cost than the original but considerably less than the revised import cost. We also adjusted some less critical aspects of the project to accommodate this increased expenditure without compromising the project's overall quality.

Despite the pressure, I managed to find a solution that kept the project on track without significantly affecting our budget. This situation not only taught me the importance of resourcefulness and adaptability but also reiterated the value of having a well-planned yet flexible budget.
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"What methodologies do you use for cost planning and why?"

Throughout my years as a Quantity Surveyor, I have adopted a flexible approach to cost planning based on the specifics of the project and the information available at each stage.

For the initial stages, when the design isn't fully developed, I typically use a mixture of elemental cost planning and benchmarking. Benchmarking allows me to draw comparisons from similar completed projects to get a rough estimate of costs. Elemental cost planning, on the other hand, enables me to break down the project into its components or 'elements' and estimate the costs of each.

As the design progresses, I transition into a more detailed unit price estimation. This involves breaking down the project into even smaller tasks, taking off quantities, and assigning unit prices to them. The benefit of this method is its accuracy, given that it is based on detailed design information.

In parallel, I employ risk analysis to account for uncertainties that could impact costs. Identifying these risks early on allows for their inclusion in the budget, helping to avoid unforeseen cost overruns.

Lastly, throughout the project lifecycle, I undertake regular cost control and reporting. This helps to compare actual costs against estimated costs and allows for timely corrective action if any significant deviations occur. The usage of specialized cost estimating software has proven quite beneficial in this regard.
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"How do you ensure the accuracy of your cost estimates?"

In my role as a Quantity Surveyor, I've always believed that accurate cost estimates are the backbone of any successful project. For me, accuracy is a combination of understanding, analysis, and constant refinement.

Firstly, understanding the project scope in-depth is vital. It is important to interact with the design team, understand the plans, the materials, the construction methods, and any special requirements. I believe that every detail matters when it comes to cost estimation.

Next, I rely heavily on data analysis. I maintain a comprehensive database of past projects, supplier quotes, and market rates. This database, combined with my experience, helps me create a solid baseline for the estimates.

However, I recognize that not all projects are the same, and changes are part of the process. I always keep a keen eye on the project as it progresses. I ensure that any changes in the design, materials, or schedule are immediately reflected in the cost estimates.

Finally, I incorporate a reasonable contingency percentage based on the project's complexity and risk factors. This safeguards the project against any unforeseen circumstances.

This methodical and proactive approach helps me deliver accurate cost estimates and maintain the financial health of the projects I manage.

Get answers to this question and over 100 more in our full guide...

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At Interview Detectives, we are led by Mike Jacobsen, a highly experienced recruitment consultant with nearly 30 years of professional expertise. With a deep understanding of the hiring landscape, Mike brings invaluable insights and knowledge to our platform. His extensive background in recruitment enables us to provide you with tailored interview guides and application tips that align with current industry trends. With Interview Detectives, you gain access to proven strategies and techniques to enhance your job application success. Trust in Mike's wealth of experience and embark on your journey towards career triumph.

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