Sample questions and answers to help you prepare for your interview for a job in maintenance.
Interviews are usually part of the hiring process for maintenance jobs like maintenance technicians, facility supervisors, carpenters, plumbers, and HVAC technicians. It’s usually a good idea to be ready for an interview for a job in maintenance. Consider learning about the company, reading the job description, and writing down a few questions to ask the interviewer to show that you are interested in the position. In this article, we talk about the different types of questions you might be asked in a maintenance interview, such as general questions, questions about your experience, and in-depth questions. You will also find examples of interview questions and how to answer them.
When interviewing for a job in maintenance, be ready for general questions at the start. Most of the time, interviewers will start with these questions to help you feel less nervous before moving on to harder questions. Some common general questions you may encounter are:
- Where do you come from?
- How would you describe yourself?
- How did you get started in this line of work?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- What do you like most about being a worker in maintenance?
- What do you know about our company?
- What kinds of maintenance are you interested in learning more about?
- How long do you have left?
- Are you able to work nights, weekends or overtime?
- How much money do you want?
- Do you have any health problems that might make it hard for you to do the work for this job?
- Can you lift at least 50 pounds?
Questions about work and history from the past
Your potential employers want to know what skills and experiences you have that are related to the job they are hiring for. Interviewers may ask you some or all of the following questions about your past jobs:
- How long have you worked as a worker in maintenance?
- How did you get your education and training?
- At your last job, what did you do most of the time?
- Where have you worked and what did you do there?
- Have you ever worked on a maintenance team?
- Do you have any qualifications?
- Have you ever done something on your own?
- How do you use the machines and tools you know?
- Do you know how to do things like carpentry, wiring, welding, plumbing, etc.?
- How many different types of pipes have you worked with?
- Do you know how to care for grounds and landscaping?
Managers who are looking to hire people want to know how you solve problems, work with others, and manage your time. You should give honest, well-thought-out answers to these questions. You may receive questions such as:
- Can you tell me about a time you had to solve a problem quickly?
- Have you ever given an idea that saved your company time or money?
- How do you get along with other people?
- What’s one of the hardest things you’ve had to deal with?
- How do you get along with your boss, your customers, your residents, and your vendors?
- Have you ever had a fight with your boss or someone else at work?
- How do you make sure it’s safe to do your job?
- How do you handle many projects at once?
- Can you do good work by yourself?
Examples of interview questions and how to answer them
Here are some examples of maintenance-related interview questions and answers:
Tell me about some of the mechanical problems you’ve had to fix recently.
Employers want to know how good you are with tools and machines. They want you to have experience solving problems using your mechanical skills. In your answer, give specific examples of how you have fixed a problem using what you know about mechanics. You should also say if your ideas helped the company save money or time.
Here’s what I mean: “At my last job, there was a lot of moisture in the air conditioner. I had to take apart the unit. I found a broken condensate pan, so I bought a new one to fix it. Then I had to reassemble the unit. Because of this project, the company didn’t have to pay $1,600 to fix something.
“A few months ago, one of the people who lived in the apartment complex where I worked told me that their refrigerator was broken. That was my main goal, since it was full of groceries. I figured out that the problem was dust on the compressor coils and fixed it within an hour.”
How do you work when it’s bad outside?
This question is meant to find out if you have the strength and stamina to work hard. Maintenance workers often spend long periods of time outside, at high altitudes, and in small spaces. Your interviewer wants to know if you’ve ever been in hard situations and how you handled them. Your answer should include specific examples of when you had to work in hard conditions and how you did.
Here’s what I mean: “During the four summers I worked on construction sites in Florida, the temperature was often above 100 degrees. The team’s safety is the most important thing, so I made sure everyone stayed hydrated, took breaks often, and spent as much time as possible in the shade or air conditioning. I’ve found that everyone feels better when they have to work on things that aren’t fun when they have a good attitude.”
How do you want your first month at work to go?
The point of this question is to find out what matters most to you at work. Your answer should include how you would learn the new rules and procedures, meet new coworkers, and decide which tasks to do first.
Here’s what I mean: “I care most about making sure the people who live here are safe and sound. I’d like to look at the buildings and systems to see if there are any safety problems, especially with the electricity and physical dangers. I would also check the security systems, like alarms and cameras, to make sure the residents are safe. I would come up with quick plans for how to handle any problems.
“Also, I’d like to meet the staff and residents to introduce myself and check out how incidents are reported. I want to make sure this system is fast and works well.”
Have you ever had a maintenance problem that you couldn’t figure out? What did you do?
Interviewers want to know if you can say when you don’t know how to do something. Recognizing your weaknesses can show that you are humble and willing to improve. In your answer, you should talk about a time at work when you needed help.
Here’s what I mean: “When I was in charge of maintenance at an apartment complex with 400 units, half of them lost water service. I thought about what was wrong for two days, but I never figured it out. When we called a plumber, we found out that one of the city’s main water lines was broken, and we couldn’t fix it ourselves. My boss was glad I asked for help to solve the problem instead of making the residents wait even longer.”
How would you handle a lot of big problems all at once?
People who work in maintenance are often asked to work on more than one project at the same time. Interviewers want to know how you decide which requests are most important and how you use your time well. Explain how and why you choose which projects to work on in your answer. Try to show that you can finish many projects quickly, keep track of your time well, and use good systems to make your work easier.
Here’s what I mean: “The first thing I work on is always safety. If the public, residents, or staff are in danger, I put those projects first. This could be caused by chemical spills, leaks from above, or exposed wiring. After that, I try to figure out if there are any projects that can be done at the same time, such as multiple problems at the same house or a problem with the grounds and a problem with trash. I can get things done faster because of this. Then I’ll look at any projects that might need me to order parts, since I’ll want to get started as soon as possible.”
Tell me about a time when you fixed something in a creative way.
Interviewers want to know if you can think critically and solve problems. They want to know how you have used your knowledge and skills in a creative and original way. Your answer should show that you can look at a problem and find a solution that wasn’t obvious at first.
Here’s what I mean: “My team’s job at the health care center where I worked was to paint the outside. As someone who has driven a forklift before, I suggested that we use the forklift instead of ladders or stationary scaffolding to paint the higher walls so that we could move faster. We used a forklift attachment that gave us the most reach at a certain height. This helped us finish the job two days early.”