What Should be the Test Assignment for an IT Candidate?

The hiring process in IT is quite complex. It consists of many steps to select the best candidate. One of the most important components is the test task, which can give a clear picture of the candidate’s practical skills and ability to solve professional problems. 

A well-designed project test or interview project will help your potential employee to show his/her best qualities, display expert skills, and convince his/her uniqueness. It’s also the first practical introduction to future responsibilities. Today in our article we will evaluate the importance of Pre-Hiring Assessment and pre-hire projects, and what role this stage fulfills in the overall HR policy of the campaign.

What’s a Pre-Hire Project?

What is the pre-hire project? It is a special test task for a candidate for a position, which should be performed to assess the real professional skills and compliance with the corporate requirements of the company. It is a useful step for a potential employee to familiarize himself/herself with the professional duties and style of the employer.

This task often simulates tasks that candidates will encounter in a real job. The main objective is to assess the ability to solve these tasks, original approach, speed, and responsibility in the solution process.

Unlike theoretical questions or coding tests, the project test gives a complete picture of how the candidate approaches problem-solving, collaborates with team members, and manages their time.

When Giving a Test Task is a Great Idea

Of course, it’s ideal if you can provide a hiring process with detailed research on each candidate, including using a project test. But there are situations where a test assignment is a necessity. These situations include: 

  • Hiring for a unique project: If your service or product requires a unique approach to creation, which means you need exclusive software development experience and narrow specialization. In this case, a test assignment will help ensure that the candidate is indeed capable of meeting the corporate requirements. A customized interview project can simulate the specific tasks the candidate will face, giving you a clear idea of their suitability.
  • Proof of the applicant’s actual skills and talents: Oral interviews and resumes do not fully characterize the candidate. How will he or she meet professional challenges? What real skills do candidates possess? Is it possible to realize theoretical knowledge in practice? The test project requires candidates to demonstrate their real skills and, most importantly, to convince the employer of their value as new employees.
  • Candidate with no experience or no experience in the required field: Suppose candidates for a position in your company don’t have experience in the required field. We suggest offering a test project. This can be relevant for very young professionals who have recently graduated or for professionals who are transitioning from another field. A test assignment can be a great way to prove your competence and demonstrate your practical skills and ability to solve professional problems, even if you do not have a lot of work experience. It is also a measure of a candidate’s potential for a particular company, and to what extent the lack of experience will be compensated by a lively and flexible mind.
  • The applicant Doesn’t Have a Portfolio: In cases where candidates lack a comprehensive portfolio, a test task can serve as a substitute to demonstrate their work quality. This is particularly useful for recent graduates or self-taught developers.
  • Demonstration of the immediate practical responsibilities of the job: A well-designed test case can also help candidates understand the nature of the work they will be expected to do. This is a useful trait, as candidates will be able to further test how comfortable, convenient, and quality they can perform their job duties. Whether the new job is a mistake that will cause candidates and companies to waste their time and money.

When Not to Give a Test Assignment

We have considered situations where an additional test of professionalism is necessary. We also suggest discussing the variant: when not to give a test assignment. These situations include: 

  • The candidate has an excellent portfolio and resume: Yes, this situation is quite common. A unique star has arrived on your HR skyline. And we advise you not to miss this star. That means don’t lengthen the hiring process with one more step. Your candidate’s previous experience is proof enough of professional ability. Several HR professionals may be competing for this person at the same time, and very often such cool professionals choose from several job offers. In this case, the speed of decision-making will work in your company’s favor.
  • Recruiting Top Managers: For management positions, extensive testing may not be necessary. It is much more important for top managers to possess the qualities of agility, strategic thinking, ability to calculate several steps ahead, communication skills, flexibility, team management talent, and so on. The test task should also take these characteristics into account and be as dynamic and mobile. Still, this measure will prove to be insufficient to evaluate a candidate or too labor-intensive. It is much more effective to study case studies and conduct an additional verbal interview. 
  • The candidate’s technical skills: Sometimes technical skills can be assessed in other ways, such as coding interviews or technical questions, making a test assignment unnecessary.
  • Tight deadlines for hiring a new employee: If the hiring timeline is tight, a lengthy test assignment may not be appropriate. In such cases, it is better to rely on interviews and other types of assessments.

Test task for an IT candidate in Belarus

What to Consider When Creating a Test Task

Let’s get to the basics: what are the requirements for creating a test task? 

  • Determining the time to complete the test task: Determine the scope of the test task and what lead times will be acceptable. Too little time can negatively affect the result, and too much time negatively affects the motivation of potential employees.
  • Self-determination: Allowing candidates to determine their deadlines for a task allows them to accommodate their schedule and gain insight into their time management skills.
  • Full scope of information and corporate data: The candidate should receive from the employer the full amount of data needed to complete the test task. Uncertainty and lack of information can lead to frustration and skew assessment results.
  • Tools the candidate will need: Ensure that you provide the necessary tools that candidates will need to use in their test work. This will help familiarize them with the potential work environment and the tools they will have to work with in the future.
  • Be open to communication: Be prepared to answer any questions that are relevant to the performance of the test task. On the contrary, feedback and open communication will have a positive impact on the outcome and create a friendly atmosphere.
  • Never use the candidate’s work for the benefit of the organization:The test task should be solely an assessment tool and not a way to get free work. Ensure ethical behavior by making the assignment purely evaluative.

How to Create a Test Task

Creating a test task requires additional preparation and study of the job responsibilities that will be required as the job employer collaborates with their employee. Let’s consider the main stages.

  • Identify Your Project/Position Goals: What do you need to get out of the new employee? What production tasks will he or she perform? Get this information and create a test task based on it.
  • List the necessary skills for the new employee: Research the selected position for the new employee. What competencies must be utilized to perform the job duties with quality and speed? The answer to this question will help you design a task to assess these skills as part of a test task. 
  • A realistic problem to solve: Think of a realistic production task to be solved. This task should be as close as possible to the employee’s future responsibilities. You should utilize the best professional qualities to solve this task while avoiding the pre recruitment complexity for job seekers. 
  • Set specific parameters and conditions for the task: Clearly define the conditions of the test task and the results you expect from the applicant. Also, don’t forget the specific parameters that will ultimately affect the score.
  • Check and test task: Before giving the task to the candidate, make sure that the test can be completed within the given parameters and test it internally to ensure its adequacy and level of difficulty.

Creating an effective test assignment involves careful planning and consideration of various factors. By following these guidelines, you can design a test task that not only evaluates a candidate’s skills accurately but also enhances your hiring process, ensuring you find the best fit for your team.

Professional IT recruiting with HR Agency

Our Agency provides high-quality IT recruiting solutions. This is an open team of professionals with extensive experience in the field of digital technologies and recruitment for this sphere. 

Our team of HR specialists will create a unique team of IT professionals for any client’s request. Our recruiters dive deep into each project and the specific needs of the client. And most importantly – the first result will be already from the first days of cooperation. 

No delays and misunderstandings – only an open and fast process of creating your dream team.

Effective communication, understanding of the client’s business, speed of hiring, and modern technology – these are the principles the Recruitment team adheres to.

IT recruiting for a modern company is a difficult stage that requires an understanding of both the software development process itself and the specifics of HR department employees’ work and search for new candidates on the international market. Not all companies are ready to spend effort and money on finding the perfect employee, which eventually leads to problems in product development and conflicts at work. 

Delegate this complex process to professionals who specialize in this area. Professional help will ensure stable results, and most importantly will allow you to concentrate on your main task – creating a great digital product!

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