Before hiring a developer, it’s important to test the person to discover their strengths and weaknesses. With the changing IT climate, traditional interview practices won’t necessarily tell HR or executives how well a developer can complete a task or lead an IT team. Furthermore, many of the people interviewing the candidate are not developers, so they don’t have the IT savvy to know if the individual is qualified or not.
To counter this issue, companies use IT tests to recruit top talent around the world. These tests screen candidates by offering complex challenges only qualified individuals can complete. Companies usually look at the candidate’s portfolio, GitHub profile, and talk to references, but testing, especially live testing, gives an in-depth look at how the person will perform with the organization.
For companies wondering which tests to give and how to screen talent, here are certain tests and strategic questions to ask that give valuable results.
Automated testing is a good way to pre-screen candidates before bringing them into the office or even setting up a phone interview. These platforms are simple to set up – companies login, decide what skills to test, send the test to the candidate who takes the test, and then the platform usually grades the test and sends the result to the company.
Platforms such as Codility.com or Tests4Geeks have libraries of tests that organizations can choose from, depending on what skills are most needed internally. After this test, businesses will have a smaller, more qualified pool of candidates to interview.
Strategic Interview Questions
While HR will want to ask the typical questions to find a capable team member, executives should ask questions that can determine what type of person and what kind of team player the candidate really is. Try asking questions such as: What are the last three Stack Overflow questions you looked at? This will ensure the candidate is curious and eager to learn more in his or her field. If they are reading Stack Overflow, it means this developer uses this resourceful platform to find solutions to problems, and the question allows interviewers to understand how they approach problem-solving.
Organizations should also ask application-oriented questions and questions about basic definitions of certain development terms. Interviewers can note the tone and response of that candidates to understand if they know the industry.
If the candidate has moved past the pre-screening and interview process, it’s time for live testing to see how they do in a real coding environment. Use platforms such as CollabEdit, CoderPad, or CodePen and watch the candidate code live while on the phone or Skype. Live testing lets you see how the person does under pressure and evaluate their coding process. Other benefits include being able to see what types of questions the candidate asks, and, most importantly, if the person can really live up to the technical challenge.
Live testing is a high-pressure situation for any interviewee, but it’s an excellent way to understand the developer on a different level and make sure they are right for the team.
For companies with a specific product or platform, an interesting way to get insight into candidates is by asking them to test your product and give feedback. Not all organizations can do this, but ask the developers if they have notes or if there are aspects of the product they would change. You can tailor questions for front-end or back-end developers to see how they would work with and help improve the product overall.
Using these methods above, companies will gain a unique understanding of the candidate and how they would work on the team. Testing is crucial for developers since the worst case scenario is hiring an unqualified person to take on IT challenges. By testing appropriately, however, companies can avoid this misstep and find a strong candidate for the team.
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