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Interview Questions to ask when Hiring Manufacturing Workers

Interview Questions to ask when Hiring Manufacturing Workers

By: Dona DeZube 

Some industries, including construction and manufacturing, face the challenge of recruiting workers who lack a resume. A job application can collect basic information to help screen candidates for skills and experience. Yet it won’t tell you how job seekers apply their skills and abilities, behave on the job, or what they accomplished in prior positions. 

That’s why when you interview without a resume, it’s critical to ask questions that delve into those areas. And the easiest way to dig deep is to ask behavioral interview questions.   

Behavioral interview questions probe how someone actually handled a task or situation in a prior job. They can help you focus on how a candiate gets a task done, how they will fit in with your company culture or how they will tackle day to day challenges.

“In manufacturing, I’d want to know if they’re going to be on time, if they mind getting their hands dirty, can work with team members and that they’re loyal,” says Dennis Theodorou, vice president of operations for recruiting firm JMJ Phillip Group, Detroit. 

For example, behavioral interview questions could help shed light on prior workplace conditions: What is the dirtiest environment you’ve ever worked in? How did you cope with that challenge?

To create behavioral interview questions, make a list of the ten most important job tasks, workplace challenges and personal characteristics needed to succeed in the job. The job description can be a good place to find some of those. 

For each item, write one behavioral or situational question and jot down a few follow-up questions you might ask to probe for more details.

Here are some behavioral interview questions to get you started with your interview preparation. 

Machinist: 
-    What hand tools, power tools, and measuring instruments have you used? 
-    What’s the most challenging material you’ve cut? 
-    What’s your favorite machine to run? 

Tool and Die Maker: 
-    What tools, fixtures, and experimental parts have you made? 
-    What machine and hand tools have you used most in prior jobs? 
-    What’s the most intricate mechanical fixture you helped design, develop, or construct? 

Electrical and Hydraulic Technician: 
-    What would you say to a co-worker you saw violating safety rules? How would you respond if he told to you mind your own business? 
-    What is the most challenging customer you’ve dealt with? 
-    What is the toughest piece of equipment to troubleshoot? 

Welder: 
-    Tell me about a time you worked on a joint project where your co-worker wanted to do the task differently. How did you resolve the situation? 
-    How did you avoid injuries in your last job?

Operations Manager: 
-    What rewards, other than money or promotions, have worked well for you in past positions? 
-    Tell me about a time you had to put in place an unpopular process change. How did you go about it?

When you don’t have a resume to refer to in the interview process, tailor your interview questions to uncover a candidate’s real-world experience. Use the conversation to create a mental roadmap of responsibilities, capabilities, and the applicant’s fit. 

Asking the right questions will help give you and your new hires greater peace of mind. 

Learn more:

Here’s how Top Companies Find Manufacturing Workers
Manufacturing Hiring is Growing in these Areas
Manufacturing: Let's Get Hiring!

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