Material Handler Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

Do you work well with machinery and enjoy being part of a busy team in a fast-paced environment? If so, a job as a material handler may be a good fit for you. 

Material handlers move products in warehouse and manufacturing facilities, either manually or with equipment like forklifts or trucks. They’re typically responsible for moving inventory and other materials to fill orders before shipment. Material handlers must have strength and stamina, as they’re often on their feet for long periods loading and unloading heavy items.

Sample job description #1

As a Warehouse Material Handler, you will work with the team to ensure products get where they need to be, unload delivery vehicles, receive inventory, store product, and select and pack customer orders. As an employee-owned company, our employees are key to our success and are given opportunities to learn and grow into higher level positions.

In this role you will

  • Operate warehouse equipment such as pallet jacks, forklifts, and push carts
  • Unload and accurately receive deliveries
  • Store product in specific location and note in system
  • Select and pack customer orders and at times deliver customer orders in light van or delivery vehicle
  • Maintain clean warehouse including following all safety procedures and performing daily safety inspections

What you bring to the table

  • Ability to perform physical requirements in a warehouse environment including lifting up to 70 lbs., cutting wire, climbing ladders, and staying on the move in various temperatures depending on the location
  • Safely operate warehouse equipment and proper use of PPE
  • Good attendance and work ethic
  • Ability to perform tasks quickly and accurately
  • Minimum 18 years of age required

Sample job description #2

Position overview

To keep material flowing within the XYZ operation, maintain plant organization and to keep the production floor and WIP racks organized. This position will safely operate a lift truck while moving and storing raw materials, WIP, and finished goods.


  • Perform all tasks required of you in a safe and conscientious manner
  • Check and follow warehouse instructions as posted at Material Handling stations
  • Generate Pick List in the MRS system based on the machine scheduled needs
  • Organize raw materials, packaging supplies, pallets, etc. for the production personnel and processes
  • Perform all inventory and product moves using the RF scanning system; Employ Pick, Scan, Place, and Scan (PSPS) for EVERY fork truck movement of inventory
  • Keep all warehouse racks organized, materials in their proper place, and ensure proper labeling so it is readable from floor
  • Create CHOP labels and properly enter CHOP information into inventory using RM Labeling system
  • Cycle Count your area of responsibility daily
  • Perform regular fork truck checklist procedures and routine maintenance. (Battery Changes)
  • Provide support in any area of the plant to keep a flow of materials throughout the plant
  • Move materials in/out of Hold and Sort area as needed
  • Participate in Kaizen events, perform 6S cleaning of designated areas and complete daily audits as required
  • Perform any task as directed by supervisor or team leader to support plant operation
  • Comply with all policies and procedures, e.g., work rules, quality, GMP, Food Safety, etc.

Skills and job requirements

  • Effective interpersonal and communication skills
  • Demonstrated alignment with ABC Company’s Core Values, teamwork and contribution to a positive team environment
  • Ability to perform basic math and computer functions and RF scanning systems
  • Good organizational skills and be self-motivated
  • Ability to successfully complete XYZ Fork Lift Certification and Material Handling training and operate ALL material handling equipment in plant

Physical requirements

  • Ability to work standing on standup fork truck for 12.25 hour shift
  • Able to withstand heat

Sample job description #3

A day in the life: 

As a Material Handler you will load and unload material within a warehouse or storage facility. Utilize hand trucks, forklifts, hoists, conveyors, or other handling equipment to move material to and from trucks and within or to the main storage facility and satellite facilities. Receive, unpack, check, and store merchandise or materials. Fill requisitions and orders. Pack, crate, and ship products and materials to distribution center, departments, or assembly line. May operate forklift. May operate a company vehicle up to 50 miles to remote facilities to pick up supplies as needed.

What you’ll do:

  • Receive and enter materials into warehouse management system
  • Maintain and execute materials management programs as designed within the warehouse
  • Document and maintain inventory and ensure production area organization and cleanliness
  • Keep the warehouse area organized and clean. Take out trash and transport cardboard boxes to card board compactor for recycling
  • Operate forklifts to receive shipments or materials or equipment, stack and retrieve supplies and materials
  • Have knowledge of commonly used concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field. Rely on instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform the functions of the job
  • May be required to operate a company vehicle to retrieve will-call stock from local suppliers
  • Other duties as assigned

Must haves:

  • Able to work both indoors and outdoors in variable weather conditions, work environment may not be heated or air-conditioned
  • Ability to read and follow spoken and written instruction and make independent decisions appropriate for data and circumstances
  • Bi-lingual with fluency in spoken Spanish and English is a plus
  • Ability to know and follow all proper safety protocols and procedures and safely perform all tasks
  • Ability to manage time, adhere to schedules, and maintain work pace
  • Ability to follow sequencing or order directions for successful completion of task
  • Ability to communicate with, and/or listen to, and/or signal people to convey or exchange information, including giving/receiving directions
  • Prior experience in related work required
  • Possess and maintain current certification in the operations of required forklift or powered industrial truck and related equipment; may require valid driver’s license

Special considerations:

  • Position requires manual dexterity and the ability to maintain physical activity for most of the day
  • Uses up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects, exerts physical force of 10 to 25 pounds frequently, occasionally exerts 20 to 50 pounds of force
  • Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds and hold or lift a variety of objects
  • Must be able to work without sitting for long periods of time. Walking throughout warehouse and satellite storage areas
  • Must be able to lift a wide variety of materials such as boxes of nails, windows, doors, etc. using handling techniques such as seizing, holding, grasping all manner of materials
  • Must be able to grasp and turn steering wheels for trucks and forklifts. Able to grasp tools such as hammers, tin-snips, pliers, wire cutters ,and other hand tools
  • Must be able to reach to place and remove products and pull or push arm-trucks, dollies, carts, and pallet jacks
  • Must be able to read labels on products, supplies, or materials written in English and see all materials and locations in warehouse and satellite facilities. Must be able to see moving vehicles and avoid the same per safety regulations
  • Must be able to hear other vehicles, forklifts, vehicles horns and other warning signals. Able to carry, bend, stoop, turn, kneel, crawl, climb a ladder, and other manual labor activities
  • Depending on location, may be required to be fitted and certified for a respirator

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a material handler is 30,000 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$29,850$40,350
Los Angeles, California$33,650$45,550
Denver, Colorado$28,050$37,950
Washington, DC$34,150$46,250
Miami, Florida$27,950$37,800
Orlando, Florida$25,750$34,850
Tampa, Florida$26,000$35,200
Atlanta, Georgia$27,300$36,900
Chicago, Illinois$31,350$42,450
Boston, Massachusetts$33,900$45,900
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$27,050$36,600
New York City, New York$35,700$48,300
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$29,050$39,350
Dallas, Texas$28,300$38,300
Houston, Texas$28,050$37,950
Seattle, Washington$32,650$44,150
National Average$25,500$34,500

Sample interview questions

  • Are you comfortable lifting heavy loads and handling fragile objects?
  • Is your personal living space typically messy, or do you tend to keep it clean and orderly?
  • Can you maintain a positive attitude in the face of physical labor and tight time frames?
  • Do deadlines and quotas intimidate you, or do they motivate you?
  • If a package were to go missing on your watch, how would you react to that crisis?
  • How well do you handle supervisor feedback on your performance?
  • Can you name a time at a previous job when you modified your behavior in order to better satisfy a client and/or employer?
  • Have you ever ordered a product online or through the mail? 
  • What qualities did you look for, as a customer, during that transaction? 
  • As a material handler, what can you do to assure that the same standard will always be met?

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