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How Can Programming Tests Help Create Great Candidate Experiences?

April 17, 2017

From years of connecting employers with tech candidates, we’ve reached a huge milestone: we’ve delivered over 4 MILLION programming tests!

That number includes a wide variety of candidate locations, coding languages, and stages in the recruiting process. Facilitating millions of tests between hiring companies and candidates has taught us an enormous amount about creating positive recruiting experiences. In our journey growing from hundreds to millions of programming tests, we’ve gained insights into candidate preferences, expectations, and capabilities. 

Here's our top insights. 

Programming tests - great candidate experienceCandidates Perform Best in a Natural Environment

Interviews should measure how closely candidates’ qualifications match the requirements of the job for which they’re applying. Ideally, your interview process gauges how well a candidate would perform on a day-to-day basis. Traditional technical interviewing methods like whiteboarding and in-depth phone interviews only tell part of the story, and may not capture how a programmer codes in real life. Using Codility, hiring teams can send online programming tests to candidates to complete on their own time, from a location they choose.

This way, programmers have access to resources like: Gitbhub, StackOverflow, or even Google Search. 

While doing programming skills tests, they can educate themselves around the task at hand to better inform their approach.

And once they come onsite, hiring teams can use the Codility results alongside their technical interview questions to review the candidate.

Because Codility is language-agnostic, we also encourage candidates to choose their preferred programming language when tackling a test. We make sure that, whether your candidate completes their test in Python or C++, they’re graded objectively.

Candidates can also use their own integrated development environments, or IDEs, of choice and seamlessly copy and paste their code to our text editor. From the way the IDE works to the way the timer looks, our UI is built to feel more real-life and improve your candidates' overall performance and enjoyment.

Oh, and don’t worry about cheating; we have a bunch of safeguards in place to prevent candidates from submitting the work of others.

Candidates Expect Transparency

Recruiting is about relationship building. Even for highly technical roles, it’s about people connecting with other people and creating respect between company and candidate. The same way candidates expect to hear back about moving forward or being rejected in a timely manner, coders expect to know how they did on coding tasks. Sending them their score breakdown, when it makes sense, helps them learn and improve for future interviews and gives an even better impression of your company.

It’s also just courteous, and candidates will appreciate that.

Imagine this: you reject a candidate this time around, but because you were transparent about your process and sent them their test feedback, they’re left with a positive impression and keep you in mind for the future. Impressed by the integrity of your recruiting practices, they return a few years later with a stronger skillset.

You now have an A-team programmer on your doorstep. This wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t build that relationship through transparency their first time moving through your interview process.

Time Matters When Taking Programming Tests

Giving more time to candidates does not significantly increase the likelihood of them scoring higher on their programming test. This might seem a bit counterintuitive; you might think that by relaxing time limitations, candidates have a better chance of working through those tricky problems. Or maybe by allotting more time, test takers feel less pressure from the time constraint and end up performing better. It turns out this doesn’t always hold true. The candidate either knows how to write the code to pass the test or they don’t.

Codility makes it easy for hiring managers to provide a reasonable length of time for candidates to complete tasks.

Too short...and even the best candidates won’t be able to excel.

Too long...and hiring managers may find it difficult to differentiate great from mediocre candidates.

While test senders can customize how much time to give, Codility provides default suggestions, informed by the millions of tests already completed through our platform. Our research helps hiring teams avoid the headaches and mistakes of calculating how much time to give candidates to submit their solutions.

We’re constantly looking for ways to improve. Drawing insights from 4 million completed Codility tests helps inform our product roadmap and share our feedback so companies can improve the experience they provide their candidates. So far, we’ve learned a lot about how to provide an engaging testing experience that is both fair and memorable.

What insights will we gain from sending millions more coding assignments?

Want to try Codility for your team? Start a free 7 day trial of our tech recruiting software now: 

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