It’s not uncommon for applicants to exaggerate their skills on resumes, which can make it difficult for recruiters to identify a candidate’s true technical abilities. Fortunately, technical screening assessments provide a practical approach for recruiters and hiring managers to understand what level of technical experience and understanding a person has.
Now that many technical teams are working remotely, the hiring process has gone remote as well. While phone interviews and references can give a general indication of an applicant’s ability to perform, nothing compares to a demonstration. With the growing popularity of technical screening assessments and video interviews, it is easier than ever for recruiters to make hiring decisions in technical fields.
What is Technical Screening?
In addition to being one of the most difficult skill sets to find, most employers who are seeking to fill technical roles have aggressive hiring goals and high expectations for potential candidates. That’s why the majority of executives, managers, and recruiters find it challenging to hire qualified technical talent.
Technical screening is a process by which companies evaluate a candidate’s technical ability along with less measurable attributes like teamwork and company fit. A technical screening assessment may include multiple-choice questions, simulators, and live discussions to determine the hard skills of an applicant. The content of a technical screening may assess a candidate’s coding skills, understanding of core technical concepts and frameworks, problem-solving abilities, etc.
This is particularly important with the rise of remote work during the pandemic. Many companies are recognizing that simply seeing a certain degree or job title on a candidate’s resume does not mean they have the relevant skills. Many people used the pandemic to further their education, learn a new skill, or develop their competencies through freelance or contract work. In fact, 75% of full time freelancers now make just as much money freelancing as they did when employed full-time before the pandemic.
As an employer, there are many benefits of hiring tech freelancers and remote workers over onboarding a full-time, in-house employee. Freelancers and remote workers are often more productive since their work is judged by its quality and not the amount of time that they spend in the office.
But there must be screening methods in place to make sure the workers hired will be able to deliver. You should make sure you set clear expectations for freelancers so everyone is on the same page about the project before it starts and match your screening assessments accordingly.
Benefits of Technical Screening
A technical screening strategy provides several benefits to employers:
Supports a Data-driven Hiring Process
A technical screening process ensures that hiring decisions are based on data, potentially eliminating some bias in the hiring process. It is well established that racism, sexism, ableism, and other biases thrive in traditional hiring, and some of these issues can be lessened by using technology to your advantage.
Hiring biases may be influenced by appearances, shared interests, and subconscious assumptions can cause interviewers to make less-than-ideal decisions about who is the best fit for the job. For technical positions, you should validate an interviewer’s final decision with data that supports the hiring process, not necessarily go with the person who had the biggest personality during in-person interactions.
Conserves Company Resources
Implementing technical screening frees up company time and resources. There is virtually no additional cost incurred with the ability to conduct remote interviews and onboarding in addition to technical assessments. Neither party has to commute to the office, and HR professionals have more time to interview more candidates.
What’s more, studies show that 86% of online workers prefer email as their primary method of communication, so there is really no need to force things to be in-person that could easily be conducted virtually. All parties can benefit from using the right tools to shift some aspects of the interview and assessment process online.
Improves the Quality of Your Talent Pool
It can be time-consuming to fill highly sought after technical positions when your applications are filled with under-qualified candidates. The technical screening process efficiently eliminates those who do not fill the basic job requirements so you can spend time interviewing quality individuals. This way, you can tailor your interviews to the highest performing candidates instead of having to weed out the less competent options in the interview.
How to Screen Technical Candidates
Especially with COVID restrictions, it is wise for recruiters to streamline their virtual hiring practices, for example, by offering candidates the option to interview by video call instead of coming into the office. Employers should harness collaborative tools to make interviewing and screening from a distance simple and communicative while still being virtual.
Technical Screening Assessment
Before bringing in a technical candidate and going through an interview, a technical screening assessment in the form of multiple choice questions and open ended questions can help to narrow down the talent pool to those who fit the job requirements. Filtering out less experienced or underqualified talent will save interviewers and HR a lot of time and paperwork.
After conducting an initial interview that involves a soft skills assessment and other company-specific assessments, it’s time for the technical portion of the interview. This is a good time to test out a candidate’s technical abilities through a coding simulator that automatically grades their abilities once they have finished. You can also present a past challenge you had in your organization and ask them to spend some time talking through a solution.
Not only does this allow the interviewer to see the applicant in action dealing with a real-world issue, it also gives applicants an idea of what they can expect when they come to work there. It’s important to focus on reasonable applications rather than putting frustrating roadblocks in their way. Allow them to show you what they’re made of and create an atmosphere of mutual respect from the very beginning.
Make Sure You Have the Right Tools
If you are planning to use tech solutions to test applicants, you need to make sure you have a system in place that can handle the workflow. Before you implement technical screening for your applicants, take a look at your own website to determine whether you have an up-to-date site that boasts your own technical competencies.
This need not be a time-consuming or expensive process. Often, it’s simply a matter of finding the right software and platform for your needs. According to online marketer and software developer Nathan Finch of Best Web Hosting Australia, it’s much cheaper to invest in a website building service rather than a professional developer.
If you go the developer route, “Professional websites for small businesses may cost anywhere between $2000 and $7000,” says Finch. “While extremely professional websites for large-scale enterprises can cost tens of thousands of dollars.” The right platform can save you a lot of time and money and still set you up for success in your technical screening process.
Now you have more information to further taper down your list of potential new-hires. At this point, you could give the remaining candidates a take home assignment for them to work on at their own pace without the pressure of someone looking over their shoulder. Give them a reasonable time limit and an assignment that matches the position they are applying for. This is crucial to accurately identifying how a candidate could perform for your organization.
The most talented candidates are more likely to have multiple opportunities available to them, and implementing technical screening can help organizations expedite the hiring process and land interviews with top talent in the field. Highly qualified candidates are also more likely to stay with a company for a longer period of time and contribute to the business’s overall growth.
Companies can save time, money, and resources by leveraging a technical screening process. Not only do these assessments weed out inexperienced applicants, but they also optimize company hiring practices. Through technical screening, you can streamline candidate management and ensure that you are hiring the right employees for your technical needs.