So you’ve landed an interview for your dream automotive job. Great start! The next step is to get ready for your interview – the golden rule is to be prepared. It’s surprising how many job seekers in the automotive trade make the mistake of arriving for interviews without properly preparing and expecting their experience to help them walk into the job.
Read on to find out how to avoid this and how you can give yourself the best chance possible in your interview.
Do your research
Do all the research on the car manufacturer, dealership, garage or engineering firm that you can. Spend time going through the company website and, if possible, get a copy of their latest published report and accounts (these are normally available to download from the company website).
“What do you know about our company?” is one of the most commonly asked interview questions, so make sure you are fully prepared to answer in a confident and concise way. This will involve knowing what kinds of vehicles they work on, the size of their company, and the services they offer. If it is on their website, there is no excuse for not knowing about it.
Here is our checklist for your interview research:
- What does the company do?
- What products and services do they offer?
- What strategy is the company currently following?
- What are the growth plans for the company?
- Who are their main competitors?
- What has their recent financial performance been like?
- Have there been any news articles about the company published recently?
Be prepared to discuss your CV
Make sure you can speak in detail about everything on your CV. Your interviewers will usually ask open-ended questions to make sure they learn as much as they can about you and your suitability for the job. An open-ended question is one that requires comments beyond “yes” or “no”. For example, rather than asking “Do you like brake work?”, the interviewer will probably ask “Why do you like or dislike brake work?”. Come to the interview with plenty of examples of how you have showcased your skills in the past.
If your work history has large gaps in it, or you have switched employer frequently, the interviewer will want to know why. Be prepared to explain your career progression.
Demonstrate your training
Your job interview can quickly turn into a test of what you know and how you would apply that knowledge. Some garages, workshops and factories carry out testing during interviews. They might put parts on the table and ask what each of them do. You might be asked how you would proceed if you identified a specific problem with one of the parts.
Showcase your computer skills
As more and more tasks are becoming computerised in the automotive industry, be prepared to outline specific computer skills, including knowledge of how to use the internet for research. Run through the software systems you have worked with and explain how they help you do your job.
Here are a few questions for you to practice before your interview. When preparing your answers, it’s best to avoid writing them down word-for-word and learning them exactly. Try bullet points instead so that your answer will sound more natural.
- What can you bring to this organisation in terms of skills?
- What do you want to be doing in five years?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How do you feel about further training?
- How do you deal with criticism?
Questions to ask your interviewer
You will usually have the opportunity to ask your interviewers questions. This is a good opportunity to help you decide if the job is right for you and to demonstrate your interest in the particular role. Here are some examples of what you could ask:
- How long do your employees typically stay with you?
- What training opportunities do you offer?
- Is this a new role?
- What are the opportunities for promotion for someone in this role?
- What is the company culture like?
Remember to look the part:
Your personal appearance can help you make a good first impression, so make sure you look smart. Shake the interviewer’s hand when you arrive and remember to smile. Body language can say a lot about you, so try to be relaxed but sit up straight, don’t fidget and make plenty of eye contact, without staring.