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Process Engineer Interview Questions

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  1. How would you rate your writing skills as they pertain to composing instructional documents, blueprints and troubleshooting guides for processing systems? See answer
  2. Can you please walk me through how you would go about troubleshooting a piece of equipment as a project engineer?
  3. What safety certifications do you currently hold? Can you please describe a time when you identified a safety concern as a process engineer? How did you resolve it?
  4. A process engineer experienced in the Six Sigma process can drastically improve plant efficiency. Do you hold Six Sigma certification? Can you tell me the stages?
  5. Can you please define a P&ID? Can you give me a few examples of when you’ve used a P&ID as a process engineer?
  6. Can you describe your previous experience working with change management systems?
  7. What previous industries have you worked in as a process engineer that qualify you for a position at our company?
  8. Can you walk me through your process for assessing risks with a particular design? What examples can you provide from your previous experiences?
  9. Have you ever helped an employer reduce manufacturing costs while maintaining quality production standards? Can you explain the situation in-depth?
  10. Why do you want to work as a process engineer for our manufacturing plant?
  11. What is the largest processing system you’ve designed and implemented during your career so far?
  12. What type of piping would you suggest we use for separating and removing chemical waste?
  13. Can you tell me about a time you required assistance to troubleshoot an equipment problem?
  14. How did you communicate equipment problems or budgeting needs to members of upper management in your previous process engineer role?
  15. Can you walk me through your methods for testing a new piece of production equipment?
  16. How should you use production quotas and other data as a process engineer?
  17. Do you have experience training equipment technicians and manufacturing personnel to use equipment or operate processing systems?
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6 Process Engineer Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Please walk me through how you as a process engineer would go about troubleshooting a piece of equipment in a plant.

A:

Process engineers typically work in busy production environments where they are responsible for optimizing processes and ensuring that all of the equipment needed for daily operations is functioning. These engineers should be familiar with the basic mechanics of all machines that they work with and be able to troubleshoot problems as they arise. This question allows candidates to elaborate on past experiences.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Familiarity with equipment used
  • Level of detail in method for diagnosing problems
  • Proposed degree of interaction with production workers

Example:

“First, I ask the equipment operators to recount their last steps, and then I consult data logs and develop several theories that I can then test.”

Q:

What safety certifications do you currently hold? Please describe a time when as a process engineer you identified a safety concern and how you resolved it.

A:

Process engineers have a comprehensive view of plant operations that allows them to identify and fix safety concerns that might not be readily apparent to other workers in the facility. Holding higher-level safety certifications demonstrates an overall interest in maintaining plant security. This question provides insight into the applicant’s ability to identify and resolve safety concerns.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability for critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Willingness to pursue professional certifications
  • Examples of success resolving safety issues

Example:

“I refresh my OSHA training every year. At my previous job, I once noticed forklift operators had poor visibility because of where materials were stored, so I moved the materials.”

Q:

Having a process engineer experienced in the Six Sigma process can drastically improve plant efficiency. Do you hold Six Sigma certification, and can you tell us the stages?

A:

Many plants looking to optimize their production use Six Sigma to help identify cost savings opportunities. Process engineers who hold Six Sigma certification have specifically studied the Six Sigma method, and at higher levels of certification, have completed Six Sigma projects that were reviewed by outside experts. A candidate with this certification would definitely have an advantage over other applicants.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Level of certification held
  • Willingness to pursue higher-level professional training
  • Experience applying Six Sigma principles

Example:

“The are two Six Sigma methods: Six Sigma DMAIC, which is used to improve an existing process, and Six Sigma DMADV, which is used to design a new process. Six Sigma DMAIC stands for define, measure, analyze, improve and control, and I am currently working toward my black belt certification with it.”

Q:

Please define a P&ID. As process engineer, can you tell me about some times you used a P&ID?

A:

All process engineers should show familiarity with this basic technical term that refers to a blueprint for equipment. Experienced process engineers will be able to provide multiple instances where they had to refer to a P&ID to complete their work. Answers to this question provide employers with insight into the types of projects the candidate has worked on in the past.

What to look for in an answer:

  • A basic level of familiarity with technical terms
  • Deeper insight into past experience
  • Ability to read and interpret diagrams

Example:

“P&ID stands for piping and instrumentation diagram. I have used them to determine where to put metering units for gas flows.”

Q:

Please describe your previous experience working with change management systems.

A:

Change management systems are used to document updates that are made in plant production processes and when the alterations occurred. Process engineers use these management systems to trace the effects of changes on the final product and identify the root of problems after they arise. Process engineers should be able to describe one or more types of change management systems they previously used.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Familiarity with ISO norms of documentation
  • Experience in creating documentation to log changes
  • Ability to work with a change management database

Example:

“I initiated general process changes as needed and helped sustain our change management/quality assurance database. I maintained our standard operating procedures in an ISO-compliant fashion.”

Q:

How would you rate your writing skills as they pertain to composing instructional documents, blueprints and troubleshooting guides for processing systems?

A:

Process Engineers are responsible for designing processing systems and production equipment to aid the safe and quality production of various products or materials. This question helps interviewers gauge whether a candidate has the skills necessary to compose documents for others to reference when learning how to operate or repair equipment.

A candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Writing competency
  • Understanding of written communication within their role
  • Previous professional experience

Here is one example of a quality candidate answer:

Example:

"I consider myself proficient in technical writing. I have several experiences from my previous process engineering roles where I had to write production reports and instruction manuals for set-up, testing and troubleshooting processes. I also learned the importance of writing in a comprehensive manner to help others carry out maintenance tasks."

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