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Technical assessments are designed to help a hiring manager assess the technical skills of their candidates. 

While evaluating initial credentials is fairly straightforward, assessing a candidate’s technical skills in the process of technical interviewing can be an entirely different beast.

The world is moving in a digital direction, and nearly every organization has a need for tech-savvy employees. In technical hiring, finding the right person for the job isn’t always as easy as checking off qualifications on a résumé. Technical functions—like coding—are best measured using a code interview platform that can record and aid in the analysis of their performance during a technical assessment.

But keep in mind that even a phenomenal computer programmer won’t bring much to the table if they lack basic communication skills. A company’s culture is about more than just a collective hub of talented individuals all doing their own thing. Everyone should have the ability to work together towards a singular goal; understanding the role they play on a holistic level.

Not every technical hiring manager has technical experience, so what can they do to reduce that learning curve? Gaps in technical knowledge can be filled using a mixture of communication between the IT and technical hiring departments, and a multi-tiered coding online test that looks at every relevant aspect of a candidate’s technical interviewing performance.

What to look for when running technical assessments

Interviewing for technical positions begins with an understanding of human metrics, or the hard and soft skills necessary to do the job. Technical interviewing is a process that includes more than one evaluation. The technical hiring manager will need to know how to identify information that can give a real insight into the candidate’s skill set.

It’s not just about whether they can solve a complicated problem, it’s about how they communicate the process to the people they’ll be working with. These are the hard skills that act as a gatekeeper for the position. Before moving forward with the technical assessment process, you’ll need to know whether the applicant can fulfill the basic job requirements—otherwise, you’re only wasting their time and yours.

When it comes to technical hiring, a candidate’s employment history and accomplishments are extremely relevant. Don’t just ask about the place where they worked; make an effort to learn more about their role in different projects, the speed at which they progressed through the company, and the reason they left former positions. A person who’s highly skilled and talented in a technical position will climb through the ranks quickly. Asking for a detailed history can shed some light on their skill level, ability to work with others, and their potential for growth.

Even a brand new college graduate may have broken new ground during their time at school. Listen to what the candidate has to say, and how they say it. A real asset is authoritative without being arrogant and is always open to learning new techniques and materials.

Improve your results with these technical hiring strategies

Probing deeper into a candidate’s qualifications can expose hidden talents and weaknesses. It’s a matter of asking the right questions and understanding how to interpret the results. These strategies can help:

Look at their notes used to solve a coding online test

During a coding online test, a candidate is usually encouraged to solve a wide array of different problems. A code interview platform can record the results, the time it took to complete a problem, and the accuracy of their solutions.

Under pressure, it’s easy to make mistakes, and when a coding online test doesn’t mimic a realistic scenario for your company, then it’s important to consider the thought process of the candidate. Encourage them to take notes, and review these with them afterward. This provides valuable insight into their problem-solving skills and their ability to communicate under pressure.

A candidate completes a technical assessment.
To get insight into candidates’ abilities it’s vital to conduct effective technical assessments.

Challenge the candidate during the technical assessment

It’s important to hire people who are capable of thinking outside the box and who rise to every occasion. Consider asking them a question or giving them a problem in a coding online test that’s outside of their specified comfort zone. Gauge the candidate’s response, and carefully measure how they react when frustrated. It’s okay to get flustered, but giving up or getting angry can expose poor coping mechanisms. Ask them how they’d find the solution in the work environment and assess the candidate’s problem-solving skills.

Don’t use generic technical interviewing questions

It’s easy for a person to go online and come up with the perfect set of answers for “canned” interview questions. A code interview platform can’t be fooled, but the in-person interview requires some additional finesse. Sit down with the engineering team and come up with a list of questions and scenarios that are original and valuable. Anticipate the answers of the candidate, and lead the interview in a direction that allows you the most insight.

Soft skills are also important to test in a technical assessment

The human metrics necessary for a technical position include a set of hard and soft skills. The hard skills are the skill sets that are absolutely necessary to do the job. While these are the most essential qualifications, they aren’t the only ones.

Soft skills are those skills that are necessary to survive and thrive in your organization’s culture. These include a candidate’s ability to communicate, work with others, and respond to the professional chain of command. Evaluating these involves a careful assessment of the way the person reacts during every portion of the interview. Their tone of voice, attitude, and professional social skills can all play a part in their ability to succeed and bring something positive to the company.

Streamline technical assessments with a code interview platform

Technical positions require coding knowledge and the ability to apply it to real-life programming and development scenarios. Codility’s code interview platform offers a precise approach to candidate assessment that saves time and puts you face-to-face with the most qualified person for the job.

Marketing Specialist at Codility, Jeff is passionate about empowering hiring teams to connect with candidates. He draws on his own experiences as a recruiter to create meaningful content. Outside of work, you can find him on the soccer field or catching the latest Sci-Fi flick.