Finding Auto Mechanic Jobs

Reader Question

I am an auto mechanic, and have been for a few years now. Recently I was laid off due to lack of work at this small family owned car repair shop in Dallas. I am having a hard time finding work now, and maybe it’s just me? :(

Can you give me some pointers in finding a new auto mechanic job that I might be overlooking?

Walter J.


Hey Walter!

Man, I hear your pain…things are a little slow everywhere right now. I don’t think it’s YOU, but it might be the way you are selling yourself, or maybe NOT selling yourself to a prospective employer that is the problem.

As an employer with 25 mechanic I can give you some tips that I personally look for when I am interviewing a new mechanic …and I give a ton of interviews a week these days.

1. Look presentable for the part. I would not expect a car mechanic to show up for an interview dressed in a suit. I would want you to be clean and neat, but look like you are ready to go to work right then and there.

2. Come prepared – bring a CLEAN looking resume and have names and phone numbers for your references. Make sure your references know you have included them on your resume and let them know when you will be going to an interview. I hate having to explain why I am calling  a reference and they did not know they were a reference.

3. Be calm, and answer the questions with short concise replies. If I ask you what kind of work you have been doing specifically the last 2 years, don’t talk my ear off for 10 minutes giving me all the details of your day etc. “Most of my day consists of tune ups, oil changes and air conditioner repair”.  Then you can tell me what you are best at, or which jobs you prefer etc.  I don’t want to hire a guy who will constantly be talking and talking.

4. Have your tools ready to go. When I ask “when can you start”, I expect you to say….”I can have my tools delivered tomorrow and can start the following day”

5. Know what your strengths and weaknesses are and be honest.  “I’m really good at tune ups and timing belts”. “I would rather do 10 tune ups a day than 20 oil changes”.  I need to know where I can use you to get the biggest return on your investment.

6. Don’t bad mouth your last employer or co workers. If there was a fall out, just tell me…I’m going to call and follow up with your references anyway.

7. Give dates or a time frame of your last employment and be prepared to tell me what you did  during that time and what you have been doing when you have lapses in your employment history.  I don’t want to hire someone who can’t hold a job longer than 6 months at a time.

Remember, I am INVESTING in you….sell me on why it would be a great investment in my time and money for the long term!

8. Be up front about salary, time off, special needs etc. up front. I don’t want to hire someone then a week later find out they need to call their kids every Friday at 3pm to make sure they got home from school. Tell me that upfront, so I can plan and expect it and can make a work around for it to take place.

If you need to take home $900 a week…..let me know now, not later.  Both of use should have the same expectations when pay day comes around.

9. Tell me something that will impress me and make YOU stand out from all the other interviews. “I rarely get sick, I am first one to show up for work everyday, I am the last one to leave because I love to help out, I like to bring my lunch and eat on the property so I can get back to work on time, I am constantly reading and learning about the latest recalls and repair issues” etc.

10. Don’t let me say “let me think about it and get back with you”.  Do your best in your interview, SMILE, be pleasant to talk with, ask a few questions of your own, give a few praises to me “you have a clean shop”, “I have always heard good things about your shop”, “I think I would fit in really well here” etc.

Towards the end of your interview…put the hook in me. “I would love to work the next 2 days for free to prove myself to you”. Do you think you will get a job in the next 2 days? Probably not. So be willing to bring your tool box, ready for work for the next 2 days and PROVE to me you are going to be a great investment.

Rarely…….does anyone offer this to me, but when they do…I always take them up on it. Then it’s up to you to make things happen.

Honestly, I could care less where you went to school, how many tools you have, what shops you have worked at in the past. My main concern is, are you good at what you do and can you help me make money, or will you cost me money.  Bottom line!

One last thing.  I am going to see what you were driving when you came to the interview.  Is it an old beat up scrap heap that has been neglected or is it clean and in good overall shape?  I need to know how you are going to treat my customer vehicles and how you treat your own vehicle will tell me what to expect. :)  rent or borrow a clean car if you need to for the interview.

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."