17 Machinist Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a machinist, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

A machinist is a skilled trade worker who uses machine tools to make or modify parts, primarily metal parts, for use in manufacturing. Machinists are typically responsible for the design of the parts they make, as well as the machining process.

If you’re looking for a machinist job, you’ll likely need to go through a job interview. One way to prepare for this important meeting is to learn how to answer machinist interview questions before talking with an interviewer.

Employers look for machinists who are trustworthy, reliable, well organized, and able to solve problems. You’ll also need physical strength and stamina, as well as knowledge of the best ways to machine different parts. A machinist interview is your chance to show that you’ve polished these skills to a shine. To help you get ready, we’ve listed machinist questions and answers that will help you figure out what you want to say during an interview.

Are you familiar with the various types of lathes used in machining?

The interviewer may ask you a question like this to assess your knowledge of machining tools and equipment. Use your answer to highlight your understanding of the different types of lathes, their uses and how they differ from one another.

Example: “There are many different types of lathes used in machining, including turret lathes, engine lathes, screw-cutting lathes, indexing lathes, gear-cutting lathes, universal lathes, vertical lathes, horizontal lathes and Swiss or scroll lathes. Each type has its own unique features that make it suitable for specific applications. For example, I prefer working with a horizontal lathe because it’s great for producing large pieces of metal.”

What are some of the most important safety precautions that machinists should follow?

Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the safety precautions that are important for machinists. They want to know that you will follow all of their company’s safety policies and procedures, so they can feel confident in your ability to keep yourself safe while on the job. In your answer, explain what some of these safety precautions are and why they’re important.

Example: “Machinists should always wear protective eyewear when working with machinery. This is because there are many moving parts involved in operating a machine, which means there is a risk of getting small particles or debris in your eyes. It’s also important to wear ear protection at all times, as machines produce loud noises that could damage your hearing over time. Finally, it’s crucial to stay away from any moving parts while the machine is running.”

How do you measure the accuracy of a finished product?

Machinists need to be able to measure the accuracy of their work. This question helps interviewers understand your ability to complete this important task. In your answer, explain how you would perform this measurement and what tools you use to do so.

Example: “I have a set of precision calipers that I use to measure the accuracy of my finished products. To ensure accuracy, I always check for dimensional errors, surface errors and angular errors. For dimensional errors, I measure the length, width and depth of the product. For surface errors, I look at the flatness of the product’s surfaces. For angular errors, I measure the angles between each side of the product.”

What is your process for troubleshooting when a machine is not working properly?

Machinists are responsible for identifying and fixing problems with machines. Employers ask this question to learn more about your troubleshooting skills, as they can be important in the workplace. To answer this question, you can describe a time when you fixed a problem on a machine.

Example: “When I am troubleshooting a machine that is not working properly, I first try to identify what the issue is by looking at the machine’s specifications. If I cannot find anything wrong with the specifications, then I will look at the machine itself. I will check all of the parts and make sure everything is in place. If there is still no solution, then I will call my supervisor or another professional to help me.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to make a difficult decision regarding the use of company resources.

This question can help interviewers evaluate your decision-making skills and how you use them to benefit the company. Use examples from your previous experience that highlight your ability to make smart decisions quickly, such as prioritizing tasks or deciding which resources are most important for completing a project on time.

Example: “In my last position, I was responsible for maintaining all of the equipment in our facility. One day, one of our machines broke down, causing production to halt. After assessing the situation, I determined that it would be more cost-effective to replace the machine than repair it. I ordered a new machine, which arrived within two days. The company saved money by replacing the broken machine instead of repairing it.”

If hired, what would be your priorities and why?

This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you have an idea of what the job entails and how you would approach it. Priorities can vary depending on the company, but some common priorities include quality control, safety and efficiency. When answering this question, try to relate your answer back to the job description or discuss something specific about the company.

Example: “My first priority as a machinist would be to ensure all work I produce meets the highest standards of quality. Machining parts with precision and accuracy is essential for ensuring the products we create are safe and effective. Another priority would be maintaining my own safety while working. I understand that accidents happen, but I am always looking for ways to prevent them from happening in the first place.”

What would you do if you noticed another machinist was not following safety procedures?

Employers ask this question to make sure you are committed to following safety procedures and that you can help others do the same. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to ensure the other machinist followed the rules.

Example: “I have worked with many different people in my career as a machinist, so I understand that sometimes it’s easy to forget or overlook safety procedures. If I noticed another machinist was not following safety procedures, I would first approach them privately to let them know about the issue. If they were receptive to the feedback, I would offer to meet with them after work hours to go over the proper safety procedures.”

How well do you communicate with designers and engineers to understand their needs?

As a machinist, you will often work with designers and engineers to understand their needs for the projects they are working on. Employers ask this question to make sure that you can communicate effectively with these professionals. In your answer, explain how you listen carefully to what others tell you and use this information to complete tasks. Show that you value communication skills by explaining how they help you succeed in your role.

Example: “I have always been someone who values communication. I find it helpful to speak with everyone involved in a project so that I can learn more about their needs. When I first started as a machinist, I was working on a project where I needed to create some custom parts. I spoke with the designer and engineer to learn more about the specifications of the part. They told me exactly what they were looking for, which helped me create the right pieces.”

Do you have experience using computer-aided design (CAD) software?

The interviewer may ask this question to see if you have experience using the software they use in their shop. If you do, share your experience and explain how it helped you complete your work more efficiently. If you don’t have experience with the specific software they use, talk about any other CAD software you’ve used and discuss how it helped you perform your job duties.

Example: “I have worked with several different types of CAD software throughout my career. I find that each program has its own unique features that make it useful for certain projects. For example, when I was working at a previous company, we had a lot of trouble with our 3D modeling software because it would crash often. However, once we switched to another type of CAD software, we didn’t have as many issues.”

When is it appropriate to seek help from a supervisor?

As a machinist, you may encounter situations where you need help from your supervisor. Employers ask this question to make sure you know when it’s appropriate to seek assistance and when you can handle the situation on your own. In your answer, explain that you would only ask for help if you were unsure of how to complete a task or if you needed additional tools or equipment to get the job done.

Example: “I would only ask my supervisor for help if I was having trouble completing a task or if I needed more resources to do my job. For example, if I didn’t have access to the right tools or equipment, I would ask my supervisor for help so they could provide me with what I need. If I’m unsure about how to perform a certain task, I would also ask my supervisor for help because I want to ensure I’m doing everything correctly.”

We want to improve our production speed. If you were hired, what changes would you make to the machinery?

This question is a great way to test your problem-solving skills and ability to think critically. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe the steps you would take to analyze the current production speed and make changes that will improve it.

Example: “I would first examine the machinery for any defects or issues that could slow down production. If there are no problems with the machinery itself, I would then look at the process of how we produce our products. There may be ways to streamline the process so we can increase production without having to purchase new machinery.”

Describe your experience with operating different types of machinery.

This question can help the interviewer determine your experience with operating machinery and how you adapt to new machines. Use examples from previous work experiences to explain what types of machinery you’ve operated and how you used them.

Example: “In my last position, I worked on a variety of machinery including lathes, milling machines, drill presses, grinders and metalworking machines. Each machine has its own unique features that I had to learn before using it. For example, I learned how to use the drill press by understanding the different speeds and functions of the equipment. I also practiced safety procedures when working with each type of machinery.”

What makes you an ideal candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you feel you would fit in with their team. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that relate to this position. Use these to explain why you are an ideal candidate for the job.

Example: “I have five years of experience as a machinist, so I am familiar with many different types of machinery. In my previous role, I worked on several projects where we had to use specialized equipment. I learned how to operate each piece of machinery and completed my work efficiently. This skill makes me an ideal candidate because it shows I can adapt to new situations.”

Which industries have you worked in previously and what was your experience like in those environments?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your experience level and how you’ve applied your skills in the past. When answering, be sure to mention which industries you worked in and what projects you were involved with. Consider including a specific example of a project or task that highlights your abilities as a machinist.

Example: “I have primarily worked in the manufacturing industry, but I also did some freelance work for a local woodworking shop. In my full-time position, I was responsible for creating prototypes and testing new equipment. At the woodshop, I helped create custom furniture pieces for customers.”

What do you think is the most important skill for a machinist to have?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you have a strong understanding of what it takes to be successful in this role. You can answer by identifying one or two skills and explaining why they are important for machinists.

Example: “The most important skill for a machinist is attention to detail, as this ensures that all parts are made correctly. I also think communication is an important skill because it allows me to work with my team members to solve any issues that may arise during production.”

How often do you perform routine maintenance on machinery?

Machinists often perform routine maintenance on machinery to ensure it’s in good working order. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience with performing routine maintenance and understand the importance of doing so. In your answer, explain that you know how important regular maintenance is and will commit to performing it as needed.

Example: “I believe that regular maintenance is essential for keeping machinery in good working condition. I always try to do a visual inspection at least once a day when I’m working on a project. If there are any issues or concerns, I’ll address them right away. I also like to clean my workspace after every project to prevent any buildup from occurring.”

There is a problem with a machine and you cannot figure out the issue. What is your process for solving this problem?

This question is a great way to assess your problem-solving skills. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe the steps you would take to solve the issue and how you would feel if you were unable to find an answer.

Example: “If I was working on a machine and couldn’t figure out what the problem was, I would first try to narrow down the issue by testing different parts of the machine. If that didn’t work, I would ask my supervisor for help or advice. If they still weren’t able to help me, I would call in another machinist who has more experience than myself to see if they could identify the problem.”


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