Six Sigma Black Belt interview? – how to be successful

This article on “Six Sigma Interview Questions” includes the most frequently asked questions, and answers in a Six Sigma interview. You will be well prepared for your next quality management roles.

this article covers:

  • Six Sigma interview categories
  • Technical Black Belt interview questions
  • Full time Black Belt Leadership style
  • Six Sigma accomplishments interview questions
  • Other suggestions for your interview
  • Download Q&A´s (pdf template)
There are 3 interview categories – Six Sigma Black Belt position

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  • Lean culture implementation in your organization
  • Six Sigma projects consultations
  • Lean Six Sigma trainings and certifications support
  • Project management theory turn into practical usage
  • Your career planning

First 30 minutes of consultation for free, every additional 1 hour 10 USD.

Six Sigma interview categories

There are 3 categories project manager, or full time black belt performance is assessed.

  • Technical skills,
  • Leadership, and
  • Accomplishments.

Questions during interview are following this categorization. We will go through each category, and give you 6 potential questions. Answer example will follow afterwards. Do not fear to extend and modify those answers based on your personal preferences. Take the essence of the answer, and use it as you wish. I would like to encourage you to use your own experiences, stories, and your approach.

“There are some important tips by the article end, how to present yourself during the interview.”

Identify 8 Waste of lean – read here

Technical Black Belt interview questions

Technical, also called hard skills are about how familiar candidate is with using tools in lean six sigma. Here you are with questions:

  • Express your understanding of full time black belt responsibilities, and challenges?
    • Black belt leads teams and projects, that are assigned to him. It is role that supports whole organization from transactional to production processes. His role is to help others to reaching lean culture and processes.
  • How do you start working on the project with your team?
    • I meet with sponsor on the business case. I help with project charter creation. We meet team members and process owners affected by project scope. We discuss the goal, and how we could reach it.
  • Explain six sigma roles in projects, and its responsibilities.
    • Project leader leads team to deliver results. Leader communicates to sponsor team, stakeholders, and process owner. Sponsor helps project leader in setting directions, helps with overcoming roadblocks. Project team helps with addressing challenges and brings deliverables. Process owner is interested in changes that will affect process results. Stakeholders are leaders, usually managers from supporting processes, that might be affected by changes.

DMAIC in the office case study – read here

You can improve any process by following this tool list. It is verified by many differen projects I have run in different departments (Proudcution, Planning, Logistics, Warehousing, Supply Chain, Machininng ….)

Six Sigma DMAIC tool list – all tools
  • Why do you think, that you are the right person for black belt role?
    • I like working with people, and helping them with their challenges. We can be more successful working in teams than working as individuals. I am enthusiastic with delivering changes and results.
  • Tell me about your recent changes, and how did you manage to sustain it?
    • I lead my colleagues in process changes, that resulted in shortening process time of delivering our products to following processes. We discussed current process challenges and tried improve it by following DMAIC. And it worked.
  • Express, how black belt position supports lean culture.
    • Black belt involves green belts and yellow belts in projects. He trains yellow belts and green belts in the methodology. This position supports departments in developing metrics, high level processes. Black belt is helping with fulfilling agenda and plans to improve and deliver planned results.
DMAIC in fast food restaurant case study

Full time Black Belt “Leadership style”

Project management, lean six sigma projects are about influencing and working with people, that did not directly report to you. So leadership skills are the most important for being successful full time black belt. Here are some questions, you might be asked.

And interview questions are:

  • Describe your leadership style. How do you influence people, that do not directly report to you?
    • Teamwork and departments cooperation is the way of delivering great results. The best way to influence people is, to help them resolve issues, they are facing in daily life. Then you have strong support and great chance to change current situation.
  • Describe some difficult inter-personal situation, you have been facing with your team? And how did you approached and resolved it?
    • One team member finger pointed on others, that they are the reason of process not performing as it should. Other members were frustrated by this situation. I have explained to the person that he has offended other team members by what he just said. I explained to him and other team members, that this is not the way we will cooperate in our team. I explained and said my expectations how team should work together.
  • What would you do, if nobody shows up on your project meeting?
    • I would think, what could happen that they did not show up. I will call, or reach them and ask for explanation. Sometimes it happens, that people have more important work. I will kindly ask, if they can decline meeting in advance, in the future.

Warehouse case study can help you too – read here

  • How do you approach cultural differences in the team?
    • Cultural and personal diversity is only positive for teams function. Different opinions, different peoples approach and thinking helps to think out of the box. I love openminded approach.
  • Tell us, how did you reacted when team member did not fulfill assigned task?
    • I always ask teammates to identify solution and set SMART due date by they own. This helps with better engagement. And if even then they do not fulfill, I try to work with them to overbridge roadblocks.
  • How do you motivate teams you are working with, to work on project tasks?
    • I choose project team members, that are really interested in process, that is in the project scope. That helps a lot of with interest on improvements. Everyone in the team must understand current state challenges. That is why Define phase is so important. When they see, that they could work easier, the half of work is done.
  • Do you have any experiences with training people on lean six sigma method, or tools?
    • Yes, I do. I explain every tool we are using during projects prior using it. This helps to understand meaning. People use tools like project charter, SIPOC in their projects afterwards. Green belts and yellow bets are always part of my projects. It is learning curve for all of us.

Project selection – calculator

I recommend you testing project idea on project calculator, I have developed based on my training experiences. It will help you to determine, how demanding leading project will be for you.

THis is how my calculator looks like

Selection tool downolad

You can download selection tool on the link below:

Six Sigma accomplishments interview questions

Accomplishments are results, you and your team have implemented, and brought to final sustainable results.

And accomplishment questions and answers can be:

  • What are the accomplishments, you are the proudest off?
    • We have improved assembly process velocity by 25% by understanding customer demand and set up process to work on takt time. Safety and quality results were improved too. Project lasted 6 months.
  • When have you recognized, that lean six sigma is the path, you would like to follow?
    • I was trained 3 years ago on lean six sigma green belt training. It was eyes opening, that there is always way to improve. Identifying 8 wastes of lean became a daily routine since then.
  • Change management is the most difficult part of project management. Tell us, how do you implement changes? What tools and methods do you use to sustain them?
    • Project without process owner, sponsors and stakeholders support have small chances to sustain. It is key to show team members as well as all people working in affected process, what are high level expectations. It is crucial to work with all employees affected by changes, explain them what we do, why, and how.
  • How do you handover finished project to the process owner?
    • Process owner is involved in all stakeholders reviews. Owner has invitations to all teams meetings, too. His involvement is needed more and more, when approaching final project stages. He can influence teams decisions, drive actions he knows are important for functional process. Then process owner is more comfortable to hand over changed process.

This Lean improvement example will help you in your interview

  • If you will be selected for this role, what would be your steps in following 2 to 3 months?
    • I will try to learn more about your company, its organization, and processes. I would like to introduce myself in some initial small projects. Small projects, where I can learn more about particular process, where I can come to know my new colleagues. I would like to also meet leaders, I will potentially be working with.
  • Do you have an example when you have replicated successful projects in other areas?
    • Yes, sure. I was leading 5S project in the area I was working in. Reorganization and area change was so successful, that it became an example for other areas. It was obvious, that team is working faster, with less defects, and in the end more happily. And it all happened just because of less frustration of searching right tools, when needed.

This was last interview question, my friend. You can download it by this article end.

5 lean principles training video
this a excel charter to download preview

Here is a link to download project charter template for your usage, with the brief description of each section.

Other suggestions for your interview

Let me also give you some tips how to present yourself during the interview.

  • Go to bed early the day prior the interview. Your body and mind must be fresh. No parties allowed. 😊
  • Be yourself. Do not try to impress by fake personality. Be kind, thoughtful, and keep smiling.
  • Say only the truth. Lie is easily recognizable.
  • It is very important to use words as “we, team, group”, and not “I, just myself, me”.
  • Make sure, you look professional. Come to the interview dressed the same way you would expect from project manager. Tie is not necessarily needed, shirt definitely yes.
  • Prepare yourself not just for the questions, but try to study something basic about the company, what they do, about their history.
  • Prepare presentation about yourself, your skills, and accomplishments. Ask interviewer, when it would be possible to do presentation. Try to make it at the interview beginning. Good presentation can do great and positive impression.
  • Prepare some questions you would like to ask. Your interest about company challenges will show your natural curiosity. Which is part of project manager role. Here are some questions tips.:
    • What is the biggest challenge, your team is facing, where black belt can be helpful?
    • How many projects you expect black belt should lead in parallel?
    • How lean six sigma culture is embedded in this company organization?
Interview tips

How to kick off project meeting – read here

Download Q & A´s

This is preview of what you get:

interview QA page 1, 2
interview QA page 3 + tips

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Download Black Belt interview questions on the link below

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Yours sincerely Erik.

Six Sigma Interview QA – training video

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