With engineering’s vast scope and its many fields of expertise, the challenge lies in whether the candidate you’re hiring has the right skills required for the specific job you need to be done. Usually, there can be no single proper way to gauge your candidate when hiring engineers. So, how can you be sure that your candidate is the best match for the role you need to fill? 

Here’s where assessment and aptitude tests come into play. Some companies turn to assessment centers and standard aptitude tests to evaluate candidates. But did you know that you can create and design your own engineering assessment? We can help you develop the best assessments tailored to your specific job requirements and competencies. 

But before taking the first step toward designing your engineering assessment tests, let’s first know the basics of what it is and what it’s for. 

What is an Assessment Test?  

An assessment test evaluates candidates on the critical skills required to be an effective engineer. It can also help predict a candidate’s performance, engagement, and retention. 

Through these tests, you can identify candidates who can apply their knowledge effectively and manage projects to achieve results in a setting built on how your company works. So many types of tests are out there because technical and engineering assessments are usually based on job behavior research and have multiple variations.  

These variations can individually and specifically measure successful qualifications and assess applicants’ behavioral competencies. Each type of assessment compares an individual’s behaviors to the job-specific factors relating to good performance. 

Ultimately, engineering assessment tests help streamline applications and the whole recruitment process, as they help ensure that candidates are qualified and have the needed skills to succeed in a specific role.  

Engineering Assessment Test Basic Components 

Engineering assessment tests aim to evaluate the examinee’s behavioral and technical skills. The skills usually measured include but are not limited to: 

  • Computer Science (knowledge of programming and modeling software) 
  • Stress Management (dealing with pressure positively) 
  • Data and Statistics (ability to understand and manipulate raw data) 
  • Teamwork 
  • Communication 
  • Ability to Learn 
  • Leadership 
  • Creativity 
  • Attention to Detail 
  • Problem-solving 

While the contents of assessment exams might change from company to company, the core abilities being tested remain the same. 

Engineering Assessment Test Common Job-Specific Components 

Some job-specific skills typically tested when hiring engineers are as follows: 

  • Mechanical Reasoning 

Mechanical reasoning is the basic understanding of physics principles used in mechanics. A mechanical reasoning test is designed to assess a candidate’s competency in this area. 

This test includes using everyday objects and images to demonstrate a problem that needs knowledge on physics principles such as physical force, electricity, magnetism, mass, area, dynamics of air, water, and other liquids, pulleys, and levers. This test shows that an applicant has a basic (General Certificate of Secondary Education or GCSE-level) understanding of physics and can apply that knowledge in a job-specific setting

  • Diagrammatic Reasoning 

Diagrammatic reasoning is the skill of assessing and analyzing available information to solve problems and reach a proper conclusion. The exams to evaluate this skill are called diagrammatic reasoning tests, also known as abstract reasoning tests

This test involves solving complex, image-based problems using logical deductions from the provided information. This assessment demonstrates logic and clarity from identifying patterns in images and recognizing when something is missing or incorrect while under time pressure. 

  • Spatial Awareness 

Spatial awareness focuses on how an individual can mentally manipulate shapes in 2D and 3D space to visualize movement or changes. Spatial awareness tests may look similar to abstract reasoning tests, but the difference lies in the assessment that’s not about logical deduction

Even when there is modeling software available today, there will be times when an engineer needs to mentally manipulate parts. So, the ability to visualize problems to find a solution is an essential skill to look for when hiring engineers. 

  • Numerical Reasoning 

Basic mathematical knowledge is an integral part of an engineer’s skill set. For example, in a numerical reasoning test, candidates are required to answer problems after being presented with a series of mathematical word problems based on graphs, tables, and charts. Candidates must then read, analyze, and understand the information provided and perform the required calculations. 

The test usually just involves basic mathematical operations like addition and multiplication. Percentages and ratios are also included. This assessment demonstrates a candidate’s performance under pressure and the ability to make deliberate and processed calculations. 

Company Specific Tests 

  • IPAT Cognitive Ability Test 

The IPAT is a required assessment test exclusively used by IBM—one of the most well-known employers in computing, programming, and software engineering. Their whole hiring process evaluates candidates based on IBM’s eight core competencies: adaptability, communication, client focus, creative problem-solving, drive, teamwork, passion for the company, and taking ownership. 

  • Situational Judgment Questionnaire 

Arup—known for projects like the Sydney Opera House and The Shard—prefers situational judgment style tests when hiring engineers. The questions involve hypothetical workplace scenarios, and candidates are asked to pick a response they feel is the most appropriate. This kind of assessment reflects on the company’s values and ethics and its emphasis on teamwork, diversity, and collaborative work. 

  • Psychometric Tests 

Rolls Royce—known for their aircraft engines as much as their cars—recruit top-level engineers through a robust assessment process. Candidates are asked to answer the Measurement of Competencies Questionnaire, similar to a normative personality test. Depending on your field of expertise, you will be asked to answer either a situational judgment test, a numerical reasoning test, or a verbal reasoning test. 


Designing an assessment test may sound complicated, but the return of having the best engineers on your team is so much more worth the work. If you think that custom-made engineering assessment tests are just what your company needs, let Agile WPS help you.  

We are committed to being your channel in building meaningful relationships and starting a successful collaboration with only one goal: building bridges that connect you with a pool of top engineers in your industry. With more than five years of experience under our belt in providing effective and long-lasting staffing solutions, we can make hiring engineers a breeze for you.  

Contact us, and let’s take the first step to get you the best engineers for your team—together. Partner with Agile WPS today.