30 Material Handler Interview Questions and Answers

Updated on: August 11, 2023

Study the questions and answers below to get a basic idea about expected material handler interview questions and appropriate responses.

Interview Questions and Answers for Material Handler Position

1. Why should we hire you as a material handler?
I am an organized person who has a demonstrated ability to maintain the warehouse in a clean and arranged manner while adhering to all safety procedures. Moreover, I am highly skilled in loading, unloading, and transporting merchandise, correctly identifying the material, breaking down material, and noting discrepancies per SOPs. These qualities make me a perfect candidate for the material handling position.

2. Which kind of machinery/equipment can you use?
I am adept at operating forklifts, pallet jacks, wire-cutting equipment, and shrink-wrap machines. Also, I can drive the light van and delivery vehicles.

3. Do you have a working driver’s license? How many, if any, traffic tickets have you received?
Yes, I possess a valid driver’s license with a clean driving record.

4. What kind of skills and knowledge should be possessed by a material handler to work effectively?
A material handler should know about necessary warehouse procedures. Moreover, he must possess computer, mathematical, communication, and reading skills to get his job done most effectively.

5. Are you working as a material handler full-time somewhere at present?
For the past two years, I have worked as a part-time Merchandise Handler at The True Value Company which is a renowned chain of independent hardware stores for Do-It-Yourself products.

6. At your previous place of work, what was your role in the whole procurement process? What were you accurately responsible for?
My role isn’t limited to one specific task in the procurement process as far as the merchandise or material handler job description is concerned. My duties cover a broad spectrum of tasks including:
• Selecting and picking finished products for shipment according to shipping labels or purchase orders, while verifying and also matching the quantity mentioned on the purchase order.
• Maintaining and verifying goods’ records (received/shipped) facilitating the flow of goods through the factory and the warehouse.
• Performing cycle and location count with a Cherry Picker material handler
• Using Scan Guns and warehouse management system (WMS) programs like Fourth Shift and Visibar for making system adjustment entries
• Operating material handling equipment efficiently and also following preventative maintenance programs on assigned material handling equipment

6. Do you have experience in coordinating GPM shipments?
Yes, I have been coordinating shipments with carriers and freight companies, and warehouse picks through WMS. I have been carrying out efficient placard and shipment preparations, closing system orders, and managing document storage and retention.

7. What is the nature of goods you handle at work as a ‘merchandise handler’?
It depends on the shipment. Sometimes huge cartons and boxes of the True Company’s DIY merchandise and sometimes packs of individual hardware shipment material including wooden, metal, and plastic products.

8. What do PPE and MSDS stand for?
PPE stands for Personal Protection Equipment, and MSDS stands for Material safety data sheet.

9. Do you have any specializations in material handling?
Yes, I am specialized in asbestos and steel handling.

10. What kind of warehouse equipment/machinery are you familiar with?
I am well-versed in operating forklifts, pallet jacks, transfer carts, conveyors, cherry picker material handlers, scan guns, cantilevered cranes, and industrial trucks.

11. Tell me about your PC and software skills.
I am well-versed in all MS-based programs especially excel. I am also proficient in various warehouse management software including Visibar and Fourthshift

12. What knowledge is must-have for a material handler?
Knowledge regarding safety procedures to be followed in material handling, OSHA workplace safety guidelines, and equipment operation procedures is a must for a material handler.

13. Do you have any experience in material buying?
I have experience in selecting and picking products for shipment based on purchase orders after inspecting each unit and verifying the ordered quantity.

14. What basic precautions must you take while handling hazardous material?
To ensure the safe handling of hazardous material, a material handler must always use PPE and pay special attention to MSDS details. Using all materials only for their intended purpose, ensuring proper storage of all materials, and remaining alert and vigilant also count.

15. Give me an example of where you resolved a conflict within your team.
Last year we had huge consignments to ship, and two members of the team who were in charge of manual scanning of the material were not working as hard and fast as they were required to. I suggested in the weekly meeting to switch some duties to enhance the productivity of the team and volunteered to be shifted to manual scanning. The supervisor reallocated tasks for everyone, assigning more preferred tasks to the two underperforming workers which resolved the issue.

16. Do you possess the physical stamina demanded by this job?
Definitely! I can lift up to 70 lbs unaided and up to 150 lbs with the help of wheeled Lories. I have excellent eye-hand coordination and also bring a track record of working effectively in difficult weather conditions.

17. How much weight can you lift and carry for around 100 yards easily?
I can carry fifty to seventy pounds very quickly and move it around. At work, I have also been lifting these weights from the floor to five feet high shelves and even carrying them up and down the stairs. I can stand and walk 8 to 10 hours per day while lifting, carrying, handling, rotating, etc. continuously.

18. Speaking of safety, how would you react if you saw someone doing something unsafe within the warehouse?
Each person within a warehouse is responsible for ensuring that all duties are handled carefully. If I see someone doing something unsafe, I would not hesitate to point it out and assist him or her in making sure that whatever was being done, is done according to warehouse safety rules.

19. Why is accuracy important in your work as a material handler?
Since each order pulled and dispatched comes with specific instructions – down to the number of items – it is important for us to be able to follow the instructions properly. One item less or more means that we have failed in our work.

20. What is the most challenging part of working as a warehouse material handler?
The physical exertion that one must go through is quite challenging. On very hot or cold days, it becomes difficult to push, lift or cart heavy shipments from one place to another, even with the warehouse temperature in control.

21. How do you prioritize tasks when multiple deadlines need to be met?
When faced with multiple deadlines, I start by assessing the urgency and importance of each task. I prioritize tasks based on their impact on production or customer requirements. I communicate with my team and supervisors to ensure we allocate our time and resources effectively.

22. How do you ensure accuracy when handling inventory?
I believe in maintaining a meticulous approach when it comes to inventory accuracy. I double-check item descriptions, quantities, and locations during receiving and storage processes. I also utilize inventory management systems to track and update inventory in real time.

23. How do you handle stressful situations in a fast-paced environment?
In a fast-paced environment, I remain calm and focused on the task at hand. I have developed strong time-management and problem-solving skills that allow me to handle stressful situations effectively. I rely on clear communication and teamwork to ensure that everyone is on the same page and can work together efficiently.

24. Can you provide an example of a time when you faced a difficult challenge at work and how you resolved it?
In my previous position, we experienced a sudden surge in orders, which overwhelmed our warehouse capacity. To tackle this challenge, I collaborated with my team to reorganize the warehouse layout and optimize storage space. By implementing these changes, we were able to accommodate the increased demand without compromising efficiency.

25. How do you ensure safety protocols are followed in the workplace?
Safety is a top priority in my work. I always strictly adhere to safety guidelines and regulations, such as wearing personal protective equipment and following proper lifting techniques. I am also proactive in identifying potential safety hazards and promptly reporting them to the appropriate personnel.

26. What are your greatest strengths?
As a material handler, my greatest strengths lie in my attention to detail, efficiency, and physical stamina. I excel at carefully inspecting and sorting materials, ensuring that they meet quality standards and are properly stored. I have a knack for optimizing workflow processes, maximizing productivity, and minimizing errors. My strong physical endurance allows me to handle heavy loads and work in demanding environments without compromising on safety. Overall, my dedication to accuracy, productivity, and safety makes me a valuable asset as a material handler.

27. What are your weaknesses?
One potential weakness could be my tendency to be overly meticulous. While attention to detail is essential in this role, there may be instances where I spend more time than necessary on certain tasks. To overcome this, I have been working on striking the right balance between efficiency and precision. By utilizing time management techniques and prioritizing tasks effectively, I am continually improving in this aspect. Overall, I believe that acknowledging weaknesses and actively working on self-improvement is crucial for personal and professional growth.

28. What is your greatest accomplishment?
As a material handler, one of my greatest accomplishments was successfully leading a team in achieving a significant reduction in operational costs through process optimization. Recognizing the importance of efficiency and cost-effectiveness, I implemented a thorough review of our material handling procedures and identified areas for improvement.

29. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In the next five years, I envision myself as a highly skilled and experienced material handler, making significant contributions to the success of the organization.  Overall, my goal is to make a significant and positive impact and contribute to the continued success of the material handling department.

30. Do you have any questions for me?
You can ask some of the following questions in the material handler interview:

  • Can you tell me more about the types of materials and equipment I will be handling in this role?
  • What are the key safety measures or protocols I should be aware of when working as a material handler in this organization?
  • Are there any specific software systems or inventory management tools that I will be expected to use?
  • What opportunities for growth and advancement are available for material handlers within the organization?
  • Can you provide insights into the typical volume of materials handled and any potential challenges I might face in this role?
  • How does the company prioritize efficiency and accuracy in material handling processes?