Job interviews are always tough, but they’re even tougher if you’re switching careers. What do you do if you don’t have direct experience in the job or industry that the interviewer is asking about? That’s what we tackle in this edition of the Daughters of Rosie Hands-on Interview Question of the Month.


Interviews are important for manufacturing positions because they are a chance to showcase your hands-on skills and knowledge that are vital for success. If you haven’t had a hands-on manufacturing job before, your interviewer will want to know why you’d like to make the transition to a new career and what makes you qualified for the position. The good news is that if you spend some time now thinking about your answer, you’ll be prepared by the time you’re at the interview. This question, or a version of it, might be something you are asked during the interview:

“Since you haven’t worked in a manufacturing position before, what qualifications or skills do you have that would be relevant to this job?”

If you are asked this and haven’t had a hands-on job before, don’t panic! You probably have lots of relevant experiences, and you just need to take a moment to explain them.

The first thing to do is to figure out what skills and qualifications are needed on the job. Read the job description closely and spend some time on the company website. Maybe the company is looking for someone who cares about details and can use small hand tools. Or, maybe someone experienced with power tools is a better fit.

Once you know what the company is looking for, you can brainstorm to find experiences that would be relevant:

  • Hands-on tasks at a previous job: When have you been hands-on and active in your previous roles? Think about tasks that required you to be on your feet and active. For example, if you were a server at a restaurant, you were active in your position since you may have had to serve food, clean, and package food.
  • Hands-on tasks at home: Are you in charge of your home’s toolbox? You can detail how you have performed home maintenance like fixing broken doors, appliances, or even putting together furniture. All of these tasks highlight your aptitude for hands-on work and are absolutely relevant to many job requirements in manufacturing.
  • Hands-on hobbies: Do you enjoy woodworking? Knitting? Sewing? Making jewelry? Hobbies are a great way to highlight not just your proclivity for using tools, but your creativity and ability to be detail-oriented as well!
  • Tools you feel comfortable using: If someone handed you a wrench or hammer, would you know what each is used for? If you can learn how to use one tool, this means you can probably learn any!


Whatever you do, don’t say you’ve never done anything hands-on before. You definitely have had some hands-on experiences! Think hard about your previous jobs and activities, and think of any time where you had to be active and use your hands. Even if it was a long time ago, you can use it as an example.

Here's an example. Let's say that you are applying at a company that makes electronics, but you haven't had that experience before. Here's one way you might answer:

"Although I haven't worked at an electronics company before, I'm really excited about the opportunity to learn how to put electronic components together. In my family, I'm always the go-to person when someone needs help setting up a new stereo or TV, and I love the challenge of figuring out how an entire system goes together. As a hobby, I also like to knit. When I make complex patterns, I have to keep very close track of my work, and I know that this kind of detailed work is important in electronics too."

Do you have questions about job interviews? Feel free to send them to us at info@daughtersofrosie.com and we may answer them in a future post.

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