22% of the clients I work with and other companies’ process’ I am familiar with offer a tech test as part of an interview. Of the 22% of clients that have a tech test, I took an average of the last 100 people who went through the process:
This leaves me with the question. Are they an accurate way though of truly gauging the ability of a senior developer who has been doing their job for years? Or are they immediately excluding and deterring really exceptional candidates?
The following is a summary of my own review of tech tests based on feedback from real developers and business leaders in my network, so you can decide if tech tests are really the best way to analyse and interview candidates. To read the full review, including commentary from developers, directors, and tech leads, please get in touch.
Based on recent conversations, businesses tend to rely on technical tests because of benefits around time, objective and standardised testing, and quick filtering of unsuitable candidates. With many, like Lead Software Developer Nat, agreeing that “tech tests can be a useful indicator if they show you how someone works, how they approach a problem, which things they're thinking about while solving them, how they structure their code, whether they test, and how they communicate with others”.
Based on similar conversations, tech tests often place too much focus on a technical pass or fail, and therefore neglect hiring on aptitude and competencies. If a test is too rigid, you can alienate candidates who won’t be able to display their full ability, as suggested by Senior Developer, Marijn. Furthermore, the emphasis on this one pass or fail, means that it only takes a headache or sudden illness, a bad night’s sleep, a family emergency, or a connection issue to fail. This pass or fail approach may result in a good candidate being turned away from the role as the result of a single assessment.
Lengthy tests can also be problematic. Stuart, a Manchester based developer suggested that “Unless it was a job or company I really wanted to work for if I was presented with a multi-hour test I would likely take myself out of the running at that point”. This could also be a barrier to diverse recruitment.
What questions should you be asking yourself as a business using technical tests? Find out by requesting the report.
Whilst businesses tend to favour tech tests, from a candidate perspective tech tests seem to be perceived more negatively and can definitely act as a deterrent if it is not created, presented, and delivered in the correct way.
Testing is a great way to find people who are good at completing tests, and a really poor way of introducing your company to people you want to like your company. – Steve, Technical Project Manager
For help building your tech teams, or for more information on the validity of tech tests, please get in touch for a confidential chat. You can also download the full PDF report on tech tests by dropping me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.