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.
"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."
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.
"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."
There are two simple ways to answer this question! Yes, or no. There really is no wrong answer, as most employers should be equipped with the tools that you need, should you not have your own. If you do have your own tools: "Yes, I do have my own tools. I can certainly bring them with me to the job if you prefer that I provide my own tools." If you do not have your own tools: "I have always worked with employers who have provided tools for me so I am not fully equipped on my own. I can certainly purchase more tools of my own if that is preferred."
"Yes, I do have my own tools. I can certainly bring them with me to the job if you prefer that I provide my own tools."
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 upward, and that it fits with your overall career goals.
"My primary goal in my career as a machinist is to gain further certifications, and stronger leadership experience so that I can eventually run my own team and shift. I feel that what your organization offers is a strong path towards those goals and I am excited for what this position has to offer."
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.
"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."
The interviewer wants to know if you have any physical limitations that would deem you unable to perform the tasks required in this role. In many states it is illegal for an employer to ask about your health history so this is another method of finding out about your physical capabilities.
"I see in your job description that you ask for the ability to lift up to 50 pounds, and stand for long periods of time. These are the same physical requirements of my current position, and I can confidently say that I am able to meet these physical requirements."
The interviewer wants to be assured that you are a reliable person, and that you are capable of handling unforeseen circumstances in a professional manner. If you are unexpectedly taken from your work duties you should always communicate your needs promptly to your manager. Have you shift covered, if possible, or offer to make the time up at a later date. Being honest and transparent in these situations is always the best choice.
"If I were to have a situation where I needed to be late, or absent, I would call my manager immediately and explain the situation. I, of course, would be incredibly remorseful as I really do not like to miss work. I do take pride in my high level of reliability."
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.
"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."
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 Machinist. 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 Machinist 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
"I believe the most important skills as a Machinist would be to have technical and mechanical abilities, quick-decision making skills, and be capable of exercising patience."
The interviewer would like to know that you can identify the most important parts of this role and understand how those relate to the overall success of the company. Reading through their job description, you should be able to pull out the key responsibilities in this role. These key responsibilities are directly connected to the success of the organization. Discuss what you think the key performance metrics are and how you plan to meet them.
"From reading the job description and overall responsibilities of the role, I believe that the most important metrics to measure in this role are A, B, and C. In my current position I am measured by these exact metrics. I am a consistent performer in my current role and plan to bring the same enthusiasm to this position."
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.
"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."
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.
"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."
It is important to show the interviewer that you are a team player. Talk about a time that you were recently expected to achieve a goal in a team setting. How did you go over and above to ensure that your contribution was felt?
"Last month our company asked upper management to complete a full inventory audit. There were 4 of us in total and so we broke the audit requirements into shifts. These shifts had to take place when the warehouse was closed. In the end, there was one additional shift that nobody wanted to take. I volunteered myself to do that shift to show my dedication to my job and my co-workers. The gesture was appreciated and the audit was completed on time."
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.
"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."
Were you asked to take on a particular task, project, or responsibility that gave you a strong sense of enjoyment? Talk to the interviewer about this particular task and what it meant to you.
"In additional to my regular responsibilities, my previous employer also asked me to be the head of our social committee. This was very exciting for me because I love to have a workplace where people know each other, are comfortable having a meaningful conversation, and where everyone can let loose now and then. I planned 4 social events per year and the turnout was always wonderful. Employee engagement went up and some very strong connections were made."
It is very important to become acquainted with the job description prior to your interview. When the interviewer asks this question be sure to highlight the related experience that you bring.
"I bring all of the experience that you are looking for in filling this position. In addition to being an expert user in SAP, I also bring 5 years' experience in B2B sales."
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.
"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."
When change occurs in the workplace do you view it positively or do you resist the change? Talk to the interviewer about the ways in which you adapt to change.
"When change occurs in the workplace I initially try to balance the pro's and the con's before reacting. Overall I would say that I prefer to focus on why the changes will work. I am a positive person by nature."
Every place of employment will have it's challenges. Talk to the interviewer about a specific issue that you were able to overcome in your previous role. Be sure to remain positive. Avoid complaining or saying negative things about your previous employer or co-workers.
"In my most recent position we had an ongoing concern with regular maintenance schedules not being adhered to. Equipment failures were too frequent and it was a problem for expenses and productivity. I decided to digitize the maintenance schedule and the checklist had to be confirmed as complete before anyone could clock out for the day. In the end, this solved the majority of maintenance issues and kept most employees more honest regarding their completed tasks."
The interviewer is looking for proof of your mathematical skills. Discuss how you use math to calculate dimensions, in your current position. If you have taken any courses related to math, this is a great time to discuss those as well.
"I have solid mathematical skills and formal math training from my time in trades school. I took the Machinist Technician program where I completed Math for Machining I, II and III. In my current position I am the 'go-to' employee for those who have troubles with some types of calculations."
The interviewer is testing your knowledge of basic trade tools. Briefly explain to the interviewer that you are familiar with the micrometer screw gauge, and the importance of its use.
"A micrometer screw gauge is an instrument used to accurately measure the diameter of a thin wire or the thickness of a sheet of metal. As a machinist, I must be able to accurately use this tool as I frequently measure very small dimensions. Accuracy is very important in this line of work and the micrometer screw-gauge is the best tool for that type of accuracy."
The interviewer is testing your knowledge of basic trade tools. Briefly explain to the interviewer that you are familiar with vernier calipers, and their important place in machining.
"Vernier Calipers are best described as a linear measuring instrument. As a machinist, I must be able to properly use this tool as I frequently measure very small dimensions. Accuracy is very important in this line of work and the vernier caliper is a big part of accuracy in measurement."
As a machinist, the ability to clearly read blueprints and/or schematics is incredibly important. The interviewer is testing your knowledge so the clearest way to express your level of expertise could be to rate your knowledge from 1-10. Briefly explain to the interviewer that you are familiar with blueprint reading and be sure to mention the amount of years' experience you may have with this.
"In total, I have 6 years' experience with reading blueprints and parts drawings. If I could rate my level of expertise from 1-10, I would rate myself as a 7. There is always more to learn; however, I have a strong existing ability in this department."
The interviewer wants to see that you are accustomed to following a maintenance schedule, and that you understand the importance of regular maintenance for costly equipment. Walk the interviewer through the regular maintenance schedule you are accustomed to performing.
"In my current position, we are asked to perform very regular maintaining on the CNC machine. It's an imperative and very costly piece of equipment that must be cared for regularly, and carefully. The schedule that I am accustomed to includes daily care checklist, a 500 hours checklist, a 1000 hours checklist, and a 2000 hours checklist. The daily checks that I perform include checking the hydraulic pressure to make sure it’s at 4.5 MPa. I also check the hydraulic fluids, the chuck pressure, and lube level. The checklist also includes the cooling system, cleaning any loose chips out of the pan, and the window and lights. I also re-lubricate any necessary parts."
One way that a potential employer will gauge 'fit' is by ensuring that you are passionate about your particular industry. Show the interviewer that you are passionate about machining by openly discussing how you stay on top of new industry trends. It's a good idea to ask the interviewer if they have any favorite resources for industry trends. You can always learn something new and it can be a gateway to a strong conversation.
"I keep up to date on new technologies and trends in machining through a variety of sources. I follow 3 different blogs from industry leaders as well as read multiple articles online per week. My favorite resource right now is Modern Machine Shop online. Do you have any favorite resources for up to date industry information?"
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.
"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."
To many employers, the number of years' experience is flexible - so long as you have the results to show for the years that you do have. Talk to the interviewer about your major career successes. This is the time to sell yourself. Make no apologies for your lack of years!
"Although I have 5 years' experience vs 8 years' experience I can absolutely do this job well. In my previous role, I was outperforming colleagues who had 12 years of experience. To me, it's all about drive and ability to be a quick study. I have all of these qualities and more."
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
"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."
The interviewer wants to know how your education has prepared you for this job a a machinist. A few highlights you can focus on are some of the relevant topics you learned about while attending any formal courses or on-the-job training. How will that education help you in this new role? What were some of the most interesting things you learned? Some ideas for you: - If you have experience working on group projects, share how you improved your listening and communication skills when working on a challenging project. - If you learned a new type of software or how to work a type of equipment you will need to know in this new job, talk about what you know and how you will apply this new knowledge. While attending post-secondary studies, you likely learned some core skills that would be transferable to any position. Think about what you learned in your highest levels of education and how that knowledge applies (or will apply) to your work. Some of these skills could include: - Time Management - Creative Thinking - Proposal Writing - Public Speaking - Presentation Building - Independent Learning - Academic Research - Self-Motivation
"I am a big believer in post-secondary education. It adds a lot of value to those newer to the workplace. My post-secondary education was in Machining. The courses in this program helped me to develop stronger abilities when it comes to blueprint reading and working on CNC machines. I also learned a lot of calculus and algebra which has proven to be incredibly helpful in my current role."
The best way to discuss your salary expectations are to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.
"Currently, I earn a base salary of $45,000 per year plus a potential 20% annual bonus based on overall company performance. Last year my earnings were $52,000 and I would like to stay in the same range or slightly higher."
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!"
"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."
A potential employer will often base their offer on your current salary. You should be transparent about your most recent earnings and be prepared to back up any salary requests.
"I am currently earning a base salary of $78,000 plus a car allowance of $900/month and health benefits. I am looking for a competitive salary in my next position."
A Machinist is a person who operates machinery, like CNC machines, and creates mainly metal parts. Machinists should have a strong background in math and enjoy solving math problems. They may need to learn to operate several different types of machines throughout their career. Also, following safety protocols and procedures are critical for a machinist.
Employers looking to hire Machinist will search for candidates with a strong mechanical work experience. If a candidate has educational experience running CNC machines, that will be a huge benefit to the candidate. Employers will want reliable workers and may even call references to discover their work reputation. Your ability to get along with others is also crucial. Often, machinist works swing shifts and hand over the keys to the next worker on duty. Being able to get along with fellow employees is important in a machine shop. The interviewer will question how you have handled past co-worker disputes.
Succeeding at a machinist interview will require you to know the machines in need of operators. Do not overreach your abilities or the interviewer will see through it. List your skills and experiences running the machines enumerated in the job description. Explain to the interviewer how you handle co-worker disputes, how you are a reliable worker, your strong work ethic, and your desire to get the job done.