36 Production Engineer Interview Questions (With Answers)

Updated 20 July 2023

Production engineers manage an organisation's production process by providing technical support and establishing safe and efficient procedures. They help develop and improve a manufacturing plant's design, construction and performance. If you have an interview for a production engineer position, the interviewer is likely to ask about your design skills, your knowledge of manufacturing and industrial equipment and other technical abilities you possess. In this article, we discuss 36 production engineer interview questions and provide 6 example answers to help you prepare for your interview.

Related: What Is Product Engineering? (With Product Engineer Duties)

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

General production engineer interview questions

During your interview preparation, it's helpful to consider what types of production engineer interview questions you may encounter. Most interviewers begin by asking general questions to get to know you better before proceeding to more in-depth questions. Your responses to the following general questions can provide them with insight into how you might fit into the workplace and why you applied for the job:

  1. Tell me about yourself.

  2. Why are you interested in this role?

  3. What do you know about the company?

  4. Why did you choose to become a production engineer?

  5. What do you enjoy about working in production engineering?

  6. How long have you worked in production engineering?

  7. What would you describe as your strongest skills?

  8. What interests do you have outside of work?

  9. What do you see as the main production engineering challenges in the near future?

  10. Do you prefer to work on your own or as part of a team?

Related: How to Write a Production Engineer Resume (with a Template)

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Questions about your experience and background

After the recruiter has asked you a few general interview questions, they typically enquire about your background and experience in the production engineering industry. These questions provide them with more information about your previous jobs, education, training and professional qualifications. Questions about your history may include the following:

  1. What experience do you have in production engineering?

  2. Can you tell me about your previous role?

  3. What's the most recent professional training you've undertaken?

  4. How do you prioritise your work when you have several projects to complete?

  5. What's your experience with lean manufacturing?

  6. Can you give me an example of a time when you used root-cause analysis in your prior role?

  7. Can you tell me about your experience concerning safety and risk assessment in your last job?

  8. Do you have much experience in a petrochemical processing environment?

  9. What do you know about developing standard operating procedures or step-by-step task instructions?

  10. Do you have much commissioning experience?

Related: Top 16 Interview Questions and Answers

In-depth interview questions

The interviewer may continue by asking you some more in-depth questions to determine whether you're the right candidate for the job. Here are some examples of the in-depth questions you might receive during your interview:

  1. What aspect of your work do you most enjoy?

  2. Describe a time when you oversaw the assembly, production or modification of a piece of technical equipment. Can you tell me how you delegated the project tasks to each of your team members?

  3. Can you explain how to use a bill of materials and give me an example of how you've used it in production engineering?

  4. What do you think is the most challenging aspect of this role?

  5. What were the most challenging tasks in your previous role and how did you resolve them?

  6. What do you think fosters a production engineer's success?

  7. How do you think production engineers can work more effectively with quality assurance specialists?

  8. What methods do you use to estimate project design expenditures, including the costs of labour and production time?

  9. How do you keep up to date on the latest production engineering trends?

  10. What do you think are the most useful pieces of equipment you use as a production engineer?

Related: What Does a Process Engineer Do? (Plus How to Become One)

Interview questions with example answers

Here are a few more examples of the questions a recruiter might ask you, along with example answers:

1. Why do you believe you're the best candidate for this role?

The interviewer may want you to explain how your skills and experience place you at the top of the shortlist. They can then determine whether you're a good fit regarding both the vacant position and the workplace. This is a great opportunity for you to promote yourself, showcase your unique abilities and emphasise your achievements.

Example answer: 'I believe my skills and experience match the role's requirements. I have five years of experience working in production engineering in the mining industry. In my last job, I took charge of safety and productivity improvements, which led to a 7% reduction in accidents. This role is also an opportunity to demonstrate my leadership and mentoring abilities. In my previous position, I managed a team of 8 employees and developed a system to increase mine productivity by 28% in 2 months. I'm looking for a new challenge, and I believe I can deliver significant results in this role.'

Related: 10 Reliability Engineer Responsibilities (with Skills)

2. What do you believe are the most important skills for a production engineer?

The recruiter wants to find out what you consider to be the key skills for the role. They can then compare the skills you consider to be important against those listed in the job description. You can use your answer to explain why you believe a certain skill is important.

Example answer: 'I believe the most important skills for production engineers are a mix of technical knowledge, analytical abilities and problem-solving proficiency. Good communication, both verbal and written, is another key skill because engineers frequently communicate with clients, production teams and managers to analyse issues and provide solutions. Knowing how to use specialist software and perform complex calculations helps them resolve engineering and production challenges. Other important abilities include knowledge of process improvement, quality control and manufacturing.'

3. What are the main differences between lean and just-in-time manufacturing?

The interviewer wants to learn more about your knowledge of and exposure to these production methods. In your answer, highlight your engineering methodologies expertise by adding details of your experience with these processes.

Example answer: 'Just-in-time helps to deliver components or parts to a production facility at the exact time that a production plant requires them. The benefit of this method is that it reduces inventory expenses by lowering the need for stockpiling and decreases the amount of waste from surplus parts. I used this methodology in my previous role. My team and I reduced the amount of waste by 15% over a 6-month period. Lean manufacturing adds to this concept by integrating the customer's perspective. Each step of the production process adds value, which ultimately satisfies the customer's needs.'

Related: What Is Lean Manufacturing? (With Key Benefits for Business)

4. What methods have you used in your previous role to increase production efficiency?

The recruiter asks this question to determine your problem-solving skills. They may want to find out if you're able to maintain a budget while also increasing the production capacity. It's advisable to include a work example in your answer.

Example answer: 'The aim of a production engineer is to increase production output while maintaining quality. I find the best way to do this is to review the business processes by first evaluating the production equipment and updating its technology as necessary. Then, I assess the production line and capacity utilisation, which allows me to see which lines provide the highest output. I look for production bottlenecks and ways to eliminate waste. In my last role, my team and I used maintenance management software to streamline our production processes, which saved 10% of costs over a year.'

5. Can you share one of your greatest professional achievements?

An interviewer wants to find out about your achievements to determine whether you might bring similar success to their workplace. You can prepare your answer by considering how you overcame any challenges and what you learned from the experience.

Example answer: 'When I worked for Peterson's, I oversaw the Melbourne production unit and implemented safety and risk assessment tasks. I set up a project to establish new safety systems and procedures. My work resulted in a 24% reduction in workplace accidents over 2 years. In fact, I won an achievement award at the Melbourne regional engineering symposium.'

Related: Interview Question: 'What Is Your Proudest Achievement?'

6. What motivates you?

An employer wants to find out about your career goals and what motivates you. Since this is a direct question, it requires an honest answer. Thinking about why you chose production engineering as a career and your ambitions for the future can help you give a compelling response in the interview.

Example answer: 'Seeing how an organisation can achieve improvement motivates me. My team and I made rapid progress in generating enhancements for my previous employer, and I'd like to see similar advancements in this organisation. At my former company, I improved quality and capacity and for delivering cost savings. I got inspiration from the challenge of finding cost savings and from seeing my team work through small steps that helped them enhance the overall quality of the product.'

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