A Business Process Engineer Interview

Considered working as a Business Process Engineer? This interview will take you through the ups and downs you can expect in the position, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more.

What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in this field? How would you describe yourself using only three adjectives?
I am a business process engineer in the manufacturing sector and have been for five years. I would describe myself with the following three words: methodical, industrious, and energetic.

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What’s your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what worked best?
I am a young Caucasian female. I feel that I have been passed over for other business process engineer offers early on and disparaged at my current job due to my gender. When it came to job interviews, I began casually stating my familiarity with the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1991. I started getting offers after that.

How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail?  Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?
When my company considers installing a new production process, whether it is to improve an existing process or for manufacturing a new product, my job is to identify, test, and evaluate the processes that are best suited to do the job and to make recommendations based on my findings. As a business process engineer job description I implement pilot programs and even small scale manufacturing runs to test the feasibility of new processes and report my results.

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On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What might need to change about your job to unleash your full enthusiasm?
I had to fight to land my job as a business process engineer and I am very passionate about it, so I'd rate my enthusiasm as a 10. I consider getting my job to be a victory in my life.

If this job moves your heart – how so? Ever feel like you found your calling or sweet spot in life? If not, what might do it for you?
I will never forget the look of pride on my mom's face when I graduated from college, and again when I told her I landed my position as a business process engineer. That look touched me like nothing else ever had. That feeling makes this job my sweet spot.

Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?
My parents got divorced when I was very young and my mother couldn't afford to put me through college. I paid my way through school by working at various office jobs and even in light manufacturing.

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How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?
While working for a manufacturer, I began to notice that there were ways that they could do things better. When they implemented some of my ideas, I came to realize that I had found my calling. I don't believe that it would help me to go back and change anything. I am proud of where I am and of how I got here.

What did you learn the hard way in this job and what happened specifically that led up to this lesson?
I learned that no matter how good of a process you might design, someone will always be resistant to the changes that it brings. I once identified new equipment that would perform that which we were using at the time. I brought in an evaluation model and it worked flawlessly. It was fully intuitive and fairly easy to learn but the shop foreman did nothing but complain and argue about how the old way was better. After I presented a long term cost analysis that showed how much more beneficial the new machinery would be, the new process was adopted and the shop foreman quit. I still don't know why he resisted so much. The guys on the shop floor love the new process.

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What is the single most important thing you have learned outside of school about the working world?
When working as a business process engineer I learned that some men are still opposed to taking recommendations from a confident, knowledgeable woman. Depending on whom I am reporting to for a given project, I sometimes find myself fighting my own company to do my job. I just hope that the world comes to recognize the value of strong women in the workforce.

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?
A manufacturer's representative once came in to explain how their new equipment worked and how it would be beneficial to us. He was either new on the job or unfamiliar with the new equipment as he didn't seem to know much about it beyond his obviously rehearsed sales pitch. He wasn't able to answer some of my questions about the technical aspects of his machinery and became embarrassed when I started schooling him on how it worked.

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Why do you get up and go to work each day? Can you give an example of something that really made you feel good or proud?
I am fiercely loyal to the company I work for and I go to work each day to give them my best effort. I am serious in my commitment to improve the efficiency of our manufacturing processes. I am proud of each and every new process I work on.

What kind of challenges do you  face and what makes you just want to quit?
I sometimes find myself facing roadblocks to the recommendations I make, and I know darn well that there is no good reason for it. As a business process engineer I need to study every aspect of a new process and I won't incorporate something that isn't feasible. So I fight to prove myself and overcome. I will never quit, because if I did, I would be letting myself down.

How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance? How?
My job is moderately stressful. I maintain a healthy work-life balance by practicing yoga and going out with my girlfriends for karaoke night!

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What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough and/or happy living within your means?
A business process engineer salary in manufacturing can make from $46,000 to $85,000. Some industries offer even more. Process control engineers in the semiconductor sector can easily earn over $100,000 per year. I earn enough to support my lifestyle.

How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?
The two weeks of vacation that I take each year are enough for me for now.

What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
A four year degree in mechanical or electrical engineering, or another similar engineering degree is necessary. You need to be able to understand the manufacturing process and have experience. A good electrical or mechanical background would be helpful. Good presentation skills are a must.

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What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?
There will always be manufacturing, so there will always be a need for process engineers. It's a good line of work but be sure to document everything you do on a project to show how it will work.

If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?
I would like the opportunity to head up the engineering department at my company so I could make the hiring decisions as well as oversee the engineering process.

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