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How to Evaluate Technical Skills Before Hiring

How to Evaluate Technical Skills Before Hiring

Hiring the right talent for technical roles is crucial for organizations eager to leverage the latest technologies and scale. However, evaluating the technical skills of the candidates can be a daunting task, especially if you aren’t a tech expert yourself.

That’s why at Bridge, we have developed a solid technical skills evaluation framework that we use every time when sourcing technical candidates for our customers. We carefully pre-vet suitable specialists, ensuring that our clients only receive top-tier tech talent. In this article, we decided to share some of our best practices for technical proficiency skills assessment so that you can make the right hiring decisions and build a team with diverse skill sets.

The true cost of a bad hire – why you should evaluate your candidates carefully

The true cost of a bad hire is high and ranges from $17,000 to $240,000. However, making a bad hiring decision isn’t only about money. It is also about the time you lost on onboarding the wrong candidate, and the potential damage for your project caused by the candidate’s incompetence. Last but not least, your team members will have to fix this employee’s mistakes, which will affect the overall morale.

Here are the main reasons why you should evaluate your candidate’s technical skills as carefully as possible:

  • To make sure the candidate’s skills match the company’s needs. Technical skills and competencies can be as diverse as a company’s business goals. Technical skills evaluation allows for finding that perfect match, thereby, minimizing the risks of possible issues and building a team that is working like a well-oiled machine to achieve project goals.
  • To understand how the candidate’s hard and soft skills will complement the skills of other team members. The most productive and well-performing teams are those where the team members have cross-functional skills that complement and strengthen each other. That’s why, when evaluating a candidate’s technical background, it is also important to make sure their hard and soft skills will contribute to a collaborative and efficient work environment. 
  • To identify skills gap before it’s too late. If you are about to hire an under-qualified candidate, identifying skills gap allows for creating a personal development plan, assigning a competent mentor, and adjusting the development process from the very beginning.
  • To reduce employee turnover. Finally, careful evaluation of the applicant’s technical skills can help reduce employee turnover as you will be confident that the candidate is well-suited for the role and has the necessary skills to succeed in the position.

Ways to evaluate candidate’s technical skills

Now, let’s find out how to evaluate technical skills in practice. Below we are going to list three methods for technical skills evaluation we use, which together form a solid framework that will allow you to make sure of the right hiring decision. 

Give your candidate a technical assessment test

Before you proceed with interview questions to evaluate technical skills and behavioral assessments, consider starting from giving your candidate a technical assessment test. For example, it can be a quiz-like test with up to 15 test questions to check the candidate’s knowledge of programming theory. The picture below is an example of the JavaScript test that can be used for pre-vetting Junior JS developers.

In addition to creating such a test for your candidates, you should also define evaluation criteria so that you can proceed with candidates who have solid knowledge. Usually, such quiz-like tests require giving the right answers to 90% of questions. 

Ask the candidate to solve a technical problem/explain a technical concept

After your candidates are done with a tech assessment test, you can ask them to solve a certain technical problem or explain a specific concept to you. For example, if you hire Junior JavaScript developers, you can ask them to explain what a variable is and how it is used in JavaScript. They can explain that a variable is a container for storing data values, and it can be declared using the var, let, or const keywords. They can also say that variables can store different types of data, such as numbers, strings, and boolean values.

As for solving a technical problem, you can ask the JS developer candidate to write a function that takes a string as input and returns the string reversed. The solution may look as follows:

In this solution, the reverseString function takes a string as input and uses the split, reverse, and join methods to reverse the string. The split method splits the string into an array of characters, the reverse method reverses the order of the characters, and the join method joins the characters back into a string.

You can also modify this problem to make it more complex by adding constraints, such as not using built-in methods or using recursion to solve the problem.

Conduct technical interviews

Conducting technical interviews is the last step in the tech candidate’s skills evaluation process. We suggest preparing two blocks of questions to ask, where the first block of questions is targeted at testing candidates’ logic, problem-solving skills, and strategic thinking, while the second one consists of technical and project-specific questions. 

For example, in the picture below you can see a simple logical puzzle. Prepare some more tricky questions of this kind to discover how your candidates think.

Then, you can proceed with asking more technical interview questions. Suppose you have to build an eCommerce website using JavaScript. In this case, the web developer interview questions may include but aren’t limited to the following ones: 

  • What JavaScript frameworks and libraries have you used for eCommerce development? Explain the best use cases for each of them. 
  • How would you approach implementing a shopping cart feature on an eCommerce website using JavaScript?
  • How would you handle user authentication and authorization on an eCommerce website using JavaScript?
  • Have you worked with any payment gateways in JavaScript? If so, which ones?
  • Can you explain the difference between synchronous and asynchronous JavaScript?
  • How would you implement a search feature on an eCommerce website using JavaScript?

These questions can help you gauge the candidate’s understanding of eCommerce development with JavaScript and their ability to solve problems and think critically. It’s important to tailor the questions to your specific project needs and requirements to ensure the candidate is a good fit for the job. 

In addition, you may also ask your best candidates to do another test task. But keep in mind that it still should be a task – not a part of the project that you can reuse. Otherwise, this piece of work should be paid for. It is also important to make sure that performing a test task will not take more than several hours for a candidate, otherwise, it would be paid for either. 

Hire pre-vetted technical candidates with Bridge

Evaluating the technical skills of candidates can be a challenging process for many organizations. Technical skills are often specific to a particular field or industry, and it can be difficult to assess a candidate’s proficiency in a short period of time. Additionally, the ICT industry is constantly evolving, and it can be challenging to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. 

At our tech talent sourcing company, we understand the difficulties of evaluating technical skills. That’s why our tech-enabled soucing-as-a-service is aimed at finding and delivering candidates who are already pre-vetted and carefully matched with your project requirements. We have a rigorous screening process that allows us to suggest the best-fit candidates from a 900K-wide tech talent pool and ensure you hire the best specialists for your technical roles. In addition to using talent sourcing technology, our human sourcers reach out the suitable candidates personally, validate their interest in a new position and ensure there is an accurate professional and cultural fit. 

Send us a short message to find out more about the ways we match qualified tech candidates with companies worldwide!

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