How to Automate an Assessment process for Software Engineers

Having the right talent will greatly impact your business, both financially and from a productivity standpoint. Now that brings us to the question, how do you determine if a developer is a good fit?

The job interview is the traditional approach to evaluate the suitability of applicants. However, it is shocking how rarely recruiting managers do any kind of professional evaluation during these interviews.

Skills to look for in a great developer

Finding the right talent can also have an enormous impact on your organisation. According to studies, top performers are more productive than average workers. As a result, evaluating a developer’s ability before making any recruiting decision is crucial if you want to ensure that you’re employing the best people.

Developers need two different types of skills: Technical skills and soft skills. The best talent has both sets of skills.

Technical skills

  • Programming language and frameworks: The first thing to look for is evaluating if the developer has a strong background in at least one language, such as C#, C++, PHP, Javascript, and Python. The next thing to look for are skills in frameworks like React, Angular, Ruby on Rails, and Django etc
  • Problem-solving abilities: Although have basic coding skills is a must, developers should be skilled at finding glitches, bugs, problems etc, for example, will detect and fix bugs in their code quicker.
  • Integrated Development Environment: Integrated Development Environments (IDE) speed up the work. They help developers write, compile, run, and debug their code. Example VScode, Atom, Sublime
  • Databases: Database management system skills is essential as it enables developers to backup, protect, and maintain their databases.
  • Version control: Version control, also known as source control, is a method of keeping track of various file copies as well as the source code. It’s useful for organizing activities while many developers are operating on the same collection of files. Version control tools enable developers to maintain, store and encrypt their code. Example Github, Gitlab, Bitbucket
  • Cloud services: Cloud software tools such as AWS and Google Cloud are used by developers with cloud computing capabilities. A cloud developer should know how to apply these platforms to the company’s cloud infrastructure approach.
  • Algorithms: Algorithms may be used to structure data and solve challenges through developers who understand them.

Soft skills

  • Teamwork and cultural fit: Teamwork is an important ability, considering how effectively the developer collaborates with the rest of the team. For optimal outcomes, your team members must be willing to work together. Indeed, studies indicate that teamwork boosts inspiration and efficiency.
  • Communication skills: A developer with excellent communication abilities has many benefits. Teamwork can become even more successful if the technological talent will communicate technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders.
  • Adaptability: Flexibility is very important and should not be overlooked in today’s workplace. You should evaluate if your developer can adapt to new situations.
  • Creative thinking: In today’s workplace, creativity is the third most valuable talent. A developer who is willing to think creatively has a lot to offer the company.

Ways to assess developers

Your assessment process should include these various steps:

  1. The candidate submits their CV and any supporting material.
  2. The submission is reviewed and the best candidates are invited over for a phone interview.
  3. Afterwards, you invite the candidate to complete a software developer assessment test(take-home or live-coding).
  4. If the assessment goes well, the candidate then moves to an interview with some team members
  5. Last, the candidate is invited for a final interview with the CTO, CEO etc before the final decision is made.

Developers nowadays have a plethora of choices. Your selection method is more than just evaluating them for a job. Instead, as a recruiter, you need to intentionally keep the best talent throughout the process.

Here below, we look at what you need to evaluate in a developer and how to create an attractive assessment process for job applicants.

1. Programmer portfolios: To begin evaluating the developer, look at what he or she has already developed. A portfolio is often the first indicator of the calibre of work generated by a developer. Pet projects, programming samples, websites, open-source projects, and/or GitHub or StackOverflow activity comprise a portfolio. With the portfolios you get, you will begin weeding out applicants and determining who advances to the first round of interviews.

2. Interviews: Interviews are the next phase in determining if a developer is a good fit for the job. Interviews are excellent for gaining an idea of how a developer approaches his or her job. You get a sense of who the individual is and what their soft skills are.

The pre-screen interview (which is often conducted over the phone) may be used to:

  • Examine the applicant’s communication abilities.
  • Inquire about the applicant’s resume and discuss anything unclear.
  • Understand the applicant’s salary requirements.
  • The in-person interview is behavioural and competency-based. Questions include:

“Tell me of a moment when you encountered a difficult condition and showed your coping skills.”

“Tell me of a moment when you set a target and accomplished it.”

  • “Tell me about a moment when you invited someone to share their thoughts or views. How did you bring others to pitch in? What was the outcome?”

3. Software developer assessment tests: Next is a developer assessment test, which is used to evaluate a developer’s technological skills. After all, resumes, work samples and interviews will only reveal too much of a prospect. Observing how a developer performs on real-world projects will teach you a lot about how well he or she will integrate with the business.

To create a successful assessment test, you need to:

  • Make it as real as possible by assigning assignments that are similar to real-world tasks.
  • Allow the developer to use software that he or she will use on the job.
  • Before you submit the test, make sure you understand what you’re evaluating and why. Delete something that does not relate to the expertise you are assessing.
  • Keep it short and sweet. You would be able to assess someone’s expertise in a shorter questionnaire, so don’t waste your or the applicants’ time.
  • A developer evaluation process may be either in-person/live coding or a take-home test.

In-person coding assignment

An in-person coding assignment is done at your place, typically on a whiteboard or as you observe the person. Furthermore, because they may be overwhelming for the candidate, they do not demonstrate how successful someone is in a real-life situation. The worst part is that candidates despise these kinds of tests.

Take-home coding assignment

Another alternative is to complete a coding assignment at home. This is a coding exercise that developers complete at their speed at home.

The advantages of this method of evaluation are as follows:

  • You have access to a larger pool of developers.
  • They can approximate real-world tasks than most coding assignments.
  • They are a candidate-friendly choice.

When conducting developer assessment it is important to avoid these mistakes!

  • Using Screening methods, such as algorithmic quizzes, are used to screen out candidates. They are unsuccessful due to two factors: Applicants, especially senior applicants, dislike them. Furthermore, they are not the only way to show someone’s abilities.
  • Making tests too long: Sometimes, companies opt to use tests that require long hours and they’re unpaid. Instead, applicants should be able to complete their assignment in one sitting.
  • Not giving feedback: Finally, keep in mind that even a 3–5 hour exam is a significant time investment for applicants. If you decline them without providing reviews, it would reflect poorly on the recruiting process. Instead, take the time to have some reviews.

Some software assessment tools

Some of the software assessment tools are:

  • HackerRank
  • Interview Mocha
  • Mettl
  • Codility
  • QuodeIt
  • SkillValue
  • Tests4Geeks
  • HackerEarth

Summary:

Here are the major takeaways from this essay:

  • Make sure the technical assessment is going to answer the questions you want to be answered.
  • Make sure the candidate knows the type of assessment that would be given.
  • Give feedback about the technical assessment

Software engineer, Technical writer. I enjoy the synergy of writing and technology