It’s totally understandable if you’re nervous about a job interview lined up shortly. Of course, you want the job, and therefore, you want to be well prepared for the interview. But you don’t know where to start. Don’t worry. We have got you covered. Here in this article, we go through some of the broad areas that will be assessed at an interview for a role as a manufacturing engineer and the subsequent questions that will be asked. It’s a competitive field, so it’s best to be as prepared as you can. We believe this article can help you out greatly as we will discuss Manufacturing Engineer Interview Questions here.
Manufacturing Engineers are responsible for designing and operating complex integrated systems that produce high-quality and economically competitive products. A manufacturing engineer may have to work in several areas with various systems, such as machining tools, robots, material-handling equipment, or computer networks. Even though there has been a steady increase in employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector due to a rise in global demand for products and advancement in technology, it has also become more challenging to get a job as a manufacturing engineer due to the invention of sophisticated computer software and digitally aided designs. As a result, many jobs done by humans earlier have been taken up by computers and machines, resulting in steep competition in employment.
Manufacturing Engineer Interview Questions
Manufacturing engineers are typically involved in every part of the production process, from analyzing product development to identifying problem areas and making necessary changes. Since this is a job focused mainly on problem-solving, manufacturing engineers are required to be creative and think outside the box, apart from possessing sufficient technical knowledge related to the industry. This is why the questions asked in an interview for the role will be designed to test the candidate in these areas. Let’s check them out:
- What do you like about our company?
This is a common interview question and is asked to assess how much the candidate knows about the company. A good candidate will do some basic research about the company they have applied to before showing up for the interview. We recommend going through the company website at least once to learn about their broad goals and vision, and mission statement. Also, a good candidate should be able to point out certain specific areas, such as the effect the company’s product has on people. The candidate should identify some points about the company before giving the interview. This will impress the interviewer and give them the idea that the candidate is diligent and likes to well-prepared for any job and is interested in working with them.
- Tell us about a time when you contributed some positive change to a project.
The job of a manufacturing engineer is mainly about problem-solving. O getting to know about the candidate’s ability to identify opportunities for positive change and their problem-solving skills is critical for the interviewer. The interviewer needs to know what the candidate can bring to the table if they are hired. An experienced candidate should talk about a previous instance at work where they identified an area that needed improvement and suggested some change that helped add more value to the end product or cut manufacturing costs significantly. The candidate should highlight their ability to convince others of their idea and how their supervisors approved of their thinking. This will convince the interviewer that the candidate can be an asset to the company, and such a candidate will definitely be at the top of the list for possible hires.
- Tell us about a time when you worked on a project which did not lead to a desirable outcome.
How the candidate reacts to failure tells the interviewer whether they will be a good hire for the company. The candidate may discuss a specific instance of failure in the past or talk about how they generally deal with times when projects don’t work out the way they were supposed to. A good candidate would be willing to learn from their failures by quickly identifying what went wrong and ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated in the future. Also, the candidate should highlight any creative solutions they came up with to correct themselves in future projects. A candidate who constantly looks to improve themselves and is not easily bummed out by failure will be looked upon favorably by the interviewer.
- What, in your opinion, makes a good team?
Manufacturing engineers are expected to work in teams, and therefore, being a good team player is essential to the job. Any manufacturing company would want to ensure that their business is in the hands of a talented and competent team of individuals who can work together in harmony to meet deadlines without compromising on the quality of work being done. A good answer to this question should consist of all the general qualities expected in a good team, such as building mutual trust, respecting each other, and being sensitive to each other’s professional needs. The candidate can also briefly talk about how the team can bond better, such as being given sufficient creative freedom to work in tandem on projects as a team which as strong bonds is bound to produce work of good quality.
- What is your definition of success, in the context of the role you have applied for?
The interviewer wants to see how well the candidate knows what is expected of them at the job. As a manufacturing engineer, the candidate would have to study products, development processes, and manufacturing methods. While simultaneously coming up with ways to cut costs and make feasible changes to the product, it improves. The interviewer also wants to see if the candidate’s idea of success at the job aligns with the broader interests of the company. To give a favorable answer in this sense, the candidate needs to know about the company’s goals and interests. A good answer to this question would typically be on how the candidate sees success as being able to design a product that is easy and cheap to manufacture but of high quality and sells well in the market. Being able to contribute to the company’s growth should be the definition of success for any good employee.
- Imagine that you have been put in charge of a production line. The production supervisor tells you to start despite not having proper safety guarding on the conveyor. What would you do in this situation?
Such situation-based questions are not uncommon in job interviews. They are asked to test the candidate’s experience and ability to think on their feet. An experienced candidate will know what to do in such situations. However, since experience is not in the bag for every candidate, this question assesses how quickly they can develop a feasible solution to a problem. Also, since this particular question is about safety, this will test how seriously the candidate takes safety at work and how far they are willing to ensure safety is maintained. Ideally, the candidate should shut down operations immediately and wait until all safety precautions are in place. If this includes standing up to the production supervisor, then the candidate should do that too, as this will impress the interviewer and show them that the candidate will not compromise on company interests under any circumstances.
- Tell us about the most complex manufacturing process you have worked with.
This is a solid test of experience, as the interviewer wants to know what systems the candidate knows how to operate and whether they are used to working with complex systems. Companies already have their own systems in place. The interviewer needs to know if the candidate is familiar with the company’s system, which will further help them assuage whether the candidate will be a good fit. It is better to talk to people already working with the company before the interview to get an idea of what is already going on and then construct an answer that highlights the candidate’s experience in those systems. A candidate who does not have much-said experience would do well to display an eagerness to learn the systems in place at the company.
- Tell us about a time when you dealt with an upset customer.
Manufacturing engineers are responsible for keeping customers satisfied and for maintaining a positive and productive work environment. They are often expected to deal with unhappy customers about a product or its time of delivery. A good candidate should demonstrate how they would handle such situations with a sufficient degree of professionalism and sympathy. A candidate can talk about any past experiences where they successfully managed to make a disgruntled customer happy. They would get extra points if the solution they came up with were creative and out-of-the-box. The interviewer will essentially be looking for a display of good communication skills, empathy, and the ability to handle conflict on the part of the candidate through this answer.
- How do you like being managed?
Manufacturing engineers have to work in a team and under a supervisor. The interviewer needs to know what style of leadership the candidate is comfortable with. Since the interviewer will know the style of leadership prevalent in the company, this is their way of knowing if the candidate would function well in the company environment. Also, the management style a candidate prefers will be the style they implement while training junior workers, which is a responsibility manufacturing engineers have. The interviewer needs to understand what it is. There is no one correct way of answering this question. The candidate should be honest and talk about the things they like and don’t like. For example, a candidate would do well to mention that they don’t like being micromanaged. This will tell the interviewer that the candidate will also not micromanage junior employees if hired.
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Companies generally like to hear that an employee plans to spend a long time with them because that means the employee will be a good human investment. However, candidates who cannot list any plans for themselves will come across as unambitious and lazy. A good way to answer this question is to say that the candidate likes the goals and vision of the company as they are in tandem with their personal values, and then say that they plan to stay in this company and eventually climb up the corporate ladder by adopting newer responsibilities. The interviewer will thus get the idea that this candidate can be a long-term asset to the company and will not leave them searching for greener pastures.
It is a competitive market for employment with rapidly evolving manufacturing systems at the end of the day. Staying in the game is tough as one needs to constantly upgrade oneself or risk being pushed out of the competition. Keep in mind that you be asked simple technical questions during the interview, such as the difference between a ball valve and a butterfly valve or the difference between precision and accuracy. But we know you can ace those questions easily, as technical knowledge is something every engineer must have at their fingertips. All the best!
Frequently Asked Questions
- How should I dress for the interview?
Dress professionally. A neat appearance shows that you are serious about the job, something every interviewer wants to see.
- Is it necessary for me to know about every manufacturing system in order to do well in the interview?
While companies prefer individuals with a wide range of experience and knowledge, being familiar with the company systems and being eager to learn more is a decent qualification for a candidate.