There are few industries that are more technical than in an automotive store. Automotive store jobs require more than an appreciation of a car or of the job. At some point, there is also the need to have a technical understanding of a car or truck. Store clerks in other retail industries normally handle a customer’s questions. In other industries, when a customer has a tough question or a very technical query, it is okay to defer to some other person or to the manager. In an automotive store, the associate is expected to be able to at least explain the function of an item, as well as the pros and cons. In some instances the question is escalated to the manager when there is no clear answer. That is, if an item may be used for another part, but with a warning or some other conditionals.
Having a job in an automotive store is not for every candidate. For those with a passion for cars, this is the perfect job. For those who are not inclined, they should really stay away from the job.
Those who have a passion for cars would find it a joy to mingle customers who share the same interest. In truth, that is what an automotive store employee would be doing most of the time. Spare parts and accessories buyers would want to have a short technical discussion every time they come in to the store. Having stock knowledge of a car’s parts is an advantage for those who apply for the job. Otherwise it would be hard struggle for those who are not mechanically inclined. If the prospective applicant does not even know the difference between a carburetor and a fuel injector, then it might be hard for him to get into the industry.
Besides technical know how, a job in the automotive store entails an eye for detail as well as good customer relations. People skills cannot be over-emphasized. This is especially true for customers who do not know anything much about cars and seek an expert’s opinion. After all, he would need to understand what he is buying, what the choices are, and why he needs the spare part. It would also be ideal if the prospective candidate would have been technically skilled to troubleshoot automotive problems effectively as well as suggest possible solutions to aid the customer in need.
Besides customer skills, the automotive store job applications process also tries to find out the basic details of the applicant. Some questions which are not included in the questionnaire but would definitely be asked in the interview, include:
Does the applicant have a car? Having a car is an advantage, but is not really needed. Even if the applicant does not have a car, if he is mechanically inclined, then that is a major advantage.
Does he know how to organize? Car parts range in size from the hood of the car and the monocoque cockpit, to the smallest ball bearings. These are organized in such a way that it is easy to find an item.
Does he know how to use a database? Each automotive store has a database, and this is directly accessed by other systems including inventory and sales. This is the heart of the business and the only way to keep track of all the parts. The applicant should know how to use the database system in order to fill in orders or report low inventory levels.
Job applications in an automotive store are usually local in nature. Such job listings may be found in the local papers, or on the automotive store chain’s website. Interviews are usually held at the store and done by the manager. If called for an interview, the way to ace it is for the applicant to present himself and to market his skills and know-how. It is the job of the store manager to assess whether the applicant can fit in to the store’s structure.
There are many automotive store careers. Besides the associate entry-level position, there are the various managers and sales functions. There are also logistical jobs like inventory, delivery and distribution, as well as regional and head office jobs. Corporate jobs that are usually at the headquarters include accounting, IT, purchasing, human resources, training and others.
In terms of skills, the careers in the automotive store are not significantly different from those of other industries. However, associates and sales people require technical knowledge that even trainings cannot fill in.