Hiring managers looking to fill open manufacturing positions need to find applicants with the skills and aptitude to excel in a rapidly changing work environment. Asking the right manufacturing worker interview questions can help employers find workers who are adaptable enough to optimize developing technology, including automated systems and complex robotics.
This category of workers can be found in food processing and packaging centers, textile mills, chemical plants, and assembly centers. As automation develops, the need for manufacturing workers is expected to slow, with jobs in this category growing by only 2% in the next 10 years. But that doesn’t mean that hiring for these sectors is likely to get any easier in the coming years.
That’s because, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, there are about 500,000 open jobs in the manufacturing sector at any given time, a number that is expected to grow to 2.1 million unfilled jobs in the next decade, simply because employers are likely to have an increasingly difficult time finding applicants with the skills needed to fill them. Hiring managers can increase their talent pipeline and get a jump on their competitors by learning how to recruit qualified workers, a task made easier when you know the right interview questions to ask.
Qualities to Look for in a Manufacturing Worker
It’s hard to predict the exact knowledge and skills that will be needed in the manufacturing environments of the near future. What we do know is that the era of a worker spending decades perfecting and performing a limited range of tasks is gone for good. Today’s—and tomorrow’s—manufacturing workers, engineers, and managers will need to be fast and eager learners who can solve problems using a multitude of data and tools.
Other aptitudes that are commonly valued by many employers in manufacturing include:
- Conceptual and critical thinking
- Social flexibility
- Technical know-how
- Experience working with tools
- The ability to master new skills and learn new processes and procedures quickly
At the entry level, employers need to attract applicants with the ability to follow directions and get along with others and a strong work ethic and follow through. At the mid-career level, look for technical know-how and specialized skills. But, other than listing these qualities in a comprehensive job description, how do you determine which applicants possess this combination of hard and soft skills in an interview setting? You ask manufacturing worker interview questions across a range of categories that test aptitude in a comprehensive manner.
Manufacturing Worker Interview Questions That Reveal Technical Experience and Aptitude
Depending on the role you are looking to fill, the ideal candidate may need to have a variety of simple math, time-management, and information-gathering skills. The questions below are designed to allow candidates to talk about prior work experiences where they have utilized those skills.
- How has your previous experience in manufacturing or other industries prepared you for this role?
- Can you tell me about a project you worked on that you enjoyed or learned something interesting from?
- What quality control (QC) functions have you performed in previous roles?
- What heavy equipment or tools have you used in previous jobs?
- What assembling and disassembling tasks have you undertaken?
Interview Questions That Focus on Manufacturing Knowledge
The following manufacturing worker interview questions are designed to allow job seekers to demonstrate their knowledge and can be used to determine how much on-the-job training may be needed for entry-level applicants or those switching industries.
- What were some of the responsibilities you had in your previous roles?
- What do you know about industry regulations and safety procedures?
- Can you tell us about a time when you followed a set of blueprints or instructions to complete a task?
- What measurement tools have you used to complete precise tasks on previous jobs?
- What types of safety measures, equipment, or procedures did you use in past roles?
- Can you describe some of the certification training or on-the-job training you’ve undertaken?
Questions That Gauge Work Style and Problem-solving Ability
These problem-solving interview questions can help candidates reveal personal qualities, such as self-motivation, integrity, work ethic, curiosity, flexibility, and leadership potential. Using these manufacturing worker interview questions can also help hiring managers learn how perspective employees might behave in situations they are likely to encounter in your workplace.
- What are the top three characteristics you look for in an ideal coworker or boss?
- What are three qualities you bring to a work crew or team that set you apart from others?
- What specific skills do you have that help you be productive?
- How would you train an employee new to our industry? What advice would you give them?
- Have you ever been asked to train a new coworker? If so, how did it go?
- What are some skills you hope to develop further in this job?
- Can you remember a time when the procedures or processes you were using changed? How did you handle the change?
- Were you ever under a tight deadline in a previous job? How did you deal with it?
Questions That Measure Soft Skills
Ideally, members of an assembly line or work crew should possess well-developed communication, interpersonal and collaborative skills. The behavioral questions below can help to assess those qualities.
- Can you tell us about a time when a coworker was about to make a mistake that would have had a negative effect on the work you were doing? How did you handle the situation?
- How did you handle the last time you made a mistake on the job?
- What has been the biggest challenge you ever faced in a work setting? How did you address it?
- How did you navigate the last coworker or boss you clashed with or disagreed with?
- Has there ever been a time you were asked to complete a task you weren’t trained for? How did you handle it?
- Have you ever had to correct a boss or customer in a past job? How would you handle that kind of situation?
Get the Word Out and Get Started Asking Manufacturing Worker Interview Questions
It’s not easy finding workers who are up to the challenge of today’s rapidly evolving manufacturing environments. But posting a job on Monster can help you target the top performers you need to grow your business.