High demand for engineers and developers has led forward-thinking companies to adopt technical skills assessments in their hiring processes. Among essential criteria for hiring developers, recruiters ranked technical assessments as the third most important criteria (39%) after willingness to learn (55%) and work experience (40%). Despite their popularity, however, recruiters can struggle to make the most of technical assessments.

In this article, we dive into the challenges recruiters face with technical assessments and how they can leverage these solutions optimally to achieve better outcomes. 

What is a Technical Assessment?

Technical assessments help organizations measure candidates’ coding, collaboration and problem-solving skills. Recruiters use coding or technical assessments to understand a candidate’s job-relevant skills, allowing them to make data-driven and unbiased hiring decisions. With technical assessments, you can assess for the following types of skills: 

Core programming language skills such as code-writing skills, code quality and speed

General software development skills such as working with testing frameworks and version control 

Skills specific to the role such as mobile app development

Problem-solving skills and ability to collaborate on a team

You can create a more objective and fair hiring process with technical assessments, leveling the playing field for all candidates. Skills-based assessments ensure that your hiring process is compliant with the legal and regulatory guidelines. It also reduces your risk of using unintentionally discriminatory hiring practices.  

Although technical assessments are effective tools for hiring software engineers and developers, they are not without challenges for recruiters. 

Challenges in Creating Technical Assessments 

Designing the Perfect Assessment

A good technical assessment helps you accurately assess a candidate’s coding skills based on experience and knowledge. But a poorly constructed assessment will cause unqualified candidates to move to the next stage in the funnel or rule out talented candidates right at the beginning. Moreover, poorly-designed assessments can be riddled with bias and irrelevant questions, hampering your hiring decisions and ruining the candidate experience.  

Your company’s engineers are generally not trained to construct complex coding questions, and using publicly available coding assessments comes with another set of problems. 

Leaked Coding Questions and Plagiarism 

You might have faced this situation before when candidates submit a plagiarized solution. With the increasing use of coding assessments, instances of cheating and code plagiarism are also rising. 

When companies rely on their in-house engineers to create and maintain coding questions, those engineers quickly become burdened with managing leaked questions and rewriting assessments. 

Time-Consuming for Engineers

Managing a process prone to cheating, bias, and other inefficiencies is stressful and time-consuming for recruiters and engineers. Apart from the time it takes to hire and onboard a candidate, engineers may  spend hundreds of hours designing and redesigning candidate assessments. 

So, how can you conduct technical assessments the right way? 

Conducting Effective Technical Assessments

Tailor Your Process To the Role

You will be hiring for various roles and must adapt the process to meet your hiring needs. Here’s how you can design your technical assessments to evaluate different kinds of candidates. 

Start with the job description: This helps you narrow down the skill set based on role responsibilities and should be grounded in job analysis conducted by experts, such as IO Psychologists. Sharing the job description with your candidates will set the right expectations, making the process transparent. The job description should list essential or “must-have” skills. Be careful when listing additional “nice-to-have” skills, as these could discourage qualified candidates from applying. Once you have your list, you know which skills to assess and which coding assessments to use for every candidate. 

Design relevant assignments: Senior and junior candidates will need different assessments based on their experience and the role. Tasks that are too easy, irrelevant to the job role or unnecessarily long during the initial stages may cause qualified candidates to drop out of your hiring process. 

Assess Real-World Skills: When assessing candidates, focus on real-world skills, i.e., the ones they will use in their everyday work. Remember to keep validating and improving your hiring assessments. Work with your hiring manager and recruitment team to understand the specific skills to assess. 

Brush Up Your Techspeak

As a recruiter, you don’t need a computer science degree to hire engineers and developers. But if you want to hire the best ones, you need to know the fundamentals of the role you are hiring for. 

To create an accurate job description, you will need to understand the basic terminology surrounding daily tasks and responsibilities. For instance, if you don’t know the difference between a frontend and a backend developer, you will struggle to connect with the candidate. While interacting with candidates, basic technical fluency will enable you to understand their skills, ask the right questions to assess job fit and help decide the correct assessment to use.  

Invest in the Right Solution 

Manually building technical assessments is time-consuming and affects your productivity and workflow. On the other hand, pre-built technical screening tools streamline top-of-funnel candidate screening processes by directly evaluating candidates’ coding skills through a validated and predictive assessment tool

Technical assessment tools support data-driven decision making with the following benefits:

    • Streamline technical assessment and interviews
    • Save engineering time with a validated, leak-proof question library
    • Open candidate pool to more diverse candidates 
    • Reduce bias and increase diversity in hiring 
    • Spend time on qualified candidates only
    • Ensure excellent candidate experience 
    • Improve the quality of hire

How to choose the right technical assessment platform

A technical assessment tool will optimize candidate evaluation, saving your recruiting team time and resources. With online technical assessments, your hiring will move much faster as you eliminate manual work. 

There are many tech assessment solutions in the market, but choosing a solution depends on your hiring needs and goals. The solution should also be easy to implement and integrate with your existing tech stack. It should also have a comprehensive library of framework-based assessments and research-backed strategies for detecting and eliminating plagiarism.

The right solution will empower you to make better hiring decisions with reliable and structured technical assessments. 

Ready to Use Technical Assessments?

Assessments enable you to assess a candidate’s coding and problem-solving skills. For recruiters, conducting technical assessments can be a time-consuming process. With tech assessment and interviewing platforms, you can optimize this process.

Sophia Baik

Sophia Baik is Co-founder and VP of People, Finance, and Operations at CodeSignal, a coding skills assessment platform dedicated to helping companies #GoBeyondResumes in tech recruiting. Prior to co-founding CodeSignal, Sophia started her career in investment banking at Lehman Brothers before gaining experience in marketing and operations at tech companies such as Wayfair, Zynga, and Beepi.