Woman checking electrical box
Graphic that shows three different types of interview questions you should be asking.

Use these questions to identify a candidate’s technical knowledge and abilities

Use these questions to determine how a candidate handled situations in the past

Use these questions to assess a candidate’s personal traits and cognitive skills

Why this matters

Electricians are exposed to job hazards daily—from electric shock to UV radiation, falls, cuts, and other dangers. That said, one of the most important qualities a top electrician can have is a sense of vigilance regarding workplace safety and injury prevention. Top candidates should express a high level of care and strict adherence to safety protocols to keep themselves and their colleagues safe on the job.

What to listen for

  • A fundamental understanding of OSHA safety standards and protocols, including the use of PPE, circuit protection devices, and knowledge of what to do in the event of electric shock.
  • A knowledge of the most common electrical hazards and how to protect against them.

Why this matters

An electrician’s skills and experience will vary depending on their expertise—whether residential, commercial, industrial, maintenance, or installation electricity. It’s important to note the areas they’ve worked in and whether their experience pertains to your needs, as each area carries with it specialized rules and regulations, safety protocols, and best practices that may not apply to the position you’re hiring.

What to listen for

  • Candidates whose expertise will complement your business’ objectives and existing team.
  • Listen for any extra certifications, specialized training, or apprenticeships they may have.
  • A candidate with versatile and transferable skills is a plus.

Why this matters

Routine inspection is an integral part of any electrician’s job. Knowing when items need to be replaced, upgraded, or recalibrated is a key factor in keeping a facility smoothly operational and requires a well-thought-out approach to maintenance and testing. This question gives you a sense of how attuned a candidate is to small details—and what measures they employ to ensure that the site is powered and compliant.

What to listen for

  • A great candidate will explain their methods and may mention certain testing strategies, use of specific testing devices, or double-checking job and manufacturer specifications.
  • Evidence that the candidate is proactive about regular inspections of electrical components.

Why this matters

This question allows you to get a sense of which parts of the job the candidate finds challenging, but more importantly, helps you assess their level of technical and theoretical knowledge. It’s also important to get a sense of the candidate’s ability to improvise when necessary and leverage nuanced skills in complex situations.

What to listen for

  • Specific mentions of electrical systems they worked on and tools and equipment used.
  • Instead of focusing on what they found difficult, pay attention to the way they responded and rose to the challenge. Did they improvise? Were they collaborative?

Why this matters

When electrical problems strike—from outages to malfunctioning equipment to workplace injuries—they require immediate attention and swift, effective troubleshooting skills. This question will help you gauge your candidate’s responses to urgent, complicated issues, and their ability to maintain their composure in high-stakes situations.

What to listen for

  • A great answer will explain how the issue was discovered, what they did to fix it, and what they did to prevent it from repeating in the future.
  • A discussion of teamwork and the communication involved—did they delegate and consult with their management team as needed?

Why this matters

An electrician’s job is dangerous—even when conducted responsibly. It’s absolutely critical that candidates are willing to point out sloppiness on job sites and correct behavior that may endanger health, safety, and the ultimate success of the entire project. This question gives the candidate a chance to showcase their interpersonal skills and their ability to manage conflict.

What to listen for

  • A willingness to hold colleagues accountable for negligent behavior.
  • The best answers might reference a past experience in which the candidate gave helpful advice or guidance to a colleague in response to a challenging situation.

Why this matters

This question allows you to see if your candidate knows what it takes to work successfully as an electrician, and if they would be a good fit for your organization. Apart from simply listing the qualities they find most essential, a great prospect should be able to give concrete examples that connect their skills and experience to these traits.

What to listen for

  • Great answers will place equal importance on technical skills, theoretical knowledge, and communication skills.
  • Enthusiasm in the industry and how they can apply these qualities and experiences to your organization.

Why this matters

Electricians often work alongside several other tradespeople on the same worksite, including designers, construction workers, plumbers, painters, carpenters, and more. It’s important to be able to coordinate with other contracted teams to make sure projects are completed smoothly, and take other workers’ timelines into consideration.

What to listen for

  • Experience coordinating timelines with teams from other industries.
  • An understanding that several other tasks may depend on the electrician’s work to be completed. Great candidates will respect how their work relates to others.

Why this matters

As more businesses adapt to green technologies and sustainable business practices, it’s important to look for candidates who share the vision of a more sustainable future. Apart from showing their knowledge of sustainable practices, this question will clue you in to the candidate’s values and deepen your understanding of their experience as it relates to your organization’s sustainability efforts.

What to listen for

  • Familiarity with various forms of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, or hydroelectric energy.
  • If they lack experience in this area, a willingness to learn new skills is important.