Five Questions to Ask When Hiring a Warehouse Operator
A warehouse is a complicated work environment filled with myriad moving parts, from packaging and shipping to tracking inventory and operating heavy machinery. In order for a warehouse to run smoothly, workers and operators must be organized, skilled, and, most importantly, safety minded. If you are hiring workers for your warehouse, don’t just rely on their resume. To determine the best candidates for the job, consider how they answer these five hard-hitting interview questions.
How do you handle inefficiency?
A specific example demonstrating how they previously handled or solved a problem is key. Even a minor breakdown or downtime can make a serious impact on a company, costing valuable time and resources. You want to hire a warehouse worker who has successfully troubleshooted or navigated inefficiencies and is also able to think quickly on his feet. Even those with limited warehouse experience should still be able to provide thoughtful solutions to hypothetical scenarios.
How do you deal with workplace conflicts?
Like a sports team, a warehouse can only be successful if all teammates are in sync. Ask potential hires about their preferred communication and collaboration styles. Are they able to provide situations where they were team players or had to manage others? How do they communicate with others? Have them roleplay a scenario where they might need to resolve a conflict.
What kind of machinery have you operated?
Again, specifics are important here. No two warehouses are the same, so you’ll want to hire operators who have both physical stamina and the skillset to operate a broad range of tools and machinery, ranging from forklifts and dollies to computer-controlled equipment. In addition to knowing how to skillfully operate these machines, they should also be able to set them up, keep them well maintained and ensure production is going smoothly.
What safety precautions do you take in the warehouse?
Due to a heavy and constant flow of workers, machines, and deliveries taking place at any given time, commitment to safety needs to be the primary feature of every warehouse. Inquire about safety guidelines and procedures in previous workplaces and how management ensured adherence to these rules. Were they required to wear hard hats or protective eyewear? Was regular and routine safety training offered to staff? How were they kept accountable?
Can you demonstrate your ability?
Surprise, surprise — people lie or exaggerate their skills in interviews. In a warehouse, however, lying can end up becoming a serious safety hazard. As part of the interview, ask candidates to operate certain machinery or demonstrate their abilities in real time. Evaluate their situational judgment by observing the following: Do they use safe techniques? Do they follow instructions? Do they check the route beforehand to avoid obstacles and make sure they have enough room to pass?
As a final step, invite the rest of your warehouse team to meet potential hires. Because they will be inevitably be working together, it’s a smart idea to make sure there is a culture fit to avoid any unnecessary personality clashes.