Service Manager Interview

An informational interview is a fantastic way to get a better feel of how a certain position or field will fit into your professional. This interview would consist of asking a relevant business professional about the type of work they experience and prospects for the industry’s future. This networking contact would also be of use as a great source of advice.

The Contact

Mark Rode
Service Manager
Heartland Motor Company
Automotive Industry

Questions about the Contact

“Don’t p*** people off.”

I mainly inquired about what he did on a daily basis and what skills or characteristics that would contribute the most in a work environment. Mark said that his daily work life consisted of communicating with customers, in fact, that was the main point that was made through his walk-through. He relayed customer information to his staffed mechanics and technicians, and, in turn, they would provide him with estimates, estimated time of completion, etc. He would then give this information to the customer. He said that this was a key part of the process, because sometimes he needs to give bad news to a customer and a mechanic or technician isn’t necessarily qualified to do this.

Questions about Communications Practices and Writing

“Could you please describe the typical kinds of writing you do and tell me a bit about each?”

Essentially, the short answer he gave was that he didn’t actually do as much writing as you’d think. A handful of emails and even less texts. A lot of the writing would be done on work orders given back and forth between management and the mechanics.

What do you find most challenging about your day-to-day writing? What challenges do recent graduates face as they move from “academic writing” to “workplace writing”?”

The only answer I received for this prompt would be that a lot of students experience, for lack of a better term, “culture shock” when joining the company. They need to set their old ways aside and learn to fit in with the company.

“How would you describe the balance between written and oral communication in your workplace?”

Mark said that the bulk of the communicating happening in their workplace was oral communication. He said that is was just easier and less prone to confusion than email or text messaging can be.

Questions Seeking Advice

“Personality”

The questions I asked related more to what kind of person they look for and the relationship between grades and their actual ability to do the job. Mark said that personality is an extremely important part of hiring. He has had many occasions, in which, he knew within the first couple minutes if they were right for the job based entirely on what and how they communicated. He also said that he tries to gauge how well a new hire would fit into the company which is also very important. He also didn’t look at GPA/grades as much as he did their previous work experience and references.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

“Show up and act like you want to be there.”

The main thing that I learned from this interview was that personality and ability to communicate are very important in a work environment. I never realized how much hinged on the ability to communicate thoughts and actions clearly and effectively to people. I was surprised by how much contact employees have with their coworkers compared to customers. The employee-to-employee interaction was much higher than that of employee-customer interaction. An employees attitude also tells a lot about how they will fit in. Mark has several employees that mope around for the first couple of hours before they actually begin to be productive. After this interview I will certainly want to work on my communication skills to be a more productive professional.