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CNC Machinist Interview Tips

Jul 14, 2021 ·

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Whether you’ve just graduated from a computer numerical control (CNC) machinist training program or you’re coming close, you’re likely thinking about what will happen next. Once you have the hands-on skills and experience employers are looking for, it’s time to start applying for jobs.

The process of interviewing for a career in the CNC machining field can seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Taking the time to be prepared and knowing what to expect beforehand can make a world of difference.

Be sure to put together a professional resume and cover letter before starting your job search. Then, you can start preparing by working on your interview skills!

Keep reading for some tips that can help you out once you’ve landed some interviews.

Starting Out Right

Getting the right training and education is crucial when you’re looking for a role as a CNC machinist. The CNC machinist training program at NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, North Carolina, teaches the high-tech skills necessary for crafting performance parts from raw materials, which can give you the opportunity to work in a range of industries.1

Considering which industry you want to work in and where you might want to apply before graduation is a great way to be proactive, but you don’t have to wait until you graduate to start applying for jobs.

You can apply for jobs if you’re still attending NASCAR Tech to gain some real-world experience outside the classroom. Just be sure to communicate that to an employer and let them know about your future goals.

Being willing to apprentice and work in a different role while in school can also be important, since it could help you work your way into your desired position once you’ve gained enough experience or graduated from your program.

Pre-Interview Prep

There are several things you can do before an interview that can help alleviate some stress and nerves:

  • Do your research: When you decide you want to apply for a position, make sure you’re checking out the company you’ll be working for and have basic knowledge that you can reference during the interview process. This can help you stand out from other candidates.
  • Thoroughly read the job description: Be sure when applying for CNC machinist openings that you know what is being asked of you in the position. If prospective employers expect you to be familiar with specific processes, you’ll be able to prepare examples ahead of time on how your experience relates.
  • Practice: Taking time to practice answers and conduct a mock interview (with the help of friends or family) can make you feel more comfortable with the process. While the specific questions being asked of you might vary, knowing what you’ll say to general questions like, “Tell me about yourself,” and, “What are your career goals?” is still helpful.
  • Prepare your outfit: Think about what you’re going to wear to the interview, and pick out your wardrobe ahead of time. You’ll want to look professional while still dressing for the part. Business casual is usually appropriate, and you can wear work boots if they are clean and in good shape. Bringing backup clothes in the car doesn’t hurt in case you have to demonstrate your skills as part of the interview.
  • Bring your resume: Printing out several copies of your resume is important.

While these steps may seem simple, they can help you feel confident and well prepared before the interview has even started.

CNC Machinist Interview Questions and Answers

Before your interview, it can help to know some common machinist interview questions that you might encounter and how to answer them. Interviewers are likely going to ask a mix of general and technical questions to determine whether you’re a good fit for the role. Some might include:

What Training or Certifications Do You Have as a CNC Machinist?

The answer to this question will vary depending on whether you’re currently in school, but talking about what the CNC Machinist Training program has taught you is important. You can discuss different courses you’ve studied and the hands-on training you’ve received.

It’s optional whether you want to get certifications alongside an education from NASCAR Tech, but the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) offers three different levels of machining certifications that are assessed against national standards. These can strengthen your resume and set it apart from others.

What Are Your Career Goals?

Employers appreciate hiring individuals who have thought about the future and upward mobility. Having an answer to what your goals are and where you’d like to end up helps show you’re passionate and serious about the role.

There are many paths those with CNC machine training can take after gaining experience in an entry-level role. These careers could include anything from machine operating to quality control inspection and even programming.

Share an Experience Where You Identified a Problem With a CNC Machine

Problem-solving skills are important in any job. If there is an issue with a CNC machine, it can halt productivity on a project. Sharing a story about how you solved a problem can demonstrate your ability to handle unexpected challenges.

Describe the Most Interesting Fixture You’ve Made

It’s important to be proud of your work. Having an example in mind of something you’ve created to answer this question can help employers gauge your productivity level.

How Do You Handle Tight Deadlines?

This is another general question that most employers are going to ask — especially in the CNC machining field, since projects often rely on your ability to do your part of the job efficiently. Emphasizing that you can adapt under pressure (give examples from school and prioritizing tasks) will reassure them you can handle the professional atmosphere.

During the Interview

When the time for the actual interview comes, there are several things you can do to help make a good first impression with the interviewer:

  • Get there early: You don’t have to show up to your interview an hour early, but giving yourself a 10- to 15-minute window can help make a good first impression and prevent you from stressing out. You can map out the destination ahead of time and even do a practice run to see how long it will take.
  • Be personable and friendly: You’ll want to put your best foot forward and be as friendly as possible with your interviewer, but make sure you take that same care with anyone else you meet. This goes for other interviewees or employees you might encounter.
  • Maintain good body language: How you’re presenting yourself physically is just as important as what you say in an interview. You want to be sure your body language is showing confidence. Take care not to slouch, and try to maintain eye contact.
  • Have your resume on hand: Making several copies of your resume and giving them to those you interview with will allow for quick reference. Plus, it shows you’re prepared!
  • Ask questions: Most interviewers will take time at the end of the interview to ask you if you have any questions. Be sure to ask some to further show your interest. You can ask about the culture of the company, for example, or what a typical day on the job is like.

Be sure before you leave to ask the interviewer about the next steps in the process. Doing so allows you to have an estimated time frame on when a decision will be made or when the next rounds in the interview process will be.

Post-Interview Steps

Once the interview is over, you can breathe a sigh of relief! You’ll still want to stay proactive, however, and you can do some things to further establish your connection with the interviewer.

Sending a thank-you email to the interviewer is a simple act that can say a lot about how much you want the position and put you at the forefront of the hiring manager’s mind.

In this letter, you can take the time to thank those who interviewed you as well as reiterate your interest in the job. Remember to keep it concise so it doesn’t overwhelm the prospective employer!

You can find some examples of thank-you letters here:

Knowing the next steps in the interview process can help you know when to reach out for a follow-up message if the deadline has passed. Be patient while the decision is being made.

Writing down key points from the interview while it’s fresh in your mind can help you for future interviews — remember that everything is a learning process!

CNC Machinist Training at NASCAR Tech

In just 36 weeks, you can prepare for a hands-on career as a CNC machinist at NASCAR Tech’s Mooresville, North Carolina, campus. You can read more about how CNC training can benefit you and prepare you for the industry here.

Request more information online to get in touch with an Admissions Representative, or call 1-800-834-7308.

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1) NASCAR Technical Institute is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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