Top Interview Questions for Food Manufacturing Candidates

As of January of this year, the food and beverage manufacturing industry was the second largest industry in terms of value of production in all of Canada, and is one of the most important economic sectors in the country. Around the world, the industry is thriving in a similar way, and with global economies reopening slowly, it’s likely that hiring in this sector is set to increase over the next few months. 


Hiring employees to work in a sensitive industry such as food and beverage manufacturing has to be done with great care. There are a number of regulations and protocols that need to be followed on a consistent basis and selecting candidates that are dedicated and compliant isn’t always a walk in the park. Working with a specialized staffing agency that has experience in the industry is one way to source qualified candidates, but the interview process is your chance to really get to know your prospects. 


Here are some of the top interview questions you should consider asking your next food and beverage manufacturing candidate. 


Do you have experience in the field? If not, how well do you take instruction?


The food and beverage industry is booming and is continuing to see steady growth in size, meaning more job opportunities will continue to be available. The result of this is that employers could be faced with hiring workers that have limited or no experience in this specific field and will need on-the-job training. This can either be a problem or an opportunity, depending on hire. 


Employees that are quick learners and take instruction well should be able to pick-up the ropes of a new industry and workplace with little difficulty. Being able to follow strict protocols, such as health and safety measures and quality control practices, is one of the most important parts of a food and beverage manufacturing position. Inherent interpersonal skills like communication and listening skills will also contribute to a good food manufacturing employee, so look for signs of these during the interview. You’ll also want to gather a sense for whether the candidate is ambitious, a quick-learner and self-starter.


What are your strengths and weaknesses, and how will you apply them in this role?


A common question for virtually any industry, understanding what the candidates’ specific strengths and weaknesses are in general can provide insight into how they will act in a food and beverage manufacturing setting, especially if they do not have related experience.


For example, someone that notes good communication skills as their strengths tells you that they wouldn’t have a problem asking questions about the job, communicating with colleagues or letting their superiors know when something goes wrong. Alternatively, someone who says their weaknesses include working with others effectively may have more trouble settling into the role or may need more managerial attention when it comes to collaborative projects.


Candidates that are self-aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and more importantly, are willing to work on their downfalls, are the ones you want on your team. 


interview questions NLGRP


Describe a time you made a mistake in a similar role, and how did you handle it?


Working in a manufacturing setting requires a high degree of precision and attention to detail, but we are all human. It is almost inevitable that employees, especially new ones, will make a mistake or two, but what really matters is how they handle the situation when they do. Asking behavioural questions like this one can tell you a lot about who they are as a person and how they might act when they are representing your company, which can be especially helpful if they don’t have direct experience in a similar role. 


The way that they answer the question surrounding past mistakes will give you insight into how they may handle a similar problem at this position. Depending on how they answer and whether or not their problem-solving skills align with your managerial style, this can be very eye-opening.


What are your food and beverage manufacturing career goals?


Like many production and warehouse sectors, the food and beverage manufacturing industry is one that is ripe with upward mobility potential for its internal employees. What may start out as an hourly or production position has the potential to grow into a full-time, permanent career in many cases, but it takes an eager and self-aware candidate to do so. 


Candidates that have a clear idea of their career goals or where they see themselves in five to ten years may be a better fit than someone who is simply looking for temporary employment. Job seekers that are concerned about their own professional development and career advancement are also more likely to be motivated, engaged and committed to the work they do – which is obviously a benefit for you as an employer. 


Are you looking to add some new talent to your food and beverage manufacturing operation? If so, give Next Level Group a call – we are experts in the industry and would be more than happy to lend a hand. Contact us today.

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