17 Industrial Engineering Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an industrial engineering manager, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

An industrial engineering manager is responsible for the coordination and oversight of industrial engineering activities in a company. He or she ensures that projects are completed on time and within budget, and that they meet all safety and quality standards.

If you’re looking for an industrial engineering manager job, you can expect to be asked a variety of questions in your interview. These questions will assess your technical knowledge, problem-solving ability, and management skills.

To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve compiled a list of sample questions and answers that you can use to develop your own responses.

Are you familiar with the concept of the P-D-C-A-E-B-A-D-I-E process? Can you explain how it relates to industrial engineering?

This question is a great way to test your knowledge of the industrial engineering process. It also allows you to show how you can apply it in your work.

Example: “The P-D-C-A-E-B-A-D-I-E process stands for plan, do, check, act, improve and evaluate. This process is used by industrial engineers to help them create plans that are efficient and effective. I use this process when working on projects or tasks at my current job. For example, I recently worked with a team to develop an improvement plan for our company’s production line. We first planned out what we wanted to accomplish, then implemented the changes, checked to see if they were successful, acted on any issues that arose and improved upon the original plan.”

What are some of the most important skills that an industrial engineer should have?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills necessary to succeed in this role. Use your answer to highlight some of the most important skills that an industrial engineer should possess and explain why these are so important.

Example: “The two most important skills for an industrial engineer are problem-solving and communication. These skills are essential because they allow me to find solutions to problems within a company and communicate those solutions effectively with others. I feel that it’s also important to be organized, as this skill helps me stay on top of my work and ensures that I’m completing projects efficiently.”

How would you go about improving the efficiency of a production line?

This question can help the interviewer assess your problem-solving skills and ability to apply industrial engineering principles in a real-world setting. Your answer should demonstrate that you have experience with improving production efficiency, as well as how you would go about doing so.

Example: “I would first analyze the current state of the production line by collecting data on its performance metrics. I would then use this information to create an improvement plan for the production line based on my analysis. For example, if I found that there was too much downtime between each stage of production, I might implement new equipment or training programs to improve employee efficiency.”

What is the most challenging project you have worked on in your career so far?

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your problem-solving skills and how you react to challenges. Your answer should include an example of how you overcame this challenge, what steps you took to solve it and the results of your actions.

Example: “The most challenging project I’ve worked on so far was when my company wanted to implement new safety procedures for employees in the manufacturing department. The company had already implemented some safety procedures but they weren’t as effective as we needed them to be. We decided that the best way to improve these procedures would be to create a training program for all employees. This meant creating a budget for the training materials and hiring more instructors.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult coworker. How did you handle the situation?

An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your interpersonal skills and how you handle conflict. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific example of a time when you had to work with someone who was challenging but also highlight the steps you took to resolve the situation or improve the relationship.

Example: “In my last role as an industrial engineer, I worked closely with another engineer who often missed deadlines and didn’t communicate well. This made it difficult for me to complete projects on time, so I scheduled weekly meetings with him to discuss his progress and expectations. After several weeks of these meetings, he began to understand what was expected of him and improved his communication and productivity.”

If hired, what would be your primary focus as an industrial engineering manager?

This question can help interviewers understand what you would prioritize in your role as an industrial engineering manager. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a few specific goals that you would like to achieve within the first year of working for the company.

Example: “My primary focus as an industrial engineering manager would be ensuring my team is well-equipped with the tools and resources they need to complete their projects efficiently. I believe that providing employees with the right training and equipment can help them feel more confident in their roles and improve their overall job satisfaction. Another goal I have as an industrial engineer is to increase employee engagement by creating a culture of collaboration and support among our department.”

What would you do if you noticed that productivity was decreasing on a particular production line?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you would use your skills and expertise to solve a problem. Use examples from past experience in which you helped improve production or efficiency on a team or project.

Example: “If I noticed that productivity was decreasing, I would first try to identify why this is happening. In my last role as an industrial engineer, I worked with a manufacturing company where we were experiencing decreased productivity on one of our production lines. After conducting research and analyzing data, I discovered that there was a lack of communication between employees on the line. We implemented new training methods for employees to learn more about each other and their roles on the production line.”

How well do you communicate with other industrial engineers, engineers and managers?

This question can help the interviewer determine how well you work with others and your communication skills. Use examples from past experiences to show that you are a strong communicator who is able to collaborate with others.

Example: “I have always been passionate about industrial engineering, so I enjoy talking with other engineers and managers about their projects. In my last role as an industrial engineer, I was part of a team where we would meet once a week to discuss our progress on current projects. During these meetings, I learned more about what my colleagues were working on and offered advice when they needed it. This helped me become a better problem solver because I could see different perspectives.”

Do you have experience working with complex mathematical equations and formulas?

This question can help the interviewer determine your comfort level with using math in your daily work. If you have experience working with complex equations, share a specific example of how you used them to solve a problem or improve an existing process.

Example: “In my previous role as an industrial engineer, I worked on several projects that required me to use complex mathematical formulas and equations. One project I was working on involved improving production efficiency by reducing waste materials. To do this, I had to calculate the cost per unit for each product we produced and compare it to our competitors’ costs. This helped me identify areas where we could reduce costs without sacrificing quality.”

When performing a cost analysis, what is the difference between variable costs and fixed costs?

This question is a basic knowledge test that many employers ask to ensure you have the necessary skills and background to perform your job duties. In your answer, explain what each type of cost is and how they differ from one another. You can also give an example of when you used this skill in your previous role.

Example: “Variable costs are those that change depending on the level of production. For instance, if I’m working with a client who manufactures plastic cups, variable costs would be the amount of raw materials needed for each cup. Fixed costs, however, remain constant regardless of the level of production. An example of fixed costs would be rent or utilities.”

We want to increase employee engagement. How would you go about doing that?

An interviewer may ask this question to see how you can apply your industrial engineering skills to improve the workplace. Use examples from your experience that show how you used data and analysis to make improvements in employee engagement.

Example: “I recently worked with a client who wanted to increase their employees’ satisfaction with their work environment. I started by surveying all of the company’s employees about what they liked and disliked about their jobs. We then analyzed the results, which showed us that many employees were unhappy with their lunch options. The company decided to hire a chef to cook for employees once a week. This change increased employee satisfaction by 10%.”

Describe your process for conducting a risk assessment.

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you can use your skills as an industrial engineer to make important decisions. Use examples from previous projects where you used risk assessment to help a company or organization achieve its goals.

Example: “When conducting a risk assessment, I first identify the risks involved in the project and then determine how likely they are to occur. Next, I calculate the impact of each risk on the project’s budget and timeline. Finally, I develop a plan for mitigating the most significant risks so we can continue with our project.”

What makes you an ideal candidate for this industrial engineering manager position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications for the role. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences you have that make you an ideal candidate. Consider including any certifications or education you have that apply to the job.

Example: “I am passionate about industrial engineering and I’m excited to use my knowledge to help companies improve their processes. In my previous position as an industrial engineer, I helped a company reduce its production costs by 5% while increasing sales by 10%. This experience makes me confident in my ability to lead a team of engineers and implement strategies that benefit businesses.”

Which industries do you have the most experience in?

This question can help the interviewer understand your background and experience. It can also help them determine if you have any industry-specific knowledge that could be beneficial to their company. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention industries or companies that are similar to the one you’re interviewing for.

Example: “I’ve worked in both manufacturing and construction industries. I find these two industries to be quite similar because they both involve a lot of problem solving and data analysis. In my previous role as an industrial engineer, I helped manage projects on construction sites by analyzing data and making recommendations based on what I found.”

What do you think is the most important thing an industrial engineer can do to help their company succeed?

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your leadership skills and how you might apply them to benefit your company. Use examples from your experience that show how you helped an organization succeed through industrial engineering.

Example: “I think one of the most important things an industrial engineer can do is create a culture of continuous improvement within their team. I have found that by encouraging my team members to find ways to improve processes, we are able to save time and money while also improving our products or services for customers. This has led to many successful projects in the past.”

How often do you make recommendations for process improvements?

This question can help the interviewer understand how often you recommend changes to processes and procedures. It can also show them your ability to make recommendations that are accepted by others in your organization. Use examples from your past experience to explain how you’ve made process improvement recommendations and what the outcomes were.

Example: “In my current role, I regularly make recommendations for improvements to our production schedules. For example, last month we had a large order come in that required us to hire temporary employees to meet demand. However, we didn’t have enough staff members to complete all of the work on time. I recommended hiring more employees to ensure we could fulfill the order without sacrificing quality. The company agreed with my recommendation, and we hired two additional employees to help with the workload.”

There is a disagreement between two of your engineers. How do you handle it?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you handle conflict and disagreements. It can also show them your leadership skills, problem-solving abilities and ability to make decisions.

Example: “If there is a disagreement between two of my engineers, I would first ask each engineer what their opinion is on the matter. Then, I would listen carefully to both sides of the argument before making a decision about which solution or approach we should take. If it’s something that only one person needs to do, I will assign that task to that individual. If it’s something that multiple people need to work together on, I will create a plan for everyone to follow.”


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