Perfecting Your Interview Process

Dec. 7, 2022

This is how a well-executed working interview will help your shop find the right person for the job.

Bill Snow started his career as a recruiter, and that experience has come in handy as a business owner. 

Snow, the vice president of development and operations at Rad Air Complete Car Care and the owner and operator of its Wickliffe, Ohio, location, has no shortage of experience interviewing job candidates thanks to his past experience as a recruiter.  

Snow has only gotten more opportunities to interview as a shop owner, as he’s screened candidates on the phone, set up formal interviews, and arranged working interviews at Rad Air Complete Car Care. 

Working interviews are a key tool at Snow’s shop. They help candidates get a feel for the job, staff, and culture; they provide insight into candidates, and they can help determine if the situation is the right fit for the candidate and if the candidate is the right fit for the shop’s culture.  

As a shop owner, Snow is always looking for candidates that fit into his company’s culture, but it’s not always easy to determine exactly who might be the right fit. Snow detailed Rad Air Complete Car Care’s interview process and how the perfect working interview can provide the insight you’re looking for into potential hires.  

The Process 

Snow says the interview process can be three to four interviews long, typically beginning with a phone screen.  

If the phone screen goes well, Snow will bring the candidate in for a more formal interview, where either Snow or the manager of the shop will meet with said candidate. And if that goes well, they’ll ask the candidate to come in for a working interview.  

Snow says they do this for a few reasons.  

“As you can imagine, the way we as owners and managers see our culture is one way, the way it gets lived out may be slightly different in the back,” Snow says, “and the last thing I want to have happen is I portray our culture, and it’s observed differently by a new hire.”  

It also gives the shop’s staff a chance to give their input.  

“It’s really a great way for us to make sure that both parties want to take it to the next step and hire them on and have them as one of our team members,” Snow says.  

The candidate gets a chance to work with other technicians, and they can talk about life, and family and get a feel for what it would be like to work together. Additionally, they may have a team lunch that day—something Snow says is a part of their shop’s culture—to further build those connections.  

If the working interview goes well, Snow says that typically results in an offer.  

Fitting the Culture 

Well, that might all sound great, but how does one truly tell whether a candidate fits into your company’s culture? What are you looking for from a candidate in that working interview?  

For Snow, it starts with communication. At Rad Air Complete Car Care, their culture is centered on camaraderie and a team approach. If a candidate demonstrates good communication skills and shows the ability to build connections with the team, they’re off to a pretty good start.  

“I know it could be nervous for a candidate doing this working interview,” Snow says, “but if they’re able to come out of their shell pretty early in the day and be able to interact—and we’ve seen it actually where there’s some banter, some fun banter going back and forth already—you know, and we’re like, ‘Listen, that’s a perfect fit for what we do.’” 

In terms of what might dissuade Snow from a candidate, he says some conflicting information may come out in working interviews. A candidate might exaggerate their skills in the interview, and then present a little more honest picture of their skillset once they get under a car with fellow technicians.  

“It’s kind of a technician code or that comfort level that can come out, and we’ve had that happen at some working interviews,” Snow says.  

Additionally, Snow says egos tend to come out during working interviews.  

“(If) someone becomes standoffish, are very opinionated on a way to approach a job we might have in the shop, or ‘Hey, you’re doing it wrong. This is how we do it at my place.’ That approach,” Snow says, “if it comes out, could be a red flag for someone hiring a technician as well.”