Mon, 12 Jun, 2023
As the job market shifts from a seller’s to a buyer’s market, employers are experiencing more applications for every job opening. To ensure you attract the best candidates and make informed hiring decisions, you need to design effective technical tests. A well-designed technical test can help remove bias, assess the required skills, and give candidates an insight into what they can expect from working with you. In fact, studies suggest that hiring managers who utilise skill-based assessments report 36% more satisfaction with hires than those who don’t.
To design an effective technical test, here are five key factors to consider:
Determine the Skills You Need
- The first step in designing a technical test is to determine what skills your team requires. Consider your company’s values and analyse upcoming and completed projects to identify the specific skill sets that your team needs now and in the future. Your technical test should not be too time-consuming or unfocused, or it may turn away top talent. Clearly document the skills you’re looking for and explain how the test you’re using will help a developer show them.
Involve Your Teams Early
- Your tech and talent teams are your most valuable assets. Engage them early in the process to identify the skills your team needs and to provide honest feedback on the tests you’re using. This collaboration can also help your talent team understand the tech stack and the challenges your team faces. They can tailor messaging to get candidates excited about your company.
Test for More Than Technical Skills
- In addition to technical skills, tests for cognitive and problem-solving abilities can uncover creative and flexible candidates. Use hypothetical scenarios based on possible or past events in your business to test logical reasoning and business acumen. You can also organise “playdates” where engineers can meet and interact with their potential future colleagues. This will give them an insight into the culture of your company and make the hiring process more robust. Avoid focusing solely on personal projects as it can disadvantage candidates with busy family lives and tends to be biassed towards younger candidates.
Sell as Much as You Test
- Technical tests can be great for employer branding if you do them right. They make the hiring process feel more robust and professional for technical candidates who value substance over style. However, they can be time-consuming, and there are many reasons why a good candidate might drop out during the testing phase. Provide alternative options, such as in-depth technical phone calls or examples of work, to reduce the number of candidates who drop out. Prepare them beforehand on what to expect, without giving too much information away, and allow them to use their own equipment. If they are comfortable, they will be more likely to sing your praises.
- It’s essential to provide feedback to candidates after the technical test, whether they passed or not. Constructive feedback can help unsuccessful candidates identify areas for improvement and feel positive about your company, while successful candidates are more likely to accept your offer if they feel valued.
Designing an effective technical test is critical to attracting top talent and making informed hiring decisions. Consider the skills you need, involve your teams early, test for more than technical skills, provide options and feedback, and you will attract and retain the best candidates for your company.
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