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How to assess troubleshooting skills


Hiring managers and recruiters often need to identify candidates with strong troubleshooting skills. Employees who can think outside the box and solve problems independently are invaluable in many workplaces. 

Using a screening assessment is a great way to gauge an applicant’s troubleshooting skills. With more than 300 pre-employment tests to choose from, TestGorilla is an excellent option for screening candidates. 

In our comprehensive guide below, we explore why troubleshooting skills are important, why they should be assessed, and how TestGorilla can help you do this.

What is a troubleshooting skills assessment? 

A troubleshooting skills assessment is a set of tests designed to help you gauge how well applicants can think for themselves and solve problems independently. The tests present candidates with questions or situations they must work through logically to reach an answer.  

To perform well in troubleshooting skills assessments, applicants should have strong cognitive and problem-solving abilities, the ability to follow instructions, and a high level of creativity. Assessing a combination of these will help you gain an overall picture of a person’s troubleshooting ability. 

By incorporating a selection of troubleshooting tests into your pre-hire assessments, you’ll be able to filter out unsuitable candidates and streamline the hiring process. 

Why are troubleshooting skills important?

Why are troubleshooting skills important list graphic

Critical thinking ability

Strong troubleshooting skills require the ability to think quickly and independently. Critical thinking skills are extremely useful for identifying problems, assessing information, and making logical deductions. 

They’re also highly transferable to many aspects of life and work. Employees with the ability to think critically are often among the most valuable at a company. 

Effective problem solving

Strong troubleshooting skills enable employees to identify problems on their own. This then enables them to effectively tackle challenges and come up with creative solutions. 

Higher productivity

Employees with the ability to diagnose and fix problems independently can help you minimize downtime and disruptions. In turn, your workplace can run more efficiently, and you can optimize productivity and more easily reach your goals. 

Strong communication

Troubleshooting often involves collaborating and communicating with others to explain a problem and gain assistance. Because of this, employees with strong troubleshooting skills usually have strong communication skills – either naturally or because they’ve actively developed them. 

Communication skills are valuable across virtually all positions in all workplaces. They can boost efficiency and lead to more streamlined workflows and higher overall productivity. 

Lower risk of workplace accidents

Strong troubleshooting skills give an employee the ability to identify and fix small problems before they become major issues. In some workplaces, this can significantly reduce the risk of workplace accidents and injuries. This, in turn, boosts efficiency and productivity. 

Adaptability and flexibility

Individuals with strong troubleshooting skills are able to adapt to and thrive in new situations. Consequently, they’re easy to train, well-equipped to embrace new challenges, and able to find innovative solutions to problems. 

Adaptable employees are able to thrive in high-pressure environments and contribute directly to business growth and sustainability. 

Continued learning

People with strong troubleshooting abilities are usually interested in learning new skills and techniques. They tend to be curious, and their ability to think critically enables them to pick up new information rapidly. 

Individuals who are committed to learning are excellent candidates for promotion, and they can be invaluable to organizational growth. 

What skills and traits do employees with good troubleshooting skills have? 

Employees with strong troubleshooting skills usually possess a range of other skills. These can be equally valuable to your organization and should be considered during the hiring process. 

Analytical thinking

Strong troubleshooters are able to break down problems into smaller, more manageable components. Their analytical skills enable them to identify patterns and causes, enabling them to identify causes quickly and efficiently. 

Technical expertise

Anyone with good troubleshooting skills must be fluent with the equipment, programs, and systems that they work with. A high level of technical expertise is required to identify the cause of problems and suggest effective resolutions. 


Troubleshooting regularly involves adapting to unforeseen or unfamiliar circumstances. Individuals who are adaptable are able to learn new techniques and concepts easily, applying them to the problem at hand. 

Adaptable employees are indispensable to your organization and their ability to navigate through challenging environments enables them to contribute directly to growth and productivity. 

Attention to detail

Good troubleshooters are able to pay meticulous attention to detail, absorbing every piece of information possible. They recognize the potential significance of even small discrepancies or anomalies. 

This enables them to carefully analyze data and make informed troubleshooting decisions. 

A methodical approach

A methodical, organized approach to troubleshooting ensures the problem is identified and resolved effectively. The ability to establish clear workflows and document the process ensures everything is accounted for and critical details aren’t missed.

It also provides a clear troubleshooting framework or methodology that can be referenced for future issues. 

Strong research skills

Strong problem-solving skills are often associated with the ability to reference information from various sources, such as online documents, books, and industry experts. This enables employees to research and gather the right information to fix complex problems safely and efficiently.  

Patience and perseverance 

Troubleshooting can sometimes be a long and frustrating process. Employees with the ability to work through this exhibit both patience and perseverance, which enables them to remain focused on the problem at hand. 

This is particularly important in fast-paced industries where any downtime means lost money. The ability to invest time and effort into finding a fix as fast as possible will ensure your business remains up and running at all times. 

Skills and traits tests for evaluating troubleshooting skills

TestGorilla has a huge library containing 300+ scientifically validated tests you can add to your pre-employment screening assessments. These include a selection of tests that are useful for directly and indirectly gauging a candidate’s troubleshooting ability. 

You can add up to five tests to each assessment, and you can add custom questions to help you assess specific skills or knowledge. Whether you’re searching for someone with physical troubleshooting skills or technical ability, our tests can help. 

Here are some of our leading tests for evaluating troubleshooting skills. 

Problem Solving test 

TestGorilla’s Problem Solving test offers the best all-around assessment of an individual’s problem-solving abilities. It presents candidates with a range of problem-solving scenarios that they need to provide the most appropriate solutions to. 

Test questions involve selecting a sequence of actions based on, for instance, written business rules or employee scheduling according to a set of predefined conditions. 

There’s a 10-minute time limit on the test, ensuring candidates are able to give a quick, concise answer. People who do well on this test are able to quickly identify the key parts of a problem and provide an efficient, clear solution. 

Critical Thinking test

Critical thinking is a key skill for employees who are good at troubleshooting complex problems. TestGorilla’s Critical Thinking test enables you to measure an individual’s inductive and deductive reasoning ability. 

This is a high-level test designed to assess applicants’ ability to think independently to solve complex problems. It involves interpreting sequences, evaluating cause-and-effect relationships, and more. 

Applicants will be provided with a short text snippet and will be asked to provide an answer based on the information therein. There’s a 10-minute time limit on this test as well. 

Mechanical Reasoning test

TestGorilla’s Mechanical Reasoning test assesses an individual’s understanding of physical and mechanical concepts. Individuals with a good technical understanding of the systems that they’re working on usually exhibit good troubleshooting skills. 

This test is useful for job roles such as equipment installation technician, plumber, machine operator, or anyone else who requires a high level of spatial awareness. Its questions touch on force and movement, velocity, and pulleys, gears, and wheels in a real-world sense. 

Understanding Instructions test

Troubleshooting a problem often involves understanding a set of instructions to identify the exact issue and repair it. You can gauge an applicant’s ability to follow instructions through the Understanding Instructions test.

To perform well in this test, candidates must read a set of instructions, process them effectively, and decide on the appropriate course of action. 

There’s a 10-minute limit, which means successful individuals have the ability to read and process instructions in a time-sensitive – and potentially high-pressure – environment.   

Verbal Reasoning test

The ability to listen to a co-worker or read a snippet of text and draw logical conclusions enables employees to collaborate and communicate more effectively. In a troubleshooting sense, this can mean faster, more efficient problem-solving and less downtime. 

Using TestGorilla’s Verbal Reasoning test is a great way to evaluate a candidate’s ability to do this. 

To perform well in this test, they must have a good grasp of the English language and understand and can apply analogies, synonyms, and antonyms. 

Spatial Reasoning test

A high level of spatial awareness and the ability to understand the position of an object in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional space is crucial for troubleshooting in technical situations. With TestGorilla’s Spatial Reasoning test, you can evaluate a candidate’s spatial visualization, spatial working memory, and more. 

Successful candidates will have the ability to visualize and manipulate the position of complex objects in time and space. 

As with a few others we’ve discussed, there’s a 10-minute time limit on this test. This means that high-scoring applicants are able to perform well under pressure. 

Our Spatial Reasoning test is especially useful for positions such as engineers, designers, architects, and other STEM-related jobs. 

Attention to Detail (Visual) test

The ability to notice small details can be the difference between someone who’s okay at troubleshooting and someone who’s an ace problem solver. TestGorilla’s Attention to Detail (Visual) test enables you to gauge just how meticulous candidates are. 

Some of the skills the test assesses are the ability to find small differences in images, identify patterns, and pick out design details. 

High performance on this test indicates a candidate who can process visual information well and who notices small errors and minor details. 

This test is particularly great for evaluating troubleshooting skills in fields like graphic design, web development, and marketing. 

How TestGorilla can help you find employees with troubleshooting skills

If you’re looking for a platform to help you with pre-employment screening, TestGorilla has you covered. We have a huge test library with more than 300 scientifically validated tests ranging from cognitive ability evaluations to language competency tests.

With these, you can effectively evaluate troubleshooting skills and any other abilities or technical knowledge required for your position. By harnessing the power of the TestGorilla platform, you can streamline the hiring process and objectively assess a candidate’s abilities. 

What’s more, TestGorilla has an intuitive user interface, and the mobile app enables candidates to complete pre-employment assessments from the comfort of their smartphones. You can even add custom test questions if required.   

A comprehensive report is generated for each candidate, enabling you to quickly rank them according to their overall performance or score on individual tests. 

We recommend combining skill tests, behavioral tests, and interviews to get a comprehensive overview of your candidates. Use tests and interview questions specific to the role you need to fill. If you're hiring for a Linux role, for instance, include a Linux test and ask Linux troubleshooting interview questions. With this complete view of candidates, you'll find the best troubleshooters to join your team.

All things considered, TestGorilla stands out as the leading pre-employment applicant screening platform. We can help you make the correct hiring decisions by helping you streamline your hiring workflow and successfully evaluate candidates. Sign up for a free 30-minute live demo or get started with TestGorilla’s free-forever plan today and see how we can help you transform your hiring process.


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