Can you explain viscous flow? How about the difference between inertia and the moment of inertia? Do you know how to use AutoCAD? If you’re preparing to interview for a mechanical position you had better brush up on your mechanical, hydraulic and electrical terminology. These basic principals of mechanics 101 are what hiring managers expect you to understand. Let’s break down a few basics you should be prepared for when stepping into the next interview.

Knowledge continues to evolve- are you keeping up?
Hiring managers want to see that as new technology comes out and ways of doing things are improved upon; you are keeping up. Mechanical knowledge has a shelf life of roughly two or three years. If we want to get truly philosophical, everything in this world evolves, changes, grows and is improved upon- why should mechanics being any different? It isn’t. So make sure you are keeping abreast of new technical systems by taking continuing education classes, reading new manuals and trade magazines or studying up on licensing requirements. Mentioning the latest and greatest in the industry during an interview shows hiring managers that you take your craft seriously. It also shows them that you have a desire to learn and grow. And in this trade, that is a valuable asset!

How do you solve problems?
This question has a hidden component, so answer it carefully. When a hiring manager asks you this they are looking for two specific things. First- can you solve problems with both your head and your hands? It’s one thing to go through a problem in your head; to see it theoretically being fixed. It’s another to take what you solved in your head and apply it to machinery, cars or other equipment. Hiring managers want to see that you can get your hands dirty and make something work the way it’s supposed to. They also want to know that you can correctly diagnosis a problem. Secondly- does this carry through to how you solve problems at home? For example, do you work on cars in your free time? Do you like working with RC cars? Have you fixed the electrical wiring in your house? If you are able to give an example of a hobby at home and how you solve it both theoretically and physically, you are giving hiring managers a great deal of information. “What information is that” you ask- practical knowledge. You are showing the hiring manager that you use your skills and knowledge in everyday situations; that what you preach- you practice!

Mechanics is more than tools and systems.
When you are working in the field, you are dealing with much more than just fixing something, working a piece of machinery or diagnosing a problem. You have to communicate and work as a team. The business of mechanics means dealing with challenging clients/customers, colleagues and tough deadlines. So how you deal with a demanding customer concern or a clash of problem solving techniques with a team member says a lot about your ability to work affectively in any atmosphere and with any personality. Show the hiring manager that your value goes beyond the technical!

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