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Machinist Interview
Questions

36 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 17th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Manufacturing    
Question 1 of 36
Attention to detail is very important in this role. How do you ensure you remain focused and accurate at all times?
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How to Answer
The interviewer wants to be assured that you are able to remain focused and responsible while working with important equipment and machinery. Give an example of ways that you remain focused on the task at hand, even in a potentially distracting situation.
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Answer Examples
1.
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 important equipment and machinery. 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 machinist, 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."
2.
List the top 3 skills that you have acquired in your last role.
You have likely gained many valuable skills in your career. Share with the interviewer which skills you value the most. Be sure to include skills that will benefit this potential new employer.

Rachelle's Answer
"In the past few years I was able to upgrade my education while still working full time. The biggest skill that I gained was my ability to multi-task as I worked the dual role of employee and student. I also have strong CNC experience and bring skills in blueprint reading."
3.
Do you have experience working in a unionized environment? What are your thoughts on union based roles?
While the interviewing company may have some, or all, unionized employees, it's best to answer this question as diplomatic as possible. Avoid complaining and try to focus on the perks that might come from working in a unionized environment.

Rachelle's Answer
"Personally, I have not worked in a unionized environment; however, I have heard that unions are a great way to ensure continuity in the workplace. From what I understand, they offer security to employees which is always a bonus."
4.
What influenced your decision to work as a Machinist?
The interviewer wants to see that you have a lot of passion for what you do, and interest in what this career path has to offer. Staff turnover can be expensive so assure the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in this career path, and plan to stay long term. Be sure to touch on what first influenced you into this career path.

Rachelle's Answer
"My interest in machining started as a teen when I took shop classes in high school. I was fascinated with the different ways I needed to apply mathematical skills and critical thinking. I've always been a hands-on type of person so pursuing a career as a machinist made sense for me. This particular position interests me because you have machinery that I have never worked with before. I believe your company will offer me many opportunities for career development."
5.
How does this position fit into your career goals?
Is this particular position a good fit? Is it a step up in your career or - a stagnant move that you are just complacent with taking until something better comes along? Assure the interviewer that this position will be challenging for you, is a step up in responsibilities, and that it fits with your overall career goals.

Rachelle's Answer
"My primary goal in my career as an HR professional is to eventually work my way from an Administrator level to HR Partner. I feel that what your organization offers is a strong path towards those goals and I am excited about what this position has to offer."
6.
How do you handle stress on the job?
Are you someone who is able to handle stress on the job? How do you manage the stressful times? Talk to the interviewer about your ability to manage pressure in the workplace.

Rachelle's Answer
"I handle stress very well and when you call my references, they will attest to this fact. When I am under pressure on the job, I focus on the task at hand and make sure to not get distracted. Staying on deadline is very helpful and I will delegate when necessary to alleviate some stress."
7.
As a Machinist, you may be asked to work a variety of shifts. Do you have any restrictions on your availability?
The interviewer wants to know what kind of flexibility you can offer them when it comes to your work schedule. If you have any restrictions in your schedule, this is a good time to address them. If there is a specific shift that you are looking for, be upfront about your preference.

Rachelle's Answer
"I am more than willing to be a flexible employee by working a variety of shifts, as needed. Currently I do not have many restrictions in my availability with the exception of Tuesday evenings."
8.
How would you fill your time, if faced with downtime during your working day?
The interviewer wants to know that you are a dedicated employee who is capable of finding productive tasks, even during seasons or times when the workload isn't as intense.

A few ways that you can fill your time when volumes are low:

- Mentoring a junior employee
- Servicing equipment
- Offering to help a co-worker
- Studying safety manuals

Give an example of how you would fill potential downtime and be sure to highlight that you are a proactive and productive employee.

Rachelle's Answer
"I am a very proactive individual and certainly do not enjoy sitting around, waiting for work to be handed to me. If I were to experience downtime in the workplace I would take that time to mentor more junior employees or brush up my knowledge in workplace policy or safety."
9.
Do you have difficulty working in a team environment?
Team collaboration is a key part of most jobs so it's important that you give an overall positive reply to this question. If you have difficulty working in a team environment, that is okay; however, you need to show the interviewer that you are capable of offering flexibility between a group setting and working autonomously. In the end, the interviewer wants to be assured that you are capable of working positively, in a team environment.

If you have difficulty working in a team environment: "Depending on the scope of the project, I sometimes prefer to work autonomously; however, I am more than capable of being a positive and contributing member of a team based project."

If you love working in a team environment: "Personally, I thrive in a team environment. I see team projects as an opportunity to learn new skills!"
Rachelle's Answer
"Depending on the scope of the project, I sometimes prefer to work autonomously; however, I am more than capable of being a positive and contributing member of a team based project."
10.
Being a machinist can be stressful. How do you deal with stressful situations in the workplace?
Ah, the challenge of stress management! Your ability to manage stress will directly influence your ability to do your job successfully. Before answering this question, think of some ways you have learned to deal with stress at work. You can't always take a break when you need it, so what will you do?

Some workplace stress management strategies are:

- Track your primary stress factors and make a plan for overcoming those
- Establish boundaries with distracting coworkers
- Breathing exercises, or meditation
- Be sure to recharge your emotional batteries throughout the day
- Express your stress to your manager/supervisor
- Ask for help

Rachelle's Answer
"I've learned some helpful breathing techniques that I can do while I'm at work. Even when I'm feeling rushed or overwhelmed by a situation, I am able to slow down my breathing and remain calm. Once I understood that it was okay for me to take a minute for myself, I learned to handle workplace stressors in a whole new way."
11.
Walk me through the steps you take to diagnose a machine malfunction.
The interviewer would like some insight into how you think and troubleshoot when it comes to machine malfunctions. Take the interviewer through the steps you take when faced with malfunction.

Rachelle's Answer
"Personally, I like to use a 5 step troubleshooting method. I was taught this way of troubleshooting while attending my Machinist Technician courses in trades school. The first step is Observation. Step 2 is to Define the Problem. Third, I take the time to Identify the Potential Causes. The fourth step is to Determine Cause and then the final and fifth step is to Repair and Test."
12.
We value continued learning and development. If you could take additional machining related training, what would you choose?
The interviewer would like to know where you would improve your skills, if given the opportunity. As a machinist, it's a great idea to gain skills in specific machinery or even electronic blueprint reading. Talk about your biggest areas of interest and where you would like to continue to learn.

Rachelle's Answer
"Career development is really important to me since I want to continually improve and grow my machining skills. If I could choose any area for improvement, I would choose additional skills in CNC."
13.
As a Machinist, are Health and Safety regulations important to you? What type of Safety training have you taken?
The interviewer would like to be assured that you take Health and Safety seriously. Discuss any safety related training you have taken on the job, and any formal certifications you may possess.

Rachelle's Answer
"Health and safety is incredibly important to me as a machinist. I've seen people become unnecessarily hurt in the workplace and it can be easily prevented. I have had a lot of great on the job training when it comes to safety and also have safety related certificates including Machine Shop Safety Training, Occupational Health and Safety Training, and First Aid / CPR."
14.
Tell me the types of machines you have experience in running. Where did you gain this experience?
The interviewer would like a clear break down on the machines you are most skilled with. Before the interview, it is important that you become familiar with their job description so that you understand the types of machinery you will be expected to work on. If you have experience in these types of machines, you should mention these first. If you do not have experience in the machines that are used there, you can talk about any machines that may be close in nature.

Rachelle's Answer
"I see that you primarily use CNC machines, lathes, and milling machines. I have a lot of experience with CNC and a smaller amount with lathes and milling machines. I have gained this experience from working as a machinist with Company XYZ for the last 5 years."
15.
Working as a Machinist will present some challenging situations. How do you handle stress in the workplace?
Are you someone who is able to handle stress on the job? How do you manage the stressful times? Talk to the interviewer about your ability to manage pressure in the workplace.

Rachelle's Answer
"I handle stress very well and when you call my references, they will attest to this fact. When I am under pressure on the job, I focus on the task at hand and make sure to not get distracted. Staying on deadline is very helpful and I will delegate when necessary to alleviate some stress."
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36 Machinist Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. Attention to detail is very important in this role. How do you ensure you remain focused and accurate at all times?
  2. List the top 3 skills that you have acquired in your last role.
  3. Do you have experience working in a unionized environment? What are your thoughts on union based roles?
  4. What influenced your decision to work as a Machinist?
  5. How does this position fit into your career goals?
  6. How do you handle stress on the job?
  7. As a Machinist, you may be asked to work a variety of shifts. Do you have any restrictions on your availability?
  8. How would you fill your time, if faced with downtime during your working day?
  9. Do you have difficulty working in a team environment?
  10. Being a machinist can be stressful. How do you deal with stressful situations in the workplace?
  11. Walk me through the steps you take to diagnose a machine malfunction.
  12. We value continued learning and development. If you could take additional machining related training, what would you choose?
  13. As a Machinist, are Health and Safety regulations important to you? What type of Safety training have you taken?
  14. Tell me the types of machines you have experience in running. Where did you gain this experience?
  15. Working as a Machinist will present some challenging situations. How do you handle stress in the workplace?
  16. Do you have your own tools that you can bring to the job?
  17. What are your career goals within machining, and how will this position fit with those goals?
  18. Tell me about your experience in this field.
  19. Tell me about a responsibility in your former or current position that you really enjoyed.
  20. What is your current salary?
  21. Tell me about a contribution you made to the last team you worked on.
  22. We measure productivity in a variety of ways. In your opinion, what are the most important performance metrics for this position?
  23. The role of a Machinist requires high amounts of physical activity. What experience have you had within a physically demanding role?
  24. When you have a situation that could cause you to be unexpectedly absent from work, how do you handle it?
  25. In your opinion, what skills and behaviors are most important, in order to be a successful Machinist?
  26. Would you say you focus more on reasons why change will not work rather than adapting to new changes?
  27. Describe an ongoing problem at your current or former employer that you were able to overcome.
  28. What are your salary expectations?
  29. Tell me about your Machinist related education.
  30. We are asking for 8 years of machining experience and you have just 5. Why do you think you are qualified for this position?
  31. How do you stay up-to-date on new technologies and trends in machining?
  32. Describe the types of routine maintenance you’ve performed on CNC machines. Why is routine maintenance important?
  33. As a Machinist, you are required to read blueprints and parts drawings. Tell me about your previous experience with this.
  34. What are vernier calipers, and why are they important in machining?
  35. What is a micrometer screw gauge, and how would you use it within the role of Machinist?
  36. As a machinist, you need to calculate dimensions and perform other math related tasks. Tell me about your mathematical skills.
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