Technical testing was a tool we introduced to improve our the service we offered our clients, back in 2013. Technology has advanced enormously since then and the applications we use to provide this service has evolved. This article was reworked in 2020 to provide an insight into what technical testing is. Almost as importantly, what it isn’t, and how helpful it can be in recruiting skilled tech professionals. Or not, as the case may be.
In 2013, we announced the introduction of an online tool to help assess the technical skills of job applicants. This service provided a useful guide for our clients to judge the strengths and weaknesses of applicants for technical roles. At the time, it was a valuable tool in the arsenal of recruitment technology available to us. Of course, we use several different methods to assess the technical and non-technical capability of our candidates.
How Technical Testing Works
The system allows us to build a unique IT test for any given role by selecting groups of questions. The comprehensive question bank is organised by category and work skills.
The testing process is very simple; The client briefs us on the outcome they want to achieve from exploratory testing. We then create a test which is then sent to the candidate by email. The benefits of using this system are evident to both candidates and clients;
- Candidates are able to perform tests from the comfort of their own home, in their own time. Thus reducing the need to arouse the suspicions of their current manager by taking time off work
- Clients get an indication of the technical ability of the candidates on their shortlist. This reduces the need to waste valuable time interviewing incapable candidates unnecessarily
Not to be Confused With Software Testing!
Of course, the capability is available for us to assess the testing skills of Software Developers, Software Engineers and Automation Test Engineers. However, the systems available provide us with the capability of testing for numerous other roles such as PHP Development and SQL Database Administration.
How Effective Is Technical Testing?
The system itself is highly effective at identifying whether or not candidates are capable of carrying out specific tasks. However, there were problems found with earlier skills testing systems. For example, we often found the tasks in the test were way too technical for the given role.
This, unfortunately, resulted in low pass marks, which was extremely demotivating for the candidates. However, where this was the case, the results still offered an indication of the candidate’s technical ability. In this case, even a low score could still be used as a benchmark. In fact, in our experience, candidates achieving scores as low as 12% could still be successful in securing a job offer.
The test didn’t just test the technical skills of the candidates. Their willingness to have a go at completing a test which was clearly way beyond their capability was also a good indicator of their determination to succeed. Which, is in itself, a valuable trait our clients were still pleased to see
Is Technical Testing Still Used in Recruitment?
In previous years, many tech start-ups began with huge ambitions but with very little technical capability at senior management level. Many unqualified candidates realised this and tried to use the situation to their advantage. It was not uncommon to receive CVs containing enough technical jargon to convince a hiring manager that an applicant could do the job.
Of course, during an interview, it would become apparent that the applicant was clearly unqualified for the role. However, this was still a massive waste of time for all concerned. Technical testing was therefore necessary in order to eliminate these unsuitable applicants.
In 2020, the UK is experiencing a massive tech skills shortage. Hence, the purpose of employing a recruiter is no longer to ‘weed out’ candidates lacking specific technical skills. Instead, the focus has shifted to seeking out individuals with the willingness to succeed in a particular area. Hiring managers instead recognise the value in someone eager to advance in their career development life.
Furthermore, it is our personal experience that hiring managers are much more technically savvy and adept at interviewing these days. Of course, technical testing is still a service we offer to our clients. Although in the current recruitment climate, we find it to be far less necessary than it might have been previously.
If you would like to discuss technical testing as part of your recruitment strategy, by all means, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our team.
Do you have any experience with technical testing as a candidate or a client? Do you have any insight to offer on the subject? We would love to hear your thoughts as to whether you find it to be a useful recruitment tool.