As a good exercise to prepare for your interview, list your skills, experiences, and knowledge on a piece of paper. Add any qualities you have that enhance your abilities as a mechanic, like customer service, patience, and discipline. Having a good work ethic is a massive plus worth sharing! Then narrow this list to 3-5 different strengths you can share.
"My biggest strengths as a mechanic are my ability to troubleshoot, maintain patience on very detailed projects, and my willingness to stay up to date on changes in vehicle technology."
"Here are some examples of strengths that are valuable to a mechanic: 1) Being detailed and precise in your work 2) Reliability 3) Ability to self-manage 4) Patience 5) Extensive knowledge and desire to learn"
"I have been told consistently in my performance reviews that my strengths are my willingness to mentor junior mechanics, understand the electrical workings of any vehicle. I am also very skilled with developing customer relationships."
Even though most auto repair shops are open 8-5, there will be days you need to arrive much earlier or stay later. Being a team player means sharing the responsibilities and tasks, helping out your co-workers when the shop is busy, or they need assistance on a repair job. A good attitude goes a long way. Before answering scheduling questions, it's important to be clear on the interviewer's expectations. If you haven't had a chance to clarify their scheduling needs, now would be the perfect time to ask! Consider asking, 'What are the scheduling expectations for this position?' If they expect you to work 12 hour days, it would be important for you to know that before you respond with, 'Absolutely! No problem!' You want to be sure that you can meet their expectations. If it turns out their schedule expectations won't work for you, think about what you CAN offer and see if you can meet in the middle. It's much better to discuss these things in an interview than for you to commit to a schedule that won't work for you. Keep in mind that, in most states, an employer cannot demand that an employee work more than 44 hours per week.
"I am available for full-time work which is preferably 8-5 Monday to Friday. I am happy to be a team player and work some overtime, as required. Will these hours meet your expectations?"
"I am looking to retain my current schedule as much as possible, which is currently Monday through Friday from 8:00 - 5:00. I understand with an auto shop that there will occasionally be times when we need to put in more hours to finish up a project."
The interviewer wants to know that you can take direction and that you aren't too proud to accept feedback, and additional training, from time to time. Every manager has their style of communication, so it's a great time to ask the interviewer what their leadership style is.
"First I would make sure I understood what you were asking. If it was another way of doing something, like repairing, I might ask if you can show me what you're talking about. I would rather get something done right the first time than have to waste time and energy doing it a second time just because I misunderstood what you needed."
"If my supervisor asked me to do something in a way I was not used to, I would make sure that I was clear on expectations. Clear communication is important to me, and if there's anything that I could be doing better, I want to know about it right away. Could you share with me your leadership style?"
"I am an experienced auto-mechanic, but I am certainly not a know-it-all when it comes to my work. I am always willing to take on new styles of work to help with my efficiency."
Car problems can be complicated. Sometimes the toughest part of a job is defining the problem. Sometimes it's tricky actually to fix it. When you prepare for your interview, think about how you have solved challenging problems in the past. What made them so difficult? Why did you follow those particular steps to resolve it?Describe a situation that took research and time before you came to a solution.
"A customer came to me and said the car was shaking whenever it idled at red lights. I thought could be the engine mount, so I replaced that. But the problem persisted. I did some research, and it turned out to be an electrical problem. Through checking the different codes, I discovered the catalytic converter needed to be replaced as well."
"I believe that the toughest challenge in my career will be helping to repair a car when budgets are tight, and the problems seem significant. Thankfully I enjoy research and have no issue taking the time to seek an answer before beginning my work properly."
"My customer's compressor melted and damaged one of the engine belts in the process. I had to replace the compressor and took care not to affect too many other parts of the car to keep the cost low. I replaced the belt for the safety of the customer, but ended up keeping everything under $800 for the customer."
A part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance.
"I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and a note from my Doctor accompanied those. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift."
"I cannot recall the exact number, but I think it was around three days total. All absences were excused and with notice."
"I think I missed ten days, counting vacation time. Of those, five were for my vacation. For three days, I was excused under a doctor's note. The other two absences were pre-approved family days."
If you like working on cars, you've got to have a favorite. You might not be a collector of vintage Chevy's but in your experience driving, studying and taking apart cars, which one was your favorite? What details make it great? There may be some practical aspects, like gas mileage and reliability. Or maybe this car is something you wouldn't drive every day, but it's fast, sleek and has a V-8 engine with 1500 horse power. Feel free to ask the interviewer this question, in return!
"My favorite car, hands down, is my BMW X5. It's been the most reliable vehicle I've had and offers an excellent and comfortable ride. Which is your favorite car?"
"I love cars, for all different reasons, so it's tough to choose a favorite. I am a huge fan of vintage cars with my favorite being the Ford Model T. It's the first affordable car, and a model for all other vehicles to come."
"My absolute favorite car is the 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom. It's a crazy cool luxury design, and I would love to ride in one day! What is your favorite car?"
Your experience beyond typical repair and maintenance of cars will put you ahead of the game. If you have worked on old cars to restore them, talk about what you enjoy about it. You can discuss how you learned about old cars or which are your favorite. Restoring an old car involves the same type of skill and knowledge needed to repair or maintain a vehicle. It also requires patience, critical thinking, and creativity.
"I helped my dad refurbish a 1956 Bel Aire a few years back. It was a lot of fun to work on the mechanics of such an old car. I also really enjoyed researching the history so that we could remain true to the background of the car."
"I have not yet been lucky enough to have refurbished an old car, but I would love to one day. I have been obsessed with classic cars for a long time. Do you work on many classic cars in your shop?"
"I have worked on a couple of classic cars in my day, and have enjoyed every moment of it! Most recently I worked on a vintage Camaro with a friend. Picking the finishing was a great time, as was researching the history of the vehicle. I would love to hear more about your favorite classic car project!"
Think about all of the different vehicles you have worked on. What projects do you enjoy doing most? Your specialty could be a particular type of repair or a type of automobile you are best experienced in. Maybe you enjoy working on foreign cars. Your best option here is to share something that you have developed into a skill over time.
"I have a good eye for noticing details like cracks in a belt or how the brake pads are wearing down. Over the years I have learned computer systems in cars, which has helped me become skilled in replacing oxygen sensors, mass airflow sensors, and other problems related to emission and airflow."
"I have not developed an expertise yet, as I am new to my career as an auto mechanic. I understand that your shop specialized in the repair of imported vehicles. That is a specialty of great interest to me."
"Over my twelve-year career as an auto mechanic, I have shown exceptional strength in brake and electrical systems. If I had to choose a specialty, I would say I am best versed in those areas. With that said, my knowledge is quite well-rounded."
As a mechanic, you will likely have a few projects on the go at one time. When you feel torn between multiple projects or tasks, how do you decide which one needs your attention the most? Assure the interviewer that you can be diligent when it comes to assessing your priorities.
"I will determine which project requires my attention by the number of hours we are behind and then the project size. I am comfortable delegating tasks when needed, but I am also aware that these times will require an additional commitment of hours from me. Never have I under delivered on a deadline."
"As an auto mechanic, I would take the same approach as I did with my school deadlines. Assuming that the projects have different stakeholders, I look at the urgency of each and choose which project to tackle first."
"I determine priorities based on project value and receptiveness of my client. The most engaged clients get my attention and the fastest turnaround."
Changing a transmission is a repair that you will need to know how to do, as a skilled auto mechanic. When you talk about your experiences, share the situation and why the repair was necessary. Talk through the steps, primarily if the problem was more complicated.
"I have worked on several transmissions in the past. Changing a transmission can be a very consuming job; however, I am confident in my ability to perform this task."
"I have not changed a transmission; however, I do understand the basics of switching out a transmission. I look forward to learning more about transmissions, with your shop."
"I have many years' experience working on transmissions, including changing them out. I have probably changed over 100 transmissions and consider myself an expert in the field."
When responding to this question, make sure you answer honestly about your gaps of employment, whether your gaps are due to staying home with the kids, an illness, taking care of an ailing parent, or taking some time off to think about a career change.
"The first gap in my resume was from 2007 - 2008 when I took a year off after completing University, to travel. Even though I was not working, I learned so much about business and interpersonal communication during that year of travel. After being laid off in 2012, I was without work for six months. Those are the only two gaps in my resume."
"The only gap on my resume is the three months after college graduation when I traveled a bit but had a job lined up for my return. I am ready to work full time for a long-term employer."
"There were two times where I had a gap in my career. One gap was taking time off for personal reasons in between a great career pivot. The other, I took some time off to attend schooling for a certificate to better my knowledge as an auto mechanic."
Workplace relationships are essential to nurture. Talk to the interviewer about how you plan to earn the trust of your new co-workers, should you be offered the position.
"I feel that the best way to earn the trust of my co-workers is to be helpful, always do what I promise, and be honest with them at all times. Strong relationships have to be built on these principles."
"I will win my new coworkers over by going above and beyond the expectations given to me. I want to be a helpful team member that they can always come to."
"Trust is something you earn over time with people. I will lead by example and be transparent in my communications. Trust happens when people deliver on doing what they say they will do. I take the approach of under promising and over delivering to accelerate the trust process. With strong trust, teams can accomplish great things together."
The interviewer wants to see that you have a desire to learn, grow, and try on new challenges! No hiring manager wants to hire the complacent employee so show them you are willing to see opportunity when it arises! Your willingness to take on additional tasks, with a positive attitude, gives the interviewer all the more reason to want to get to know you better. Hiring managers are looking for people who will be proactive and help to carry the team.
"In my current role I asked my boss if I could take over the social media marketing. We are a small shop, and my supervisor was struggling with it. Being a millennial, I am always on social media, and I understand what types of posts gain attention. After taking over the task, I grew our Instagram following from just 400 to 2000 in 2 months! I am always game for taking on new tasks, especially when they are in my wheelhouse."
"Here are some ways you can gain extra responsibilities in the workplace: - Talking to your boss about your career goals and having a conversation about new tasks that may help to get you there - Offering to take work off of a colleague's plate, if they seem stressed. - Studying hard to become an SME (Subject Matter Expert) in software or topic that your boss would find useful - Just jumping in and take on a new responsibility!"
"I often seek out more responsibility. Even if it's nothing specific or mandated, I take on additional responsibilities willingly. I want to help better the shop, and myself. Also, I am the freshman boys' soccer coach at the district's high school, so I know a great deal about added responsibilities."
Are you accustomed to working with a very large or diverse team of individuals? Assure the interviewer that you can handle an environment that offers diversity.
"I have worked with diverse groups of people most of my career, including my time in University. I am most comfortable, and happy, in this type of environment because it offers a great learning opportunity."
"In my current role, I work alongside cross-functional teams regularly. Together, we manage our business and effectiveness."
"I would say that pretty much every company I have worked for has valued diversity. Working with people from all walks of life help shed different perspectives and identify potential problems faster."
Being a bright communicator, in written form, is an essential skill to master. Have you taken any courses in communication and writing? Are you confident in your written communication skills? Talk to the interviewer about your written communication abilities and support your answer with a brief example or story.
"I would describe my written communication skills as very strong and would rate myself as a 9/10. I have always had a penchant for writing and have taken university courses related to communication, writing, and journalism."
"My written communication skills are powerful. I often utilize written communications as a follow up to verbal communications. They provide a great resource for associates to go back to, and reference, plus they might answer any questions that come up along the way."
"I have above average written communication skills. I have also written many successful quotes in my career. I would describe my written communication skills as clear, concise, and thorough."
Even though you may have a great relationship with your employer, there may be times where you don't see eye to eye. Think of a conflict or disagreement you had with your boss where you responded well, either by suggesting a compromise or taking a calm, relaxed stance when you could have responded in a heated tone. Compromise puts you in a great position with your boss, because it shows your desire to work together and highlights your creative problem-solving abilities.
"The owner of my shop and I disagreed on the pending termination of one of my employees a short time ago. I wanted to spend time training him a bit more after he missed a few important repairs on customer vehicles. My boss wanted to terminate him immediately. I presented to my him that it would be more expensive to replace him than to re-train. He agreed, and we came to a middle ground."
"I had a boss that regularly forced overtime on employees at the last minute with no opportunity to make childcare arrangements or plan changes. Sometimes he knew about the need for plenty of time to warn everyone but did not. I spoke with him at length about morale, and eventually, he started giving the notice sooner, making everyone's lives easier."
"I like to think that my boss and I have a great relationship in which we can both challenge each other to think differently. In light of that, we do occasionally disagree but always respectfully and I think that, in doing so, we become more innovative and thoughtful with the work that we do."
The interviewer wants to be sure that they will be able to meet your needs and not become a repeat of this current desire to leave your job. It's okay, to be honest, but be careful not to overshare. It is best if you can focus primarily on your future wish list vs. dwelling on what is going wrong in your current position.
"In my current role there is minimal growth opportunity. One of the owners holds the next position in line, so I truly have reached my peak there. I am very thankful for everything my current company has offered me the past four years; however, I am ready to expand my horizons."
"I just completed my auto-mechanics degree and am looking for my first role in the industry. I would love to join your organization because you are well known for developing up and coming mechanics."
"My company is closing its doors. The owner passed away and did not have family interested in keeping it going. I worked there for most of my career, so it's tough to see the business go; however, I also look forward to forging a career in a new environment."
When an interviewer asks an open-ended question like this, it can be difficult to know where to begin...and end! This question haunts many individuals who may accidentally go a little too in-depth into their personal lives. It happens. Keep your reply light, and work relevant. Share how you became interested in this career path and what you enjoy about it. This is an excellent opportunity to describe yourself by discussing the strengths and qualities that you bring.
"I am a competitive individual who is driven and likes to win. In addition to my successful auto body career, I also spend time playing competitive sports. I give back by volunteering at the local animal shelter and working for a variety of annual fundraisers in our community."
"I am a very active individual who loves to workout and go to the mountains on the weekend. I feel that my level of activity on my off time greatly improves my work during the week. I have a high amount of energy to offer!"
"I am a calm and quiet leader, with excellent written and verbal communication skills. Even though I am quiet, I can motivate my team and keep morale high."
Career progression can be a touchy subject, especially if you feel that your career hasn't progressed as well as you would have liked. Talk to the interviewer about your career progression and what you would like to see in the future.
"Overall, my career has progressed a touch slower than I would have liked. I have held a couple of positions that didn't offer the growth and learning that I was expecting; however, I have bounced back nicely. I feel that this particular position would take my career exactly where it should be."
"I am pleased with the progress of my career. I am proud of my accomplishments and the path my career has taken so far."
"Overall, I am satisfied with my career progression. Everyone, including me, hits roadblocks or setbacks, but I have been able to push through them and stay on track."
The best thing that you can do when asked about your salary expectations is to be open and honest about what you are currently earning, and where you want to be in the future.
"I can share with you what I am currently earning, and where I would like to be in my next position. Currently, I am earning a base salary of $58K. I'd like to earn a bit above that in my next position."
"As I am new to my career and this industry, I am happy to negotiate my earnings based on your typical salary for this role."
"I am negotiable with my salary expectations. However, I am not inclined to lose compensation. Compensation to me, though, is not just net pay. I take into account work hours, drive time, benefits, etc."
Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with delays in the workplace.
"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"
"Setbacks happen for a reason, and they do not affect me emotionally in the least. I am a very pragmatic thinker and stay focused despite the challenges that come my way."
"Setbacks can be trying, but I find that you have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win. While I never enjoy a setback, I use them as a stepping off point to something even better."
The employer would like to know what methods and resources you are using in your job search so they can determine which of their methods is working best. You can expand your answer to include any other exposure you have had to the company.
"I initially saw your job posting on LinkedIn. However, I have been exposed to your organization many times before through your radio commercials and advertisements on Facebook."
"Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising! I was referred by a friend that I met in University. We worked together many years back."
"For the last 8 months, I have been contemplating a move and keeping my eye out for the perfect opening. When I saw this position open on your website, I knew I had to go for it, and I am so happy I did! I really enjoy the vibe here."
An auto mechanic (or car mechanic in British English and motor mechanic in Australian English) is a mechanic who specializes in automobile maintenance, repair, and sometimes modification. An auto mechanic may be knowledgeable in working on all parts of a variety of car makes or may specialize either in a specific area or in a specific make of car. In repairing cars, their main role is to diagnose the problem accurately and quickly. They often have to quote prices for their customers before commencing work or after partial disassembly for inspection. The mechanic uses both electronic means of gathering data as well as their senses. Their job may involve the repair of a specific part or the replacement of one or more parts as assemblies.