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Tips for Hiring the Best Machine Operators

Machine operators are responsible for setting up, controlling and maintaining machines. They are therefore vital to many businesses and to the smooth running of manufacturing processes and factory floors.

Machine operator jobs generally require a high school diploma. Many operators have learned skills on the job. Some have completed apprenticeships and certifications.

In an interview, hiring managers and human resources departments need to assess skills and capabilities in four areas: Technical knowledge, quality control, safety, and collaboration. Read on for sample interview questions in each area.

Remember, interview questions should be as open-ended as possible, as these give you both information about the specific category you’re trying to assess, and insight into how the person approaches problems and situations.

Technical Knowledge

1. What’s your experience with [type of machine your company uses]?

2. Have you operated any other type of machines? What kind? How long?

3. Do you have experience in machine programming? How long, and what machines?

4. What types of information are noted and retained in logs?

5. Prior to beginning a production cycle, what three things do you need to do?

6. What tools have you used to perform machine measurements?

7. During a routine inspection, you discover a machine has an issue. Your manager wants to let it continue running until the production quota for the day is met, and fix it afterward. What do you do in a situation like that? (This question could also be asked as part of quality control and safety.)

8. Do you ever make mistakes in measuring parts or diminished products? What happens as a result?

Quality Control

1. Describe the steps you follow when doing maintenance on a machine. 

2. Describe how you perform a quality check.

3. How do you work toward optimal quality control as a machine operator?

4. Let’s say you’re in a situation where two machines break down at the same time. Which one would you start fixing first?

5. Tell me one thing you did to improve quality in your last workplace


1. Have you ever found or noticed a workplace hazard? What did you do about it?

2. If you realized your co-workers were not following the safety rules, what would you do?

3. If you noticed that your supervisor was not following the safety rules, what would you do?


1. Do you like to work alone, or as part of a team? Why?

2. Do you feel you do your best work alone, or as part of a team? Why?

3. Tell us about a time you disagreed with a colleague. How did you handle it? Was it resolved?

4. Have you ever disagreed with a supervisor? How did you handle it? Was it resolved?

If you’re looking to hire the best machine operators, contact the staffing professionals at Nesco Resource today.

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