Many things are easy in life; hiring and building a team of competent programmers is not on that list. The recruitment process often demands a level of sophistication to ensure that the coders that end up on the team can perform excellently and solve real-life problems. For efficiency, the candidates for the job must be creative, able to think outside the box and develop practical solutions.

To build confidence in your candidate’s ability, include technical tests in your tech recruitment process. These tests will also help you make an accurate and data-driven appraisal of the candidates’ creativity and thought patterns before committing to a live interview. It is also beneficial to the candidates – unrealistic expectations on ability can turn a live coding interview into a hard experience.

In this article, we will discuss how you can significantly improve your tech recruitment strategy and build a quality team of programmers by incorporating online assessment tests.

Understanding the traditional recruitment process

Hiring and recruiting has always been an HR professional’s responsibility. Recruiters are responsible for the entire process, right from sourcing, to communications and face to face interviews. In some cases, they may have to sort through hundreds of applications before making a shortlist and proceeding with the interview. These steps take a lot of time.

Also, traditionally, recruiters assess applicants manually, which means the screening process relies heavily on human opinion. Research has shown that human decision-making is often influenced by subjective factors that may not be relevant to the role. Therefore, there is a good chance of unconscious and biased hiring choices.

Depending on the number of candidates and the intricacy of the role, the traditional recruitment process can be laborious and nerve-wracking, particularly for companies with limited resources. Sometimes, the recruiter may have limited ability to assess each candidate methodically, which may cause faulty assessment. Clearly, the lengthy traditional recruitment process cannot work effectively for a constantly growing tech sector.

winding road
The hiring process can be long and winding

How do online technical tests work?

Online technical tests are becoming more popular in recruitment, and for a good reason. Test platforms help recruiters get an objective measure of ability in potential candidates. Tech recruiters create tests by choosing from predefined coding challenges and questions or by building their own. Depending on the role or job requirement, they can select the languages that candidates can use to solve the tests.

After that, recruiters send candidates a link to their online test. Candidates are able to take the test from their own home or offices, usually with a (realistic) countdown timer.

Screening tools test the accuracy of the implementation with different inputs and edge cases – from empty input data to input data with all zero elements, input data with a single element – and all that jazz!

Candidates’ answers are automatically checked and a global score is calculated. Helping you, as a recruiter, shortlist your candidates at a glance.  

Essentially, the goal of adopting technical testing is to ensure that the developer you hire is an asset and not a liability to the organization. This means that the final candidate should be able to:

  • Change and maintain codes
  • Simplify solutions
  • Create solutions through collaborative efforts

Multiple online testing solutions are available to assess the professional skills of a candidate and their ability to perform adequately if hired for a job. Online tests present a concise evaluation of a candidate’s skill set and abilities. HR professionals can find developer candidates who fit the job description and profile.

Incorporating technical tests into the recruitment process

If you are looking to integrate technical tests into your recruitment process, you need to consider some points to make it seamless and effective. Technical assessments are beneficial for both HR professionals and developers, but it is important to make the process properly organized and professional. Consider the following tips:

Use relevant assessment tests

If you are going to include testing as part of your recruitment, you need to ensure that the assessment you send out correlates with the job requirements. Candidates are often disappointed upon realizing that the tests have nothing to do with the advertised role. If you are looking for a web developer – front-end or back-end – the exam should be based on relevant web programming languages. With that, candidates have a shot at acing the test.

Ensure assessment tests solve your pain point

Technical tests should help you obtain answers to the questions you have. The effort would be pointless if you conducted a test and ended up with solutions that do not necessarily give you an accurate overview and feedback on the candidate and their ability. 

The questions should show related problems that they may have to solve in their daily routine on the job. Any test the HR professional provides should help guide their decision, otherwise, the time and effort would have been wasted.

Make the tests concise

When creating technical tests, avoid ambiguous questions that entail style or creativity. The questions should be concise and properly worded to avoid misinterpretation. Also, the questions must be updated. There are cases where the test taker knows a more recent solution to a challenge but loses marks due to an obsolete answer key.

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Technical testing: get straight to the point

Inform candidates about the assessment

It is advisable to inform potential candidates of the interview format, as well as technical tests. This will help the candidate prepare adequately for the interview and ensure better results. By telling candidates about the technical tests beforehand, they will not be taken aback or feel tricked. Some solutions, CodinGame Assessment for example, also include a quick tutorial at the beginning of their tests, so that candidates can get a glimpse of what the test will look and feel like before diving in. 

Divide the assessment into two stages

The online technical test can be an excellent precursor to a live interview. This means allowing the developer to complete a coding test at home and at their convenience. Successful candidates can then come in for an interview. The benefits of this are simple: it helps to choose the most committed developer and allows you to evaluate a practical programming solution.

If the candidates come in for an interview, the HR professional can follow up by asking questions based on their results. Performing the follow up will also help to ensure that the candidate can actually create the original code. If they wrote the code themselves, they will be able to describe and expand it.

Give helpful feedback

As a hiring manager, it is helpful to provide prompt and relevant feedback to candidates who take your technical test. Candidates are usually curious to know what they missed, what they did well and what the HR professional expected. The feedback is a cursor for improvement and encouragement.

Benefits of technical testing

Online technical tests are still relatively new to the HR industry – assessing the programming skills of candidates in a real-time programming environment. How can HR professionals looking to build an effective tech team benefit from using online technical tests?

Assess efficiency by using flexible testing

Online platforms that provide technical screening have plenty of default tests you can use, but they also allow flexibility. You can create your own custom campaigns.

Save time

Online technical tests allow quick grading, debugging and correction, allowing you and the candidates to save time. You will not have to waste time on paper test assessments and the recruitment process is even more effective.

Relevant feedback

Tests provide for relevant discussion and feedback.

Full insight into a candidate’s skills

Automated tests give you all kinds of information based on a number of different criteria (from language knowledge to design).

Managing resistance to change

Despite the amazing benefits of using online technical tests, you should anticipate a bit of resistance regarding its adoption in the tech recruitment process. We often get used to the conventional way of doing things that we may find it hard to adopt change, especially when it has never been tried. HR professionals need to take measures to tackle resistance and reduce it.

The key is to help decision-makers (including senior managers and supervisors) understand the value of incorporating tests in the recruitment process. Explain the importance of change, its implication on the system in place, and the benefits. By adopting a structured change management approach, you can successfully identify and tackle the causes of resistance, and prevent them from interfering with the change process.

In conclusion

For HR professionals, having to shortlist candidates is tedious and time-wasting. An online technical assessment allows them to shortlist candidates for a particular job based on coding skills. The results are far more accurate and this method eliminates bias from the recruitment process. Online-enabled assessment beats the traditional recruitment process because the technology allows automatic shortlisting and simpler tech recruitment.