The TA teams’ weary in the Covid era is abundance of CVs for specialized tech roles that the companies are hiring for. IT firms are focussed on all purpose talents, primarily individuals with certain experience who could code, communicate, network and manage well- all rolled into one job code. With the recent alarming pace of job cuts, there is no dearth of talent floating across the market. Therefore, the current challenge for the recruiters is screening and sieving the candidates with the hallmark qualities of exceptional software engineering. Online pre-hiring tests ensue as a striking way to shortlist in the initial rounds of screening. These work as one-shot eliminators of at least 70 to 75% of applied candidates.

These pre-hiring written assessments are nearly standard and to some extent provide an unbiased platform for the candidates. One definite plus of these tests are they are quantifiable and transparent. The disadvantages however, outweighs the pros as the devil lies in the strength of these tests to measure the best shortlist for the jobs. The tests may include psychometric questions, language skills as well as coding concepts and still not be sufficient to filter out the good fits.

Some of the major disadvantages of written screening during pre-hiring are:

  • Soft skills are left unassessed: – Communication skills, ability to work in a team and emotional intelligence to accept constructive feedback are missed to be tried in a written test. These skills cannot be marked at a lesser priority than coding and data analysis.
  • Candidates focussed on applicability are screened out: – A written test knocks out the candidates who are not much focussed on the theoretical aspects of technology. For an instance, an experienced programmer may not be able to answer multiple choice question correctly and be confused with the options.
  • Validity of the tests can be questionable: – The tests are often practically unsuitable and invalid for specific candidates with good experience. Example: A PHP Developer should be practically proficient in one or more PHP Frameworks like Joomla, Drupal, CakePHP, Zend, Laravel, CodeIgniter, etc. If the test is not valid it is useless.
  • Too rigid to judge candidates’ value: Tests are pre-set and not customizable. These weigh on what questions are set for the candidates and not what the candidates have good experience on and what they can bring to the table.
  • Can favour guesstimates: – Objective written tests may not provide the real picture of the candidate. Guesswork can make the process invalid and unreliable.

In the near future, the tech hiring landscape will have a need for improved and more structured screening practices than written assessments. IT companies are considering outsourcing technical assessments for a more funnelled carve out.  The way forward is to adopt smarter practices of procuring large collection of quality tests and evaluations of various flavours. On one hand there are the subjective test simulators and on the other hand tech interviewing platforms assessing both hard and soft skills can help the employers to evaluate the in-depth knowledge of the Candidate

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