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Diesel Mechanic Interview Tips: How to Prepare Before Meeting with an Employer

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Preparing for a diesel mechanic interview?

The interview process can be nerve wracking, no matter what industry you’re in. Going from your diesel training program to working in the fast-paced industry is a big jump, and to get there, you must go through an interview first. An interview can be the gateway to an exciting new opportunity, and it’s important to put your best foot forward.

By taking some key steps beforehand to prepare, you can set yourself up for success when meeting with an employer. Follow along as we share our top diesel mechanic interview tips, from the questions you might be asked to the proper attire.

Preparation is Key

When it comes to getting ready for an interview, preparation is everything. While you might meet all of the qualifications of the job you’re applying for, it’s important to do your research and be able to communicate the value you can bring to the role. Employers look for candidates with the right skills and professionalism—so it’s vital to demonstrate both. 

The key to a good interview is being able to highlight your abilities in every answer you give to the interviewer. No matter what the question may be, always try to tie your answer back to your skills, and give real life examples of when you’ve demonstrated these skills whenever you can.

Interview Prep Checklist

  • Research the position: Would you enjoy the role, and is this a place you want to work?
  • Research the organization: Research the company to see what kind of reputation it has and speak with current employees if you can.
  • Prepare your resume: Be sure to bring several printed copies of your resume with you to give to the interviewer.
  • Prepare for interviews and practice: Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview with you. Your UTI Employment Advisor can also assist you with this!
  • Prepare questions for your interviewer: Remember, you’re interviewing the employer just as much as they’re interviewing you.

Diesel Mechanic Interview Questions

Whether you’re preparing for your first interview or have interviewed for several jobs in the past, it’s wise to take some time to review the potential questions you might be asked. When it comes to applying for a diesel mechanic role, employers will often ask a mix of both general and technical questions.

General Questions

The interviewer will most likely start by asking you a set of general questions to get to know you and your level of professionalism. It’s important to practice your answers ahead of time so you feel confident and prepared when the time comes! 

  1. Tell me about yourself. This is one of the most common questions interviewers start with. It’s a simple icebreaker question, yet shouldn’t be overlooked! When answering, be sure to respond in a way that’s related to your industry and the type of work you’re pursuing. Provide your background, such as your education and work experience, as well as where you would like to go in your career. 
  2. Why did you choose this career? Many employers ask this question to gain an understanding of why you’ve chosen this career path. This provides an opportunity to share your passion for the industry and what motivates you.
  3. What goals do you have in your career? This question provides an opportunity to share what you want to accomplish in your career and show that you’re goal-oriented. If you’re applying for a technician role but one day hope to advance to a service advisor role, this is the time to let the employer know.
  4. How do you plan to achieve these goals? Being action-oriented is a quality many employers look for. When answering this question, be sure to provide specific steps you will take in order to achieve your goals.
  5. Tell me what you know about this company. Employers want to know that you’ve researched their company, as this shows you have a genuine interest in working for them. Prior to your interview, make sure you have an understanding of what the company does. Knowing a little bit of the company’s history is a bonus.
  6. What do you consider your greatest strength? When highlighting your strengths, be sure to tie them to the role. For example, if one of your strengths is having great communication skills, share how this will help you when working with customers.
  7. What is your greatest weakness? This question can be tricky, but it’s important to not shy away from it. Describe your weakness in a short, concise way, and don’t feel like you have to go into great detail. Be authentic in your answer, yet don’t pick a weakness that will discount you as a candidate for the role. After describing your weakness, share how you’ve taken steps to improve.
  8. Where do you want to be five years from now? It’s always good to think about the future. While you can’t always predict what you’ll be doing in exactly five years, employers ask this question to learn more about your career goals and how the position you’re applying for fits into your plan. Employers want to hire someone who is excited about the position and is ready to invest in the role.
  9. Tell me about some of your recent goals and what you did to achieve them. Questions that require you to provide specific examples are common in interviews, so it’s wise to prepare a few experiences you can reflect on. Whether you’re discussing a class you took in school or a past work experience, be sure to provide enough detail around the specific steps you took to achieve your goal.
  10. Give me an example of a time when you were confronted by an angry customer. How did you handle the situation? One of the top skills employers look for in technicians is good customer service. When answering this question, be sure to provide a specific example and emphasize how you created a solution. Dealing with unhappy customers is inevitable, and employers look for someone who has the ability to turn the situation around.
  11. Why should I choose you for this position? This simple question is one of the most impactful, because it gives you a chance to sell yourself. What sets you apart from other candidates? Take some time to think about how your skills and experience could be of value in this role, and practice answering this question aloud to ensure you hit all of the points when you’re asked. 

Technical Questions

Many interviewers ask technical questions to get a feel for your industry knowledge. In fact, some employers may even have you perform a hands-on task during your interview! Here are some common heavy equipment mechanic interview questions and answers:

  1. Why would you perform a voltage drop test? How would you perform it and what would it tell you?
  2. What is the most difficult problem you’ve had to solve with a vehicle? Explain how you solved it.
  3. If you heard a noise from the front of a vehicle, suspected a wheel bearing failure and could not tell what side the noise was coming from, how would you diagnose which bearing it was?
  4. If you had an engine miss-fire and had no test equipment to determine which cylinder was miss-firing, how could you diagnose this?
  5. How would you diagnose a head gasket leak?

Questions to Ask the Interviewer

While a majority of the interview may be spent asking you questions, it’s important to have questions prepared for the interviewer as well. In addition to providing you with the information you need to make your decision, it will show the interviewer that you came prepared and are serious about the role. Even if you feel like you don’t have questions, always ask. 

Here are some examples of thoughtful questions you can ask:

  • Describe the culture of the company. Asking about company culture can give you an idea of what the work environment would be like and whether it’s a good fit for you. For example, some workplaces are more formal in their management style while others are more casual. Company culture can play a big role in your happiness at a job overall, so this is an important question to ask. 
  • What does a typical day on the job look like? While the job description and interview may provide you with a general idea of what you would be doing in the role, asking a specific question like this can help you to understand what a day in the life would be like. It’s important to learn as much as possible about the role to determine if this is the right fit for you. 
  • Who will I be working closely with? Knowing who you’ll be working closely with can give you an idea of how the company’s hierarchy works. If you were to be chosen for the role, knowing this can give you an idea of who to ask your questions to.
  • What does success look like in this position? How is it measured? This question can help you in determining the expectations for the role and set goals for yourself. It also shows your drive to succeed. 
  • What are some of the challenges of this role? In addition to showing that you’re ready to overcome challenges, this question can further help you to determine if your skills are a good fit for the role and the obstacles you may face.
  • What is the typical career path for someone in this role? Asking this question can help you to learn if the company promotes from within. It also shows your interest in growing with the organization, which many employers value. However, just be careful to ask this question in a way that doesn’t seem overly self-serving.
  • What are the next steps in the interview process? Asking this question shows that you’re eager to move forward in the process. It can also give you information about the company’s timeline so you know when to follow up.  

Additional Questions to Ask

Here are a few more specific questions you can ask to get a feel for what it would be like to work for the company:

  • What would my work schedule be?
  • What tools do you require?
  • How many employees do you have?
  • What is your retention rate?
  • Is this a year-round position?
  • Does the company provide any type of ongoing training?
  • What qualities are you looking for in an employee?
  • Do you have multiple locations? 

Attire: What to Wear to a Mechanic Interview

When thinking about your upcoming interview, you’ve probably asked yourself, ‘What should I wear to a diesel mechanic interview?’

Dressing in the right attire for an interview shows that you’re serious about the position and are respectful of the interviewer’s time. According to Kelly Johnson, Employment Specialist at UTI Long Beach, it’s important to dress professionally. 

Kelly encourages students to be well-groomed, keeping their hair and facial hair trimmed. For dress, she suggests wearing a nice, long-sleeve button-up shirt paired with dress slacks. When it comes to shoes, she tells students to wear their work boots as long as they are clean and in good condition. 

Additionally, Kelly recommends keeping a backup pair of clothes in the car, because you never know if the employer may want to have you look in the shop or have a working interview!

Final Tips

In addition to preparing your questions, answers and attire for your interview, Kelly recommends acquiring certifications, like the EPA 608 Technician Certification. This certification is fairly inexpensive to complete and will likely impress employers when interviewing.

Last but certainly not least, it’s important to be confident. Once you’ve adequately prepared for the interview, take a deep breath and relax. Nerves are normal—in fact, a little bit of nerves can be good! Project confidence in your answers and enjoy the process. Good luck!

Train to Become a Diesel Mechanic

UTI’s 45-week Diesel Technology program is designed to provide you with the knowledge, skills and hands-on experience today’s industry requires. As you train for a career, our Employment Assistance team will be there to support you every step of the way. To learn more, visit our program page and request information today. 

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