You might think that interviewing for a forklift driver position should really consist of showing up, climbing in and moving some pallets to demonstrate your abilities.
There’s a lot more involved, though. Managers don’t just want to know if you can operate a forklift before they hire you; they also want to know how well you’ll get along with others, how honest and reliable you are, and whether you’ll be an asset or a liability to their workforce.
So before you’re hired, you’ll first have to go through a “standard” job interview. Here are our interview tips for forklift drivers, to help you can get through the process without an accident.
We all know that you’re not going to be driving a forklift in a shirt and tie. Employers, though, don’t want to see how good you look in a uniform and boots; they want to get a sense of you as a person. Showering and shaving (if you’re male, of course) and coming in for your interview in clean, presentable clothes (even if you don’t wear the tie) shows your respect for the company and the person who represents it.
Be Prepared For Standard Questions
You’ll certainly need to answer questions about your previous job and forklift experience, so you should have the answers ready. You’ll be asked how many years you’ve operated forklifts, the types of equipment you’re certified to operate, the number of accidents or near-misses you’ve had in the last year and last three years, whose fault they were and whether you had to undergo refresher training.
If you feel honest answers may lose the job for you, don’t be tempted to shade the truth (to put it nicely). It’s a small world, and your interviewer may already know the answers after speaking to your previous employers. Be honest and explain what you’ve learned from any accidents or near-misses. Your honesty and desire to learn from mistakes can be a strong argument in your favor.
Also be prepared for job-specific questions like the shifts you prefer (and why), what you like and dislike about operating a forklift, and whether you’ve had problems with other drivers or supervisors in the past and how you handled them. You’ll probably also be asked why you’re leaving (or have left) your last job; have an answer prepared that is honest but doesn’t criticize other employers. After all, if you badmouth your last company, you’ll be seen as willing to eventually badmouth the company you’re interviewing with.
Be Prepared For Unusual Questions
You never know what other questions you’ll be asked that have nothing to do with forklifts. For example, the interviewer may have a list of general questions like “What are your career goals for the next ten years?” or “What are your best and worst qualities?” It may take a few minutes, but find a list of general interview questions online and rehearse answers to them. Those few minutes of preparation can spare you from a long embarrassing silence when you’re hit with an unexpected question.
Be The Type Of Applicant They’d Like To Hire
Companies aren’t simply looking for great forklift operators. Interviewers are looking, above all else, for employees who will be responsible, responsive and able to work with others. Your interview is the one chance you’ll have to demonstrate that you’ll be a valuable team member – so smile, speak up on your own behalf without being aggressive or untruthful, and let your interviewer see you’re the type of person he’d like to have in the warehouse or on the floor.