If you’ve submitted a strong CV for a vehicle technician job, the next stage is to interview for it.
Automotive technicians inspect, repair and perform routine maintenance on vehicles. Therefore, a strong candidate should ideally be analytical, have attention to detail, an efficient work ethic, and an organised approach to their every day tasks.
Think you’re all of the above? Great! Then all you have to do is prepare yourself for the interview. Trust us, if you do this, you’re already one step ahead of the majority of the competition. Below, we’ve included some niche questions you could be asked, alongside some of the more general interview questions you’ll likely be asked.
Why do you want to work here?
This is a frequently asked question you’ll likely hear in your interview. Why? Because every employer wants to be sure they are hiring the person who is most passionate about the job, and/or the company. Whether it’s a local garage or one of the larger automotive giants that you’ll applying for, they’ll be looking to find out if you’ve actually researched the job and the organisation well, as opposed to this just being a stopgap on the way to another job. Below is an example of what an employer might be looking for:
“I’ve done a lot of research in to X and I think I would fit in well here. Your reputation is outstanding, from the testimonials and reviews I’ve seen online, and being someone who prides themselves on quality control, I think we share the same goal in ensuring every car is safe to drive for our customers.”
What did you do at your previous company/what relevant experience do you have for this job?
For this question, employers will want to identify how much you know about the job. They’ll be looking for particular keywords that will stand out, in their mind, to assess your capabilities.
For example: “My level of experience is fairly high I’d say. I have alot of experience in customer service, from my time spent as a technician. I’d say this is essential to the role – customers won’t come back if they don’t feel I’m approachable or feel comfortable speaking with me. With regards to my experience handling vehicles, I can handle most issues regarding advanced fuel ignition, suspension and alignment, air conditioning and brakes and hydraulics systems.”
What do you think are the main responsibilities of an automotive technician?
This could be classed as a general question regarding the role, but it will obviously require you to talk more in-depth about your profession. Think of the most important tasks you’ve had to carry out over the years, and the more essential skills for the role. If you’re new to the profession, that’s okay! Try to show your knowledge of the area and what you think will be expected of you in the job.
For example: “In my five years of experience as a vehicle technician, I think the following will be expected of me. First and foremost, vehicle inspection will be a priority. A poor inspection leads to a shoddy repair, so I understand that for the rest of the process to be completed to a high standard, diagnosing the issue first is essential. I also expect to have to repair a number of issues, and in my time as a technician, I would say I’ve seen my fair share of common, and more unique issues. All which have been solved, and the vehicle returned to the customer in tip top condition. Fine tuning and vehicle maintenance will also be a priority for me – like in my first example, poor vehicle maintenance means more visits to a garage, which results in an unhappy customer. Maintaining each vehicle to a high standard ensures customers don’t have to spend more money than is necessary. I think customer service skills will also be essential to the role. Communicating the issues a car is having and how it will be solved can be confusing to customers – it’s my job to reassure them that it’s in good hands, and to explain the issue/process in as simple a manner as possible.”
What would your process be in diagnosing an issue?
Because technician roles are very hands on, it’s likely the employer will ask you to walk them through different processes (they might actually ask you to show them on a vehicle, or just for a verbal walk-through). One of them being how you would diagnose an issue with a car. This helps them identify your level of experience, as well as your decision making skills.
How would you prioritise tasks on a busy day to ensure clients feel valued and supported?
Here, you would need to demonstrate your ability for task management and customer service. These are two skills that will be crucial to your success in any technician job, which is why it’s a common interview question to ask anyone applying for this job.
For example: “I always manage a customer’s expectations first – if they need a repair urgently and I’m not able to accommodate the work within their timeframe, I will be honest with them – I don’t wish to waste their time. Experience in my role allows me to understand the correct amount of time it will take to sort specific repairs or maintenance tasks, so I would look to prioritise the trickier jobs first, because I know they’ll likely take up more of my day than the smaller issues customers have brought in to me. I value customers by asking what their time frame is first and whether I can meet that time frame with the correct quality of work. Failing that, I can offer alternatives that might work better for them.”
What would you do to a vehicle before handing it back to a customer?
This is a very straightforward question – the employer is looking to identify that you complete the correct processes before returning the car to a customer. It’s a big question to ask to ensure you are the type of person who can uphold the company’s reputation too. Explain that you understand the importance of road-testing the vehicle before it’s handed back – you should also stress the importance of clearly explaining to the customer what has been or needs to be done to the vehicle.
For example: “Before returning the car to the customer, I’ll always test drive it to ensure everything is working correctly. That’s the only way I can tell it’s been maintained or repaired correctly for the real environment. When returning the car to the customer, I would also explain to them what has been done and what still needs to be done to it.”
Describe a time where you made a mistake. What did you learn from it?
This question is a test of your accountability. We all make mistakes – what’s important is how you handle a mistake that’s been made, and how you take that experience to ensure it doesn’t happen again. This kind of question will be based on your own experience, so the main points we can give you include being able to communicate mistakes and how you rectified them to your customer, and explaining how you reassured or satisfied them.
Why are you leaving your current job?
This is a common question in most job interviews. The best way to answer ‘Why are you leaving your current job’? Honestly. If your circumstances are more complicated than ‘I’m ready for a new challenge’, be as clear as you can be with the employer. Been fired? If you choose to lie, they will likely find this out when they contact your previous employer anyway. Don’t be tempted. Or where you made redundant? It happens, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of – but beware, none of these should be the reason as to why you have applied for the company you’re interviewing with. They want to know that you’ve applied because you are interested in the role/company. Make sure it doesn’t come across that you have applied for the job out of necessity.
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