Fusion Morning Huddle

Great Interview Questions for Manufacturing Talent – Part One

In today’s economy, the search for manufacturing talent is more intense than ever. Reports of the widening skills gap – and the resulting competition for qualified applicants – appear in the news practically every day. As a rapidly expanding contract manufacturer, Fusion has successfully addressed this issue by redesigning our hiring process to attract and retain the best and brightest applicants.

Prior to this change, our phone screening processes weren’t as conducive to discovering soft skills, characteristics that enable someone to interact effectively with other people. Instead, we used a series of written tests to measure technical aptitude. This traditional method did not lead to building much-needed conversations to find out who our applicants were. We wanted to know their strengths, their weaknesses, their goals, passions – who they were as people, not a set of scores. We place as much, if not more, emphasis on hiring an applicant that will fit culturally within our organization than hiring an applicant with superior technical skills. Therefore, we revamped our phone screening interview by adding the following questions:

What makes a company attractive to you? This question is essential because we want to know the employer qualities that an applicant is seeking. Ideally, their answer would align with our company values. This does not mean that we want a boilerplate response – however different the candidate is in terms of background and personality, we want to sense that they will mesh with our culture. Employees who are a good culture fit have greater job satisfaction and superior job performance. As a result, they are more likely to stay longer and have a lasting impact.

Do you have any hobbies? Discovering how an applicant spends their time outside of work and what specific activities they enjoy and invest in can give an insightful look into their personality. Furthermore, hobbies can often translate into specific soft and hard skills that can be applicable to many jobs, and may result in discovering talents that can work outside of the position for which they are applying.

Tell me about a time you had to balance conflicting priorities. As a contract manufacturer, one of our key strengths is flexibility. Therefore, it is essential that our team is able to quickly pivot from one project to another. This question demonstrates the candidate’s ability to think on their feet. Furthermore, people who are adaptable are likely to be your best hire, as they will be able to grow and move into bigger roles at your manufacturing company as it evolves.

Employees are our most valuable asset – our clients hire us for our people and processes. An employee’s soft skills can make or break the job performance. Technical or “hard” skills are certainly important, but soft skills determine whether the employee is able to enlist the necessary cooperation from peers, superiors, and even clients and vendors, to do the job well. Using these revised interview questions has ensured that we are hiring employees that are the right fit for our team.