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How to Prepare for an Auto Mechanic Position

UTI Profile Image Universal Technical Institute Feb 20, 2020 ·

Whether you’re preparing for your first full-time job after completing your automotive program or are an experienced mechanic looking to make a career transition, the interview process can be intimidating. Landing your dream job greatly depends on how you do in the interview, so there’s a lot riding on this one conversation. However, with the right preparation, you can feel confident in your ability to ace the interview.

If you’re getting ready to interview for an automotive mechanic role, you’ve come to the right place. Follow along as we share some potential questions you may be asked, what to wear to the interview and more.

Take the Time to Prepare

Preparation is key when it comes to having a successful interview. Even if you possess the experience and qualifications the job you’re applying for requires, it’s important to take the time to research the company and prepare answers to questions you might be asked. In addition to your resume, your interview is the employer’s first impression of you—so you want to make it count!

Employers notice when a candidate has taken the time to prepare. Not only does it show professionalism, but it also shows that you have a genuine interest in the position. Each question you are asked provides an opportunity to demonstrate what you can bring to the role, so outlining some key points you want to mention prior to the interview can be helpful.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to preparing for your interview:

  1. Research the company: First things first, it’s important to research the company you’re interested in working for. Employers often ask what you know about the company, so take some time to browse their website to learn about who they are and what their history is.
  2. Research the position: When applying for a position, be sure it’s something you would enjoy and that aligns with your skillset. Research what the job responsibilities are so you can highlight how you are capable of them in the interview.
  3. Perfect your resume: You most likely had to submit your resume to apply for the job, but be sure to also bring several printed copies with you to the interview. The employer will be much more likely to remember you and can refer to your resume as they ask questions.
  4. Conduct a practice interview: Ask your UTI Employment Advisor or a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview with you so you can practice answering questions out loud.
  5. Prepare questions in advance: An interview gives an employer a chance to get to know you, but it’s also an opportunity to get to know them and determine if the position is the right fit. Always be sure to prepare questions to ask the employer beforehand, whether it’s about the hours you’ll be working or the company culture.

Interview Questions for Automobile Technicians

When sitting down for an interview, the employer or hiring manager will most likely ask a mix of general and more specific questions that have to do with the technical side of the role. Whether this is your first interview or you consider yourself to be an interview pro, it’s important to research the types of questions you might be asked.

Tell me about yourself.

Many interviewers start by asking candidates to provide a general introduction of themselves. This broad question can be taken many different ways, but it’s important to keep your answer relevant to the role.

For example, the employer might not be interested in where you went to elementary or high school, but they will care about your postsecondary training and job history. Keep your answer simple and concise, while also touching on important points about your background, education, work experience and career goals.

What do you know about our company?

Some employers will try to get a feel for how familiar you are with their company. While you most likely won’t be quizzed on specific details, it’s important to have a general understanding of what they do, the services they offer and a brief history.

Why do you want to work here?

Interviewers want employees who are in it for the long haul and not just interested in any place that will hire them. To determine this, they will often ask why you want to work for the company. Here’s an example of a great way to answer this:

“I would love the opportunity to work for your company because as a new auto mechanic, I’m looking for a place where I can grow, be mentored and put my skills to work. I admire the company’s reputation in the industry and would love to work for such a highly respected brand.”

What makes you a good fit for this role?

This question provides an opportunity to really sell yourself. Take a look at the required skills for the position and make a connection to the skills you can bring to the role. For example, if the company is looking for a mechanic who is up-to-date with today’s vehicle technology, share an example of a time you’ve worked with modern technology, whether it was in a previous position or during your automotive training.

What is your greatest strength? Weakness?

This question is commonly asked in interviews, no matter what industry you’re in. When answering, try to avoid being too general. Be strategic when discussing your strength and highlight a quality that will benefit you in the role. For example, if you’re applying for a position where you will be working directly with customers, you may want to talk about your communication skills and ability to build relationships with different kinds of people.

When it comes to sharing your greatest weakness, always be honest. However, be sure to avoid choosing a weakness that will disqualify you for the role. Whether your weakness is focusing too much on the details or having a hard time saying no, be sure to always share how you’re taking steps to overcome it. Here’s an example:

“My greatest weakness is that I sometimes struggle to say ‘no’ and as a result, take on more than I can handle. This has led me to feel burnt out and overwhelmed in the past. However, I’ve learned to use my planner to organize and prioritize tasks so I can see how much is on my plate. This has helped me to feel much more in control when it comes to my work, and I know when I can take on new things based on my workload.”

What kind of maintenance should regularly be performed to keep a car in proper working order?

As an automotive mechanic, it’s your job to keep the cars you work on in excellent condition. In order to do so, one of your major responsibilities will most likely be to complete routine vehicle maintenance checks.

When an employer asks you this question, they’re testing your job knowledge. They want to know that you have the necessary skills and background to do the job right! Take your time when answering this question and be sure to provide enough detail around each step of the process, from changing the oil and oil filter to checking your tires to examining belts and hoses.

Walk me through how you would complete a test drive. What are the steps you would take to ensure all systems are working?

Quality control is incredibly important in dealerships and repair shops. In order to enforce this, technicians will often test drive the cars they work on to ensure everything is working properly.

If test drives are one of the responsibilities of the role you’re applying for, the employer may ask a question like this to get a feel for your experience with test driving. Similar to the previous question, this is meant to test your job knowledge. Be sure to provide enough detail in your answer and reference a time you completed a test drive in the past if possible.

How would you prioritize tasks on a busy day while ensuring all customer needs are met?

Life as an auto technician can be incredibly busy. On any given day, you never know how many customers will come into the shop and what kind of repairs they will need. For this reason, being able to manage your time well and balance multiple repairs and customers is essential. Here’s an example of a great way to approach this question:

“When the shop gets busy, I ensure each customer is served in the order they arrived. Throughout the process, I maintain open communication to provide accurate wait times and reasons for delays when necessary. I go above and beyond to let my customers know that I value their time and am committed to completing their repair efficiently and most importantly, accurately.”

Tell me about a time when you made a mistake completing a repair. How did you handle it?

Mistakes are inevitable, no matter how hard we try to avoid them. Employers can’t always expect perfection, but they do want to know how you handle challenges when they arise.

When answering this question, provide a specific example of a time you might have made a mistake in the workplace and the steps you took to handle it. Try to focus more on the solution than the problem—the employer wants to know that you’re able to own up to mistakes when they’re made and be proactive about solving the problem.

How do you handle difficult situations in the workplace, such as an upset customer?

Providing great customer service is an incredibly important part of an auto technician’s job. While a majority of your time may be spent under the hood working on vehicles, you will also have to communicate with customers and keep them in the loop throughout the repair process.

Some customers are very particular when it comes to their vehicles and can be difficult to work with. Every technician deals with an unhappy customer at some point in their career, whether it’s their fault or not.

For this reason, employers look for technicians who have great people skills and are committed to going above and beyond to serve their customers, especially when they’re unhappy. Remaining professional and friendly in all communication is an essential part of this job.

In your answer to this question, share a time you may have had to work with a disgruntled customer. How did you handle the situation, and what was the outcome? Be sure to emphasize your approach and how you would handle situations similar to this in the future.

What are your career goals?

One of the most important qualities employers look for in technicians is commitment. If you accept the job, they want to know that you’re committed to growing with the company and won’t leave after just six months. They want to know that this position aligns with where you see yourself in the future, which is why they will often ask you to share your career goals or even where you see yourself in five years. Here’s a great way to answer this question:

“I’m looking for a long-term career and want to work for a company I can grow with. In five years, I would like to develop new skills and become a better technician, which I think I would have the opportunity to do here. I’m excited to take on new responsibilities and possibly advance to a leadership role.”

Questions to Ask the Interviewer

When preparing to meet with an employer or hiring manager, remember that you’re interviewing the company just as much as they’re interviewing you! If you have any questions about the role before making your decision, the interview is your time to ask.

You may think of questions throughout the interview, however, it’s wise to prepare some questions beforehand. In addition to getting the information you need, asking questions shows the employer that you’re serious about the position. Aim to have at least three or four questions prepared prior to the interview, and you can even jot them down on a notepad and bring it with you so you don’t forget. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. What are some of the qualities you’re looking for in a mechanic?
  2. What is the company culture like?
  3. Walk me through a typical day on the job.
  4. What would my work schedule be?
  5. How many employees do you have?
  6. Is this a collaborative role? Will I be working with others in the organization?
  7. What is your retention rate?
  8. What is the greatest challenge of this role?
  9. How will my success be measured?
  10. What tools will I be required to bring to work?
  11. Are there any opportunities for advancement in this role?
  12. Will I have access to any type of ongoing training?
  13. What are the next steps in the interview process?

What to Wear to a Mechanic Interview

Last but certainly not least, you might be wondering, ‘What should I wear to an automotive mechanic interview?’

While technicians may not wear suits and ties to work every day, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress professionally for the interview. Men can wear a nice, casual shirt with trousers and a tie if you would like, and women can wear a casual blouse and skirt or slacks. In general, make sure your clothes are clean, ironed and color-coordinated.

Men should shave before the interview and if you wear your hair long, be sure to tie it back for safety reasons.

When it comes to shoes, avoid any kind of sandals or high heels. You will most likely want to wear a pair of closed-toed shoes that are sturdy enough for the environment you’ll be in. Additionally, be sure to bring a pair of work clothes with you in the car in case you are asked to demonstrate your skills during the interview.

Final Tips

Before heading into your interview, remember to be confident! It’s normal to be nervous, but trust that your skills, experience and preparation will serve you well. Starting a new job can be exciting, so take a deep breath and enjoy the process. Good luck!

Interviewing for a job in the diesel industry? Be sure to check out our diesel mechanic interview tips.

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