Preparing for an industrial engineer interview is a great way to increase your chances of landing the job. One of the best ways to prepare is by reading up on tough interview questions and answers. Not only does this give you a confidence boost, but it also makes you stand out from the other job candidates.
Interviews consist of technical, behavioral, and soft skills questions. To help you be more prepared, consider the following industrial engineer interview questions and sample answers.
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What Is an Industrial Engineer?
Industrial engineers apply techniques in engineering, mathematics, and physics to complex system integration and operations. The complexity and size of these operations mean that industrial engineers need to have knowledge and additional skills from a broad variety of disciplines.
These skills help improve systematic processes through interpersonal communication, statistical analysis, design, planning, control, computer simulation, operations management, and problem-solving.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are over 292,000 industrial engineers employed in the United States. These professionals work in many industries, including transport, equipment manufacturing, computer and electronic product manufacturing, machinery manufacturing, and professional, scientific, and technical services.
Industrial engineers must work well in teams because they need to collect information about problems to find and implement solutions. These professionals typically work in offices as they analyze data and come up with solutions on a computer. However, they may make trips to factories if problems arise.
Answers to the Most Common Industrial Engineer Interview Questions
Industrial engineering interviews consist of different questions, most of which are designed to test your knowledge of fundamental engineering concepts. However, these interviews also consist of behavioral questions to test your interpersonal skills.
Top 5 Technical Industrial Engineer Interview Questions and Answers
Technical interviews are conducted in the fields of computer science, IT, and other technical professions. Technical questions allow interviewers to gauge a candidate’s skills and depth of knowledge.
A technical question for industrial engineer interviews could cover concepts relating to statistics, process analysis, management functions, quality control, process improvement, math skills, and production processes.
What is process analysis and how does it differ from process planning?
Process analysis refers to the procedure used in studying plant operations and subdividing them into smaller components. This process seeks to improve manufacturing processes, production time, cost, and quality. Process planning uses results from process analysis to derive a sustainable course of action in providing a service or manufacturing a product.
How do you verify that data is correct?
As an industrial engineer, it is essential to verify data as this field is closely related to statistics, data, optimization, and modeling techniques. Data integrity is evaluated through several error-checking and validation procedures.
These methods include performing risk-based validation, auditing your audit trails, using logs to monitor when data is entered, cross-referencing your data with another source, and regular backing up of data. Remember, the interviewer wants to know if you are familiar with data integrity and the methods used.
What are the key management (managerial) functions?
There are three main managerial functions. They include planning goals or objectives, organizing, and controlling. The interviewer wants to find out if you know the processes used by companies to achieve group goals.
These functions help organize resources using efficient systems to achieve predetermined goals. The interviewer might follow this question up with another one asking about a plant organization.
What project management tools are you conversant with?
Project management involves a series of challenging tasks with many different responsibilities. The interviewer wants to know whether you are competent with different tools used to assist and accomplish related tasks. Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) and Gantt Charts are the most common project management tools used in industrial engineering.
Explain the concept of total quality control and identify standards used in this concept.
The concept of total quality control involves having effective systems produce defect-free products at the end of production. This concept emphasizes quality at each step of the manufacturing process. Four standards apply here: ISO 9001, 9002, 9003, and 9004.
Top 5 Behavioral Industrial Engineer Interview Questions and Answers
Behavioral questions dive deeper into a candidate’s actions when placed in specific situations. An interviewer expects you to give behavioral examples of past experiences to gauge whether you are a fit for the company’s projects and overall culture. Here are some questions with interview answers to help you prepare.
What would you say is your most significant achievement?
This is a common interview question as prospective employers are interested in knowing your accomplishments. This question is designed to find out how your behavioral skills complement your technical skills in accomplishing tasks. Be sure not to come off arrogant when describing a relevant scenario and share credit where due.
Is there an industrial engineering project that you successfully completed? How did you accomplish it?
When answering this question be sure to mention how your behavioral skills complemented the strategies and technologies you used during this project. Be sure to mention how well you worked with others on this project. This would also be an opportunity to showcase your strong leadership skills.
Describe a situation where conflict arose in your team and how you handled it.
It is common for conflict to arise when working with others on a project. This behavioral question requires you to describe how you acted when met with conflict in the workplace. Be sure to mention your approach to diversity as most workplaces today have people from different religious, racial, and political backgrounds.
Tell me about a situation that forced you to use your industrial engineering skills outside of work.
The interviewers want to find out if you are a well-rounded professional who can think outside the box with your current set of skills. When answering this question, make sure it is still relevant to the job in question.
Talk about a time when new software was introduced that you weren’t familiar with. How did you adapt to this?
This behavioral question is designed to understand a candidate’s intelligence and capacity for learning. You should answer this question by describing how well you adapted to a new situation by demonstrating your ability to learn.
Top 5 General Industrial Engineer Interview Questions and Answers
General interview questions reveal more about a candidate’s educational background, skills, and experiences. Such questions are usually asked during the first stages of your interview. Here are some common general industrial engineer interview questions and answers.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
This is a common interview question that employers ask to find out your long-term goals and whether you are looking to grow within the company. They also want to know whether your long-term goals align with those of the company. A good sample answer to this question will show that you want to gain more experience in the role you’re applying for and get promoted to a senior position.
What are your weaknesses?
This is arguably one of the most challenging questions to answer during an interview. Interviewers are trying to understand the kind of employee that you will be and how you would carry yourself in the related position.
A sample answer to this question would frame your weaknesses in relation to your strengths. For instance, you can say that you pay immense attention to detail which consequently leads you to take more time on tasks. Alternatively, you can state a weakness and explain how you’re actively taking steps to improve.
Do you ever take your work home with you?
This question is designed to gauge a candidate’s willingness to work especially during busy quarters. Before answering this question you should do some research and learn more about the company culture. Keep in mind that you should answer in a positive way to portray your willingness to work and get the job done in a timely fashion.
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What makes you a unique candidate?
This interview question can also be phrased as ‘Why should we hire you?’ Employers would like to know what values a candidate would add to the team if hired. This question is also designed to learn what qualities a candidate has over the other candidates.
The best way to answer this question is by focusing on the skills and qualifications that make you a strong candidate for the role that you are applying for.
How do you handle stress?
Industrial engineering jobs include a fair amount of stress. Employers want to hire candidates who react to stress constructively. For such reasons, a sample answer to this question will demonstrate your personal growth, resilience, perseverance, and stress management.
Tips to Prepare for an Industrial Engineer Interview
Research the company and its related industry
It is common for interviewers to ask about your perception of the company’s current and historical position in its industry. These questions might extend to its competitors and what competitive advantages exist. For such reasons, you should be well-versed in the company’s background and general details before heading in for your interview.
Anticipate the interviewer’s concerns
Interviewers are always looking for ways to screen out people because they receive many applications. The best way to go about this is by putting yourself in their position and looking at your resume from an objective point of view. Anticipate any concerns they might have by looking at your resume and look for ways to address this beforehand.
Practice more than once
Going over common interview questions before your interview is a great way to get started but you should consider repeating this process multiple times. Take it a step further and practice your interview answers aloud with a close relative or a trusted friend.
You will become smoother with each practice session and articulate better when addressing technical and behavioral interview questions.
What Skills Should I Put On My Industrial Engineer Resume?
Highlighting your relevant skills is a great way to capture your interviewer’s attention and stand out from the other candidates. Here are some of the most in-demand industrial engineering skills you should consider highlighting to submit a winning resume.
Statistics and Statistical Modelling Skills
Employers look for quality engineers with statistics skills to complement company equipment, process, product, and people. These skills come in handy when writing a good test plan with statistical validity. You can get a Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) by passing a state board exam.
Creative Problem-Solving Skills
Industrial engineers should be able to map out future or current processes to identify critical problems while quantifying wasteful nodes. To accomplish this, these professionals need to use concepts from both math and science.
For instance, industrial engineers need to use Pareto analysis to quantify downtime and come up with response time improvements for industrial engineering projects. Prospective employers want to see how you might be able to reduce the throughput time of turning their company’s materials into a finished product.
Good communication skills are important as you need to be able to ask good questions and accurately convey information. In addition, you need to have excellent writing and organizational skills to help you create compelling presentations, speak in front of groups, and write emails.
Communication skills also include additional things like writing skills, reading skills, and listening skills. These skills will also help you sell your ideas to stakeholders. This is also why people skills are so important.
How to Find Industrial Engineer Jobs
The following resources might help you in your search for industrial engineer jobs, communities, forums, or projects by fellow industrial engineers.
Whether you’re looking for an entry-level position or a managerial position, LinkedIn can add value to your job search by exposing you to a wide pool of hiring managers and recruiters. This platform connects millions of professionals worldwide, making it a great job board to search job titles.
You can also use this platform as a research tool to learn more about hiring companies or simply work on acquiring additional skills and talents. LinkedIn also has a referral feature that enables your peers and coworkers to endorse you when making an application to increase your chances of getting shortlisted for an interview.
Wolfram is a reputable software company that features a ton of resources for various professionals, including industrial engineers. In addition to featuring an industrial engineer job board, this website also has career resources, communities, discussions, webinars, and training programs.
Randstad provides a wide array of services including staffing and consulting solutions in many fields such as finance, IT, and engineering. This website features an industrial engineering job board with thousands of open jobs in the United States. Additionally, Randstad has a resume builder feature that helps professionals work on their resumes to increase their chances of landing an interview.
Industrial Engineer Interview Questions FAQ
One of the best ways to prepare for an industrial engineer interview is by reading more about the company, its culture, and standard work practices. You should thoroughly understand the job post and be able to relate it to your resume, skills, qualifications, and career aspirations.
You should go over industrial engineer interview questions and answers so that you can come up with honest and well-thought-out answers of your own.
Simple questions sometimes feel like the hardest to answer. The best way to answer this question is by summarizing your skills and experiences and how they make you the ideal candidate for the job. Make sure your skills and accomplishments are directly related to the industrial engineering job you are applying for.
Industrial engineering interview questions consist of behavioral and technical questions designed to learn more about a candidate’s academic background and professional experiences.
To excel as an industrial engineer, soft skills like time management, being a team player, and having people skills are strong indicators that you will be a considerate member of any team. If you have experience as a team leader, mention how that role helped you develop your skills.
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