10 Questions Manufacturing Employers Should Be Asking Candidates

Like so many employers, manufacturing businesses can struggle to find the right people to fill positions. Especially for jobs on shop floors, a candidate’s resume might only shed light on a small part of what the employer needs to know before making a hiring decision. 

Today’s manufacturing businesses need a lot more than raw skill. They need employees who work well in fast-paced environments, fit in with the rest of the team, and are serious about safety. Asking the right questions at the interview phase is essential for ensuring the candidate is the right fit.

Shape your interview questions to the job

Finding the right candidate for a job starts with a deep understanding of the role. A job description often doesn’t capture essential qualities an individual needs to be a great employee. The same logic applies in the other direction: candidates want to work where they’ll thrive, so they need insight into the “soft” parts of the job. 

We advise our clients to shape their candidate screening process at least in part around the culture on the floor where the candidate will work. Candidates who feel comfortable with their colleagues are happier and more productive. It’s important to confirm that the candidate’s personality will blend into the cultural dynamics surrounding the job. Some of these fit questions are concrete: for example, does the candidate need to speak Spanish to get along with the team? Others are more abstract: is the crew quiet or boisterous? 

Questions that get to the heart of manufacturing jobs

Broadly speaking, these are the things a manufacturer needs to know about a candidate to make the right hiring decision:

  • Does the candidate have the required skills for the job?
  • Is the candidate going to get along with the rest of the crew?
  • Does the candidate show a dedication to doing the job diligently, thoughtfully, and consistently?

With those parameters in mind, here are some example questions we think are worth asking beyond the sort of information you’d expect to find in a resume:

  • What do you like about working in this industry?
  • Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a coworker. How did you resolve it? (Or, if the candidate can’t think of an example: How would you resolve a conflict?)
  • Do you like working under time pressure?
  • What steps would you take if your coworker was not following safety rules?
  • What’s the most complex job you’ve been asked to do? How did it go?
  • What traits do you like to find in the people you work with?
  • What parts of your previous job were your favorites?

As you can see, we recommend keeping questions focused on the positive aspects of a coworker’s personality and experience. Inviting the candidate to brag a little can help them overcome interview jitters and speak more frankly about themselves. 

Employers should also come prepared with questions that are specific to the role the candidate will fill. This is especially true for skilled work, where evaluating the candidate’s knowledge and thought process is crucial.

Connect Staffing is the manufacturing industry’s staffing partner

At Connect Staffing we have recruiters dedicated to serving manufacturers. Specialization lets them devote their full attention to understanding what the manufacturing sector needs. We build great relationships with our clients and our associates, so when we recommend a candidate to you, you can feel confident that they are pre-screened, qualified, and ready to work.

Are you ready to fill your open positions with great candidates? Call Connect Staffing today at (714) 622-4494 to start a conversation with one of our experienced recruiters. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.


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