Why Engineers Reject Your Coding Test

The concept behind a coding assessment is straightforward: it aims to identify candidates lacking the requisite technical skills for a role at an early stage in the hiring process. This prevents both the hiring manager and the candidate from investing time in an in-person interview that may not be fruitful. However, let's discover in Recruitery’s article why engineers won't do your coding test.

What is a Coding Test?

engineering looking at the different programming language 

Coding tests usually consist of programming challenges designed to allow technical recruiters to assess the programming skills and competencies of developers or programmers. An effective coding test is designed to gauge a candidate's problem-solving abilities and comprehension of coding.

Reasons Engineers Refuse to Do The Coding Test 

It's common for recruiters that candidates refuse to participate in coding test, let's see why in this section 

They Assess Algorithmic Proficiency Rather Than Coding Ability

Companies aim for significant assessment scores, often achieved by using trick questions. Succeeding in these tests demands weeks of code practice on a set of deceptive questions, limiting success to only a fraction of developers.

Interviewers may overlook the stress faced by candidates in the interview setting. Writing executable code for a niche algorithm, studied in school (if one was a CS major) but rarely used in real-world engineering, becomes highly intimidating with a ticking timer.

While proficiency in algorithms is valuable (albeit improvable with practice), it doesn't strongly indicate someone's engineering prowess or future role performance. Strong algorithmic ability is crucial for only a small fraction of tech roles, introducing an inherent bias against more experienced developers in this method of assessing developer skills.

It's Too Demanding

Requesting candidates to invest over an hour in a coding test before any commitment is unfair. A three-hour test undermines the efficiency of automation, placing a disproportionate time burden on candidates compared to video or in-person interviews. The longer the assessment, the lower the participation rate.

women coding a programming code

Coding Becomes More Challenging in An Unfamiliar Setting

Developers typically favorr customized IDEs for seamless coding. A test environment, being unfamiliar, poses difficulties for software engineers to work optimally. This is particularly true when the test involves using not only a programming language in a basic code editor but also assesses front-end/backend code framework capabilities.

Alternative Methods for Assessing Engineers

While coding tests may not be the optimal method for evaluating senior engineers, alternative approaches can effectively assess their skills. Here are some suggestions:

Portfolio Review

Examine a candidate's portfolio, a collection of code samples showcasing their past work. This provides insights into their coding style, problem-solving approach, and the complexity of challenges they've addressed.

Technical Discussion

Engage in a conversation about a candidate's understanding of technology and their problem-solving approach. Instead of specific coding problems, discuss technical challenges they encountered in previous roles and their solutions.

women leading the team

Project-Based Interview

Replace traditional coding interviews with project-based assessments, where candidates undertake tasks similar to the role's responsibilities. This offers a practical evaluation of their coding ability and problem-solving approach.

Pair Programming

Employ pair programming, allowing two developers to collaborate on the same codebase. This reveals the candidate's coding style, problem-solving approach, and collaborative skills.

In Summary

shaking hands in agreement

Coding tests are a common method to assess software engineers, but they may not be optimal for all engineers. Differentiating tasks for senior engineers are often not adequately captured in coding interviews. Moreover, these interviews can disadvantage senior engineers who have limited preparation time and work in sophisticated development environments.

Alternative methods like portfolio review, technical discussion, project-based interviews, and pair programming offer a more comprehensive evaluation of an engineer's abilities. Recruitery hopes after this article you understand why engineers won't do your coding test and choose a better method for your staffing strategy.