Got an interview for a role as a production manager in some company? Don’t know where to start with your preparation? Then, you came to the right place! Here in this article, we check out some of the broad interview questions for the post of a production manager and ideal ways to answer them. We understand that it can be quite stressful when you don’t know what to expect in an upcoming interview, which is why we have got you covered. Even if you don’t have an interview, this will help you plan to become a production manager in the future.
A production manager is also referred to as a production scheduler and is responsible for planning production schedules and ensuring that the equipment used in the production process is handled properly and maintained with care, with occasional repairments whenever needed. It is essentially a management position, and production managers are also responsible for managing and training teams of junior employees. In addition, they are responsible for interacting with suppliers and purchasing raw materials and sometimes production equipment. The job has a lot of duties and hence requires a host of positive talents.
A competent production manager should have decent communication skills, organizational talent, and the ability to multitask. They should be good leaders and have some degree of experience in the industry they have applied to. Since they are required to make purchases in raw material for the company, production managers are supposed to have some contacts with reliable suppliers in the geographical area. Therefore, the questions asked during an interview for the role of a production manager will be designed to bring out these qualities in them and let the interviewer decide if they are a good fit for the job. Let us take a look at some of these questions:
Tell us about yourself.
This is a common interview question and is usually asked at the beginning of an interview. It is important to answer this question in the context of the role one has applied to and talk about relevant things to the job. For example, the interviewer would probably not be interested to know about the candidate’s dancing skills. Ideally, the candidate should keep their answer focused on their education, their work experience in the industry, the skills they possess which are necessary to be a good production manager, such as being good at communication, being experienced in organization, knowing how to handle trainees, etc. the candidate may add a couple of their hobbies at the end of their answer to make it wholesome. At the end of the day, the interviewer wants to hire someone good at their job and a human being.
Why did you choose this career?
A key aim is to understand why the candidate wants the role that they have applied to. A good candidate will be motivated by the job itself and will take the initiative to contribute to the company. Therefore, simply saying that the pay is good or that it seems easy for the candidate will not be a good answer. The candidate needs to display a zeal for the work that comes with the job, and a good way to do this is with a little personal story. The candidate can talk about how someone inspired them to take up this career early in their life. They can also say that they feel that they are giving back to society in the best way they can through this career. Of course, it is important, to be honest in an interview. The interviewer should understand that the candidate is motivated and sees the job as more than just a job.
What do you like about our company?
A good candidate will have done some basic research become showing up for the interview. We recommend going through the company website to get a good idea about their vision and mission statement, along with their larger goals. The candidate should list some aspects that they admire about the company, such as the positive effect they have on society or the environment-friendly standards they adhere to. The idea should be to highlight how the candidate’s personal values align with the company’s broad values. A candidate who has done their research and knows what they are talking about will come across as diligent and a possible good fit for the company, something the interviewer would definitely like to see.
What according to you makes a good production manager?
Every candidate will have an idea in their minds which they will try and emulate on the job. It is in the interviewer’s interest to know what that ideal is and whether that will align with the company’s goals. A good answer to this question should start with a list of the general qualities that a production manager should possess, followed by some things which the candidate holds as ideal. A good way to prepare for this question is to talk to current employees in the company’s production division to understand what they need and then come up with an answer that highlights them. If the ideals espoused by them are judged to be beneficial for the company, they will generally be looked upon favorably.
How do you go about planning the budget for a particular job?
A key duty of a production manager in planning and negotiating the production budget is to determine the costs of some primary production methods. Furthermore, they should also list some of the strategies they follow while negotiating for an adequate budget for the job at hand, along with some of the technological tools to be used. Any prior experience in budget management and financial planning should be mentioned within this answer. The candidate should display the capacity to communicate their positions and negotiate well. They should hold their ground when they think that they are right and be flexible enough to solve problems within budgetary constraints.
How do you handle deadlines in production?
An efficient production manager must have excellent time management skills. The best way to demonstrate one’s talent in this regard is to talk about previous experiences at work that dealt with the setting of deadlines and meeting them. A candidate would do well to mention any instances of them working extra hard or strategizing effectively to meet a tough deadline. This will convince the interviewer that the candidate takes time management seriously and will not compromise on deadlines while being in charge of production. They should also display a knack for setting realistic deadlines and outline their plans as to how they go about assessing the needs of a project, such as reading up on past estimates and sitting down with all the stakeholders to understand their limitations before committing, and leaving enough room in the time allotted to move about in case of an emergency.
What do you do to cut costs in a project that you are in charge of?
Companies always want to keep their production costs to a minimum, and being in charge of production planning and management, the production manager’s job is to ensure that money is not being sent where it doesn’t have to be. Therefore, the interviewer needs to know what strategies the candidate would employ to go about this part of the job to assess whether they will be effective within the company. A production manager cannot compromise on the interests of any stakeholder or with the quality of the product being produced while cutting costs. A good answer should display an acute business sense, a practical approach to business management, and attention to detail to reduce cost-heavy errors. The candidate may list some of their own unique ideas, such as incentivizing workers who work fats, as saving time saves money. This will tell the interviewer that the candidate before them is creative with solutions and knows how to do their job.
How do you handle conflict at the workplace?
Since this is, after all, a management position, a key responsibility of a production manager is to handle conflict between members of the production team. Sometimes, the conflict between individual members can affect the entire team’s performance, something no company would want. Therefore, a good manager should step in anytime they detect any interpersonal dispute within their team and come up with ways to diffuse it before it balloons into something unmanageable. The candidate can talk about some measures they think are effective in this regard, such as individually sitting every affected employee down to hear them out before calling for a meeting between all the disgruntled members to come up with a compromise. The purpose of such a meeting would e to ensure that nobody leaves the room feeling unsatisfied. A manager ought to be sympathetic and patient in such cases.
How do you ensure quality in all areas of production?
The interviewer needs to know what kind of standards the candidate likes to hold their work accountable to and whether those standards align with the broader standards that the company has for itself in this regard. A good candidate should be clear about what they like to see in their subordinates and how they like the work to be done. They should also offer suggestions and ideas that they would implement in the company if they were hired to improve the production processes with regards to quality. Finally, they can talk about any prior instances at work in which they had come up with ways to improve quality in production. In short, the interviewer wants to see that the candidate has a clear vision as a manager, is enthusiastic about ensuring quality at work, and has some ideas about how to go about it.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
A company typically likes an employee who plans to spend a long time with them, as they see that employee as a good human investment. However, a candidate who is satisfied with simply continuing to work for the company in the future may come across as lazy and lacking in the ambitious nature that is generally expected of managers. Therefore, a good way for the candidate to answer this question is saying by saying that they wish to stay in the company in the future and climb up the corporate ladder by learning new aspects of the job and taking up new responsibilities. This will convince the interviewer that the candidate will not quit the job searching for greener pastures soon and can be trusted with the company’s future, as far as product management is concerned.
The fundamental thing that is needed in this role, or any management role, is experience. So, you should definitely ensure that you point out your experience in this industry through various anecdotes and examples throughout the interview. An experienced candidate will already know about some of the typical challenges in the industry and how to deal with them, which will make it easier for the company to trust them with their business dealings. Other than that, one needs to be patient and communicate well with different people in different capacities. We believe this article has helped you grasp what to expect at the interview for the job you want. Now all that remains for you to do is go out there and ace it. All the best!
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I dress for the interview? Dress professionally. A sloppy appearance gives the impression that you do not take the job seriously, and you will probably not be taken very seriously if you go in clothes that are unwashed or heavily creased.
- At what age can I become a production manager? One needs quite a lot of job experience to be a production manager, so you’ll probably be well past your middle-age before you get the opportunity to become one. Exceptional individuals may achieve that at a younger age.