Next time you’re hiring, here are some quality manager interview questions you should ask to make sure that they know and understand the ISO 9001:2015 standard.
Can the prospective quality manager answer these 5 interview questions about ISO 9001?
The quality manager should be able to answer some precise interview questions about the standard and their answers will tell you a lot. Try asking these 5 questions:
1. “Give me some of the inputs to the management review?”
If they have kept a Quality Management System (QMS) alive for some time, they can give at least 5 elements, quickly.
Here is what the standard says should feed the management review, at a minimum (clause 9.3.2):
a) the status of actions from previous management reviews;
b) changes in external and internal issues that are relevant to the quality management system;
c) information on the performance and effectiveness of the quality management system, including trends in:
1) customer satisfaction and feedback from relevant interested parties;
2) the extent to which quality objectives have been met;
3) process performance and conformity of products and services;
4) nonconformities and corrective actions;
5) monitoring and measurement results;
6) audit results;
7) the performance of external providers;
d) the adequacy of resources;
e) the effectiveness of actions taken to address risks and opportunities (see 6.1);
f) opportunities for improvement.
2. “What is the clause number for preventive actions?”
This is a trap. In the 2008 version, there was a clause about preventive actions. In the latest version (2015) it is not. It is “replaced”, in a way, by the risk-based approach (clauses 6.1.1 and 6.1.2).
3. “What is a ‘quality policy’, and what are ‘quality objectives’?”
They should be able to talk about that. And, very important, they should say that the objectives actually come from what is written in the policy.
Here is what the standard says about the policy (clause 5.2.1). It…
a) is appropriate to the purpose and context of the organization and supports its strategic direction;
b) provides a framework for setting quality objectives;
c) includes a commitment to satisfy applicable requirements;
d) includes a commitment to continual improvement of the quality management system.
And here is what the standard says about the objectives (clause 6.2.1). They must…
a) be consistent with the quality policy;
b) be measurable;
c) take into account applicable requirements;
d) be relevant to conformity of products and services and to enhancement of customer satisfaction;
e) be monitored;
f) be communicated;
g) be updated as appropriate.
4. “What is required, when a new product is developed?”
If their previous company was developing new products, they should definitely know this.
In short, companies must:
- Plan for the design & development activities
- Gather some inputs of the activities (customer requirements, compliance information, etc.)
- Have controls in the design & development process
- Check the outputs of the activities
- Manage engineering changes in an appropriate manner
And bonus if the candidate mentions this sequence follows the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) or PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Adjust) cycle!
5. “Is it a must to qualify all the suppliers of components?”
This is a way of testing their experience and whether they thought through the implementation of the system (rather than just following a system without asking questions).
If they say that it depends (on the impact of those components on final quality, on the amount purchased, on whether a customer directed a supplier, etc.) and they can explain why – that’s a good sign.
If they say “yes”, they don’t really understand the requirements of the standard.
What other questions would you add in order to assess a quality manager’s understanding of ISO 9001? Tell me by commenting, please.
Read even more about ISO 9001
I’ve actually written a lot of blog posts about ISO 9001 over the years, so take a look at all of them here.
Some of the more popular posts include:
- Basics about ISO 9001: The Standard and the Certification Process
- How a Chinese Factory Can Get ISO 9001 Certified
- What Factory CERTIFICATIONS Mean in China
- How a Factory Can (and Should) Go Beyond ISO 9001
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