Top 8 Questions asked in a GIS job interview

A month ago, I met some guys preparing for a GIS job interview in one of the companies in town. Some looked confident  for the interview while others seemed doubtful of the entire process. I had a chat with the guys, as a casual friend, as the first person went in for the interview. After roughly seven(7) minutes, the first guy joined the group from the interview room. He smiled and said to the friends, It wasn’t that hard, just some questions that were mind cracking. I didn’t bother asking the specific questions asked in there so as to avoid spoiling it for the other guys. This is the reason as to why am writing this post to help others or give a rough idea of what goes on in an interview room. I have highlighted top questions that I have found common in most interviews for GIS jobs.

What is GIS?

This might seem too basic, but most of the interviewees are unable to hit the mark on explaining a GIS, its components, applications and benefits. If this question is too hard for you, I guess things might just get nasty for you. Understand the concepts.

Which are the data structures that can hold spatial data?

What’s the answer to this question? The idea behind the question is rather simple. This question usually mutates depending on the interviewer. The English used can really mess your day if not keen. The answers to this question are tackled in the first or second lesson in a GIS class. Take caution

What are projections?

Yes, projections. This question is rather asked to gauge your understanding of spatial data manipulation and standards that dictate data usage in different locations. This question is close to “Whats the difference between Geographic Coordinate Systems and Projected Coordinate Systems. Keep it simple and clear.

What is positional error?

I was a victim of this question some years ago in an interview. Sometimes you might convince yourself that you know much until you meet such a question. Getting it right needs good understanding of your tools and methods.

Which are some of the GIS projects you have worked on before?

The answer to such a question depends on the job you’re interviewing for. For example: If its a GIS Analyst job, highlight projects such as “Flood risk analysis using GIS” or something of the sort. Be honest since the next question might pop up from the project you just explained.

How long have you worked with GIS?

Well, be honest. Don’t be afraid because you don’t have the 7 years of experience stipulated in the job advert. This is usually not a must-have factor for most of the jobs advertised out there.

Which GIS software have you worked with before?

The list to this question is endless but depends with you. Mention them here. Try to explain the use of each software that you have used. E.g. PostGIS for spatial databases, ArcGIS for data analysis and manipulation e.t.c

How would you apply GIS in {{A sample project}}

This question is dependent on the activities of the company. They might choose a difficult or basic topics or area just to test your understanding of GIS. This should be a straight-forward question. Give ideas and don’t over-think.

These are just a number of the questions to expect in an interview. Have you ever been to interviews? Which questions were you asked? Let’s share them here.

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Wanjohi Kibui
About Wanjohi Kibui 16 Articles
A GIS Developer, Consultant and Author.Passionate about Geospatial technologies. To read more about his work, visit http://www.lifeingis.com Access video Tutorials on YouTube