Testing new employee's ...

This is a continuance of the story in Catalyst magazine on finding the good and identifying the bad CAD user when hiring. Very good article by Robert Green, all should read this informative article.

Testing for the individuals. We need a concise test that can allow us to find these good hires. I am looking for existing test examples that you use for testing these individuals. I would like to compile it and forward copies to all users who wish this information. I figure that all of us put together we can create this test so it covers all features of program usage.

This would be better than the CSWP in hiring individuals. How many of you have hired someone just to find out that they pretty much cannot use the CAD software. You spend a lot of time training the individuals and a month or two later they let this person go. All you can see is wasted time spent over the time period.

Let us create this test and make it available to all users. This will benefit all in finding these good users or at least give us a way to weed out the bad users. I am not looking for a test on engineering skills, just CAD related ones, so lets keep this focused. I may need others to review for application, at least a grammar review (I know how we engineers talk) once I get this compiled.

Inteligence is a capability that cannot be properly tested, CAD usage can. iQ

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I think you get what you pay for. If you're offering 30 grand a year people worth 85 a year will not even apply. Before looking for a test you should considerer if what you're offering is appropriate for the area you're in.

85 grand a year may still not be enough for a hi paced over time riddled job in the bay area.
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Have you said a mouthful. I'm a faithful disciple of "you get what you pay for, and you pay for what you get". Unfortunately this is a difficult issue to get around nowadays with bean counter types looking at offshore engineering rates measured in dollars per day instead of hour.

Saying that, give the potential candidate a simple object and a ruler and ask him to produce a drawing. When I say simple, I mean a child's wooden block or something like that. Have a seat of SWx as installed with no customizations. Have it be something that a descent candidate could whip out in 15 minutes. Give them an hour. You will know who wins and who doesn't.

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There is an online "skills gap assestment" that you can get for your company. Its not so much as a test as its shows what the person strong and weak points are.

I think its called "I get it". You can use this existing employees as well. There is an online aspect to this in regards to videos that you can watch on any area of the program. I dare say there are over 500 hours of footage ranging from Assemblies to surfacing to drawings.

Maybe try googling it, if not call your VAR.


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Just some outside the box thoughts:

  1. Designing plastic parts uses a different skill set than sheet metal, so some discretion is needed by a given company in what they test for as surfacing skills may not be needed or rarely needed at all in some companies.

  1. Measuring how fast someone learns something "new" is more difficult, but possibly more relevant when a potential hire comes in the door.

  2. Stability & consistency as a reliable employee tends to be independent of CAD, and that is important.

  1. Ability to work smoothly and easily in bi-directional contacts with others in engineering, manufacturing, vendors and such is often very important, too.

I don't quite know how to go about finding or creating the "Best Test".


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Did that once and asked the candidate to use the "scale" (proper name for the triangular engineering/architectural rulers) and reproduce the drawing on CAD. They asked "what's a scale", and instantly I knew.

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Bad, Good Cad users ???

I have hired beginners with the aptitude and ability to learn quickly (by luck and chance more often than not) and some of these individuals quickly surpass the average Good user. Sounds like your test may weed out these exceptional individuals (i.e. diamonds in the ruff).

Careful, you might get what you tested for


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knew what-- that they were under the age of 30 and hadn't started out on a board?

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But since a lot of drawings are still on paper, a lot of companies simply must take measurements off paper docs and create Solids files, so there is a REAL NEED, to be conversant with the "scale".

It is particularly so in industries where large items are built where those are still used, even in the field by construction crews.

Hence I really do agree with Ken.


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It may not be politically correct to say, but the lack of experience or skills is certainly valid grounds for not hiring someone. Self-confidence alone is not qualification enough.

That said, I would rather hire someone with the ability to learn than someone who is stagnant with mediocre skills. I wouldn't judge someone based on their ability to use a slide-rule. I'm 40 and don't know how to use one (although I did learn once).

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just ask to see their calculator. if it's rpn, hire them on the spot. :D

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Where do I apply?

Art W (owner of 3 HP-11Cs and my old 1963 K&E Log Log Duplex Decitrig)

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Art Woodbury

LOL! Now that would be a small group. I bet most people wouldn't know what RPN stands for.

=========================================================================== Chris

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Chris Dubea

This was 18 years ago. Lots of drawing boards still in service then, and not too many colleges teaching CAD and none of the high/vocational schools. It was still a commonly used instrument. I wouldn't ask it today, but then it was very relevant.

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I know several people that would love to get their hands on an 11c or 15c. I bought my 11c in '81 for $125. It's still in remarkably good shape, just missing the rubber non-skid pads. I take it home everyday for fear of losing it.

Funny thing, I can't use a regular calculator. :D

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I actually wore out 3 of the 41c type versions (forgot the variations).

They each took years of beatings in the trenches and out in the tool shop as I made parts and prototype molds.

Not having CNC's, I wrote a program that let me step corner radii so I could do some simple 2D shapes on parts without having to "send them out", so the 41c's survived a long time right on the Lagun mill's bed.


kb wrote:

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Hey There -

Personally, I would ask them to model some simple things in a minimum of 3 different ways and describe the best practices vs. worst. I would also ask them to model something in the most terrible way possible and then describe why it is terrible.

If you want a cad jock, it would not to be too much to ask for them to bang our a few models, assemblies and a drawing or two in an hour or two. Put them to the test.

I would also ask them describe what they knew about drafting - what is the difference between view types, 1st/3rd angle projection and so on. It should be reasonably easy to get to the bottom of the person's abilities.

You have to know what you need - you might need a designer and the criteria might be different. I have met great cad folks that had no concept of design. So know what you want before you set the criteria.

I have been thinking that a knowledge test base solely on describing acronyms would be revealing. For example:

Describe: EDM, CNC, CPM, MRP, PDM, PLM, SQL, GDT, DFM, DFSS, LAM, DPMO, FOB, ARO, NCNR . . . (is could potential reveal what a person had knowledge of - or perhaps just spawn a book of acronyms). I would use this type of inquiry with someone who claimed "generalist" status.



For those of you interested:

EDM - electrical discarge machining (also some planning thing which one the described would show their bias)

CNC - computerised numerical control

CPM - crucible powdered metal

MRP - materials requirement planning

PDM - product data management

PLM - product lifecycle management

SQL - structured query language

GDT - geometric dimensioning & tolerancing

DFM - design for six sigma

LAM - large assembly mode

DPMO - defects per million opportunities

FOB - from our buisiness (if appropriate as them for various types of fob)

ARO - after recieving order

NCNR - no credit no return

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Sean-Michael Adams

Enterprise Decision Management Electronic Data / Document Management

Cost Per Thousand Critical Path Method

Manufacturing Resource Planning

Point Distribution Model Precedence Diagram Method

Global Date Time

Design For Manufacturability

While google produced a number of hits, the first being Local Area Multicomputer - also seems the most common acronym Google 3 pages deep nor Wikipedia come up with your LAM

Defense Prisoner of War (POW)/Missing Personnel (MP) Office (US DoD) Deployment Process Modernization Office

Free On Board - although I believe that is what you mean Fresh Off Boat

Army Research Office Architecture Research Office Arizona Radio Observatory but no after receiving order no even at the shipping term glossary but I've seen the term on quotes

National Center for Neutron Research National Center for Nursing Research (NIH) National Committee for the New River, Inc. Nearest Common Node Rerouting (ATM) NIST Center for Neutron Research Non-Cancelable, Non-Returnable - I think that's what you mean Nonconsenting Nonresident

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Doug T

Well if anything this was an interesting loop and the turns that it took, full speed ahead. Sorry I have been out for a while with a bone spur in the heal of my foot.

Let me start at the beginning. I use to have a test for new hires for mechanical engineering needs. It was based on AutoCAD 14. I even took the test when I started in my current company. It was a multiple-choice test that started from the basic command concept to an advanced topic. I am going to re-create this using SolidWorks as the CAD tool. The AutoCAD test showed me how technical the user was in knowledge of the software.

This will be kind of the same format of the CSWP exam, but a lot easier questions. The test will continue to re-create a model from a printout of a drawing in SWx. Then the new hire will detail out the modeled item to the best of their intent, I will remove the drawing that the model was created in.

This will just be a basic skill test, nothing fancy. The test will only demonstrate competency not value to the company as an individual.

Of note: I have had many hires in the last year that state they can run SWx just to find out that they started the software once or twice.

Back to the test. I plan on having a few sections to the test. 10 questions per section. Sections to include sketching, solid modeling, surface modeling, assemblies, detailing, programming, cosmos, and I an sure that there will be a few more. If anyone is interested I would like questions in a specific area, the multiple choice answers and the correct answer. I will compile and distribute. If anything this would be a good starting place for you to customize for your industry.

Not that I mind all that banter of this group, it is quite colorful at times. But I would like interested parties only. If you do not want to be part of this test then please do not reply. I understand your opinions, I have read all of them, I have quite a few myself on testing.

This is a request from my manager to update our testing program for new hires. And I am committed to supporting my company to the best of my ability. I have even reviewed this testing creating concept with him and he agrees that the test will require multiple viewpoints and disciplines to create a good test. And he and I have no problem sharing the results.

This is the story of ham and eggs (commitment verses participation). The chicken gave us eggs for our meal, the chicken was participating. The pig was committed, it gave us its ham. Can you say OINK... iQ

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