How To Setup an Effective Coding Test (a Guide for Hiring Managers)
January 27, 2022
Assessing coding skills has now become an indispensable part of the technical hiring process- the volume of resumes you get from candidates who can’t code is overwhelming. We know resumes are a bad predictor of performance and in most cases Github activity is not a good measure of a developer skills either.
At Adaface, our subject matter experts design coding tests by carefully understanding your role and requirements. We sat with them to breakdown their process to set up coding tests that are in line with job requirements to reduce false positives and false negatives.
There are two important parts to keep in mind while setting up a coding test:
The biggest problem with coding tests today is that they’re not always aligned with what the role requires. An Android developer does not necessarily need to know how to invert a binary tree. Or maybe they do. But the point is that if you’re using that on a coding test for that role, you should be very deliberate about it.
Here’s one way to think about what should go on a coding test:
Questions where you might still hire the person even if they couldn’t solve it/ got it completely wrong are pointless at the screening stage, such as a coding test.
The idea of a coding test is to eliminate candidates who are clearly not a good fit for that role. We’ve found that the most useful way to do it would be to use 2 must-be-able-to-code questions, one easier than the other and give some benefit of doubt to candidates who solve it partially. This eliminates candidates who basically can’t code (quite a lot of them), and then you can take the rest to the final rounds of interview.
Now to decide what those must-be-able-to-code questions should be, here’s what you need to answer first:
Your answers to these questions decide what questions go in the coding tests and what goes into in-person interviews. Here are few example questions (and the scenarios in which those questions would make sense on a coding test):
PS: the section above is meant to demonstrate the kind of questions you should be asking, not the exact questions themselves. Some of them are too popular for it to be a good idea to put them on a coding test.
Once you have finalized questions, the other thing to keep in mind is the form factor. Here are the important things you need to consider for an effective coding test:
At Adaface, we set up custom coding tests tailored to expectations of the role. Our bot, Ada answers questions they have about the role/ company, guides them through each technical question interactively and creates a scorecard for the hiring manager to review at the end of the conversation. Talk to us to know more.
Deepti is a co-founder at Adaface. Her online persona is extroverted, but in real life she is terribly introverted and you can startle her just by calling out her name.