The non-stop trend towards automation and the employment of lean methods during the manufacturing process has increased the demand for manufacturing engineers.
This is a list of the most common manufacturing engineer interview questions and answers. Good luck with the interview!
What do you know about our business?
Mention the most important products and services the company provides, the markets they operate in, and any significant projects they've been involved with recently.
Obviously, you need to do your research before the interview. Check their website, research their client base, look at their past job offers.
Why do you want to work for us?
- You have an excellent reputation in your industry.
- I love your products/services and I feel I can help improve them.
- I like a good technical challenge and I feel I can make good use of my engineering skills working here.
- I want to be here for the long-term and I know you guys take good care of your people.
What is your biggest strength as a manufacturing engineer?
Don't be too humble, but don't be arrogant either. Talk about a strength that makes sense for the specific job you're applying for. Examples of strengths:
- I'm a good communicator
- Excellent analytical reasoning skills
- Good mathematics and statistics knowledge
- Comfortable working with the latest manufacturing technologies
- Good at paying attention to detail, focused, and disciplined
- Team player, good at collaboration
And your biggest weakness?
Mention a weakness that doesn't matter as much for the job, and it doesn't make you look too bad. Downplay it if you can:
- I'm a reserved person, but I don't let it hinder teamwork.
- I don't consider myself a risk-taker. I like certainty.
- Perfectionism sometimes gets in the way.
- Other examples of weaknesses: too focused/unfocused, too confident, insecure, not too creative, lack knowledge of a specific software or technology.
Why did you become a manufacturing engineer?
- I like the idea of pointing to a product and telling my family: "I did that".
- Manufacturing is an important sector of the economy and I want to help it grow.
- I want to create products that people actually use.
- I can work in a variety of industries and even countries.
- I love technology and automation.
Tell me about your last job
- What was the company?
- What were your responsibilities?
- How long did you work there?
- What projects did you work on?
- What impact did you have?
- Did you get promoted?
- What did you learn on the job?
- Why did you leave? Important: when answering, don't bad-mouth your previous employer!
How do you keep up to date with manufacturing engineering trends?
- By reading manufacturing and engineering books (mention which)
- I read manufacturing blogs (mention these too)
- Following authors and influencers in the industry (who?)
- Networking with fellow peers
Tell me about a project you worked on that failed?
This is a tricky question to answer. On one hand, you don't want to blame others for that failure. On the other hand, you don't want to blame yourself for everything that went wrong.
Describe the project and your responsibilities. What went wrong? Why do you think it failed? Be honest and remember: you don't want to blame your ex-boss or bad-mouth your previous company.
What are the benefits and limitations of Six Sigma?
Benefits: higher quality, reduced manufacturing waste, improved productivity, customer satisfaction, lower costs, higher profits.
Limitations: increased bureaucracy, less space for creativity, harder to implement in small companies.
What is lean manufacturing and how does it help a company?
- Lean manufacturing is a production method used to reduce waste at all levels of a production process.
- It helps by maximizing the use of a company's resources: material, human, time, and capital.
How do you reduce waste in manufacturing?
- By using modern manufacturing methods such as six sigma, lean, kaizen, or JIT.
- Reducing the 7 types of waste: transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, overproduction, over-processing, and defects.
- Correct scheduling and use of human resources
- Better use of physical space
How do you ensure quality in the manufacturing process?
- By using a quality management system like ISO 9001
- Put quality first
- Develop good product specifications
- Employ good training standards
- Test products thoroughly
- Regular inspections
- Continuous improvement
- Focus on customer value
Tell me about the last product you helped manufacture
If you have no professional experience, talk about the projects you did in college. If you have hobby projects, it might be relevant to discuss them too.
If you have job experience, mention the product or service you worked in. What was your role? Your responsibilities? Your achievements?
Tell me a time when you helped improve a manufacturing process
This question is very specific to your experience. Look back on your career. What was your most impactful moment? Your biggest success?
What steps did you take to improve the process? And what were the results? Focus on outcomes, use numbers. Quantify things!
Do you have experience working with CNC machines?
In some companies, you will be required to operate and program a CNC machine. CNC stands for "Computerized Numerical Control".
You might be given training if you have no CNC experience. However, if CNC knowledge is crucial, they might not offer you a job.
How do you ensure the manufacturing plant is free of hazards?
- Use the hierarchy of hazard control: elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and PPE.
- Elimination: can you remove the hazard?
- Substitution: replace the object/situation with something that produces no hazard or a lesser hazard.
- Engineering controls: can we build structures that isolate people from the hazard?
- Administrative controls: employee training, process changes, signs, and alerts.
- PPE: personal protective equipment such as gloves, respirators, hard hats, full-body suits, eye protection, and more.
What does "design for manufacturability" mean to you?
Design for manufacturability is the practice of designing products that are easy to manufacture according to the available technology and experience of the company.
These designs are cost-effective, don't promote waste, are understood by factory engineers and technicians, and are easy to test.
What is value engineering?
Method to increase the value of a product by reducing costs, or by increasing performance without increasing costs.
Steps in value engineering:
- Gather product information
- Classify product functions
- Set targets for each function according to business goals
- Brainstorm ways to hit targets
- Evaluate and select ideas
- Idea implementation
- Analyze results
- Repeat the process until targets are hit
Are you familiar with CGMP? Tell me about it.
- CGMP stands for current good manufacturing practices.
- These practices and regulations are used in certain industries such as pharmaceutical and medical devices, food and supplements, and cosmetics.
- The goal of these standards and regulations is to ensure baseline quality.
What should a manufacturing engineer know?
- Lean manufacturing
- Quality control
- Government regulations
- Six Sigma
- Safety procedures
- CAD experience a plus
What is the role of a manufacturing engineer?
- Design, development, installation, and monitoring of manufacturing equipment
- Solving problems related to quality control, waste, and factory productivity
- Selection, purchase, and installation of equipment
- Improve manufacturing facilities
- Budget management
- Training staff