4 Technical Assessment Best Practices to Identify Top IT Talent

4 Technical Assessment Best Practices to Identify Top IT Talent

IT professionals play a wide range of roles—from innovator and problem-solver to collaborator and strategist—but their success in each hinges upon the same foundation: the technical know-how to get things done. 

Despite the growing emphasis on soft skills in tech, hard skills remain at the core of IT competency. Before you make a hiring decision, you need candidates to demonstrate more than interview prowess and great culture fit. You must leverage technical assessments to test their capabilities—thoroughly and consistently. 

With these four best practices, you can optimize your assessment process and build IT teams that effectively move digital projects forward.

1. Craft a Realistic Challenge

Effective technical assessments are directly related to the demands of the position. While it may be tempting to craft a highly challenging and creative coding test, even high performers may fail in an unrealistic test. Assessments should be treated as a test of on-the-job capabilities, set against industry standards, not a search for the world’s best developers. 

While it’s important to avoid generic technical interview questions—which are easy to study and memorize—the challenge you ultimately come up with must be practical and reflect real-world business problems. 

Be conscious of the amount of time your assessment requires, too. Respecting your candidates’ time can help you prevent dropouts during your interview process. From both a courteous and strategic perspective, unpaid technical assessments shouldn’t take all day.

2. Balance Technology and the Human Touch

In recent years, there have been significant advancements in technical assessment software, with many products integrating AI capabilities to improve decision-making. These cutting-edge evaluation tools offer considerable benefits. They can ensure consistency and fairness across assessments. Plus, AI can rapidly analyze performance data to provide insights about each candidate’s potential. 

Businesses can and should consider leveraging technology in the assessment to improve efficiency and the quality of hires. However, human oversight is key to making optimal hiring decisions. Exclusively software-driven assessments can produce false negatives due to their strict adherence to algorithms. 

When experienced IT recruiters are at the helm of assessment tools, they can identify anomalies who should be evaluated more thoroughly. Additionally, they can identify patterns in rejected candidate lists and remedy issues quickly if skilled IT workers are regularly weeded out.

3. Encourage Notetaking

How can you separate the innovators from the everyday thinkers when conducting realistic assessments? If your candidates won’t be walking you through their problem-solving process face-to-face, encourage them to take and provide their notes. 

Understanding the thought process behind their solution can help you identify moments of a candidate’s creative thinking. Plus, it can show which candidates are trainable, if they are making only small errors when they come to an incorrect conclusion. 

4. Collect Data and Feedback

Technical assessments can and should be improved over time. Employee data—in particular, metrics that compare test results to the actual performance of employees—can be highly valuable for improving the quality of future hires. For example, if applicants with are scoring well in assessments but produce low ticket resolution times once employed, you may need to set stricter time limitations. 

Asking for feedback from candidates about their assessment experience can further help you eliminate flaws and align the evaluation with the actual position. Consider sending a survey after candidates finish assessments, perhaps asking them to rate the relevancy, difficulty, and clarity of each problem. 

Enhance Your Assessments with Technical Expertise

Optimizing technical assessments is a trial-and-error process. Over time, you can find the right balance between practicality and creativity, allowing IT candidates to showcase both their ingenuity and on-the-job performance. Employee data and applicant feedback are key to improvement. 

The competition for IT talent is tight—and there’s no time to waste in your search for qualified professionals for your next project. When you need to fill open positions quickly and precisely, you need support from experienced technical recruiters who already have thorough vetting processes in place. At Capstone IT, our IT staffing experts have developed rigorous coding tests for a wide range of roles—the results of each proven to translate to job performance. Our expertise can ensure high-quality placements that enable your project success. 

Find IT talent that meets your project demands. Reach out to Capstone IT about your technical hiring needs. 


Related Articles 

Why Your IT Projects Are Failing – and How Hiring the Right Talent Can Fix That 

Vacant IT Positions Are A Cost Sink. Your Staffing Partner Can Fix That 

Why You Should Work with Capstone IT for Your Staffing Needs