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Questions needed for aptitude test

Steve Eayrs_2
Steve Eayrs_2 Member Posts: 56
I think you hit on it Mark. Alledged skills. How do you weed out the lier. I don't have a problem with the young guy who comes in and wants to learn and states straight up that he doesn't know anything about this trade. He will most likely also be honest with you in other areas as well.

For those who come in and sell themselves as the all around heat tech, and expert on about everything, we take a walk to the shop boil room. Its surprising how many of these experts can't explain how a simple aquastat works.
If I suspect they are not being honest, they deserve to be shamed a little. Something as simple as pointing to an aquastat and ask how they test the cad cell. If he starts taking the cover off it, he most likely is not your man.

Have never done it yet, but maybe team up with a good friend, and have them be their first bad customer. Would find out if they are able to diffuse the situation, or just add fire to a flame. Of course they may never trust you again either.

If I feel a person is being honest with me, I can assume they will let me know where their weak points are over time.
Not knocking a written test. Would be a good thing. Just not sure exqctly what I would put on it.



  • Rocky_3
    Rocky_3 Member Posts: 232
    New tech aptitude test

    thinking of using a pre-employment aptitude test to screen prospective new techs. Too often there is more promised than what is actually delivered. I have put together a skills board. This board has about 7 different zone valves, thermostats, tekmar control, various Taco pump and zone controls, aquastats, protecta-relays etc. all wired into light bulbs. I can test wiring and electrical trouble-shooting this way. If the light goes on, "presto", they got it right. I would like to come up with a written test to ascertain areas of weakness. Questions from all aspects of heating work, from pump sizing to combustion testing. What are some of the questions, or areas, you all would like to see on a test if you were interviewing a prospective new tech? If we get enough responses, I wil compile the list and post it here on the Wall. Who knows, maybe someone else could use it in their business.

  • R Mannino
    R Mannino Member Posts: 440
    You Know

    Well Rocky this may do well for someone already in the field and who has some experience. But for someone like me it may not bode well. Although I have no trade experience I may not fair well on this particular test. Not that I am not up to the task however this test may not be particularly decisive. I realize what your looking for, but YOU can teach this fairly easily, I'm pretty sure. Ron
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Basic steam question

    If a steam system is not heating all the way to the end, do you turn up the pressure control? FALSE!

    and speaking of combustion.....

    Is a digital (Bacharach, Testo, Wohler or whatever brand you use) combustion test necessary each time you work on a heating unit? YES!

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Empire_2
    Empire_2 Member Posts: 2,343
    Hey Guy's....

    Aptitude tests are great, but for myself,....? I am sometimes intimidated by these kind of questions. Nobody knows everything, but the added pressure is overwhelming. Since I am a business owner I to have a need to weed out the questionable tec's, but I can ascertain this by what I call a ride along. In 1 day I can see if you have what it takes to work for me and besides the written test, this is even more important than anything else. A wrong decision by me cost's me MONEY.... I am looking for someone who knows what the answer is and if they don't,. I want to hear that they can find it!!! Goes a long way to let me know that you are capable.

    Mike T.
  • gilligan
    gilligan Member Posts: 18

    I agree with the 2 replies above, had no direct experience coming into this trade, barely passed the state licensing exam but motivated, willing to learn and a hard worker... worth more or less than than guy who can answer the questions right but does as little work as possible?
  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,040

    I had an electrical job that wanted me to name the symbols for the different components from a set of plans, like switch, resistor, relay, receptacle, and so on. I also has to know how to calculate wire size and run length, bend EMT and how to use the NEC (look up code). I think the practical experience is gold. Not many guys know how to calculate a pump curve, and if they do they look like Brad White!

    Just a guy running some pipes.
  • bigugh_4
    bigugh_4 Member Posts: 406
    Attitude Vs. Aptiitude

    There is the crux of a good prospect employee! a Greenee or trained tech. The attitude is what will either make or break THE boss & or business. Attitude comes with the man. Aptitude can be taught!
    So the aptitude test is good to find out what the pay scale should be. but only a long good look at the prospects attitude will he prove to be profitable.
    TO many times, hired for tech ability, fired for social inability! (LOUSE-Y ATTITUDE)
  • Uncle E J
    Uncle E J Member Posts: 8

    Gary has it right. Without the right attitude, and people skills, it's tuff creating the right team on your bus. We all bring different skills, and pools of experience, to the table. This is how we place the right people in the right seat on the bus. Picking and training the right people help us keep up with current technology and stay profitable. I like the skills board as a teaching aid and a team builder. EJ
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557

    There is a mechanical aptitude test out there. I think the name is Bennett. It tests basic mechanical aptitude that can apply to any mechanical field. The questions show a picture and ask something like: If gear A turns clockwise, which way does gear B turn?

    I have found it a pretty good indicator of mechanical ability.
  • Leo_10
    Leo_10 Member Posts: 22
    Attitude vs Aptitude

    The sharpest guy I ever worked with was the biggest jerk. He was the reason a few guys including me left. The owner loved him. I have since been told the owner retired, sold the company and the new owner fired the guy after about a year. I have always felt two so so guys with a good attitude get more done than a shining star with a bad attitude.

  • Hey there Ol' timer...

    Good to see you out and about Gary.

    Rocky, maybe you should consider two tests. One for proving alledged field skills for experienced techs, and one of mechanical aptitude for non skilled techs to diagnose potential candidates.

    For the non skilled techs, give them a box full of pipes, valves and fittings and tell them to dry fit them into something that looks real. Then ask them to describe to you what the function of the device they have assemble is. THis lets you look into their minds eye and see things from THEIR perspective. This will tell you the difference between the guy with NO mechnical skills, and the guys who "get it".

    As well, I agree with Gary. Sometimes, people can put on a front that will suck you in to their confidence, only to find later that the person is of significantly lesser human skills than originally showed. Hence the reason to include a "probation period" on new hires. It avoids you having to pay out a lot on your unemployment insurance from people who make a living bouncing from company to company. And trust me, these gypsy's are out there on the prowl.

  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    High schools.

    High schools used to administer the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) tests around this time of the year.Lots of the questions were like what Paul spoke of...and then went into deeper detail.

    It was part of the always threatened "Permanent Record" that we were told about, apparently....

    Mine got me into the Coast Guard, when the list was long, and the slots were short.

    I'm not sure if it is still done, but it MIGHT be a way of checking on prospective employees. Chris
  • Rocky_3
    Rocky_3 Member Posts: 232
    I agree, aptitude without attitude is worthless

    I did not envision using this test to test new people who have never worked in the field before. What I envisioned this test for was not so much whether to actually hire or not hire an experienced tech, but to see where their skills were weak. I can then train harder in that area. I run my own training two days a week here at my shop. Everyone is welcome, from newbies, to old-timers. I am even starting to get some of my wholesalers attending. In addition, I can use this as a sort of benchmark to "grade" current techs. There has to be some sort of quantifiable progression in their skill set. Not only do I want to be able to "benchmark" their skills, but I have found the techs want to know where they stand as well. We do a 90 day "trial" period, at which time we get to see how motivated they are, how they deal with customers and co-workers, how quick they are to pick up skills etc.

    What I see the aptitude test being is a scale of where I need to train harder, where to start a prospective employee in the wage scale, and how well current techs are progressing in their skill set. I still think it would be of great value for these reasons.

This discussion has been closed.