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Why this matters:

Mechanics work with a variety of tools and equipment in various specialties. This role may require the use of welding equipment, diagnostic tools, forklifts, power tools, hand tools, pneumatic lifts, and other machinery. While technical aptitude can be achieved through training, and many skills are transferable, it can be helpful to know a candidate’s prior expertise coming in, to ensure a smooth transition. 

What to listen for:

  • Technical aptitude in working with one’s hands and learning tools of the trade
  • Prior experience with types of machinery or equipment relevant to the position
  • Willingness to complete program-specific training and learn new systems

Why this matters:

Working with heavy machinery can be dangerous without the proper precautions. Some locations allow mechanics to work without license or certification, while others require rigorous training and the completion of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) courses. Candidates should demonstrate knowledge of and commitment to safety.

What to listen for:

  • Knowledge of state and federal safety requirements, training programs, certifications, and/or licenses
  • Experience in maintaining a clean work space and adhering to safety regulations
  • Flexibility in adopting new safety measures and undergoing training, as needed

Why this matters:

Having a seasoned mechanic on the floor is a huge asset, particularly as the company grows or experiences turnover. Entry-level mechanics may pursue career advancement opportunities to become senior mechanics, floor managers, supervisor, or engineering technicians. Recognition of leadership experience or ambitions early on in the hiring process can aid with engagement and retention.

What to listen for:

  • Skills in management, presentation, marketing, writing, troubleshooting, and critical analysis
  • Experience and comfort directly supervising, training, and working with others
  • Ambition to remain with the company, achieve aptitude, and serve in a leadership role

Why this matters:

Mechanics may spend their time assembling, inspecting, testing, troubleshooting, repairing, cleaning, maintaining records, or performing customer service. Asking this question makes sure the candidate is comfortable performing required tasks. Understanding a mechanic’s preferences for day-to-day duties not only sheds light on their prior experience, but also helps supervisors decide how to delegate responsibilities.

What to listen for:

  • Experience performing a variety of applicable tasks
  • Open-minded attitude about fulfilling the essential duties and responsibilities of the position
  • Honest introspection in describing strengths and weaknesses

Why this matters:

Mechanic experience runs the gamut from basic maintenance tasks to complex problem-solving. Building teams with diverse skill sets guarantees that no challenge will be too great to handle. The answer to this question reveals more about candidates’ work histories, including what issues they’ve dealt with in the past, what technical knowledge they already possess, and what value they can add to the existing team.

What to listen for:

  • Detailed description of a specific past problem and steps taken toward the solution
  • Analytical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to work with a team
  • Experience handling difficult situations and a positive attitude about tackling challenges

Why this matters:

Task management is crucial to success in this role. Mechanics are expected to rise to the occasion when business is booming and sudden demands arise. Strong candidates will not only focus on their duties, but will lend a hand to coworkers as needed. This question explores communication techniques to manage customer expectations and the ability to deliver exceptional service, no matter how busy the day has become.

What to listen for:

  • Experience working in a fast-paced environment, with sudden spikes in demand
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team, lending assistance wherever it’s needed
  • Stress management abilities, a strong work ethic, and a generally positive attitude

Why this matters:

Experienced mechanics learn how they work best, whether it’s tackling easier jobs first to pick up momentum or investing in more time-consuming tasks at the start of the day when they’re freshest. The ideal candidate will demonstrate experience juggling multiple responsibilities, prioritizing tasks, organizing daily and weekly workflows, and estimating how much time is required for a given job.

What to listen for:

  • Description of a prioritization strategy based on knowledge of one’s work abilities and preference
  • Active listening skills and empathy in asking managers or customers what their ideal timeline looks like
  • Honest and realistic expectation-setting to perform quality work

Why this matters:

Interpersonal skills are required for mechanics, whether they are customer-facing or reporting to management. Strong candidates demonstrate empathy, active listening skills, and receptiveness to feedback. Past willingness to work overtime or off-the-clock to make a situation right when mistakes are made can indicate a strong work ethic.

What to listen for:

  • Interpersonal relationship skills and empathy in dealing with different types of people
  • Strong work ethic, problem-solving abilities, and receptiveness to learning
  • Diligence in reviewing work and commitment to high-quality work

Why this matters:

This question allows less-experienced applicants an opportunity to shine by highlighting their personality traits and transferable skills. Candidates may discuss experiences from an educational setting, apprenticeship, or hobbies practiced at home. Answers to this question also reflect what qualities and skills a candidate feels are most relevant to the position.

What to listen for:

  • Realistic expectations for what skills and strengths are required for this position
  • Strength in communication, customer service, self-awareness
  • Transferable skills acquired through past work, education, internships, or initiative
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