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Manufacturing Engineer Interview Questions

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  1. Give us an example of a time you implemented a process change that improved product quality. How did you identify the change you made? See answer
  2. Tell us about the most complex manufacturing process you’ve worked on in the past. What were your responsibilities? See answer
  3. Sometimes, a production line is down and needs to resume production ASAP. Tell us how you’d handle the pressure in that situation. See answer
  4. You’re inspecting a line during production and you notice a safety cover has been disabled by an employee. What do you do? See answer
  5. A product consistently has quality problems that are costly and occasionally reach the customer. How do you fix the situation? See answer
  6. What is a BOM in manufacturing? Why is it an important term to understand in this industry? See answer
  7. Do you have any experience with machining?
  8. Do you prefer to work with a team of other manufacturing engineers or on your own?
  9. How important are processes and procedures for manufacturing engineers?
  10. How do you ensure safety when overseeing the manufacturing process?
  11. Describe your daily duties in your last manufacturing position.
  12. Have you worked on an unsuccessful project before? If so, what did you learn from that experience?
  13. Do you think communication skills are important for manufacturing engineers to develop?
  14. Are you a member of any professional manufacturing engineer organizations?
  15. How do you continue to develop your education and stay aware of changes in the industry?
  16. What long-term goals would you set for yourself and for the company in this position?
  17. Do you think data analysis is necessary for manufacturing engineers? Why or why not?
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6 Manufacturing Engineer Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Give us an example of a time you implemented a process change that improved product quality. How did you identify the change you made?

A:

A manufacturing engineer is often tasked with searching for ways to improve a process, especially when quality problems occur. Asking this question will give you an idea about the candidate’s creativity and how important they consider improvements to be. You’ll also be able to gauge how experienced the applicant is with process changes. Pay attention to their ability to communicate technical details, too. What to look for in an answer:

  • Knowledge of manufacturing process design
  • Understanding of how to analyze quality issues
  • Experience with implementing new process changes

Example:

“At National Auto Parts, we had a difficult time with workers stripping out bolts on the assembly line. After a careful analysis, I recommended switching to a different power tool that allowed us to increase the speed of the line and decrease defects.”

Q:

Tell us about the most complex manufacturing process you’ve worked on in the past. What were your responsibilities?

A:

Manufacturing companies make a wide range of products ranging from simple components to complex machines. Candidates will come with different backgrounds depending on the industries they’ve worked in and the education they have. This question will help you gauge how well their experience and past responsibilities fit the role they’re applying for. You can also get a sense of what their career path has taught them. What to look for in an answer:

  • Past manufacturing experience
  • Ability to relate previous responsibilities to current position
  • Technical communication skills

Example:

“At Ace One Auto, I oversaw the final assembly of their compact sedan line. I worked with three technicians under me and collaborated with five other engineers on the same assembly line.”

Q:

Sometimes, a production line is down and needs to resume production ASAP. Tell us how you’d handle the pressure in that situation.

A:

Manufacturing engineers are responsible for maintenance and quality issues that happen during production. When a machine malfunctions or a test fails, engineers will be under pressure to get the line moving again. Candidates should be able to describe stress management skills that allow them to maintain a professional attitude. They should also be clear that safety, quality and customer deadlines are equally important. What to look for in an answer:

  • Stress management skills
  • Time management abilities
  • Belief in the importance of both safety and customer deadlines

Example:

“I’ve worked on production lines that needed to run 24/7 to remain profitable. Once we had a failed safety sensor that stopped a line. I made sure the workers were safe before we started back up.”

Q:

You’re inspecting a line during production and you notice a safety cover has been disabled by an employee. What do you do?

A:

Production workers and their supervisors often prioritize production over safety, and some safety measures can be disabled, such as light curtains and physical covers. A manufacturing engineer must enforce safety policies in these situations, which can require the line to halt production or a conversation with a supervisor to correct the problem. Candidates should demonstrate professionalism and assertiveness when answering this question. What to look for in an answer:

  • Understanding of worker safety measures
  • Knowledgeable about industry best practices
  • Professional communication skills

Example:

“I’ve had this happen when overseeing a line with automated equipment. I would either have a technician correct the issue immediately or make it clear to the supervisor on duty it needed to be fixed.”

Q:

A product consistently has quality problems that are costly and occasionally reach the customer. How do you fix the situation?

A:

Manufacturing engineers are responsible for designing a process of making products that’s as cost-effective as possible while satisfying customer needs. A candidate should demonstrate knowledge of corrective action procedures that formally address customer complaints. They should also be able to describe how they’d thoroughly investigate what’s taking place on the production line. Problems could include human error, poor testing procedures or unsuitable machines. Pay attention to examples the applicant cites from past experience. What to look for in an answer:

  • Knowledge of corrective action procedures
  • Analytical and process engineering skills
  • Communication skills with workers and other engineers

Example:

“Situations like this typically happen when customer complaints aren’t taken as seriously as they should. I’d initiate corrective actions that prevent future problems rather than try to catch them on the back end.”

Q:

What is a BOM in manufacturing? Why is it an important term to understand in this industry?

A:

You want to ensure that the candidate you hire for your open manufacturing engineer position is familiar with common industry terms and won't require extensive additional training. Asking a question like this about an industry term can help make sure they have the appropriate training for the role. The candidate should easily be able to answer this question if they're truly prepared to work as a manufacturing engineer.

A good answer should include:

  • The definition of a BOM
  • An explanation of why the BOM is important
  • How to use the BOM in their role

A strong candidate answer might resemble this example:

Example:

"A BOM is a bill of materials, which is usually a list of all the individual components that go into a product, but can also mean the suppliers, tools or other supplies necessary to manufacture the product. The BOM is one of the foundational documents used when manufacturing a new product, so we work with them frequently. Usually, I use a BOM to help me determine what we'll need in order to actually make an useable and effective product."

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