Plasma Technology Company: Bespoke trade tests for engineering roles

Project brief

A Plasma Technology Company – leading provider of high technology tools and systems for industry and research – has a long-standing relationship with Mane. The recruitment company has been supplying the company’s mechanical and technical fitters on a contract basis for many years.

The Bristol based firm first brought Mane into the business over ten years ago due to its struggle to source the right temp staff to support its peak periods – most notably during the summer and autumn months. One of the biggest barriers the company had to overcome was attracting local temporary workers in a very competitive space. With a significant number of businesses in the locality also seeking the same skill sets, contractor engagement was crucial to success of the project. This was further exacerbated, however, by the low unemployment levels in Bristol, making available talent scarce. With very specific technical requirements for each role, ensuring each applicant met the high standards was not only time-consuming but often challenging given the aforementioned hurdles. This is where Mane provided significant value.

With a strong team of experts in this field – many of whom have previous experience in the engineering sector – Mane had built up an extensive network of engaging contract engineering and manufacturing professionals that it could tap into in order to source suitable candidates.  Perhaps more importantly, the team’s knowledge in this field led to the development of specific tests for the firm which enabled the quick assessment of individuals’ skills to ensure that the right person was found for each role each time.

These trade tests involved applicants having to build a sub assembly of machines and also setting up electrical wiring and soldering stations. In order to address previous issues, Mane also developed theory and colour blindness tests. Crucially, whenever these tests are carried out, the Mane team is on the shop floor setting the benches up and ensuring everything is in place – a seemingly small gesture that goes a long way in terms of delivering a positive candidate experience and a streamlined and highly effective recruitment process.

Another crucial element for the recruitment company was ensuring that applicants not only had the requisite skill sets, but they would also be a good cultural fit for the business. While the mechanical and electrical fitters were markedly different roles, individuals would be working on the same machines and therefore needed to work cohesively. By getting ‘hands-on’ and being on the shop floor regularly, Mane has become an integral part of the business and was subsequently able to sell the culture and values of the company to potential recruits, while also aligning individuals with the wider team. In fact, as a result of this approach, Mane recommended a candidate who initially didn’t excel over others in the practical test, but the team knew they would fit well with the company. Having performed very well in the interview, the individual was placed and went on to be an integral part of the business.

The success of what started out as a small project ten years ago is clear when one considers both the length and breadth of the relationship today. Not only are there now 30+ contractors operating with the firm as a result of this relationship, but Mane also now runs an MSP with the company and supplies to other sites within the group, expanding its remit to also include mechanical design engineers, electrical design engineers, purchasing, forklift drivers and administrative staff. 

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