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Manufacturing Engineer Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Manufacturing Engineer interview, here are 31 interview questions and answer examples.

Manufacturing Engineer was written by and updated on November 4th, 2022. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 31

How will you plan to work with the operational management to be successful at your job?

How to Answer

Manufacturing engineers will need to work closely with production and operations managers during the course of their career. Many times, manufacturing engineers operate in support roles to these types of managers. Operational managers will assign tasks to manufacturing engineers, but are not usually their direct supervisors. It is important that you show you will take direction from and work well with the staff you are supporting. Also, it is important to show that you understand your project schedules (and often your personal work schedule) will be determined by production needs, which can be quite dynamic.

Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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31 Manufacturing Engineer Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. How will you plan to work with the operational management to be successful at your job?

      How to Answer

      Manufacturing engineers will need to work closely with production and operations managers during the course of their career. Many times, manufacturing engineers operate in support roles to these types of managers. Operational managers will assign tasks to manufacturing engineers, but are not usually their direct supervisors. It is important that you show you will take direction from and work well with the staff you are supporting. Also, it is important to show that you understand your project schedules (and often your personal work schedule) will be determined by production needs, which can be quite dynamic.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "I have always operated in a support role for the operations group. Usually, the production manager will identify areas where they need help to meet their KPIs and then ask for support. Once they have requested support in a given area, I will investigate the root cause and work to implement countermeasures to solve whatever problem is leading to the KPI gap. I have always had a very good relationship with the production managers in my areas; they know I will support them whenever and however I possibly can."

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

      Experienced Example

      "Working with operational management usually includes measuring productivity data on the floor and compiling data reports to discuss during meetings. I believe daily and sometimes hourly checking in is important to be aware of what goals there are for operations, if any problems have arisen, and simply staying on my toes."

      Written by Daniel Neuhaus on November 4th, 2022

  • 2. What is the importance of communication?

      How to Answer

      In addition to communication skills, this question asks you to address your reliability and critical thinking skills. Show your interviewer that if they hire you, they can rely on you to transfer important information between team members or between the design team and the customer.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on January 8th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "I believe that explaining information clearly and concisely and using active listening skills are important for good communication. In this position, I'll be required to modify and improve existing equipment, and it's important to communicate well to ensure I can create a solution that actually improves the process and meets the project budget and installation schedule."

      Written by Allison Atkinson on January 8th, 2021

      Experienced Example

      "Without communication, a company cannot function. You need to talk to each other in detail and frequently to stay on top of projects effectively. Emails should often be documented for reference due to the important data can contain. Communication given in quantifiable data can be used to track a company's progress and operational health. Too, responding to suppliers, requesting, administrating quotes, and hiring the right contractors requires accurate details and follow-ups. Getting the right data to the right people is key to proper function of a company. As a bonus, being personable simply makes things easier on everyone."

      Written by Daniel Neuhaus on November 4th, 2022

  • 3. Do you have any previous safety training?

      How to Answer

      As a Manufacturing Engineer you will probably have to go through safety training. This may include OSHA 40-hour HAZWOPER training, OSHA 10-hour training, or facility-specific training. In your answer to this question, tell the interviewer if you have completed this training before and affirm your commitment to safety.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on January 8th, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "Last summer I worked for a construction company and I had to get my OSHA 40-hour certification. I know that I'll have to renew this certification when I get started here. Safety is important to me and I always wear the appropriate PPE. I want to make sure my coworkers and I go home at the end of the day. What facility specific training do you provide?"

      Written by Allison Atkinson on January 8th, 2021

      Experienced Example

      "Having taken various industrial courses, I am very familiar with in-depth safety concepts and have even written basic safety documentation for certain machines. Hands-on safety practice was vital when I worked in construction, so I know a lot of safety standards by heart. Any other safety certificates necessary, I am happy to take even as a refresher."

      Written by Daniel Neuhaus on November 4th, 2022

  • 4. What do you believe is an individual's role when working with a team?

      How to Answer

      Manufacturing Engineers typically work on projects with people in different roles and with different priorities. These members may include the plant manager concerned about scheduled down-time, an engineering manager concerned about budgeting and responsible for reporting to corporate, a mechanic who will be responsible for keeping the equipment working on a daily basis, and an outside contractor. Understanding your role within the larger team is critical to ensuring the project moves smoothly. Show the interviewer that you know different team members have different roles and that you are reliable.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on January 8th, 2021

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  • 5. Tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure.

      How to Answer

      The position of manufacturing engineer will probably require you to handle more than one project at once. It will also involve working in plants which can be noisy, dirty, and often are not temperature controlled. The interviewer is asking if you know how to manage being in a stressful environment. Avoid mentioning a situation when you created the stress or saying that you fold under pressure. Instead, focus on showing how you took action to manage the pressure caused by an external situation.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on January 8th, 2021

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  • 6. If a customer requests that you share data that you feel may be damaging to your company, how do you react?

      How to Answer

      Direct customer communication will probably not be a primary responsibility of a manufacturing engineer, but they will almost certainly find themselves communicating with customers intermittently. It is important that an engineer be truthful and accurate when communicating with customers, but they should also be cognizant of the information they are sharing and its intended purpose. When in a customer-facing role, it is important that all employees represent the company well and put the company's best foot forward. If the engineer feels that they are being asked to share sensitive information or something that may cast the company in a negative light, they should always consult with management before sharing. In your answer, be sure to demonstrate emotional intelligence and communication skills, which are often perceived to be lacking in engineers.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 7. When visiting a potential equipment supplier, how would you evaluate their readiness for a project?

      How to Answer

      A manufacturing engineer's opinion of a potential supplier will most likely be an important factor in whether or not the supplier is selected for a given project. It is important that the manufacturing engineer is capable of evaluating suppliers fairly and consistently. It is also important that the engineer's opinion is not formed strictly based on cost competitiveness. As with most other aspects of a manufacturing engineer's job, it is imperative that they use a structured and analytical approach to evaluating vendors. Your answer to this question should show that when evaluating a proposed supplier, you will be considering multiple aspects that affect the ability of the supplier to adequately deliver the products and services needed by your employer.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 8. Do you have any applicable certifications? Are there any certifications which you would like to pursue while you work here?

      How to Answer

      Generally, manufacturing engineers are not required to have any specific certifications, but possessing and working towards certifications shows that a employee is engaged and interested in their field. A black-belt certification can be particularly desirable, but a CMfgE, PE, Lean Manufacturing, or other certification would still be viewed as a positive. It is important that you be prepared to discuss areas that you see as opportunity for future development and advancement in your career. Be sure to express where you would like to grow and how you would ask the employer to help you do so.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 9. How do you go about identifying potential projects that you should be working on?

      How to Answer

      As with most engineers, the bulk of a manufacturing engineers workload will often be assigned by their management. However, it is desirable for an engineer to be able to identify the highest impact areas for them to dedicate their time to. Ideally, a manufacturing engineer will present their leadership with an idea for a project along with the project's expected result. As with other areas, it is important to demonstrate that you are analytical, and your selection of what to work on will be based on quantitative figures that have a direct impact on company KPIs.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 10. How do you measure your success as a manufacturing engineer?

      How to Answer

      It is very important that manufacturing engineers are analytical and data-driven, thus it is important that they use their KPIs and business impact to define their level of success. It is ok if an engineer values soft metrics, but their performance should mainly be measured by hard data. Your answer to this question should show that you are driven by business performance and that you constantly remain cognizant of your performance relative to KPI targets.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 11. You identify that a key aspect of a process is that a piece of expendable tooling be changed every 500 cycles. How do you ensure that the maintenance team is adhering to the required frequency of this change?

      How to Answer

      While manufacturing engineers may or may not have direct management responsibility for the maintenance staff in their areas, they will certainly be expected to give direction the the maintenance team at times. It is important you show that you will take ownership, not only of giving direction, but implementing processes that ensure that direction is followed. This could include updating documents, adding check sheets, performing audits, or other similar tasks. You should use this answer to highlight your ability to communicate and show your understanding of implementing processes in the workplace.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 12. What has been your involvement with new product launch?

      How to Answer

      Manufacturing engineers may or may not lead new product launches, depending on the size of the organization and the industry they work in. However, all organizations will rely on manufacturing engineers during a launch. The time around launch can be particularly demanding and difficult for everyone. It is important that along with highlighting your pertinent experience, you show your commitment to guaranteeing the success of the company during and after launch.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 13. Please describe the benefits to using a structured problem-solving methodology to solve a problem.

      How to Answer

      There are many structured problem-solving methodologies available to solve problems. The specific methodology utilized will often vary based on the organization and the type of problem which exists. While it is not usually expected that an engineer be an expert in a specific methodology, it is important they show they are disciplined and analytical enough to utilize a specific methodology once they have been trained. It is also important to show that you recognize the benefits offered by following a structured approach. You should highlight any experience you have utilizing structured problem-solving methodologies and give specific examples, if possible.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 14. If you are asked to troubleshoot a problem and are having trouble establishing the root cause, what would be your next step?

      How to Answer

      Manufacturing engineers are usually treated as subject matter experts in the areas they support. Oftentimes, they will be called to help when the production and maintenance teams cannot resolve an issue with equipment. There will be a time in every engineers' career when they are presented with a difficult problem that they cannot solve on their own. It is important to show that you will do the best you can to troubleshoot problems, but that you will quickly and effectively call on help when you cannot seem to reach a solution.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 15. What is your experience with solid modeling/CAD?

      How to Answer

      Manufacturing engineers can have very different involvement with the creation and maintenance of models and drawings, depending on their specific role and organization. At a minimum, all manufacturing engineers should have the basic ability to read and interpret drawings and have a working knowledge of dimensioning and tolerancing methods. If you do have the ability to create drawings and models, this may be seen as a competitive advantage over other candidates. You should spell out all applicable training and experience you have in this area. Recent graduates who have formal training with specific applications should highlight this experience, as it usually transfers to other programs, and may put you at a more advanced level than other candidates.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 16. What is your experience with Work Instructions/ SOPs/Standardized Work?

      How to Answer

      Manufacturing engineers will need to be well-versed in creating and possibly maintaining documentation regarding how processes should operate. Each company will differ in nomenclature and exact expectations, but almost all companies will require some involvement with this documentation. It is imperative that the manufacturing engineer create correct, concise, and clear instructions to operate their processes. It is also critical that the manufacturing engineer understands the importance of these documents and realizes that these documents will be used as a training tool for operators. If you have limited experience creating instructions, reference the example answer to at least show your understanding of the importance of this function.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 17. What is your experience with APQP?

      How to Answer

      APQP or Advanced Product Quality Planning is often an integral part of manufacturing engineering. This is a process which allows companies to coordinate changes which may affect product quality. While this activity may or may not be coordinated by a manufacturing engineer, the engineering staff will almost certainly be involved. Even if the candidate has no direct experience, it is important that they demonstrate they have a working knowledge of the concept. It is also important that they show they are cognizant of product quality while executing their functions as a manufacturing engineer.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 18. How do you work with operators on the floor to be successful at your job?

      How to Answer

      It is important that manufacturing engineers are able to establish rapport with the team they will be supporting. Although managing people is not usually a primary responsibility of manufacturing engineers, they do need to be effective at communicating and interacting with teams. A manufacturing engineer will often find themselves in situations where they need to offer direction, guidance, or advice to team members who do not directly report to them. When answering this question, you should show that you can effectively communicate to the hourly team and that you value the input received from team members. Poor communication skills and a negative attitude are common sources of resentment towards engineers, so this is a good opportunity to showcase your emotional intelligence, which may set you apart from other applicants.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 19. Once you have received multiple quotes for a project, how do you go about making a final supplier selection?

      How to Answer

      There will usually be nuanced differences in quotes when working with multiple suppliers, even though they are responding to the same RFQ and specification. Most likely the final supplier selection will be made by a sourcing board or company management, but they will often request the manufacturing engineer's input to make a decision. Ultimately, there has to be a cost justification for the decision, but it is the manufacturing engineer's job to spell out the differences in each quote and provide a professional opinion as to which option is the best. It is important that you show an ability to consider all aspects of the project. You must show that the decision should not be made solely on the price, but that you will be cognizant of the cost at all times.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 20. What is your willingness to work a flexible schedule? Are you open to working odd hours, evenings, holidays, or weekends?

      How to Answer

      This question is very likely to come up in interviews for manufacturing engineers. You should be prepared to answer honestly. Many of a manufacturing engineer's core tasks can only be completed during non-production time (i.e. installing new equipment, making changes to existing equipment, etc.). For this reason, it is very important that the manufacturing engineer be open to working at the times required. Problems can occur at odd or inconvenient hours, and they must be immediately resolved. It is likely that a manufacturing engineer will be expected to answer the phone and be available to come to work, as needed. If you are not comfortable with this, you should be honest, but know that an inability to be flexible with your schedule will likely be a deal-breaker for this position.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 21. A team member approaches you and advises you that a piece of equipment you have installed is not functioning correctly. How do you proceed?

      How to Answer

      This will be a common occurrence in almost every manufacturing engineer's career. An engineer must show that they are willing and able to utilize feedback from the shop floor to solve problems and make improvements. Sometimes the feedback offered will be incorrect or not constructive, but it is imperative that the manufacturing engineer does not automatically assume this is the case. Provide examples of any time you may have gotten feedback like this and what you did to correct the error.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 22. In an area you are responsible for, you observe a production team member who is not completing their job as it is specified in the work instructions. How do you handle this situation?

      How to Answer

      Manufacturing engineers often operate in support roles. They are usually responsible for certain metrics in an area, but may not be directly responsible for the production team. This can put the engineer in a difficult spot when they identify non-conformances with the team. A good manufacturing engineer will establish rapport with their team and should have a good enough relationship to address most issues with the team personally. It is important that you show you are capable of communicating with all levels of the organization and that you will attempt to resolve issues with team members before resorting to management. This is also a good time to show that you value the feedback of the direct team, and that you will engage the team to identify opportunities for improvement.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 23. What is your experience leading cost reduction activities?

      How to Answer

      Identifying and leading cost reduction activities will almost certainly be expected tasks for manufacturing engineers. It is important to demonstrate an understanding of cost reduction initiatives and show that implementing them requires an analytical approach. Explaining pertinent details of your experience will help illustrate these points. This is a good opportunity to sell your experience and show that you possess some business acumen.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 24. What is your experience with TPS/Lean manufacturing?

      How to Answer

      While the intricacies of the Toyota Production System and Lean manufacturing can be quite different, they share similar concepts and are often used interchangeably in conversation. While a manufacturing engineer's expectations regarding these subjects can vary widely, it is critical that the engineer is at least aware of some broad concepts and is able to show a working knowledge of the subject. If you lack experience or training in these areas, it would be worthwhile to do some research to understand the ideas of single piece flow, jidoka (error-proofing), JIT (just in time), kanban, waste reduction and/or other concepts. If you have significant experience in these areas, this is a good opportunity to highlight it, as this can really set you apart from other candidates.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 25. What is your experience regarding the reduction of scrap?

      How to Answer

      Along with labor, scrap is generally one of the top controllable costs for manufacturers. Scrap reductions usually pass through to the bottom line at a 1 to 1 ratio, meaning that each dollar of scrap avoided is a dollar of profit generated. Scrap reduction may or may not be a primary function of a manufacturing engineer, but in any case, it is important that you demonstrate an understanding of the importance of scrap reduction and the effect it can have on a business. Any specific details of past experience with reducing scrap should be mentioned here. If you have limited experience, then it is important to show a clear understanding of the concept.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 26. As a Manufacturing Engineer, how do you see yourself fitting in to the day-to-day operations of the business?

      How to Answer

      The involvement of a manufacturing engineer in day-to-day operations can be quite varied, depending on the organization. Sometimes, different manufacturing engineers within an organization may have vastly different levels of involvement in day-to-day operations. Some manufacturing engineers will be directly responsible for managing maintenance staff and troubleshooting punctual problems, while others may support in more of an indirect role. In almost all organizations, manufacturing engineers will be expected to be subject matter experts around equipment and processes which they are responsible for. It is important that the candidate let the employer know that they understand the importance of the day-to-day operations and that they will go to necessary lengths to support the operations when needed. An engineer who thinks that they should not be expected to support the shop floor or help troubleshoot problems is not desirable for most companies.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 27. Please explain why it is important to have a detailed specification when quoting equipment?

      How to Answer

      A large part of a manufacturing engineer's job will likely be quoting new equipment and bringing it on-line. Equipment which is quoted by manufacturing engineers will likely not be off-the-shelf products. Usually, the equipment will be configured to order or even custom built. This means that the equipment suppliers will quote their products based on the specification provided by the manufacturing engineer. If the specification is not correct, then the product may not perform at an acceptable level once purchased. If the specification is ambiguous, or if it exceeds the actual requirements, then there may be unnecessary cost incurred.

      Written by Jon Dale on January 31st, 2021

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  • 28. How does your previous work experience make you a good candidate for this position?

      How to Answer

      Show the interviewer your progressive career development by explaining how your previous experience has prepared you for this position. If you've been exposed to manufacturing or related industries or have worked in these industries before, discuss it here. Additionally, tell your interviewer if you have experience creating schedules, enforcing safety protocols, or conducting safety audits, as these tasks are often part of a manufacturing engineer's job.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on January 8th, 2021

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  • 29. How does your education make you a good candidate for this position?

      How to Answer

      Show the interviewer that you can connect academic theory to workplace practice and that you are familiar with the general academic disciplines relevant to manufacturing engineering. Strengthen your answer by telling the interviewer about an applicable course you took or a previous internship relevant to manufacturing.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on January 8th, 2021

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  • 30. What are your greatest strengths?

      How to Answer

      Tell the interviewer one of your strengths that makes you a strong candidate for the position. Read the job description to get a sense of your daily job duties and who you will be communicating with. Manufacturing engineering positions usually require some equipment maintenance projects, longer capital improvement projects, and quality assurance/quality control projects. Manufacturing engineers typically communicate with outside contractors and suppliers, other engineering team members, corporate employees located at the same plant or in a corporate office, and union and non-union tradesmen.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on January 8th, 2021

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  • 31. Why are you interested in the position of manufacturing engineer?

      How to Answer

      Your answer to this question should reveal your interest in manufacturing. A manufacturing environment can be very stressful and demanding, so employers want to know they are getting someone with a genuine interest in the field, not someone just looking for a job. There are a lot of good answers to this question; the candidate just needs to be honest and give reasons why they are a great choice for the job.

      Written by Allison Atkinson on January 8th, 2021

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