Utilising Technical Assessments In Engineering And Manufacturing Recruitment

Discover the importance of technical assessments in engineering and manufacturing recruitment, their benefits, challenges, and best practices for effective talent acquisition.

July 19, 2023

In today's competitive job market, finding top talent in the engineering and manufacturing sectors can be a daunting task for recruiters.

CVs and interviews alone often fall short in assessing candidates' true abilities.

That's because, shock horror, people lie in their CV and in an interview (I'll let you drag yourself off the floor...)

That's where technical assessments come in.

They can be an invaluable tool in helping your hiring decision making.

In this article, we'll explore the importance of technical assessments, their types, benefits, challenges, and best practices for implementing them in your recruitment process.

The Role of Technical Assessments in Engineering and Manufacturing Recruitment

When it comes to evaluating candidates for engineering and manufacturing roles, technical assessments play a vital role.

They go beyond traditional methods by providing a comprehensive evaluation of candidates' skills and abilities.

CVs and interviews can highlight a candidate's qualifications and communication skills, but they often fail to assess their technical expertise accurately.

Technical assessments bridge that gap, allowing recruiters to make informed hiring decisions based on tangible evidence of a candidate's abilities.

For example, imagine you're hiring for a mechanical engineer position.

While a candidate's CV may showcase their educational background and relevant experience, a technical assessment could reveal their understanding of complex mechanical systems, proficiency in using CAD software, and ability to analyse and solve engineering problems.

This additional layer of evaluation ensures that you're selecting candidates who possess the necessary technical prowess for the role.

Types of Technical Assessments for Engineering and Manufacturing Roles

Technical assessments come in various forms to evaluate the specific skills required for engineering and manufacturing roles.

Let's explore some common types:

1. Written Assessments and Problem-Solving Exercises:

These assessments gauge candidates' theoretical knowledge, critical thinking abilities, and problem-solving skills.

For instance, a candidate for a manufacturing engineering role may be presented with a scenario where they must optimise a production line, considering factors like efficiency, cost, and quality.

2. Practical Assignments and Projects:

These assessments require candidates to demonstrate their skills through hands-on tasks.

For example, a candidate for a civil engineering position might be asked to design a structural element using engineering software or create a blueprint for a building.

3. Simulation-Based Assessments:

These assessments simulate real-world scenarios to assess candidates' decision-making abilities and their aptitude for handling complex situations.

For instance, a candidate for a process engineer role might be presented with a simulation of a manufacturing plant and asked to identify and troubleshoot operational issues.

4. Domain-Specific Assessments:

These assessments focus on evaluating candidates' knowledge and expertise in specific engineering or manufacturing domains.

For example, an electrical engineer candidate might be assessed on their understanding of power distribution systems or their ability to design circuits.

Designing Effective Technical Assessments

Designing effective technical assessments is crucial to ensure they accurately evaluate candidates' skills and align with job requirements.

Consider the following best practices:

1. Align Assessments with Job Requirements:

Tailor your assessments to match the key competencies and technical skills required for the role.

Clearly define the objectives and outcomes you expect from the assessment.

2. Collaboration with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs):

Engage SMEs within your organisation to create assessments that accurately reflect the challenges and tasks candidates will encounter on the job.

Their expertise will help you design more relevant assessments.

3. Balancing Complexity and Time Constraints:

Strive to strike a balance between challenging assessments and reasonable time constraints.

Assessments should be rigorous enough to evaluate candidates' abilities but should also be completed within a reasonable timeframe.

4. Ensuring Fairness and Inclusivity:

Ensure that your assessments are fair and unbiased.

Eliminate any potential for discrimination based on gender, race, or other protected characteristics.

Provide reasonable accommodations for candidates with disabilities.

5. Leveraging Online Platforms and Tools:

Take advantage of online platforms and assessment tools that streamline the administration and evaluation process.

These tools can provide automated scoring, analytics, and data-driven insights to enhance the effectiveness of your assessments.

Benefits and Challenges of Utilising Technical Assessments

Implementing technical assessments in your engineering and manufacturing recruitment process offers several benefits:

1. Enhanced Accuracy in Evaluating Technical Skills:

Technical assessments provide concrete evidence of candidates' abilities, enabling you to make more informed decisions based on actual performance rather than relying solely on CVs or interviews.

2. Identifying Candidates with Practical Problem-Solving Abilities:

Technical assessments assess candidates' problem-solving skills in real-world scenarios, enabling you to identify those who can apply their knowledge effectively to overcome challenges encountered in engineering and manufacturing roles.

3. Mitigating Bias in the Hiring Process:

Technical assessments offer an objective evaluation method, helping to minimise bias and create a fairer selection process based on merit and demonstrated skills.

4. Time and Cost Savings:

By accurately assessing candidates' technical skills upfront, technical assessments reduce the time spent on screening unqualified candidates and the cost associated with interviewing and onboarding candidates who may not meet the job requirements.

Despite the numerous benefits, implementing technical assessments may also present challenges:

1. Resource Intensiveness:

Developing and administering technical assessments can require significant time and resources, especially when considering the need for specialised tools and the involvement of subject matter experts.

2. Candidate Experience:

It's essential to balance the assessment process's rigor with ensuring a positive candidate experience.

Clear communication, providing preparation guidance, and timely feedback can help maintain a positive impression of your organisation.

Integrating Technical Assessments into the Recruitment Workflow

To maximise the effectiveness of technical assessments, integrate them strategically into your recruitment workflow.

Consider the following steps:

1. Incorporate Technical Assessments at Various Stages:

Determine where in the recruitment process technical assessments can add the most value.

Assessments can be utilised during the initial screening phase or as part of final interviews or assessment centers.

2. Balancing Technical Assessments with Other Evaluation Methods:

While technical assessments provide valuable insights, it's important to consider them alongside other evaluation methods, such as interviews and reference checks, to gain a holistic understanding of a candidate's suitability for the role.

3. Leveraging Automation and AI:

Explore the use of automation and AI-powered tools for efficient assessment administration, evaluation, and scoring.

These technologies can streamline the process and provide valuable insights to recruiters.

4. Ensuring a Positive Candidate Experience:

Make the assessment process transparent and provide candidates with clear instructions and expectations.

Offer resources and guidance to help them prepare effectively, and provide timely feedback to those who participate in the assessments.

Best Practices for Implementing Technical Assessments

Implementing technical assessments effectively requires attention to detail and adherence to best practices:

1. Clearly Communicate Assessment Expectations:

Provide candidates with clear instructions regarding the assessment format, duration, and any specific guidelines they need to follow.

2. Offer Guidance and Resources for Preparation:

Provide candidates with resources, such as sample questions or practice exercises, to help them prepare for the assessment and understand what to expect.

3. Train Recruiters and Hiring Managers:

Ensure that recruiters and hiring managers are trained on interpreting assessment results effectively.

This will enable them to make well-informed decisions and evaluate candidates accurately.

4. Continuously Refine and Update Assessments:

Collect feedback from recruiters, candidates, and hiring managers to continuously improve and refine your assessments.

Stay updated on emerging trends and technologies to ensure your assessments remain relevant and effective, and stay Informed about emerging assessment trends and tools: Keep up with the latest advancements in assessment technologies and methodologies. Explore new tools and platforms that can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your technical assessments.


Technical assessments play a crucial role in engineering and manufacturing recruitment.

By implementing effective assessments, recruiters can gain deeper insights into candidates' technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and domain knowledge.

This ensures that the selected candidates possess the necessary competencies to excel in their roles.

While technical assessments offer numerous benefits, it's important to consider the challenges associated with their implementation, such as resource intensiveness and maintaining a positive candidate experience.

By following best practices, recruiters can streamline the assessment process and make informed hiring decisions.

Remember, integrating technical assessments strategically into your recruitment workflow, leveraging automation and AI, and continuously refining your assessments based on feedback are key to optimising your talent acquisition efforts in engineering and manufacturing.

Stay updated on emerging assessment trends and tools to stay ahead in the competitive landscape of recruitment.

By incorporating technical assessments effectively, you can identify and hire top engineering and manufacturing talent that will drive innovation, productivity, and success within your organisation.

Coburg Banks Engineering Recruitment Agency
We help great engineering professional get brilliant jobs in top companies.

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