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  1. #1
    Veteran Member brain55's Avatar
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    Default equipment mechanic practical test

    I am in the process of competing for a mechanics job with a local Parks and Recreation Department. I have made it past the first 2 rounds. The first was the application, resume, and questionnaire, second was the 150 question written test. They narrowed it down to 20 applicants with the application and now I'm guessing between 5 and 10 after the written test. After the practical test comes a 3 person oral interview panel a week later, and another interview 2 weeks after that.

    I have the practical test in 2 weeks and have no idea what to expect. I've been given the impression that their equipment ranges from 10-wheel dump trucks down to string trimmers and a large variety in between. I plan on going to go by the office tomorrow to see if there is any way I can get an equipment list. I would imagine it would have to be public record, though I was unable to find it online. I have been a mechanic for 25 years and I am pretty confident about my skill level. I would just be more confident if I had more information.

    I was hoping somebody here had experience with a practical test in this kind of setting. The letter I received said to expect an hour for the test. I'm real competent on diesel engine, power train, and hydraulics on tractors, and not real concerned about small engine equipment. What I consider my weakness in a time constraint situation would be my computer controlled vehicle diagnosis either on large trucks or passenger vehicles. One of the ladies from HR that was administering the written test, told us that the majority of their assets were equipment, so that plays in my favor. I have purchased the ASE certification study guides and have been reading those. If I get the job I will be required to get my brake, lamp, and smog licenses, also a class A drivers license with hazmat certification. The class A has to be done in the first 6 months, the others I will have a year to complete. This is a one mechanic shop with a part-time helper, so the person hired will need a broad base of experience. My last job was a great training ground. It seems like we had a similar diversity of equipment, but I had as many as 4 other full-time mechanics helping, and I was in more of a hands-on manager role for much of my time there.

    If anyone has some insight I would appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Brian

  2. #2
    Elite Member teg's Avatar
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    Default Re: equipment mechanic practical test

    I'm pretty sure at this point they know you can do the job... my guess is that they will be looking at you... personality, how you handle yourself, attitude and what not...

  3. #3
    Veteran Member brain55's Avatar
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    Default Re: equipment mechanic practical test

    Quote Originally Posted by teg View Post
    I'm pretty sure at this point they know you can do the job... my guess is that they will be looking at you... personality, how you handle yourself, attitude and what not...
    I'm thinking that too. More of a "not what you do" but "how you do it" deal. Or not so much about fixing it, as seeing your thought process.

    Brian

  4. #4
    Veteran Member milkman636's Avatar
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    Default Re: equipment mechanic practical test

    I've been through a couple of practical tests in my lifetime. They revolved mostly around knowing procedures for routine type of operations. There was also a malfunctioning something or other that needed to be diagnosed. Most of these tests are designed to weed out the people who really are just good talkers. If you truly understand the work you are interviewing for, you shouldn't have a problem with the practical test.

    It would be a good idea to know what they routinely do in day-to-day operations, but it will be nearly impossible to guess exactly what will be in the test. Getting too worked up before tests can make them seem harder. Trust yourself, if you have what they are looking for you should be successful.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member brain55's Avatar
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    Default Re: equipment mechanic practical test

    Thanks Milkman. In my opinion they will have a hard time finding one person that excels at all 5 of the disciplines involved. One would need to be a heavy truck mechanic, an automotive mechanic, an equipment mechanic, a small engine mechanic, and a shop manager. I have had to do all of these at one time or another, but the two I excel at would be equipment mechanic and shop manager. You are right that it comes down to what they are looking for and how good of a fit I am. I hope to do well enough on the practical to get to the interviews. I interview well, I'm very good at selling myself. The right amount of confidence just short of arrogant. If their need is weighted towards equipment I am the right guy for the job.

    Brian

  6. #6
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    Default Re: equipment mechanic practical test

    It will be interesting to see what the test consists of, considering that it is only an hour it can't be too complex. I would think it would be to make sure you are not just 'book smart' and actually know what tools are and how to use them.

    Maybe take something apart and put it back together, possibly following some directions.

    Maybe look things up in shop manuals "What is the torque value for the Ford F-250 lug nut?" things like that.

    I would not expect it to be too complex as it likely is something that needs to be administered by a non-mechanic. But then again you never know Just relax and have fun, personality goes a long way

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Code54's Avatar
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    Default Re: equipment mechanic practical test

    Good luck and it is very refreshing to see someone working so hard to get job and better himself! I have conducted interviews where the candidates were unaware of what the job entailed or even anything about what we do but claimed they are who we need.....
    Best of luck
    Kubota MX5100
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: equipment mechanic practical test

    I've administered a couple of practical tests during a hiring process, and the results were very telling. Much more so than the interview or the resume would indicate. They were very simple practical problems, and the demonstration of the ability to read a manual, and identify components and systems. Really simple basic stuff. 80% of the applicants failed, and this was after the pre-screening process had already narrowed the field. In fact the last fellow we hired said after the fact that he almost didn't take the job because the test was 'lame' in his opinion. Then I showed him the failure rates and he was floored.

    If you know your stuff, and you have experience, the practical test should be no problem.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: equipment mechanic practical test

    My experience when interviewing was much like tcartwri. I would ask a few simple questions or ask somebody to show me something and they would often stumble. The ones who got the job normally just smiled and proceeded to explain to me as if they were teaching me about the process or equipment. Sometimes the most simple and lame of questions would trip up an applicant. My favorite to ask of people who supposedly had worked as technical writers or course developers on aircraft systems was, "What's the major difference between hydraulic and pneumatic systems?" I'm not kidding when I tell you that 90% of the applicants just gave me a blank stare and started mumbling something that made no sense whatsoever. I don't think you will have any problem Brian. Your expertise will come through and if you project an air of confidence and show great interpersonal skills, you'll get the job.
    Jim


  10. #10
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    Default Re: equipment mechanic practical test

    Quote Originally Posted by jinman View Post
    My favorite to ask of people who supposedly had worked as technical writers or course developers on aircraft systems was, "What's the major difference between hydraulic and pneumatic systems?" I'm not kidding when I tell you that 90% of the applicants just gave me a blank stare and started mumbling something that made no sense whatsoever.
    Reminds me of when we used to send the newbies to supply for a gallon of pneumatic fluid!

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