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Heavy Equipment Operator Interview
Questions

39 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 21st, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 39
Why do you want a career as a Heavy Equipment Operator?
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How to Answer
The interviewer wants to gauge whether you may be a long term fit for their company, or not. Be sure to give an example of why you are passionate about your career as a Heavy Equipment Operator and tell the interviewer that you are in this career path for the long haul.
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Top 35 Heavy Equipment Operator Interview Questions with Full Content
1.
Why do you want a career as a Heavy Equipment Operator?
The interviewer wants to gauge whether you may be a long term fit for their company, or not. Be sure to give an example of why you are passionate about your career as a Heavy Equipment Operator and tell the interviewer that you are in this career path for the long haul.

Rachelle's Answer
"I have always had an interest in heavy equipment. As a teenager, I helped my dad on the job site in the summers and he would let me operate the smaller pieces of equipment. I guess you could say it's in my blood. I plan to be an operator for many years to come."
2.
This role will require full commitment in varying weather conditions. Do you have experience working in tough conditions?
The interviewer wants to know that you are able to work in any type of work conditions required in this role. If you are unsure of the work conditions, it is absolutely okay to ask the interviewer to elaborate, before you fully agree. You can respond by describing the work conditions you have previously been exposed to, and assure the interviewer that you are ready and capable of handling the position as it's been described.

Rachelle's Answer
"I understand that you have indoor and outdoor facilities, and that work must go on...rain or shine! I have worked in a variety of environments including outdoor yards, and even a chemical plant. I am happy to commit, even through tough working conditions."
3.
What steps do you take when a piece of equipment starts performing poorly?
The interviewer wants to see if you are experienced enough to know the proper steps you take if a piece of equipment starts to malfunction. Show that you are technically minded, and safety driven. Be sure to include an example of a time when you faced this type of situation in the workplace, if you can. If you have any education related to maintenance and mechanics, this is a good time to highlight that training as well.

Rachelle's Answer
"When a piece of equipment fails to work properly, I follow a 5 step troubleshooting plan. I verify that a problem actually exists. Then, I isolate the cause of the problem. Once isolated, I correct the cause of the problem. I will then ask a third party to verify that the problem has been corrected. Finally, I document the situation. I learned this 5 step process while earning my degree in mechanical engineering."
4.
In your opinion, what skills and behaviors are most important, in order to be a successful Heavy Equipment Operator?
The interviewer knows that you will likely list skills and behaviors that you personally possess. Assure the interviewer that you understand what it takes to be successful as a Heavy Equipment Operator. You want your answer to be unique. This will help you to stand out from the other potential candidates. For instance, saying that you think a Heavy Equipment Operator should be safe, and detail driven, may be a mundane answer that anyone would give. Dig deeper!

Here are some ideas:

- Reliable
- Independent
- Aware
- Capable of stress-management
- Patient
- Honest
- Alert
- Open to feedback
- Dedicated

Rachelle's Answer
"I believe the most important skills as a Heavy Equipment Operator would be to have technical and mechanical abilities, quick-decision making skills, and be capable of exercising patience."
5.
How important is safety to you? What type of safety training do you have?
The interviewer wants to see that you understand the importance of safety in the workplace, and that you are dedicated enough to your trade to have participated in some formal training. Walk the interviewer through your safety-related training and be sure to ask them if they are looking for specific experience. This will allow you to overcome any objections related to your level of exposure to safety training.

Rachelle's Answer
"Safe work practices are the groundwork to everything that we do. In regards to safety training, I have completed courses on Ground Disturbance, Occupational Health and Safety, and Excavation Safety. Are there any other safety courses you would like to see me have?"
6.
What types of heavy machinery are you experienced in?
It's a great idea to be clear on the types of machinery you will be working on, in this role, before going into your interview. This way, you can highlight any relevant experience. If you are not aware of the type of equipment used in this role, it is absolutely okay to ask! The types of machinery you are experienced with are likely listed on your resume; however, the interviewer would like for you to go into further detail on your level of experience and comfort-ability.

Rachelle's Answer
"I see that you are looking for 5 years' experience in equipment 'ABC'. I bring 7 years experience with this particular type of equipment. I also consider myself an intermediate level operator in X, Y, and Z."
7.
Attention to detail is very important in this role. How do you ensure you remain focused and accurate at all times?
The interviewer wants to be assured that you are able to remain focused and responsible while working with heavy equipment. Give an example of ways that you remain focused on the task at hand, even in a potentially distracting situation.

Rachelle's Answer
"I feel that attention to detail is incredibly important, especially as a heavy equipment operator, because it can be the line between a safe and unsafe workplace. I stay focused on the job by taking breaks to energize, when it's appropriate. I am sure to follow safety checklists and regularly maintain the equipment that I am working on."
8.
If you were given a choice, which work related task would you leave for last? Why?
Often times we will leave the tasks that we don't like for last in an act of procrastination. Other times, we will mindfully leave a task for last because we feel that it makes the most sense. Help the interviewer to determine which personality type you are by answering this question clearly.

Rachelle's Answer
"If I were given a choice, I would leave my documentation tasks for last. I say this because I like to spend my time in the hands on, operating portion of my job. I do understand the importance of it, though."
9.
Tell me about a time that you naturally took on a leadership role without being asked. Did you enjoy being a leader? Were you happy with the outcome?
Being a leader gives us a different perspective and allows others to grow. Explain that you enjoy helping others grow, and you are the type of leader that hopes to inspire others.
Rachelle's Answer
"We often work in small groups on a variety of projects, however; last month I was tasked to complete a project with a group of 10. I quickly realized that I was the most seasoned of the group and so it was natural for me to be the leader since I had the majority of the answers. I really enjoyed that aspect of the work and was complimented by my supervisor on the end result. Everyone worked well together and knew their role."
10.
Would your former or current boss describe you as a worker who gladly goes the extra mile to complete their tasks?
You can absolutely say that you will go the extra mile but it's best to give a real life example to the interviewer about a time when you did just that. Offer up your references as well and discuss with the interviewer what you feel your most recent employer would say about you.

Rachelle's Answer
"My former boss would definitely describe me as an employee who goes the extra mile. In my most recent position, I was always available on my email and many of my service clients had my cell phone number just in case of an after-hours emergency. When you call my reference he will be happy to expand on that for you, I am sure."
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