Coding Tests: The Rise Of Code Assessment Platforms And Software Developer Recruitment

Published: 29 October 2020

Despite the pandemic, software developer recruitment and filling business-critical technical roles remains a necessity. Recruitment consultancy firm Morgan Mckinley told “Software engineers, IT auditors, cybersecurity experts and data and analytics professionals will continue to be in demand.”

A Randstad Key Talent Impacted By COVID-19 report observed that data and software development roles saw an increase in volume (1% and 8% respectively). Hiring managers are focused on maintaining the hiring process to fill critical business roles by adopting new virtual hiring processes. 

Organisations have increased usage of code assessment platforms to help reach the goal of making quick hiring decisions. Simultaneously reducing potential bias during the software developer recruitment process, such as HackerRank, Codility, HackerEarth, CoderPad, Qualified and Coderbyte

These platforms can potentially improve the remote interview transition and speed at which hiring managers fill technical positions. An industry trends guide by Coderbyte reported that code assessment platforms now claim that they can reduce interviewing timeframes by 50%. Although this may be true, it is only half the challenge as to accurately determine a candidate’s on-the-job potential remains a challenge to do without bias.

How can hiring managers engage with highly productive software developers as efficiently and reliably as possible? Firstly, they must evaluate candidates in a way that accurately predicts on-the-job performance without subjectivity to be sure they are the right organisational fit. 

This article discusses why using BlueOptima’s Predictive Assessment is a better approach to help hiring managers reach this goal, especially in a remote working environment. 

The New Virtual Hiring Process Of Assessing Technical Skills Is Limited In Capability.

The new virtual technical interview process consists of more or less the same stages now using video conference tools and technical screening platforms. Code assessment platforms can improve the number of candidates as they support several technologies, languages, algorithm challenges and simple programming problems. 

However, these platforms are limited in their ability to objectively evaluate whether the candidate is a good quality fit. It is difficult to predict the potential productivity of a developer using isolated test scores. These platforms are not useful in solving the real underlying problem: predicting candidate performance.

Geoff Roberts from Qualified, in an article on Why Some Developers Hate Coding Skills Tests expresses, “The vast majority of assessments test algorithmic skills rather than actual programming ability. The coding tests represent a computer science problem that has little to do with assessing an engineer’s ability to deliver the work they’d actually find themselves doing on a day-to-day basis.” 

Qualified’s approach to technical skills assessment uses coding assessments and pair programming interviews. Although pair programming can be advantageous in speeding up the onboarding process to increase team collaboration immediately, it is not a reliable or consistent approach to assess the core programming and problem-solving skills of a developer, due to limitations in subjective approaches. 

This approach is also limited in predictive capability as it focuses on code correctness based on test scores instead of assessing the core programming skills of a developer. This approach is just one of a vast granularity of metrics that can be leveraged to understand a developer’s potential performance, even within the limitations of coding assessments. 

Hiring managers and talent leads need to hire software developers who can safely contribute to their projects. They need to understand how a software developer will be able to solve problems that will occur specifically within their organisation’s development environment.  

How To Effectively Evaluate Candidates To Accurately Predict On-The-Job Performance

During the virtual hiring process, it is ever more important for hiring managers to have speed and accuracy that will ensure they are hiring productive developers. 

They need a reliable and consistent approach to measuring the data from technical skills assessments. BlueOptima’s Predictive Assessment is one solution that correlates with a developer’s behaviour in coding tests and real-life settings to determine workplace performance. 

Three factors are combined to offer a holistic approach that helps to achieve the goal of efficiently and reliably hiring more productive engineers:

1. Testing Approach

Predictive Assessment focuses on a developer’s core programming and problem-solving skills rather than testing knowledge retention. It assesses the core programming ability that is adaptable across libraries and frameworks; this optimises for fundamentally strong programmers, rather than framework knowledge.

BlueOptima’s Predictive Assessment was designed in collaboration with Cambridge professors and software engineering professionals to highlight holistic core programming fundamentals. It is able to identify highly capable and adaptive software engineers. 

2. Core Assessment Metrics 

Software developers are known to dislike the limitations of code assessment platforms because they feel the process does not showcase their full potential. 

Most code assessment platforms will only test one aspect of the developer’s skills set because the coding test is built on one or two metrics such as the traditionally used correctness metric. Predictive Assessment has four metrics that offer a more holistic view of a software developer’s ability. It measures RAM usage, computational efficiency, robustness (edge cases satisfied) and correctness. 

These metrics are individually assessed against multiple test cases using BlueOptima’scontainerisation technology: ‘POTTERY’.

Predictive Assessment offers an intuitive user experience to improve a developer’s experience during the process, allowing them to comfortably showcase an essential set of their skills. In return, it builds credibility with the organisation for providing an interactive process.  

3. Predictive Scoring

Instead of a code assessment based on subjective results, hiring managers can identify the relationship between a developer’s behaviour during coding tests and real-life settings. It gives an accurate predictive measure of a software developer’s potential performance.

This helps hiring managers have a straightforward way to understand the software developer’s potential performance by evaluating how a candidate’s skill-set would fit within the organisation’s engineering teams. The assessment is based on organisational data to give hiring managers insight into the relation between existing software developers and the global threshold.

This insight can help hiring managers better understand future performance and be sure that the software developers are the right fit.

Organisations want to hire the most productive software developers and hope that the technical screening process will attract the best quality candidates. Predictive Assessment offers hiring managers, and talent leads a better and robust approach in finding and evaluating high-quality candidates who are the perfect fit for an organisation.

Make faster and more reliable decisions on top talent with Predictive Assessment, the world’s first AI-powered coding assessment tool that predicts future workplace performance. 

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