Technical and Coding Assessments in the Hiring Process

The debate about coding assessments

In the recruitment and hiring process, developers and I.T. professionals are often tasked with online technical skills and coding assessments. Our candidates at Bolt Talent Solutions have often shared their thoughts on this with some positive and some negative feedback. The debate around coding assessments is not new, but with the increased need for developers and I.T. professionals in a more digital, virtual and remote world, we would like to share our thoughts.

What is a technical and coding assessment, and why do we use it?

A coding assessment is used as an evaluation of skills and ability. Organizations and hiring managers use these assessments to determine whether a candidate would be able to perform the necessary tasks in the proposed role, and if they would be successful in their job. Because different organizations make use of different tech stacks and methods, we understand the importance of assessing these skills, however, we also understand why candidates have become extremely frustrated with the process.

What candidates have shared about coding assessments:

Developers and I.T. professionals can be difficult to find, as recruiters we are all aware of the struggle and the scramble to find the right talent for the role. I.T. professionals are in demand with the surge in digital transformation and more organizations relying on data. Coders have debated the topic on various platforms, and shared their frustration. Many feel as though it is a waste of time and are not a true reflection of their technical abilities. “I’ve heard the complaint that interview tests are awful, pointless, and demeaning a lot— especially on social media”. Why Some Developers Hate Coding Skills Tests.

 

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From this, we have drawn up the following:

  • Evaluation of technical abilities should not be done through standardised coding assessments whereby it is a “one size fits all” approach

 

  • The score of the assessment should not be the only way that hiring managers determine abilities
    • Automated scoring of code can lead to false rejections
    • The methods, critical thinking and approach to solving a problem should also be evaluated
    • External stressors, limited time and the potential future employee having a full time job that they need to attend to needs to be considered
    • The pressure and stress caused in the interview process – interviews can be extremely daunting

 

  • Technical assessments should also be conducted in a face-to-face or online interview

 

  • Assessments should reflect what a developer would usually do in their day-to-day jobs. A true reflection of programming abilities and experience through the use of assessing something that a developer does not need to build from scratch but rather finding the problem and how they would “fix” it could be another method of assessing coding skills

 

  • The coding assessments used are a reflection of the company brand and culture, it is important to review all aspects of the assessment process

 

  • The interview process can be extremely long, and because I.T. professionals are in high demand it is important that the process is managed correctly and in the shortest time frame possible. Not only do we lose talent through the extensive and lengthy time taken in the interview process – we also lose talent through lack of communication and explanation of the full interview process. Whilst we understand that there is a need to vet the talent properly before making the decision to hire them, we also need to consider that competitors in the same industry are also trying to find the same skills and talent

 

Candidate experience is extremely important to us. Finding a suitable candidate for a suitable role, and ensuring that our client’s needs are met is also something we need to fulfil. As mentioned, we understand the need for assessing technical abilities and coding skills but have found that through the feedback and research on the topic that different methods, approaches and ways of assessing this need to be considered.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

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