Smooth operator? How to ace a machine operator job interview.

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What does a machine operator do?

Operators perform a variety of tasks under the light industrial umbrella to help keep manufacturing plants and warehouses running smoothly. Duties can include achieving tight tolerances as a CNC machine operator, inspecting parts for quality, and using manufacturing technology to produce parts.

Machine operators take care of all tasks related to machine functions. They configure equipment, ensure machines function at full capacity, and load and operate the machines. Operators are also responsible for quality checks and maintenance of the machines.

4 tips to use when interviewing for an operator job

Being prepared for your interview will help you make a more informed decision about a company. Here are four important actions and questions to consider when pursuing an operator position.

1. Be honest about your skills as a machine operator and what you are looking for in your next opportunity.

Honesty is the best policy – especially when interviewing for an operator job. For example, if you only meet 80% of the skill requirements, mention it in the interview. The hiring manager may be able to offer additional training.

It’s better to be upfront about limitations and strengths during the interview so you can better understand what steps need to be taken next. That way, you have a clear path to success.

2. Research the company before the interview.

Machine operators perform a wide range of job functions. Before the interview, research the company. Check the about us page, vision statement, and testimonials. Take time to learn about the types of projects they work on and what their customers are saying. This will show the hiring manager that you’ve taken a genuine interest in the company and did some research. And you’ll be armed with a better picture of what it may be like to work with the company.

3. Go beyond operator skills – ask what they are looking for in talent.

In addition to machine operator skills, what else is the company looking for in talent? The interview is a great time to ask this question. Also, when a hiring manager gets this question, it lets them know you are interested in success – not just filling a role but doing it well and being a good fit. 

4. Why should you consider being an operator at the company?

Be sure to ask the interviewer why you should consider a job working at their company. Making sure you have the skills to perform the job is just one part of the interview. You also have to determine whether the company meets your expectations as an employer. Asking the hiring manager a question like this does two things:

  1. It puts them in the position of explaining why they would want you and gets them more invested in your conversation.
  2. It shows the hiring manager (for the second time, if you followed through on item three) that you’re interested in long-term success and being a good fit.

Making use of these 4 tips when interviewing for an operator job will let the interviewer know you did your research on the company and you’re interested in being successful. Using these tips will also help you make better, more informed decisions about the next steps in your career.

 Kelly connects talented machine operators with great jobs. Browse available openings on to land your next great opportunity. 

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