How to Hire an Industrial Mechanic

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Industrial mechanics play a key role in keeping factories running. They perform a variety of tasks related to the installation, maintenance, and repair of factory equipment and industrial machinery.

But if you need to hire an industrial mechanic, it can feel challenging to find someone who’s a good fit for your team. Below, you’ll find an overview of everything that you need to know in order to make a smarter hiring decision for your next industrial mechanic. Let’s dive into it.

What is an industrial mechanic?

Industrial mechanics work with the machines that factories use to produce products. Their primary duty is to ensure that the machines run as safely and efficiently as possible. They do this by completing the following daily tasks:

Industrial mechanics help to keep factories running as consistently as possible by maintaining and repairing machines. It’s why the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the demand for industrial mechanics and machinery maintenance workers is set to grow over the coming decade.

Industrial Maintenance Jobs: Where You Can Work as an Industrial Mechanic

Qualifications to look for in applicants

If you’re ready to hire a new industrial mechanic, there are several different types of qualifications you will want to look for while reviewing resumés. Evaluating each of the following three categories will help you make a smarter decision about who to hire.

DEGREES AND CERTIFICATIONS

Industrial mechanics don’t need to have college degrees,  but those that do typically have a better understanding of both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills that industrial mechanics need in order to do well in the workplace.

Put another way, if you hire an industrial mechanic with a degree, they will likely get up to speed faster and require less training than someone without one.

Typically, you’re looking for someone with an associate’s degree in industrial maintenance or a related field. You want an applicant to have taken courses on key topics like welding, mathematics, pneumatics, and hydraulics.

You may find some candidates who have taken courses like these but through a certification program instead of while pursuing a degree. These can also be solid qualifications, but you need to verify the scope, length, and intensity of the certification program to be sure.

APPRENTICESHIPS

Some candidates will opt to complete an apprenticeship in industrial maintenance rather than a degree program. These applicants are often better at carrying out the real-world tasks of an industrial mechanic but may lack some of the theoretical knowledge of a candidate who has completed a degree.

However, some apprenticeship programs also include completing an associate’s degree. These take 3-4 years to complete and produce very well-trained industrial mechanics.

REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE

Real-world experience is very important for industrial mechanics. Candidates with lots of experience will know how to carry out key tasks of their role from day one. Applicants without any experience will take time to train.

That being said, it doesn’t always make sense to hire the most experienced candidate you find. There is a balance to be found between getting someone with lots of real-world experience and finding an applicant who is willing to work at your price range.

Additionally, the level of experience that you need will vary based on the job details. You would obviously need someone with more experience for a supervisory role than you would for an entry-level position.

RELEVANT SOFT SKILLS

Once you’ve ensured that an applicant meets your minimum threshold for classroom and real-world training, it’ll be time for you to evaluate their soft skills. The specific soft skills that matter to your hiring process will vary based on your needs and culture.

But all industrial mechanics need to have strong mechanical skills and excellent troubleshooting capabilities.

Important interview questions to ask

Asking your applicants the right interview questions is key to making sure you hire the right person. But coming up with questions on your own can be tough, so here are some good ones for you to consider using.

HAVE YOU EVER COMPLETED A MAJOR EQUIPMENT OVERHAUL? IF SO, WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO ENSURE PRODUCTION RATES DIDN’T DROP?

This is a great question for clarifying the type of experience that your candidate has had in previous positions. It also will give you some insight into how effective they are at keeping production rates high while doing their work.

WHAT TECHNIQUES DO YOU USE TO DIAGNOSE MECHANICAL FAILURES?

This question will help you figure out an applicant’s go-to diagnostic methods. You can compare that information to what you use to see how quickly they will be able to adapt to your preferences.

WHAT PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE TASKS DID YOU DO IN YOUR LAST POSITION? HOW OFTEN DID YOU COMPLETE THEM? AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT FREQUENCY?

Asking your applicants this question will give you some insight into how they think about preventative maintenance. They may not do things exactly the way that you would do them. But a successful candidate will be able to explain their process for preventative maintenance in a reasonable way.

If an applicant doesn’t have a solid, well-thought-out answer to this question, that can be a red flag. It may indicate that they don’t think deeply about the preventative maintenance side of their work, which could lead to problems for you in the future if you hire them.

TELL ME ABOUT A TIME THAT YOU DISAGREED WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR IN A PREVIOUS JOB. HOW DID YOU APPROACH THAT?

This question will help you zero in on how an applicant manages their relationships with workplace superiors. Ideally, you want to hear some variation of them speaking with the supervisor, explaining their views, and then leaving it to the supervisor to make the final call.

It can be a red flag if the candidate keeps the issue to themselves but it also could just be a sign of an unhealthy workplace culture. So don’t be too harsh if they answer this way.

Some applicants won’t have an example to give you, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing either. But if it occurs, just ask them to imagine what they would do in a theoretical situation in which something like this happened.

Other factors to consider while hiring industrial mechanics

The information above should help you get pretty far with your industrial mechanic hiring process. But here are three more things you should be thinking about while you consider which candidate is right for you.

CULTURAL FIT

It’s always better to hire someone who you think would fit in well with your work culture over a similarly qualified applicant who you think wouldn’t. Cultural fit matters for a few reasons.

First, you want to make sure you hire someone who is going to contribute to making your facility a better place to work at. Additionally, if someone feels like they fit into your culture, they’re going to enjoy working with you more. And that means they could be much likelier to stay with your company for a long time.

AVAILABILITY

You also want to make sure that you’re hiring someone who understands the hours that you’re going to ask them to work and is okay with them. For example, if you regularly require your industrial mechanics to work overtime, applicants should know that and express a willingness to do it.

Some employers will also ask mechanics to work odd hours, such as overnight shifts or early in the morning. Before you finalize a hire, you want to verify that the applicant understands and accepts this.

GUT INSTINCT

Gut instinct can also be a really useful tool. If you’re in the position to be hiring an industrial mechanic, you likely have an excellent intuitive understanding of the types of people that excel in this industry and those who don’t. Use that! 

Once you’ve considered everything else and you still can’t decide between a few applicants, gut instinct can be the perfect differentiating factor.

Find your next industrial mechanic with Surehand

A key part of finding the right applicants for industrial roles is knowing where to look for them. You could spend hours posting job descriptions across various sites and tracking down the best candidates from each of them yourself, or you could let Surehand do the job for you.

Surehand connects industrial employers with skilled workers. With our app, you simply tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll provide you with a steady stream of candidates who match your description as closely as possible. You can use Surehand to significantly simplify the early stages of the hiring process.

Want to give it a shot? You can get started with Surehand today. Once you do, simply create a profile, tell us what you want, and we’ll take care of the rest of the job on our end.

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