Mechanics and Soft Skills

Yesterday I was at my mechanic’s shop to have him check a car my daughter was going to buy. We were on the shop floor waiting while him and his employee checked out the car, and I commented:

“Kevin, your shop is really clean!”

It’s not something I noticed before, but it was in stark contrast to the dirty engines, oily rags, and even oily uniforms they were wearing. The floor was clean, the surfaces of work areas were clean, the tool benches were clean… I was really impressed!

He replied, “It’s soft skills!  You wouldn’t believe how much having a clean shop makes a difference for customers!”

I thought that was interesting… I didn’t think about having a clean shop as “soft skills,” but it was outside of what I paid him for (fixing my car). Honestly, my number one objective with a mechanic is to get a car fixed at a reasonable price. I usually don’t go into the shop and the cleanliness usually doesn’t impact me. But when I was there, seeing the attention to detail he put into that non-critical part of his business, I could see what he meant.

He also said, “You’d be surprised at how little effort it takes to keep it clean like this.”  Meaning, systems in place, such as clean up after each job, wipe down spills immediately, etc.

I recently talked about bedside manner from a dentist and a tire guy (How Is Your Bedside Manner (as a job seeker)?), so apparently I’m on a soft skills kick. I’m convinced that we, as job seekers, need to take this very important concept into consideration and improve who we are, so we can see improved results in our job search!