Be Prepared: 3 Questions to Expect During a Manufacturing Job Interview

two manufacturing employees at a job fairJob interviews can be stressful, no matter how comfortable you feel about the position. That’s why there are entire classes, workshops, and books for jobseekers who have finally made it to the coveted interview stage.

Once you’re there, the face-to-face conversation can make or break your future at the company, so you should never walk into a job interview if you’re feeling less-than-prepared. This article from the Wall Street Journal succinctly summarizes many of the qualms jobseekers have: What do I wear? How do I reduce my anxiety? What questions will they ask, and what’s the best way to answer those?

One way to prepare for an interview in manufacturing, construction, engineering, or another career path in the STEM fields is to shadow or garner real-life experience that you can build on in your interview. Janet Larson, curriculum facilitator at Millard Public Schools, recommends any student interested in a career path in industrial technology “investigate it”:

“It is imperative for students to investigate and get their hands dirty in the content! By that, I mean I think it is essential that students visit potential employers, access available videos and information through websites and blogs, and ask employees in their interest area what their daily experience is like.”

Over the last few months, we have noticed an abundance of online resources for people looking for jobs in manufacturing. While interviews for any position in manufacturing will vary based on the job itself, many manufacturers have posted lists of the most common interview questions for their particular segment in the industry.

Here’s a compilation of questions we’ve found that are likely to come up during your next interview at a manufacturing company. It always helps to be prepared, so spending time studying up could help you avoid getting caught off guard by an interviewer.

Where do you think the manufacturing industry is headed? Information technology and engineering staffing company OmniOne says that this question is one of the most common to arise in manufacturing interviews, because the hiring manager wants to know how you believe both you and the company will fit into the overall future. OmniOne says that research can help here, but optimism about the future is always a good basis: “You can be realistic when it comes to the changes the industry is facing, but always look towards the future with excitement.”

What are your career goals? LeJeune Steel Company explains that when they hire fitter welders for their manufacturing company, they always try to gauge level of commitment. They’ll ask about career goals, why they should hire you, what your dream job is, and why you want the job you’re interviewing for. Here, short, clear stories using real-life examples can often help hold the interviewer’s attention. Be honest: If you’re not a good fit for the company, it’s better to know sooner rather than later.

Describe a situation where you anticipated a problem with a new process, and solved the problem in advance. You are likely to receive some variant on this question, because manufacturers want to evaluate your decision-making skills and judgement. This question popped up in several places, but one was this awesome blog post about 50 job questions that are specific to CNC machining (it’s certainly worth a look if you have an interview coming up). This question deals with process, which is a major aspect of manufacturing. Are you comfortable enough thinking about processes that you could visualize potential problems? If so you’re the person a manufacturer wants on their team.

Questions? Comments? Want to learn more? Leave a comment in the section below, any time!