Hiring Developers: What Are Technical Assessment Tests and Do You Need Them?

Competition for the best and brightest developers is fierce in today’s marketplace. A variety of industries require the skills developers have nowadays, and that has resulted in more companies fighting for the same limited number of people with those skills.

As you start the process to recruit and hire developers for your company, how can you tell which candidates are qualified for the job and which are not? One very popular way to do so is to use technical assessment tests as part of the hiring process.

In fact, a recent Talent Board study found that 82% of companies today are using a pre-employment aptitude test as part of their interview and hiring process.

What to prepare, remember, do or say when interviewing a developer remotely.

A challenge for you as an HR professional, though, may be that you need to justify the investment required to administer technical assessment tests to management before you get the go ahead. While you may have a fundamental understanding of what these assessments are, you most likely need reassurance about their validity and usefulness before taking the plunge.

First things first: what are technical assessment tests?

Assessment tests, sometimes also referred to as aptitude tests, are short tests that employers use to assess whether a candidate had the necessary skill set to achieve success in a specific role: hands-on programming skills, problem-solving skills, creativity, etc.

Assessment tests are a form of screening HR departments can use to narrow the pool of candidates down. Typically speaking, they are administered to candidates as a first step in the hiring process. Those who pass the assessment test are then usually invited in for a face-to-face interview.

Technical assessment pre-employment coding tests for developers are an excellent way to determine, at a glance, which candidates are qualified and which are not. Testing solutions, like CodinGame, provide hiring managers with clear, concise candidate result reports. A global score and a comparative score (comparing your candidate to others who’ve taken a similar test) make it easy for HR pros to shortlist the best candidates.

A recent study found that 60% of companies that were trying to hire developers had issues finding sufficiently qualified candidates. This is the role pre-employment technical assessment tests play. They qualify candidates based on actual performance before an offer for employment is even made.

If you’re unsure if you need to use technical assessment tests as part of your hiring process for developers, ask yourself these five questions. If you answer yes to at least three of them, you can rest assured that you need to start using technical assessment tests.

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Ask yourself these five questions

1. Are you looking to hire talented developers on a regular basis?

Technical assessment tests can be both an investment of time and money for employers that wish to use them as part of their recruiting process. If your company only needs to hire one developer this year, then it may not make a lot of sense to include a technical assessment test as part of the process.

However, if you plan to recruit 10 developers over the next 12 months, then you would strongly benefit from technical assessment tests. With such a large need for developers with a specific skill set, you’re likely to encounter a large pool of candidates. Technical assessment tests will help you weed out the contenders from the pretenders.

With the continued increased demand for employees with technical know-how, there is also a tendency for companies to try to make decisions quickly, so that the best candidates don’t get snapped up!

2. Have you experienced mis-hires lately?

According to CodinGame’s annual tech recruiting report, over 80% of HR professionals consider that “Finding qualified candidates” is the single most difficult thing about recruiting developers.

It’s difficult to sort the developers that are qualified for your position, from those who aren’t. Indeed, every company experiences a mis-hire now and again. You thought you had selected the perfect person for the job, only to find out that he or she wasn’t a good fit once he or she started the job. While you may think can be fixed quickly, you need to realize the true cost of a mis-hire.

A study conducted by Bradford Smart found that the cost of a mis-hire can be anywhere from 5 to 27 times the employee’s actual salary. That means a mis-hire on a position that pays €30,000 per year could cost a company anywhere from €150,000 to €810,000!

While you may never be able to completely eradicate mis-hires from your recruiting vocabulary, you could be able to limit how often you experience them through the use of technical assessment tests. By asking candidates to take these tests, you’ll be getting a first-hand look at what working with them would be like – before making an actual investment.

3. Do you often feel pushed for time?

Hiring is a time-consuming process, no matter how many open positions you have and no matter what position you are hiring for. As an HR professional, you have many tasks on your plate, and juggling them all while still doing a quality job can be extremely difficult.

If this sounds like the situation you’re in, technical assessment tests can come to the rescue. Unlike CV reviews and even interviews, technical assessment tests are objective screenings of candidates. They help you quickly and easily whittle down the pool of candidates to only those who have the skillset to handle the job.

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Often pressed for time? Technical assessment tests may be the answer

The assessments can be prepared and administered in a matter of minutes, reducing the amount of time you need to spend reviewing CVs, and allowing you to interview only candidates who can truly do the job.

4. Do you struggle to keep up with technical know-how?

Just because your company has a need to hire a developer doesn’t necessarily mean that you are up to speed with all the technical details that go into the job. In fact, it wouldn’t be altogether surprising if you, as an HR professional, have only a baseline knowledge of what is required of a developer’s job. This is especially true of the more technical aspects of the job.

As an HR professional, one of your primary responsibilities is to provide a shortlist of qualified candidates to managers so they can interview people they may want to hire for a position. So, what do you do if you don’t know your Scala from your Java?

The answer is that you can rely on a technical testing tool. Again, the great thing about these assessments is that you don’t need to have any technical knowledge at all to administer and review them. The assessments will be pre-loaded with the appropriate questions and answers, leveling the playing field, so to speak, when it comes to technical knowledge. In other words, you won’t need to have technical know-how to be able to effectively select finalists for the job.

5. Are you looking to improve your employer brand?

One of the daunting aspects of technical jobs nowadays is that it’s a developer’s market. There are far more open technical positions than there are developers who can fill them. As such, developers have the ability to be picky about the company they work for.

Qualified developers often receive multiple offers and can afford to pick and choose the right fit for them. That’s why it’s so important that you stand out as a company right from the beginning of the recruitment process.

One way to do that today is to use pre-employment technical assessment tests. CodinGame have introduced gamified technical assessment tests to take the candidate experience to the next level. By gamifying the tests, CodinGame makes the assessments fun for candidates, instead of a drag. Pre-employment technical assessment tests then become a fun activity, instead of another standardized test that developers often dislike.

In conclusion

Recruiting developers in today’s job market can be quite the challenge. With the way technology is advancing in all fields, companies in just about every industry require the advanced skillset a qualified developer can bring to the table. In addition, as the world becomes ever more interconnected through the internet and communication technologies, the pool of potential employers for these developers has expanded dramatically – making it even more difficult to find and hire qualified workers.

As an HR professional, you know all too well the challenges of not only finding qualified candidates for a developer position, but also properly assessing the resumes you do receive. With limited time and sometimes limited resources, it can be quite difficult for you to get the help and tools you need to make the proper recommendations to managers of the departments ultimately responsible for hiring.

That’s where pre-employment technical assessments can be your savior. They can save you time and money, streamline the recruitment process, help you avoid costly mis-hires, make your potential lack of technical knowledge a moot point, and improve your employer brand all at the same time.

If you aren’t already using technical assessment tests as part of your recruitment process for developers, now is the time to start integrating them into your process – before you fall further behind.


There’s a better way to test coding skills.

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Nathalie Figuière

Nathalie is Content Manager at CodinGame. When she's not busy creating quality #techrecruitment content, chances are she’s watching Friends or snuggling her little grey cat, Moon.