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Machine Operator Interview Questions

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  1. Getting to know about your previous work experience can help me decide where you fit in with our company. What machines have you used before? See answer
  2. We may need you to program some of our machines to perform specific processes yourself. What kind of experience do you have with this work? See answer
  3. We work with several types of equipment here. If two or more of our machines become inoperable simultaneously, which of these do you fix first?
  4. Safety is an important consideration when operating any of the machines we use. How do you perform a quality check to ensure everything works properly?
  5. Some of our equipment deals with making things to aid in the production process. Do you know the three steps you should perform on a machine before starting a production cycle?
  6. You try to diagnose maintenance issues with a machine to make repairs, but you can’t figure out what’s wrong with it. What do you do?
  7. You’re in charge of training a new machine operator, but they don’t seem to respect your authority. How do you handle the situation?
  8. Do you have experience completing safety or work logs for a machine? What examples can you provide?
  9. You program a machine incorrectly, which causes products to move too quickly and as a result, over 100 products are now mislabeled. What do you do?
  10. Are you okay with working night shifts or weekends to meet our company’s manufacturing needs?
  11. Which industries do you have the most experience working in as a machine operator?
  12. Why do you want to be a machine operator at our company?
  13. You smell an odd odor while operating a machine. Do you take any action? If so, what do you do?
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6 Machine Operator Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

We work with several types of equipment here. If two or more of our machines break down simultaneously, which of these do you fix first?

A:

This question is a general knowledge one that tests the potential hire’s ability to analyze problems and prioritize issues on the production floor as necessary. You can use it to help you determine how the machine operator views the usefulness of the equipment with which they will be working. Check for logical reasoning, effective problem-solving skills and specific steps in the maintenance process.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to organize and prioritize tasks
  • General knowledge of the importance of machinery
  • Processes for conducting effective maintenance procedures

Example:

“If two machines develop faults, I will take several factors into consideration. One might be easier to fix, but the other one might be more crucial to that day’s production schedule. I would focus on repairing the device that achieves the highest output.”

Q:

Safety is an important consideration when operating any of the things we use. How do you perform a quality check to ensure everything works properly?

A:

Many machine operators are responsible for performing safety or quality checks on their equipment prior to putting it to use each day. You can use this question to gauge the potential hire’s priorities, knowledge of safety procedures at your company and precise steps they might take to perform a quality check. Different operators may have different answers, but everyone should operate within guidelines.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Knowledge of safety guidelines
  • Steps for performing accurate checks on equipment
  • Ability to solve quality control issues independently

Example:

“I’m trained to understand how most common equipment is supposed to function normally. I listen for any grinding or clunking that may indicate an issue with a part. I replace any faulty devices as necessary and check to ensure the equipment is working at full capacity.”

Q:

Getting to know about your previous work experience can help me decide where you fit in with our company. What machines have you used before?

A:

This question doesn’t just tell you about the potential hire’s prior professional experiences. It’s also a way you can get to know the specific training or types of equipment the machine operator has used in the past. Most candidates will have some certification that allows them to work with these devices. You should seek responses that indicate a willingness to be trained more as necessary.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Specific examples of experience with machine operation
  • Any relevant certificates
  • Willingness to learn about new machines if necessary

Example:

“In the past, I’ve worked with drilling, boring and milling machines in a professional capacity. I hold certificates in heavy and construction equipment, but I’m always ready to expand my horizons to benefit the company.”

Q:

Some of our equipment deals with making things. Do you know the three steps you should perform on a machine before starting a production cycle?

A:

Although machine operators are concerned primarily with how equipment is working, it is important that you hire candidates who are familiar with every stage they might encounter. This question tests the new worker’s broader understanding of how the devices they work with might be used. A competent machine operator needs to understand each stage and how every one of them works or interconnects.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Explanation of all steps in the production process
  • Understanding of how they are important
  • Basic knowledge of machine operation

Example:

“A common cycle involves preproduction, actual production and post-production. The first stage might be the most important as everything depends on how we plan it out. Production involves me operating the machine, and post-production cleans up any errors.”

Q:

We may need you to program some of our machines to perform specific processes yourself. What kind of experience do you have with this work?

A:

Much of today’s equipment uses computer chips and displays to run diagnostics or to perform specific tasks. You can use this question to test the machine operator’s familiarity with programming in addition to the standard things they might do on the job. Some certifications are preferred for this type of work. The machine operator should be able to give you relevant prior experience

What to look for in an answer:

  • Willingness to train for this if necessary
  • Prior experience with programming machinery
  • Certifications that might be relevant to this specialization

Example:

“I did program some of the machines at my previous job, but I would be happy to take courses that broaden my abilities here if needed. I have a certificate to work as a CNC programmer.”

Q:

You try to diagnose maintenance issues with a machine to make repairs, but you can't figure out what's wrong with it. What do you do?

A:

A machine operator's primary responsibility is to operate machinery in various settings. They also have additional skills to perform basic maintenance and repairs. However, they may not have in-depth knowledge like mechanical engineers or maintenance specialists. This question allows interviewers to gauge a candidate's ability to call on others when they reach their professional limitations. It also allows them to learn more about a candidate's values in maintaining safety and production standards.

A candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Ability to ask for help
  • Commitment to product quality
  • Understanding of professional limitations

Here is one example of a quality candidate answer:

Example:

"The first thing I would do is contact my supervisor and let them know that I did all I could to diagnose the problem, but that I need expert assistance. Once the engineer arrives, I would assist them in any way possible and seek to learn more about how to complete advanced repairs."

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