4 Quick Technical Assessments Tips for Measuring Candidates

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Learn how to improve your technical assessments with these 4 quick strategies.  Hire only the best talent for your company’s technical team.

TECH RECRUITING

How to measure candidate performance in Technical Assessments

The most important job of a hiring manager is to source, assess, and retain the best candidate for the position.  Whilst shortlisting the initial candidates may be straightforward, assessing technical skills can prove extremely difficult

Nowadays, every organization is keen to hire tech-savvy employees.  However, in the tech industry itself, finding the best candidates isn’t always as simple as ensuring the candidate has the right education and qualifications.  Assessing a candidate’s coding ability is sometimes best assessed using an online interview platform that can provide and record an accurate analysis of performance.

It is easy to forget the importance of soft skills when looking for a new computer programmer.  However, even the most talented developer will struggle to deliver if they lack basic communication skills.  A company needs an identity in this day and age and collaborative working and teamwork is often more key to this than a room of singularly talented individuals all doing their own thing.

Not all hiring managers have the technical experience, to understand what hard skills to look out for in potential candidates.  How can they still hire the best candidate without understanding all the technical jargon?  Any gaps in technical skills should be filled using both good communication between the IT and hiring teams throughout the hiring process and candidates should undertake a multi-tiered online technical assessment.

What to look out for during the interview

When interviewing for technical positions you should have a good understanding of both the hard and soft skills required to carry out the job. Technical interviewing is a complicated process that should involve more than one evaluation or test.  The person hiring should be experienced in their ability to identify clues that can give a good insight into both the candidate’s technical expertise and their interpersonal skills.

An ability to solve a complicated problem is not enough by itself.  The candidate also needs to be able to communicate the process effectively to their colleagues, who may not have the same technical understanding.  If the candidate cannot fulfill these essential job requirements, there will be little point in continuing the interview process.

Employment history and personal accomplishments are extremely relevant when hiring for technical staff.  Rather than just inquiring about where they worked, make an effort to learn more about their individual roles in projects they participated in whilst they were there.  What are they particularly good at? How quickly were they promoted?  You will often find highly skilled and talented individuals in technical positions who will climb through the ranks very quickly.  Obtaining a detailed work history can shed some light on their potential skill level and their potential for growth.  Don’t forget to enquire about reasons for leaving as this can give a good insight into their abilities to get along with colleagues and be an effective team player.

It is not unusual to hear that a recent college graduate may have broken new ground during their time at school but listen out for signs of arrogance.  Talented individuals without signs of arrogance tend to be much more open to learning new techniques and ideas.

Pick out the best candidates these technical assessment strategies

By probing beneath the surface, you can usually find hidden talents and weaknesses. Do not take a candidate’s qualifications and past experience on face value alone as you may miss out on crucial information.  It takes enormous skill to know both how to ask the right questions and how to interpret the results. These tips can help:

Review their notes

When undertaking an online technical assessment, a candidate will be required to solve a wide variety of different problems.  Whilst an online test can record the results, the time it took to complete the problem, and the accuracy of the solutions, it can be hard to work out the thought processes beneath these.  In addition, as the candidate will be under pressure, in an unrealistic scenario, they may end up making a few schoolboy errors.

Asking a candidate to take notes of the steps they are taking will provide much more information than their answers alone. Reviewing these with them afterward will give you valuable insight into their problem-solving skills and their ability to communicate these whilst under pressure.

Aim to challenge the candidate

It’s crucial in the tech industry to hire people who are both capable of thinking outside the box and who will rise to every occasion.  Present candidates with unexpected questions or scenarios completely outside of their specified comfort zones to gauge their response.  Observe how they react when frustrated.  Getting flustered is okay, but giving up or getting angry are red flags which can point to poor coping mechanisms. Ask them how they’d cope in the work environment if these same scenarios occurred to assess their problem-solving abilities.

Forget generic interview questions

There are so many sites online which provide ready-made interview questions.  Candidates will often spend time researching such sites and may provide ready-made answers.  By sitting down with key members of the engineering team and brainstorming ideas, you can create a list of questions and scenarios that are both original and valuable.  Try to anticipate the answers the candidate will give so that you can lead the interview in a direction that allows you to gain the most insight.

Don’t downplay soft skills

Whilst there is no disputing that hard, technical skills required for the job should not be comprised.  Don’t overlook the importance of so-called soft skills.

Without good soft skills, the candidate will not be able to survive and thrive in your organization’s culture.  Concentrate on candidate’s abilities to communicate effectively, work with others, and respond to those more senior to themselves.  By paying close attention to a candidate’s tone of voice and attitude throughout the interview, you will be able to hire an individual with the professional social skills required to both succeed and become an asset to your company.

Use online screening tools

Technical positions require up to date and in-depth coding knowledge. Candidates will need to have the ability to apply this to real-life programming and development scenarios.  By utilizing online coding tests during the assessment, you will be able to effectively work out which candidates have the most technical experience to do the job.