Forklift operators occupy a unique space in the workforce. They must operate powered equipment safely and competently. On the other hand, they may be operating that equipment around others with identical training or no training at all. That means they need a unique cross-section of skills to perform their jobs well. That means that you need to ask them the right questions during their interviews.
Can You Describe the Training You Received?
Estimates place the number of serious and non-serious forklift-related injuries at around 97,000 per year. While pure accidents do occur, far too many injuries stem from inadequate or incomplete training. For example, someone with training on one type of forklift is asked to use a variety of forklift for which they received no training.
How Are Your Communication Skills and Can You Give Me an Example of When You Used Them?
Forklift drivers must communicate very clearly with other people working around them to prevent accidents. For example, they must identify where they plan on driving the forklift. Unclear communication can create situations where one employee gets in the way of the forklift and may get injured.
How Do You Handle Conflict?
Anger is a very short path to workplace errors. While office workers might flub some numbers, anger-driven workplace errors with a forklift can damage inventory, equipment, or cause injuries. A good candidate should describe healthy strategies for minimizing conflict and managing anger. You can even ask a follow-up question about anger management if they don’t touch on the issue in their answer to handling conflict.
The Importance of the Right Questions
Forklift operators work in a field that is prone to workplace injuries. That means you need to ask questions that highlight training, communication skills, and conflict management. These aren’t necessarily grounds for dismissing a candidate. After all, an even-keeled candidate with great communication skills can always get more training. What the questions do is let you identify a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.