14. 05. 2024

Is the Technical Test Toast?

The Evolution of Skill Evaluation in Tech Hiring
The whiteboard and peer coding challenge. An intense hour of frantic scribbling, tapping, and muttering under pressure.  These traditional technical tests have long been a staple of tech interview processes. But is it still the best way to assess a candidate's skills?

The answer: not quite. The tech hiring landscape is changing, and the way we evaluate technical talent is evolving.

Why the Traditional Tests are Fading
There are a few reasons why the classic technical test is on the decline. Firstly, it can be a poor predictor of on-the-job performance.  The ability to write code under intense pressure doesn't necessarily translate to solving complex problems in a collaborative environment.

Secondly, these tests can be biased.  Focusing solely on testing within a specific timeframe, can disadvantage candidates with different strengths, like those who excel in design or communication.

The Rise of Alternative Assessments
There's a shift towards more well-rounded evaluation methods. Here are some of the rising stars:
Take-Home Projects: These projects allow candidates to showcase their skills in a more realistic setting. They can work at their own pace, utilise their preferred tools, and demonstrate problem-solving through code. Tools such as Code Submit - https://codesubmit.io/
Code Reviews: Companies are increasingly looking at a candidate's existing code on platforms like Github - https://github.com/. This provides insight into coding style, approach to problem-solving, and past work experience.
Focus on Projects and Communication: In-depth discussions about a candidate's past projects can reveal a lot about their technical knowledge and thought process. This can be coupled with behavioural interview questions to assess communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. Coursera offer fantastic resource on competency based interviewing questions to support this approach - www.coursera.org  

The Future of Technical Assessments
Technical skills will always be a top priority in tech hiring. However, the focus is shifting towards a more holistic evaluation.  Companies are looking for well-rounded individuals who can not only code but also think critically, communicate effectively, and collaborate with a team.

The future of technical assessments might involve:
Shorter, Targeted Tests: These online assessments can quickly screen out unqualified candidates without requiring a lengthy interview process. Another platform is CodeInGame - www.codingame.com
Real-World Scenarios: Take-home projects that mimic actual work tasks can provide valuable insights into a candidate's approach to real-world problems. This way they can utilise all of the resources they would have to hand in the real working environment.

Our thoughts at Synergy
Hire for personality and culture fit, and train for skills where you can. This isn’t easy we understand, however with the shortage of skilled candidates in the market, there is a mutual benefit in training and developing staff. Provided you have the resources in place within your leadership team, or you can outsource training using online platforms, there is a huge opportunity here! To those people looking for work, diversify your skills by taking part in online training to develop your skills and open new opportunities.

In Conclusion
The technical test isn't dead, it's simply evolving. In some instances, coding under pressure within a timeframe is useful, however companies are finding new ways to assess the skills and qualities that truly matter for success in a tech role.  So, for job seekers, the focus should be on developing a well-rounded skillset that goes beyond just coding proficiency but be prepared for these types of technical tests. Get comfortable being uncomfortable!