Interview Attire for Automotive Tech

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Feb 28, 2015
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I'm exploring my options and have pretty quickly lined up interviews for different neighboring county government auto tech positions and was wondering how to dress. I've been a tech since 2003 but my first job was basically given to me due to my success in high school automotive courses...the sponsoring dealer took me on immediately. I got a job in a small shop for a bit which I seem to remember I wore khakis and a polo to, and my current job which I didn't interview for at all. I went to a test center and upon passing an online exam, I was brought in for a real hands on exam which they specifically told me I should not dress up for as I was getting dirty and I passed the written test so well that I didn't need to impress as long as I could show I know how to actually work on a truck. Fast forward to now, my benefits here aren't as great as I assumed they would be. County jobs seem to offer better benefits so I'm exploring that route and interviewing. I thought I'd be fine in khakis and a polo but the wife thinks a suit is more proper. The job does start significantly lower than I could take as a salary but they told me there is flexibility. Figured it's worth the interview. That makes her figure I should dress up in a suit, though. Opinions welcomed.
 
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Like you're taking your wife out for dinner and a movie. Can't go wrong
 
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I think a suit is overkill. For a manual labor type job, I wouldn't be put off by an applicant who dresses "nice" but a jacket, tie, etc aren't necessary <span style="font-style: italic">to me</span>. If someone showed up in nice, dress pants and a polo or button-down, that's okay. For a more office-oriented or similar job, I still don't think a suit is necessary but a dress shirt and tie would be okay.
 
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Perhaps khakis, an nice shirt and a sport jacket without tie. I was raised to always be slightly overdressed but never show up under dressed. I also think you can wear a jacket without a tie, but anytime I wear a tie, I always have on a jacket or suit.
 
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RI
I took one of those jobs for the end game. Can't remember exactly how I dressed but it definitely wasn't a suit. Think more casual.
 
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For a county or state job interview I think it is best to wear a jacket and tie. The person interviewing you may not be in the same shop where the job is located, they may very well be a personnel director or hiring manager that has little understanding or knowledge about engine/automotive repairs or the actual technician's job. A clean shave and recent haircut would also be a good idea. You don't have to be super formal about it but a nice suit and tie at any job interview shows that you care about the employer and you appreciate the job opportunity. It also shows you are professional, intelligent, courteous and have respect for the employer. Professional dress will help you stand out among any other applicants. County jobs around here are usually very good with great benefits. They are also very hard to get hired on. If I had a shot at a county job I would definitely dress to impress and do my very best in the interview and hiring process.
 
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We have guys show up for installer jobs wearing suits. I asked one once why. He said he had no skills and thought the suit would help. If your a competent guy clothes won't matter.... don't go naked. I typically went in jeans and a button up shirt... decent shoes/boots and belt.
 
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I would go in jeans and polo with steel toe boots I was mechanic for rt at 30 years and only did a few interviews at there place most of mine were over lunch from my current job. I never took off for a day between jobs just moved my tools on a Friday then set up Monday at new job. I always gave a notice so I was able to pickup and finish all my work. Everyone was on same page.
 
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I don't have any auto shop point of reference but I worked in alot of manufacturing facilities. If you were interviewing for a job as a toolmaker or test equipment technician, I would expect to see khakis and a polo, some nice shoes, fresh shave and haircut. Above all be on time and have a friendly attitude. Be someone they want to see coming to their workplace each day. That'll get your foot in the door. Your skills and work ethic will keep you there.
 
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Originally Posted by hallstevenson
I think a suit is overkill. For a manual labor type job, I wouldn't be put off by an applicant who dresses "nice" but a jacket, tie, etc aren't necessary to me. If someone showed up in nice, dress pants and a polo or button-down, that's okay. For a more office-oriented or similar job, I still don't think a suit is necessary but a dress shirt and tie would be okay.
+1 Straight out of University I used to use the suit angle with Admin jobs. Got me a few gigs, then I realized I looked kinda foolish dressing more formally than my potential supervisors/managers. Now that I'm a certified accountant making substancially more i wear nothing more than what I'd wear on a typical work day (dress pants, fitted sweater and dress shoes). Got me my current job thumbsup OP, I'd suggest nothing more than dress pants and a nice polo/dress shirt. Even a tie is overkill. Dress as though you might be asked to explain/demonstrate something in the repair shop. Since you have nearly 20 years of knowledge and experience, I'm sure they will be more interested in what you have to say as opposed to how you are dressed.
 
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While not automotive, machine shops are kind of similar... and in my experience, it depends highly on the particular shop. My fist machine shop job, a little mom and pop job shop, I was advised to show up like I'm ready to work. So I showed up in blue jeans, boots, and a T-Shirt. The shop I'm at now, I put on khakis or dressier black jeans (I had 2 interviews for this job!), a nice button down shirt that I tucked in, and clean sneakers. For a county job, I'd dress how Lolvoguy described.
 
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Go for a job interview with the mentality that your interviewer might put you to work immediately. IMO, if you are going for an automotive tech position, don't wear a 3-piece suit. Even khakis is overkill. I would go with a new pair of blue jeans, a nice work shirt and steel-toed shoes. Since you don't know if your interviewer is 25 or 75, if you have any ink on your arms, cover it up at this time. Now is not the time to show it to the world. Note: My son is a few months away from having a college business degree and I showed him this thread.
 

t1snwrbrdr12

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I'll be shaved and fresh haircut. My dilemma I guess is my wardrobe. I'm not really equipped for any kind of dressing up. I have a suit I use for weddings and funerals. I have khakis I wear with polos or sweaters for church. I don't really have anything in between, and I don't have time to get anything as sizes that fit me are typically online only. I may try to straighten up a button up I have to see how it'd go with khakis, but it was from before the time clothes came in tall and slim sizes so it may not fit nicely. I can always fall back on the suit I just feel like it could be overkill, but I guess like some of you said, the people interviewing me may have no automotive background. Thanks for the advice guys.
 
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It's not so much as WHAT you wear to the interview as to HOW you wear it. Wear pants and a shirt that fit. In other words...appear neat and tidy. Good personal hygiene is another 1st impression employers won't forget...especially if you're "foul". I was in management for quite a while.
 
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Modesto,CA
Dress shirt, khakis, no tie. Chances are there will be someone from HR, a manager, a supervisor, maybe a tech also. You're trying to work for the government. As a county/government employee now, first impressions matter
 

4WD

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Originally Posted by mehullica
Dress shirt, khakis, no tie. Chances are there will be someone from HR, a manager, a supervisor, maybe a tech also. You're trying to work for the government. As a county/government employee now, first impressions matter
^^^This^^^ lots of six figure employees dress no better than this these days !
 
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