Test assignment: tips on how to make candidate selection effective

Irina Sigareva

2 March

10 : 00

Test assignment: tips on how to make candidate selection effective

Finding an IT specialist with the required level of skills, knowledge of technologies, significant experience with software products or programming languages is not an easy task. Given the high competition in the labor market and the lack of highly qualified specialists, this can take a lot of time and energy from an entrepreneur.

A test task is an effective way to find the ideal specialist. It allows a quick and comprehensive assessment of the candidate’s knowledge and skills. In this article, we are telling you: why you need a test task and how to create it correctly; how to find a qualified IT specialist without spending a lot of time. 

Test assignment

What is a test task and why is it needed?

The test task is a way to understand whether the candidate and the employer are suitable for each other or not. A specialist can understand how the firm works and what tasks await him. And for employers, it is an opportunity to assess the level of competence, experience, communication skills, level of responsibility, way of thinking and solving problems, and the suitability of existing skills for the position.

 Usually, selection for a position takes place in three stages:

  • CV review;
  • online or offline interview;
  • technical job interview.

Exactly at the technical interview they are asked to do a test task. Or immediately after it, as “homework”. Depending on the position for which a specialist is being sought, there are various test tasks. Their purpose is to demonstrate knowledge of specific technologies and test skills in programming, data analysis, software testing, etc.

5 tips for effective selection of an IT specialist

In order for the selection to take place effectively and lead to the desired result, it is necessary to clearly understand: what knowledge is required for this position and what tests will show their presence. A successful job interview depends not only on the person who comes to it, but first of all on your preparation.

For a comfortable and quick selection of a specialist, follow these tips:

  1. Evaluate the candidate’s experience and skills, find out what projects he worked on, what tasks he performed and what results he achieved.
  2. Conduct a technical interview:
  • check the theoretical knowledge of the structure of databases, programming languages, algorithms and the standard library;
  • evaluate how the applicant solves problems: is he not afraid to ask questions and how appropriate are they formulated; able to see the error and correct it; keeps silent about the problem or not, because then it will be reflected in the work of the entire team.
  1. Test technical skills: Create a test of knowledge that clearly demonstrates the skills for the position. For example, for a web developer – one of the stages of creating a page using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, for a mobile developer – one of the stages of creating a mobile application for Android using Java or Kotlin; for an analyst – performing data analysis using Python or R.

It is considered a good tone to give a task that takes up to 4 hours. Arrange the same performance conditions for all candidates, so that they have equal chances, and you can more accurately assess their level.

If the technical work relates to a real project or gives you interesting innovative ideas, let the specialist know about it and pay for his work.

  1. Evaluate soft skills. Communication, flexibility in decision-making, meeting deadlines, responsibility are important skills for successful work. They should be checked at the technical job interview, because later their absence or low development will create problems.
  2. Check the ability to communicate. We will highlight this soft skill in a separate item, because it is the most important. Depending on the position, the specialist has:
  • communicate with the team, do not be afraid to say about difficulties and ask for help;
  • be a leader, effectively manage work processes and lead a team;
  • find a common language with clients, correctly understand their needs and reach effective solutions.

The ability to communicate affects the quality and convenience of the entire team’s work.

What is more important, hard or soft skills of a specialist?

Test assignment

It is important for a modern IT specialist to have developed hard skills and soft skills. But which one is more important? There is no unequivocal answer to this question, because without one there will be no effective work only with the other, and vice versa.

We recommend you determining exactly what soft and hard skills your specialist should have. Depending on the position, the following hard skills are often required: knowledge of programming languages, creation of web-page programs, development of games, programs, mobile applications, ability to analyze information and conduct testing, knowledge of the English language. Soft skills at the same time: communication, creativity, adaptability, critical thinking, self-discipline, ability to work in a team, emotional intelligence, good memory, desire and ability to learn.

In order to successfully cope with responsibilities, it is important for an IT specialist to have a balance between hard and soft skills. Therefore, when deciding whether to hire a person, you need to assess the level of both skills. And also pay attention to his motivation. If he is willing to learn, some knowledge can be tightened during the probationary period.

How to give feedback to the candidate?

First, be sure to give an answer to the applicant. Even if you understand that he does not pass to the next stage of the job interview.

A person spends his time, so it is important that he gets benefit for himself. For her, the interview and performance of the test task is an opportunity to assess her level of knowledge, to receive feedback that will help strengthen her weaknesses in order to develop further in the IT field. Therefore, it is important in the answer:

  • indicate mistakes in detail,
  • notify good decisions
  • give recommendations on how to improve your skills,
  • not to criticize, but to motivate to develop further.

A detailed answer takes time, but it can pay for itself. If you motivate the candidate to develop, he will grow into a highly qualified specialist and will be useful to you in further cooperation.

Finding the perfect IT specialist is difficult. However, a clear understanding of who you need and a well-formed test task will help in this. And proper communication with applicants will allow you to choose the best of the best.

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