People who own cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles depend on their mechanics to maintain and repair their vehicles so they can get stay on the road. Companies and organizations with many vehicles also need skilled mechanics to maintain their fleets. If you are interviewing candidates for a mechanic's position, look for those who demonstrate trustworthiness and a customer service orientation. You need people who can establish a long-term rapport with customers.
If you are staffing an auto repair shop, you will need people with different technical expertise. Some mechanics tend to specialize in different systems within an automobile. For example, ask the interviewee if he specializes in diagnostic equipment for brakes, transmissions and engine systems. You also want to learn what kinds of computer software programs and related equipment the mechanic already knows how to use. This kind of questioning will help you estimate a candidate's training needs.
Discussing Vehicle and Engine Types
Some auto mechanics work for businesses that service large, commercial vehicles. For these interviews, ask questions that offer insights into the candidate's experience with big-rig trucks, school buses, diesel-powered vehicles, tractors and farm equipment and other automated vehicles. A question you might ask could be, "What is your experience working with gasoline and diesel-powered engines for school buses, light-duty and heavy-duty trucks, vans and 18-wheelers?"
Measuring Sales Experience
Some mechanics spend most or all of their time servicing vehicles in the shop, while others spend time doing counter service tasks or acting as mechanic team leaders. These people must know how to organize fellow mechanics' work efficiently, as well as interact effectively with customers. Choose a question that gauges sales experience in a highly structured environment. A question to ask could be, "What experience do you have meeting with customers, writing up their service and repair orders and explaining the benefits and disadvantages of each service?"
Gauging Professional Development
You may have a business that is sensitive to trends in the industry. For example, your shop might specialize in maintaining vehicles used in auto racing. It's important to gauge a candidate's professional development in these highly technical areas. You want to learn how much time he has spent reading industry magazines and websites, studying the impact of new technologies on the vehicle industry and learning about problems with existing vehicles, such as manufacturer recalls. Ask a question like, "Tell me how you learn about the latest developments in this industry, such as information you can share with customers that will make them want to try new services and equipment for their vehicles."
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