A quick online search shows that the average salary for a Quantity Surveyor in the UK ranges between £40,000 and £55,000, while in the US, the average salary for a Quantity Surveyor position is around $70,000.
The high demand for quantity surveying skills is reflected in the competitive salaries offered in this field.
However, the attractive salaries also signify that there is substantial competition for each role. If you have the required skills, experience, and qualifications, you should be able to catch the attention of organizations looking to hire Quantity Surveyors.
But possessing the skills, experience, and qualifications alone won’t guarantee you the job. You also need to effectively communicate these attributes to the hiring manager.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to excel in a Quantity Surveyor interview and secure this sought-after position. We’ll start by providing some tips for the interview process, followed by the best strategies for answering Quantity Surveyor questions (and what to avoid!). Finally, we’ll delve into some of the most common interview questions you’re likely to face.
Ready to get started? Let’s dive in…
Quantity Surveyor Interview Advice
Leverage your experience. This applies even if you haven’t held a Quantity Surveyor position before. A Quantity Surveyor is responsible for various tasks, including cost estimation, contract management, and risk assessment. You don’t need to have previously held a Quantity Surveyor title to have participated in related activities. When answering questions, emphasize your relevant experiences.
Understand your audience. Always research the organization you are interviewing with. Also, take the time to research the interviewer and the hiring manager (if they are different individuals). Your goal is to impress the person making the hiring decision, so you should research them specifically to understand their preferences and what they are looking for in a new employee.
Demonstrate technical knowledge. As a Quantity Surveyor, you need to be well-versed in industry standards, cost estimation techniques, and contract management. Make sure to showcase your expertise in these areas during the interview by using specific examples and discussing your understanding of current trends and best practices.
Highlight your communication skills. Quantity Surveyors often work with diverse teams and must communicate effectively with various stakeholders. Show your ability to work well with others by providing examples of successful collaborations, problem-solving, and conflict resolution.
Emphasize your attention to detail. In the role of a Quantity Surveyor, accuracy is crucial. Be prepared to discuss situations where your attention to detail helped ensure the success of a project or prevented potential issues. This will demonstrate your commitment to thoroughness and precision in your work.
How Best To Approach Quantity Surveyor Interview Questions
Unless the question you are asked is a straightforward ‘yes or no’ style question, you’ll need to learn to describe, expand, and elaborate on your answers. The best way to do this is to follow the B-STAR technique for answering interview questions.
Answers using this method follow the structure below:
B – Belief – What are your thoughts and feelings with regard to the subject matter? As a Quantity Surveyor, you should have your own set of principles and approaches to cost estimation, contract management, and risk assessment that you adapt to each situation.
S – Situation – Briefly explain the scenario that was taking place. Try not to spend too much time describing the situation. The bulk of your answer should focus on you and what you did, so keep the situation simple to understand and even simpler to describe.
T – Task – What was your role in the action? Most of the time, it’s best to demonstrate an active rather than passive role in the encounter. As you are applying for a Quantity Surveyor position, the situation you describe should involve you taking charge of managing costs and contracts within a project.
A – Activity (or action) – What did you do? Detail the steps you took and why you took them. This should comprise the majority of your response.
R – Result – How did everything turn out? If possible, use figures to illustrate the outcome (e.g., project costs reduced by 10%, contract negotiations resulted in a 15% savings, etc.).
Remember that the B-STAR technique is descriptive, not prescriptive. You don’t need to strictly adhere to this flow; go with what works best for your answers and allows you to effectively convey your point and showcase your experience.
What You Should Not Do When Answering Quantity Surveyor Questions
Do not avoid the question: When answering questions related to the Quantity Surveyor position, ensure that you address the query directly and provide a relevant response. Avoiding the question will give the impression that you lack the necessary knowledge or experience to handle the issue.
Do not describe a failure (unless specifically asked): Focus on showcasing your successes and achievements as a Quantity Surveyor. While it is essential to learn from failures, highlighting them during an interview might raise concerns about your ability to effectively manage project costs and contracts.
Do not downplay the situation: When discussing a situation where you demonstrated your skills as a Quantity Surveyor, be honest about the challenges you faced. Downplaying the situation might make it seem as though your achievements were not as significant as they actually were.
Do not overhype the situation: Conversely, avoid exaggerating the difficulties you encountered. Maintain a balanced approach when describing the situation and your role in resolving it, as overstating the challenges may come across as insincere.
Do not say you have no experience with the subject matter: If you are asked about a situation or skill you have not encountered, focus on your transferable skills and experiences that are relevant to the Quantity Surveyor role. Emphasize your willingness to learn and adapt to new situations.
Do not reject the premise of the question: Even if you disagree with the assumptions or context of a question, answer it in a way that demonstrates your understanding and ability to handle different perspectives. Rejecting the premise outright may be perceived as inflexibility or unwillingness to consider alternative viewpoints.
Do not have a passive role in the situation: When providing examples from your experience, ensure that you present yourself as an active participant who took the initiative and made a difference in the situation. Passive roles may not effectively demonstrate your capabilities as a Quantity Surveyor.
Do not give a one-sentence answer: Elaborate on your responses to provide context and detail about your experiences and the outcomes you achieved. One-sentence answers may not fully convey your abilities and accomplishments as a Quantity Surveyor.
Do not overly describe the scenario and miss the action: While providing context is important, avoid spending too much time describing the situation at the expense of discussing your actions and the results you achieved. Focus on demonstrating your skills and contributions as a Quantity Surveyor.
23 Quantity Surveyor Interview Question & Answers
Can you provide a brief overview of your experience as a quantity surveyor?
Experienced Answer: I have over ten years of experience in quantity surveying, working on residential, commercial, and infrastructure projects. My main responsibilities have included cost estimation, contract administration, risk management, and liaising with various stakeholders. Throughout my career, I have consistently delivered results and maintained strong relationships with clients and colleagues. Over the past decade, I have worked on numerous projects of varying sizes and complexities, ensuring accurate management of costs and contracts.
New to Role Answer: I recently graduated with a degree in Quantity Surveying and completed an internship with a reputable construction firm. During my internship, I had the opportunity to assist in preparing cost estimates, reviewing contracts, and supporting project teams. Although I am new to the role, I am eager to apply my academic knowledge and internship experience to excel as a quantity surveyor.
What made you choose quantity surveying as a profession?
Experienced Answer: I chose to become a quantity surveyor because of my passion for the construction industry and my strong analytical and problem-solving skills. The role allows me to combine these skills with my interest in finance and contracts, making it a perfect fit for me. Over the years, I have found great satisfaction in contributing to the successful completion of various projects and helping clients achieve their goals.
New to Role Answer: I decided to become a quantity surveyor because I have always been fascinated by the construction industry and its impact on the built environment. During my studies, I discovered that my strengths lie in cost estimation, contract management, and financial analysis. I believe that a career as a quantity surveyor will allow me to utilize these skills while making a meaningful contribution to the industry.
Tell us about yourself and your background.
As a Quantity Surveyor with over 10 years of experience, I have developed strong analytical and problem-solving skills that have allowed me to excel in managing project costs, contracts, and budgets. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Quantity Surveying and am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
My background includes working on various projects ranging from residential construction to large-scale commercial developments. I have collaborated closely with architects, contractors, and clients to ensure that projects are completed within budget and on schedule. My key strengths include cost planning, contract administration, and negotiation, which have resulted in cost savings and increased client satisfaction.
As someone who is highly detail-oriented and committed to continuous professional development, I am confident in my ability to adapt to new challenges and contribute effectively to any project as a Quantity Surveyor.
How do you stay current with the latest trends and technologies in the construction industry?
To stay current with the latest trends and technologies in the construction industry, I make it a point to attend industry conferences and workshops, where I can learn about new developments and best practices from experts in the field. Additionally, I participate in online forums and professional networks, which allows me to engage with fellow professionals and exchange insights on new technologies and techniques.
I also subscribe to industry journals, newsletters, and follow relevant blogs to keep myself updated with the latest news and innovations in the construction sector. This helps me stay informed about cutting-edge technologies, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) and sustainable construction practices, that can help improve project efficiency and reduce costs.
Finally, I dedicate time for continuous professional development by enrolling in relevant courses and obtaining certifications, which not only keeps me up-to-date with the latest trends but also enhances my skills and expertise as a Quantity Surveyor.
Describe your experience with cost estimation and cost control in construction projects.
Answer 1: With over 7 years of experience in the construction industry, I have been involved in various types of projects, including residential, commercial, and infrastructure. My primary responsibility was to provide accurate cost estimations during the initial stages and to monitor and control costs throughout the project lifecycle. I achieved this by using industry-standard software, regularly updating the project budget, conducting value engineering, and collaborating closely with the project team and stakeholders to ensure financial objectives were met.
Answer 2: As a recent graduate in Quantity Surveying, I had the opportunity to intern at a reputable construction company for 6 months. During my internship, I assisted the senior quantity surveyors in preparing cost estimations for several small-scale projects, and I was involved in cost control activities, including updating budgets, tracking expenses, and attending progress meetings. This experience provided me with a solid understanding of cost estimation and control processes in the construction industry.
Answer 1: Throughout my career, I have faced numerous high-pressure situations and tight deadlines. To handle stress effectively, I prioritize my tasks, set realistic goals, and maintain open communication with my team. I also ensure that I allocate time for breaks and engage in activities outside of work to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Answer 2: As a newcomer to the field, I have learned the importance of time management and organization to handle stress and pressure. I create daily and weekly task lists, establish priorities, and break down larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps. Additionally, I maintain open communication with my team and superiors to ensure we are all on the same page and address any concerns promptly.
Can you explain the difference between a Bill of Quantities (BOQ) and a Schedule of Rates (SOR)?
A Bill of Quantities (BOQ) is a comprehensive document that lists all the materials, labor, and resources required for a construction project, along with their quantities and associated costs. It serves as a basis for tendering and helps contractors to accurately price their work. On the other hand, a Schedule of Rates (SOR) is a document that lists the standard rates for various construction items and activities, without specifying the quantities. It is often used as a reference for estimating and budgeting purposes, particularly when the actual quantities are uncertain or subject to change.
How do you ensure accuracy and completeness in your quantity take-offs?View answer in our full guide
What software and tools are you proficient in using for quantity surveying tasks?View answer in our full guide
Can you describe your experience working with contracts, specifically the types you have worked with (e.g., FIDIC, NEC, JCT)?View answer in our full guide
What is your greatest strength and how does it help you as a quantity surveyor?View answer in our full guide
How do you approach risk management and mitigation in your projects?View answer in our full guide
What steps do you take to ensure that a project stays within budget?View answer in our full guide
How do you handle discrepancies between estimated costs and actual costs during a project?View answer in our full guide
What is your greatest weakness and how do you work on improving it?View answer in our full guide
Describe a challenging project you’ve worked on and the strategies you employed to overcome those challenges.View answer in our full guide
How do you effectively communicate with different stakeholders, including clients, contractors, and consultants?View answer in our full guide
Can you discuss your experience with tendering processes and procurement strategies?View answer in our full guide
How do you handle change orders and variations during a project?View answer in our full guide
What is your approach to value engineering, and can you provide an example from your experience?View answer in our full guide
Can you describe your experience with cost reporting and monitoring project cash flow?View answer in our full guide
How do you ensure compliance with relevant regulations and industry standards in your work?View answer in our full guide
Tell us about a time when you successfully resolved a conflict at work.View answer in our full guide