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The Interview

Interviews are a vital part of Professional Simulation Engineer Certification. The purpose of the interview is to give the NAFEMS Assessors a chance to assess the applicant’s suitability for the certification, at the level applied for and the competencies claimed.

Once applications are processed by NAFEMS, applicants will be invited to attend an interview. The PSE Certification Administrator will contact the applicant to arrange a convenient time. The interview may also be conducted by Skype.

What is it?

The interview is based on the information provided in the online application and is used to determine the level of competency demonstrated. Applicants should prepare for the interview by reading through their application form thoroughly. Interviews will also include questions to verify that the applicant possesses the skills claimed in the PSE Competency Tracker.


The interviewers will focus on the most recent and relevant experience. Judgements will be based solely on the information provided in the application form and the applicant’s performance and discussions during the interview.

Who will be there?

Two trained and experienced assessors, PSE Certified at Advanced Level, will conduct the interview. The PSE Certification Administrator may also be present. Assessors are experts in numerical analysis over a broad range of topic areas and disciplines. They will be professionals with many years of experience in FEA, CFD and related disciplines. They may not necessarily be matched to the applicant’s industry sector or area of expertise, but will give a very brief introduction of themselves for the applicant’s benefit before the interview.

The PSE Certification Administrator is an experienced representative assisting with the co-ordination of applications and the smooth running of the interview process. They will ensure that standards are maintained and interviews are conducted fairly and consistently.The Administrator will have been in contact with the applicant prior to the interview and will answer any questions they have regarding the process.

How long does it take?

The interview will take approximately 1 hour.

What is the format?

The interview will take place by teleconference call, via video call over the web or in person, depending on the location of the applicant.

The interview is a discussion between peers, designed to evaluate and assess the applicant’s level of competency. It should be noted that answers to questions must be based on the applicant’s individual contribution as opposed to the overall contribution of a team or department.

Applicants are expected to play a leading role in the discussion, and to provide detailed and specific answers about actual events to demonstrate their competencies. They may also be asked to expand on some of their answers, and highlight how processes or tasks might have been done differently.

Applicants will be encouraged to develop answers and should explain things clearly and concisely. Applicants should also avoid the use of acronyms, company jargon or slang.

Applicants can expect a level of technical questioning. Interview panel members may take the opportunity to develop a particular technical issue or aspect of their responsibilities. This could take the form of an in-depth question-and-answer exchange of the engineering principles involved, or the development of an innovative process review to establish the applicant’s theoretical understanding of the issues concerned.

Applicants may wish to also provide samples of work at interview; this will supply the basis for exploring experience. The relevant scope statement, analysis types and level (entry, standard and advanced) will provide the basis for theoretical understanding.Interview questions will be based on any of the detailed technical area competencies claimed.

The final few minutes of the interview are thrown open to the applicant. This is their opportunity to talk about anything that they think is important to their application, that has not yet been mentioned.

What happens next?

The PSE assessors will make one of four recommendations. These are: recommend successful application and grant certification;defer with guidance regarding submission; not recommend; or more information requested.

Neither the Administrator nor the Assessors are able to advise applicants about the decision that they make, as their recommendation must be approved by the PSE Certification Coordinator.

If applicants are successful, they will receive a letter and a certificate from the NAFEMS Chief Executive confirming their achievement.Their name will then be included in the Record of Certified Professional Simulation Engineers.

Unsuccessful applicants will be contacted with an explanation and reason for the decision. They will also be given some guidance as to how they may wish to address the concerns raised, in order to resubmit their application at a later date.

NAFEMS has an arbitration and appeals process, whereby applicants who are dissatisfied with the process may appeal within a given timeframe. All documentation will be made available to the Arbitration Panel for their consideration. More information about this process is available on request.



Applying for PSE Certification (PDF)