How To Hire A Maintenance Technician

June 30, 2022

how to hire maintenance technician

A maintenance technician works as part of a business to ensure the smooth operation of equipment, fixtures, and building systems.

They might work as a larger part of the maintenance team or on their own, and they are responsible for responding to reports of malfunctioning items, conducting inspections, and working with external contractors and specialists when needed.

The maintenance technician might specialize in pipe fitting, welding, carpentry, or HVAC systems.

Finding the right candidates who have the skills and abilities necessary to be a successful maintenance technician can be difficult. The organization that is looking for a maintenance technician needs to ensure that they are properly qualified and skilled, with the abilities that ensure any repair work is undertaken efficiently and promptly, with preventative measures like inspections completed to reduce costs.

In this article, we will examine what maintenance technician does as part of their daily tasks, including the skills and abilities that a recruiter should look for in applicants. In addition, we will discuss the pre-employment assessments that could be used to assess candidates for different skills, abilities, and competencies that can be hard to gauge in traditional application processes.

What should a maintenance technician be able to do?

maintenance technician

A maintenance technician has a daily routine that includes inspections and repairs of various parts of the building, equipment, and fixtures.

They may be part of the team that initially installs wiring, electrical or electronic components, pipe systems, plumbing, equipment, and machinery, and they are likely to be responsible for aligning, balancing, and adjusting these items after installation.

Maintenance technicians will inspect and test equipment and systems to diagnose problems, coming up with the right techniques and using the right tools to repair. They may need to disassemble items for repair or remove them for replacement if repairs are not possible or too costly.

The administrative part of this role includes keeping efficient records of inspections, any necessary repairs, and estimated costs. They will need to use suppliers and catalogs to order supplies and replacement parts when necessary, and they may have extra responsibility for supervising and training other technicians or staff members.

Depending on the location and the needs of the business, a maintenance technician might have more generalized tasks like groundskeeping and general cleaning, or they might need specific knowledge in maintaining:

  • Wooden structures
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
  • Plumbing
  • Electronics system
  • Environmentally-friendly systems

Skills to look for in a maintenance technician

With so many different responsibilities daily, a maintenance technician needs certain specialized skills to be successful. For the recruitment team seeking the most qualified candidate, looking for these skills in an applicant will help ensure that they will be successful in the future. Some of these skills include:

  • CAD Software: Computer-aided design software is useful for maintenance technicians because not only will it help them visualize systems and fixtures, but it will also give them a way to design new techniques and technologies.
  • Equipment maintenance and repair: This might seem obvious, but being skilled at maintaining equipment and being able to repair issues comes from experience as much as it does from education, and some people are more naturally skilled at it.
  • Critical thinking and complex problem solving: Diagnosing problems and coming up with the right strategy for repair is only possible with good critical thinking skills, and dealing with complex systems like HVAC and electronics can involve difficult problems.
  • Reading comprehension: To be able to use, install, maintain, and repair different fixtures and equipment, the maintenance technician will have to be able to read and understand complicated documents like user manuals and technical information.
  • Time management: Operating different systems efficiently needs good time management, and with so many duties to undertake at once, the maintenance technician needs to have excellent time management skills - especially if they are supervising other technicians or staff members.

Useful abilities for a maintenance technician

When it comes to competencies, there are several key abilities that a successful maintenance technician needs to be successful, and these are key things that a recruiter should look for in an applicant. Some of these abilities include:

  • Manual dexterity: Some maintenance and repair work can be fiddly and require precise grip or physical strength. A successful maintenance technician needs to be able to work efficiently with their hands and use their body strength for effective and safe repairs.
  • Oral expression and comprehension: When reports of a fault are made, the person that is describing the problem may not know the technical terminology or be able to describe the issue properly, so the maintenance technician will need to be able to understand what people are trying to say. They will also need to express themselves in a clear way to give instructions or updates on what is happening with the item needing intervention.
  • Written expression and comprehension: Although the maintenance technician will often need to work from manuals or user guides, they may need to produce written material to support and guide others in the correct usage of equipment.
  • Selective attention: In a high-pressure situation, like repairing essential equipment, a maintenance technician must be able to pay attention to the job at hand, rather than getting distracted by other, less significant things.
  • Deductive and inductive reasoning: Logical thinking ability will make it easier for the maintenance technician to be able to gather all the required information before creating a plan to repair something. They will be able to follow each step logically when diagnosing, and ensure that the right repair is made at the right time for the best results.

Which soft skills tests could I use to hire a maintenance technician?

In many jobs, soft skills are often the intangibles that can be the difference between a successful hire and a costly mistake. Choosing candidates with the right soft skills is not easy in a traditional CV or application form reading, or even in the interview stage, and it is even harder to gauge the level of skill a candidate has without objective data.

Soft skill tests allow recruiters to make unbiased decisions based on quantifiable data. Some tests that you could use when hiring a maintenance technician include:

  • Adaptability: With different responsibilities and the need to be able to respond appropriately in an emergency, the maintenance technician needs to be adaptable. This test allows them to demonstrate how adaptable they are through the actions they would take to solve work-related problems.
  • Communication: Communication skills are essential to any work that involves dealing with the public or working as part of a team, and the maintenance technician needs to be able to communicate effectively with everyone in the organization to diagnose and solve mechanical problems. In this assessment, they will be presented with scenarios that demonstrate the way they prefer to communicate.
  • Problem Solving: Diagnosing faults and repairing machinery, equipment, and systems is all about effective problem solving, and this assessment allows the candidate to demonstrate their problem-solving skills based on work-related problems.
  • Time Management: Whether the maintenance technician is to work alone or as part of a team, they will need to manage their time efficiently to ensure that machinery is repaired as quickly as possible to reduce downtime. In this assessment, the candidate is tested on their ability to multi-task and focus on the most important issues first.
  • Accountability: The maintenance technician is responsible for ensuring that inspections are carried out regularly to prevent faults and failures, and they are also responsible for ensuring that repairs are carried out swiftly and effectively. This means that the maintenance technician must be prepared to be held accountable for any problems that occur, and take responsibility for fixing them.

Which technical or aptitude tests could I use to hire a maintenance technician?

how to hire maintenance technician

There are several different technical skills that a mechanical engineer should have, and these are usually backed up through qualifications that they have achieved. Knowledge of specific software might be important too, but this usually includes bespoke packages that an application will be trained on when they start the role.

For other aptitudes, testing is an effective way to get an understanding of a candidate's proficiency, and the below tests would be appropriate in the hiring process for a maintenance technician:

  • Mechanical Reasoning: A maintenance technician needs to have a firm grasp of basic mechanics, and the mechanical reasoning test assesses their knowledge of physics principles such as electricity, forces, and pressure.
  • Numerical Reasoning: The reasoned application of simple mathematical operations to a problem is needed in some cases to solve problems in mechanical items, so this assessment is used to gauge how confident a candidate is using operators like multiplication and division, as well as percentages and ratios.
  • Spatial Reasoning: The spatial reasoning assessment tests a candidate on their ability to visualize 2D and 3D objects in space, including rotation, mirroring, and shape nets. This is useful for demonstrating their abilities to visualize problems with physical items and see different solutions.
  • Error Checking: A good eye for detail is essential to the role of a maintenance engineer, especially when it comes to troubleshooting. This assessment is designed to challenge the candidate to spot errors in the information that looks almost identical.
  • Logical Reasoning: The application of logical thinking to problem solving shows that the candidate can use all the available information to come up with a reasoned solution, and in this assessment, they will need to be able to spot patterns and trends in unfamiliar information.

Although the above tests would give a recruiter lots of data to work from, the number of tests would probably be overwhelming - both for the recruitment team and for the candidate. The below assessments would be our recommended test battery for use in the hiring process for a new maintenance technician:

  • Mechanical Reasoning: In the mechanical reasoning assessment, the candidate is presented with questions about common household objects, often with diagrams, which need some basic knowledge of physics and mechanics to answer. The candidate must use these principles to choose the right answer from the multiple-choice options listed.
  • Adaptability: In the adaptability assessment, the candidate is presented with several work-based scenarios, followed by several different options. Each option represents a different course of action that could be taken to solve the problem in the scenario, and the candidate must choose the one that is most like how they would deal with the problem at work.
  • Error Checking: In this assessment, the candidate is presented with two sets of near-identical information, and they must find the differences between them quickly and effectively.
  • Problem Solving: In this scenario-based assessment, the candidate is presented with questions that are based on work problems that need to be solved. The candidate must choose the best course of action from the multiple-choice options presented, and their answer will demonstrate how comfortable and confident they are in solving problems.

For an even more streamlined hiring process, we have created a Maintenance Technician Job Knowledge test, which is designed to ask all the right questions of a candidate who has applied for a role.