If you apply for a job in a hotel chain, or in a company that manages many properties, you can expect a lengthy and difficult interview, with some behavioral questions, and also with a practical test of your abilities.
For example, they may let you to fix something in an interview, or even take you to one of their buildings, and ask you to look for something to fix–to look for something that can be improved in the building.
On the other hand, if you apply in a small company, or perhaps in a dormitory, the interview will be quite simple.
They will typically ask only a few questions about your motivation, experience, and certification. In this case, however, personal preferences of the interviewers play an important role. You will have to make a good impression on them to have a decent chance of landing a job.
Work portfolio can help you greatly in both scenarios
Regardless of the company and interview, your portfolio can win you this technical job contract. Collect some pictures of you while working, for example while painting a wall, repairing an air conditioning, installing a new switch in the building, etc.
The pictures will convince the interviewers of your readiness for the job. They will not doubt your ability to actually repair stuff, once they see you doing it on the pictures in your portfolio.
For more information on how to create, and use a portfolio in an interview, please read the following article: Work portfolio in an interview.
Technical, behavioral, and basic questions
Apart from practical tests, you can get some of the following questions in your job interview:
Why do you want to be a maintenance technician?
Tell them that you enjoy repairing stuff, that it has always been your passion and hobby. Say that you believe you will do a good job on this position. You can also say that you had a similar position in the past, and would like to utilize your past experience in the new role, for the benefit of your new employer.
The key is to show them that you apply becasue you really want the job, not just because you need money, or any job, at the moment.
What motivates you in work?
An easy questions for most positions, but not really for this one. Nevertheless, you can once again stress that you enjoy doing what maintenance technicians typically do, and therefor you do not struggle with motivation in work.
If you have a family (or even want to start one), you can say that you feel responsible for them, and want to provide for them (everyone likes responsible employees, people who care for their loved ones, since such employees tend to keep their jobs, and they won’t leave when the first crisis arise).
What do you think are the ten main duties of a good maintenance technician?
Good answer to this question depends on the particular job you try to get. Study the job description carefully. Think about the problems they (may) experience in the building, and how you can help them to address them.
What is more, try to focus also on the other part of the job. Say that one of your duties is to keep your qualification up to date, to always closely monitor all the problematic areas, to be accessible to other members of the team, and to cooperate efficiently with other people who work in the building, especially in case of an emergency.
Tell me about the five most recent defects you had to repair.
Try to speak calmly about the defects, and do not blame anyone for causing them.
Show them that you can think systematically, and address a wide spectrum of technical problems. On the other hand, it makes no sense to go into technical details, especially if an HR generalist, or a building manager (basically someone who lacks even basic technical skills) leads the interview with you–which will be the case more often than not.
What was the most difficult technical problem you have ever solved in your life, and was there any problem you did not solve?
It is good to show some humility. Nobody is perfect, and nobody can repair everything. Talk about a problem you struggled with, or even didn’t manage to solve on your own. Show us that you consider each challenge a learning experience, and that you are humble enough to ask for help–if you really need it.
Nobody wants to employ a maintenance technician who is too proud (or ashamed) to admit that they can’t repair something.
Do you think you can lead a small group of people? Do you have any experience with leading a team?
This question will come only if you apply for a position of a lead technician, or for a position in a small team of technicians (which can be the case in any bigger building, or in a hotel environment). Some tech people struggle with social and communication skills, and your goal is to convince us that you do not belong to this group…
In an ideal case, you should describe a positive example of you leading a team, or being a part of a team, from your professional past.
How would you ensure you’d maintain a professional courteous manner with all residents, vendors, contractors, and fellow employees? (Say that it is natural for you to respect other people, and that you generally do not struggle with maintaining good relationships…)
- What do you think about doing monthly inspections in buildings? Do you think it is appropriate, or the inspections should be more regular? (This depends on the job you apply for, but it never hurts to vouch for more regular inspections. You can even say that you prefer to check, or to monitor, the most crucial things on a daily basis–if there is a time to do that, of course.)
- Describe a perfect boss. (Not an easy question. A good answer is to say that you prefer to focus on your own job–trying to do it as well as you can, and that you prefer not to think much about your boss and what they are doing. Of course, you can say that a good boss should strive to create a good working environment for their subordinates, or go for a similar answer. But I suggest you to focus on your own work, and responsibilities first, and to present this attitude in an interview.)
What are your strengths and your weaknesses? (Try to talk about strengths that are relevant for the job, or even central. To such strengths belong: responsibility, attention to detail, good observations skills, technical skills, ability to address problems independently, etc. On the other hand, you should pick some weaknesses that aren’t crucial for the job, such as lack of management or leadership skills, average communication skills, etc.)
- Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work.
- Describe a conflict you had with your colleague. (Speak about a situation with a good outcome, and show us that you try your best to avoid conflicts with your colleagues, and that the conflicts do not affect your work, at least not in a dramatic way.)
Why should we hire you and not the another candidate? (Try to show us the value you can bring to our team. List your strengths, once again. Show us that you have the experience, and that you are ready to do the job from day one. Show some confidence, and believe into yourself, into your chances. If not you, who else should believe in them?)
Be prepared for every question
If you want to be sure you will do everything right on a big day, have a look at our interview success package. You will find great sample answers to thirty most common interview questions (including many that are common in maintenance technician interviews), and you will learn how to make a great impression on your interviewers. It is worth a look, at least ;).
Other articles you may find interesting:
- Work portfolio for an interview – Learn how to prepare a selection of your best works, and how to use it to show the interviewers the value you can bring to their team.
- Salary negotiation tips – Basic rules you should remember when negotiating a salary in your interview.
- Behavioral interview questions – Inquiring about your past, we try to understand how you would act in your new job, while facing various challenges and tasks.