Cracking the Code: Making Coding Skills Tests a Win-Win

by Codeaid Team

Let’s face it, no one is thrilled about taking a coding test, especially top-notch candidates who have their pick of the litter when it comes to job opportunities.

While it may seem inconvenient for candidates to take a lengthy, and not altogether easy pre-employment skills test, it can ultimately benefit and lead to a better fit for both the candidate and the employer.

So, how do we do this and where do we start?

There are a few ways that companies can incentivize applicants to take coding skills tests as part of the hiring process: 

Highlight the importance of the test 

Explain to candidates why the coding assessment test is an integral part of the hiring process and how it will be used to evaluate their suitability for the role. 

Here’s the thing: companies need to be upfront about the technical testing process and make sure candidates understand the reasons and why it’s a crucial part of the hiring process. This way, candidates will likely feel more at ease about taking the test. 

Here are some ways that companies can do this: 

Explain the test’s purpose

Communicate to candidates the purpose of the coding test and how it will be used to evaluate their fit for the position. This way, they’ll see the value of the test and won’t be left wondering why they’re doing it.

Emphasize the relevance of the test 

Highlight to candidates how the test is relevant to the day-to-day tasks of the job. It’s not just some random, artificial exercise; it’s a way to see how the candidate will perform in the real world.

Explain how the results will be shared 

Let them know that their work will be viewed by more than just some HR person. This way, they’ll be motivated to give it their all and show off their skills. 

Provide feedback

Feedback is key. Candidates will appreciate the opportunity to learn more about their strengths and areas for improvement. If a candidate puts in the time and effort to take the test, the company should take the time to give feedback, regardless of how well the candidate did. 

Here are a few ways that companies can provide feedback on skills tests: 

Offer a debrief 

Offer a debrief session with a hiring manager or relevant team members. This way, candidates can get an in-depth analysis of their results and hear feedback straight from the source. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for them to ask any questions they may have. 

Share a report 

Companies may provide candidates with a report outlining their performance on the test. This way, they can see how they stack up against the average candidate and identify their strengths and areas for improvement. It’s like a mini-performance review, but for coding tests.

Provide resources 

Companies may also choose to give candidates resources or recommendations for further learning and development. This way, they can take actionable steps to improve their abilities, and you’ll have a better pool of candidates to choose from next time. 

Overall, it’s essential to be transparent and constructive with feedback on skills tests and give candidates the tools they need to improve their software development abilities. Trust us, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. 

Typically, this approach is best reserved for high-value, senior candidates. 

Offer compensation 

Some companies may offer compensation to candidates for the time and effort invested in taking skills tests. This way, it helps to alleviate concerns about the time commitment involved in taking the coding test and shows that the company really values their time. 

That said, it is essential to be transparent about the compensation offered and communicate the terms and conditions upfront to candidates. Companies should also be careful about including any pay-for-performance terms, as this could distort incentives. 

Some final takeaways 

It is possible to make the testing process feel somewhat less of a chore and more of a win-win situation for both parties. A robust, non-trivial testing process can be a real asset, but only if both companies and candidates put in the effort. 

Make sure to explain the test’s importance, provide feedback on the results, and take steps to show candidates that their time is valued. This way, we can manage candidate reluctance and see real benefits for both the company and the candidate. 

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