The Importance of Well Placed Technical Tests


Natalie Wild

The Importance of Well Placed Technical Tests 

Technical tests are a bit like marmite. Employers love them, candidates less so. Are you concerned your technical test might be putting off the candidates you’re looking for? Then this one is for you.

Imagine, you’d had a flood of 136 seemingly suitable applications in response to your Software Tester advert (that was just a modified version of the job spec), you enthusiastically dished out the technical tests to a couple of dozen of the ‘best’ by email but are now deflated that only 3 have returned the tests by the deadline, and they’re all frankly a bit rubbish in quality. But why?

Most technical tests will take an average of 2-4 hours+ for a candidate to complete, depending on the complexity. You’ve asked someone to commit to hours of unpaid work without showing any demonstration of your commitment to them – not even a phone call - is it surprising they won’t jump through your hoops at this stage? People want to feel valued. My mum always said you ‘shouldn’t give to receive’, but in this instance, you should. Give value to receive value.

Commitment works both ways. Technical tests are a necessity for assessing suitability to a growing number of roles – from our experience the response rate to technical tests is of a much higher quality and quantity where the test is conducted as part of a face to face interview where there is a captive audience and the opportunity for observation and discussion from both parties.

This way, some value has been given to the candidate as to why they should complete the test. You’re also giving yourself as a company a good chance to really entice candidates in, to show them why they should want to complete the technical test, to show why they should want to work with you, to show what the overall end game and what the value is to them completing the test.

Asking someone to write working code before you take the time to speak with them wont help you to fully understand how and why they make decisions as candidates, what role they’ve played with prior teams or arguably most importantly, their problem-solving skills – all very relevant to the hiring process.

Candidates can be slippery fish, and though technical tests are now a standard in the recruitment process for IT and Digital Media related roles, employers across the world are beginning to unify in their approach, opting like Amazon, Trip Advisor and Air B&B, to use online platforms such as HackerRank to assess the technical skills of candidates in their hiring process.

HackerRank’s goal is to help employers hire developers with the right skills faster by creating a universal industry standard for technical tests used across recruitment. With thousands of built in tests and challenges to choose from, it provides employers the ability to build a bespoke test packages for their candidates, from early talent through to highly experienced professionals.

Using platforms like HackerRank to conduct technical tests ensures that technical tests are assessed against the most up to date development information available, it ensures that everyone is being assessed fairly, equally and in an unbiased way, providing results instantly in understandable formats (handy for those non-technical recruiting managers).

Candidates can store their assessment scores and make them viewable to other potential employers, meaning they aren’t feeling as though they are wasting as much of their own time duplicating their test work. We are noticing a small continual increase of candidates demonstrating their HackerRank scores on their CV's.

It is kind to be mindful that technically competent candidates who are fully embracing the job-hunting market will have circa 5-10 live applications at any time, each likely requiring completion of a technical test. That’s a lot of hours of unpaid work to fit around their current commitments, and it cant be expected that a candidate will tackle all of them.

This all contributes toward providing that positive candidate experience that we talked about in last week’s Crusade Against Poor Recruitment Practices blog post. If you missed it, catch up with our previous blog posts here:  https://www.novate-it.co.uk/blog

For help or guidance with your recruiting matters, contact Novate IT today!

We specialise in recruiting for permanent and contract roles across the UK and Europe within the IT and Digital Media Sectors.

All of our current live vacancies can be viewed here: https://www.novate-it.co.uk/job-search