How To Use Coding Assessments

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If you want to evaluate developer skills, coding assessments provide a very effective way to do so. But to be successful, they need not only to be designed properly but also to be placed right in the hiring process in order to ensure better candidate engagement. 

Read on to learn more about how to use coding assessments and which are the best practices to use them during the hiring process. 

How to use coding assessments in a workflow to maximize candidate participation 

Coding assessments can improve your recruitment process but to do so, they need to be placed appropriately during the workflow. As a coding assessment requires time and effort investment, not every candidate will be willing to participate in one if placed too early in the requirement process. 

You need to find the right balance so that you maximize candidate participation, but do not put too much pressure on your team. Consider three major factors: high or low candidate volume, inbound or sourced candidate source, entry-level, or mid-level candidate experience level. 

By designing a workflow around these three factors, you will be able to engage with the candidates more meaningfully and efficiently and create a better overall candidate experience. 

Let’s dive into more details about these three factors. 

Candidate volume 

You need to determine your candidate volume in order to optimize the efficiency of your team – whether they will be flooded with applications during a specific period (for example in university recruiting) or if your hiring will be more evenly paced. 

Generally speaking, high volume is more typical for roles such as software engineering, and roles like data science usually see a lower volume of candidates. 

Candidate sourcing

Where do you get more candidates from – job postings or outreach efforts? In case all you need is a job posting, this process is considered inbound-heavy. But if you need to use outreach, it is considered sourced-heavy. 

Usually, entry-level jobs are more likely to come through inbound channels, while mid-level candidates usually require outreach. 

Candidate experience level 

What is the experience level you usually look for? Focus on the roles you recruit for most often – an entry-level position is defined as up to 3 years of experience, while a mid-level position is defined as up to 8 years of experience. 

How to identify the ideal engagement workflow

After you have defined your pipeline through the criteria listed above, it is time to determine your workflow. 

Workflow 1

Use for high volume, entry-level & mid-level, inbound candidates.

Send a coding assessment as soon as the candidate applies – the volume of inbound candidates means you can afford the early drop-off and you will still have a lot of quality candidates to go through the rest of the process. The ones that pass the coding assessment, continue to next stages: recruiter phone screen, hiring manager phone screen, and finally – the onsite interview.

This workflow works because it stirs immediate interest – if a candidate decides to take a coding assessment so early in the process, means they are motivated and invested. 

Workflow 2

Use for high volume, entry & mid-level, inbound candidates.

In this workflow, the coding assessment comes after the candidate has filled in the application and passed the recruiter phone screen. The lower volume of candidates means you need to keep as many as possible for the next steps of the process. By going through a phone screen first, you will establish a connection with the candidates and make them feel valued. 

Workflow 3

Use for low volume, mid-level sourced candidates.

In this workflow, the coding assessment comes as the last step of the recruitment process. As you have a low volume of experienced candidates, it is best if you use the recruiter and hiring manager phone screens to evaluate candidates and get them to be excited about the role. 
You will need to sell the position to the candidate and make them interested. It is important to show your investment upfront to ensure higher participation rates. 

Optimize the recruitment process with coding assessments 

Through using coding assessments in the recruitment, you can significantly simplify the process. Make sure to use them in a way that best suits your organization’s requirements, needs, and resources.