Assessments

May 2, 2022

Wonderlic 

The Best Assessments for Manufacturing Jobs: A Short Guide

The Best Assessments for Manufacturing Jobs: A Short Guide
Wonderlic 

According to a recent Deloitte survey, hiring top manufacturing talent is 36% more difficult than it was in 2018, despite the pool of available workers nearly doubling since that time—and the trend is likely to get worse in the next decade.

By 2030, 2.1 million manufacturing jobs are predicted to remain unfilled, in large part due to continued challenges in finding workers at every level who either have or are willing to develop the constantly-changing skillsets required for success.

One of the best ways companies can overcome this talent challenge is to rethink their approach to candidate assessment. Specifically, by using manufacturing assessments that evaluate critical soft skills as well as existing hard skills, employers can significantly improve their chances of identifying the candidates most likely to succeed now, develop new skills on the job, and continue to thrive as the state of the industry evolves.

Here are a few things to consider as you’re shopping around for the right manufacturing assessment or test for your company:

Table of Contents 
1. Manufacturing assessments for hard skills
2. Manufacturing aptitude tests for soft skills
3. Top competencies for common manufacturing roles
4. Why multi-measure tests are crucial for manufacturing 

Manufacturing assessments for hard skills

This category of manufacturing assessments or tests measures a candidate’s technical aptitude. In other words, these tests assess whether the candidate has the necessary vocational skills and subject matter expertise to hit the ground running.

Technical aptitude tests can range from more specialized, on-the-job knowledge to spatial awareness to mathematics. Some common manufacturing hard skills tests include:

  • Basic machine operator test – A basic machine operator test measures a candidate’s ability to learn to use and maintain various types of equipment machinery. A common machine operator test is the Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude (WTMA).
  • Machinist aptitude test – Being a successful machinist requires the ability to apply mechanical knowledge and problem-solving skills to all variety of common and custom jobs. This machinist assessment test measures these abilities by asking candidates how they would handle different scenarios.
  • Numerical reasoning test – Many manufacturing roles require workers to able to interpret fairly complicated data. A numerical reasoning test measures a candidate’s acumen for decoding data through graphs or tables.
  • Assembly skill test – The assembly skill test replicates the assembly line, as candidates use outlined parts to create a sample product. The product can be assembled by hand or with machinery that will be used on the job to help predict performance.
  • Digital literacy test – According to a 2020 study by the National Skills Coalition, 35% of surveyed manufacturing workers have very limited to no digital skills. Yet digital literacy is key to keeping up with ever-changing technological forces. A digital literacy test measures skills related to existing technology and adaptability.

Manufacturing aptitude tests for soft skills

Manufacturing assessments or tests for hard skills are useful in understanding candidates’ knowledge of the industry and specific job requirements. Manufacturing aptitude tests for soft skills go beyond this to reveal essential information hard skills assessments aren’t able to.

Specifically, multi-measure hiring assessments that assess a candidate’s cognitive ability, personality and motivation offer valuable insights into how reliable, motivated, capable, adaptable, and collaborative they’re likely to be (just to name a few). 

Check out this introduction to assessments for more information on why multi-measure assessments are more predictive than simple skills tests, resumes, and cognitive ability, personality, and motivation on their own.

Wonderlic’s multi-measure hiring assessments assess three highly predictive constructs that provide insight into a manufacturing industry candidate’s soft skills:

Cognitive ability

  • A cognitive ability assessment or test is the single-best predictor construct for on-the-job performance. This test lets you know if the candidate has the cognitive aptitude needed for the role.
  • The measurement of cognitive ability takes into account candidates’ ability to learn, adapt, solve problems, and digest new or complex information.
  • Wonderlic created the first short-form cognitive assessment for the workplace. Today, WonScore’s cognitive ability test uses 50 questions relating to simple math, spatial reasoning, and more.

Question example: If product A takes 30 minutes to assemble, and product B takes 45 minutes to assemble, how long will it take to create 55 units of product A and 25 units of product B?

Personality

  • If a candidate is extremely skilled at the role, but they tend to create conflict when working with others, or are unreliable, they’ll likely end up hurting team morale and productivity. That’s why assessing personality is so important. Hard skills are teachable, whereas soft skills are ingrained, affecting how we work on a team and show up every day.
  • Combining a personality assessment with a cognitive assessment adds what’s called “incremental validity”—an additional and meaningful layer of predictive power beyond what either could do alone.
  • Based on the Five Factor model of personality, WonScore’s personality assessment measures five key attributes: cooperation, dependability, stress tolerance, sociability, and open-mindedness.

Question example: The candidate might be asked to rank a statement on a sliding scale. For example: I like starting conversations with people I don’t know. They would then rate their response from a scale of “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree.” That response, in combination with all of their other responses, would add up to an overall personality score, tailored to the job they’re applying for.

Motivation

  • When hiring a candidate, you want them to be invested in the role and feel fulfilled by the work. A motivation assessment can help clarify to what degree a candidate’s interests align with the responsibilities of a role.
  • Unlike a cognitive ability test, there’s no wrong answer with a motivation assessment; they simply measure preferences a candidate has with regard to work.
  • WonScore’s motivation assessment was designed based on the RIASEC model, which looks at six characteristics: practical, investigative, artistic, supportive, enterprising, and traditional.

Question example: The candidate might be presented with three different types of activities—for example, training new employees, designing a new clothing line, or treating people who have illnesses—and be asked to rank which of them they’d prefer doing the most.

The top competencies required for common manufacturing roles

Attention to detail. Collaboration. Problem-solving. Adaptability.

These are just a few competencies you’re likely focusing on when sourcing manufacturing talent. And the best—and fairest—way to assess them is with objective assessment data (as opposed to only looking at a resume and conducting interviews).

Wonderlic’s TrueMatch technology, grounded in O*NET (Occupational Information Network) data from The Department of Labor and data from 10+ million resumes, enables companies to identify high performers for your open manufacturing roles, by giving them instant, seamless access to 3.5 million off-the-shelf job scoring profiles, including hundreds of unique manufacturing-related job profiles.

Below are what TrueMatch identifies as the top five competencies (in suggested order of priority) for the 7 most common manufacturing jobs, according to ZipRecruiter

Mechanical Engineer
Analytical Thinking
Attention to Detail
Innovation
Dependability
Integrity
Instrument Technician
Attention to Detail
Dependability
Integrity
Analytical Thinking
Independence
CAD Draftsman
Attention to Detail
Dependability
Analytical Thinking
Cooperation
Integrity
Plant Operator
Dependability
Attention to Detail
Integrity
Stress Tolerance
Independence
Quality Control Inspector
Attention to Detail
Dependability
Integrity
Self-Control
Stress Tolerance
Machine Operator
Attention to Detail
Dependability
Cooperation
Self-Control
Integrity
Assembly Line Worker
Attention to Detail
Dependability
Cooperation
Self-Control
Independence
Sales Representative
Integrity
Dependability
Initiative
Attention to Detail
Persistence

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Why multi-measure assessments are crucial for manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is poised to grow in 2022, yet thousands of employers are still struggling to find the right people for their open positions.

While technical hard skills and relevant experience obviously remain relevant, hiring on existing skills alone isn’t going to be enough, especially as technology within manufacturing continues to quickly evolve.

Now more than ever, hiring managers should also make it a top priority to evaluate candidates’ soft skills—and be more open to considering candidates who may not have all the existing hard skill sets required but whose soft skills assessment results suggest they’d be able to fill in their gaps quickly on the job.

If you’re ready to invest in multi-measure hiring assessments that help you assess these critical soft skills for all your candidates for manufacturing roles, Wonderlic can help.

Schedule your WonScore demo today, or dig into our website first to learn more.

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