December 4, 2020
5 min read

Step 4: How to Assess for Technical Fit

We’re now on Step 4 of our guide to hiring a web/software engineer.

In the previous step, you were shown how to conduct initial screening on job applicants. Now, you have to assess the applicants remaining and check out their technical or engineering skills.

The question here is simple: are they capable of doing what you need them to do in the job position?

There are several ways to answer this question. Today, we’ll go over the most popular options.

Note that these are the basic forms of these options, by the way. There are countless variants of them with minor alterations in the form or rules.

Furthermore, remember that this is far from an exhaustive list. You should feel free to develop your own method for assessing applicants’ technical competencies if you feel none of these suit your job posting.

Just be sure that the assessment actually reflects your organisation’s technical needs. You don’t want to focus on the wrong things at this stage!

Have Them Perform Coding Challenges

First, you can ask them to perform coding challenges using resources like Coderbyte. You can also try options like HackerRank and BeatMyCode.

The idea behind this assessment method is to see how they tackle problems as well as whether or not they can produce working code.

Other questions to ask would be whether or not it’s comprehensible. Is it up to implementation standards? Does it address edge conditions? Have provisions for possible errors?

Note that you can simply grab challenges from the sites mentioned above as test problems. You’re not obliged to actually ask applicants to do their coding on these sites so they can be scored by the site.

After all, it’s generally best to use in-house evaluations of answers to the challenges instead, so you get a better sense of their technical abilities.

As for the amount of time you grant applicants to solve a problem, it varies. Some companies give applicants several hours. Others make them tackle the challenge right in front of them (in real time).

Interview Them about Their Open-Source Projects

This is another great way to check out applicants’ working skills. A lot of web/software engineers will have their own pet projects, which they will gladly share with prospective employers.

A web engineer may well point you towards his own website, for example. Software engineers may have projects on places like GitHub.

Even if they didn’t do all of the work on a project, ask them to point you towards the parts of the code they authored.

Review it well before the interview, make notes, then ask them about the technical details and decisions that went into the project.

Why did they choose that design? How did they handle version control?

What problems did they run into during the project and how did they address them? What did they think they did best and why, and what would they change if they had an opportunity?

Questions like that can help you get a truly revealing look at applicants’ work and abilities.

By the way, if they worked with others on the project, this is also a great opportunity to ask them about the process and development environment. It can give you insight into how they would work as part of a team.

Have Them Review or Improve Others’ Work

This is another good way to evaluate web/software engineers. It comes from the fact that the best indication of actual technical ability in these fields is a facility for creative thinking and problem-solving.

Give them a piece of code that’s not ideal. Some issues in it can be obvious and others can be a bit more complex.

You can even give them code that doesn’t meet a given set of implementation standards or that doesn’t use reasonable naming conventions.

If the job opening also requires expertise in a particular language, you can give them code written in that language.

The goal is to see how well they evaluate work, as well as how good they are at fixing the issues in it.

Ask them to take you through their evaluations as well as “fixes” for the code. You either use a whiteboard for this process or have them share their screen with you if you’re conducting the interview remotely.

This can help you figure out if their ideas of quality align with yours too.

Final Thoughts on Assessing for Technical Fit

One last word here: as far as this stage of the hiring process is concerned, it takes an engineer to assess and hire another engineer.

That’s just another way of saying that you need someone with technical skills to oversee or manage most of the tasks here. Otherwise, you can’t be certain that your assessments of candidates’ technical skills are correct.

So, if you’re not too familiar with web/software development, you may need to call in your engineers or tech team leads to run this part of the recruitment process.

Alternatively, you can reach out to us for help. One of the reasons our candidate-job matches have such high ratings is that we have the tech expertise to run technical assessments for employers.

We even offer tech assessments to engineers on our database, to ensure their claimed accomplishments match with their actual abilities.

If you need help finding truly competent web/software engineers, reach out to us now at Skilledd.

We’re now on Step 4 of our guide to hiring a web/software engineer.

In the previous step, you were shown how to conduct initial screening on job applicants. Now, you have to assess the applicants remaining and check out their technical or engineering skills.

The question here is simple: are they capable of doing what you need them to do in the job position?

There are several ways to answer this question. Today, we’ll go over the most popular options.

Note that these are the basic forms of these options, by the way. There are countless variants of them with minor alterations in the form or rules.

Furthermore, remember that this is far from an exhaustive list. You should feel free to develop your own method for assessing applicants’ technical competencies if you feel none of these suit your job posting.

Just be sure that the assessment actually reflects your organisation’s technical needs. You don’t want to focus on the wrong things at this stage!

Have Them Perform Coding Challenges

First, you can ask them to perform coding challenges using resources like Coderbyte. You can also try options like HackerRank and BeatMyCode.

The idea behind this assessment method is to see how they tackle problems as well as whether or not they can produce working code.

Other questions to ask would be whether or not it’s comprehensible. Is it up to implementation standards? Does it address edge conditions? Have provisions for possible errors?

Note that you can simply grab challenges from the sites mentioned above as test problems. You’re not obliged to actually ask applicants to do their coding on these sites so they can be scored by the site.

After all, it’s generally best to use in-house evaluations of answers to the challenges instead, so you get a better sense of their technical abilities.

As for the amount of time you grant applicants to solve a problem, it varies. Some companies give applicants several hours. Others make them tackle the challenge right in front of them (in real time).

Interview Them about Their Open-Source Projects

This is another great way to check out applicants’ working skills. A lot of web/software engineers will have their own pet projects, which they will gladly share with prospective employers.

A web engineer may well point you towards his own website, for example. Software engineers may have projects on places like GitHub.

Even if they didn’t do all of the work on a project, ask them to point you towards the parts of the code they authored.

Review it well before the interview, make notes, then ask them about the technical details and decisions that went into the project.

Why did they choose that design? How did they handle version control?

What problems did they run into during the project and how did they address them? What did they think they did best and why, and what would they change if they had an opportunity?

Questions like that can help you get a truly revealing look at applicants’ work and abilities.

By the way, if they worked with others on the project, this is also a great opportunity to ask them about the process and development environment. It can give you insight into how they would work as part of a team.

Have Them Review or Improve Others’ Work

This is another good way to evaluate web/software engineers. It comes from the fact that the best indication of actual technical ability in these fields is a facility for creative thinking and problem-solving.

Give them a piece of code that’s not ideal. Some issues in it can be obvious and others can be a bit more complex.

You can even give them code that doesn’t meet a given set of implementation standards or that doesn’t use reasonable naming conventions.

If the job opening also requires expertise in a particular language, you can give them code written in that language.

The goal is to see how well they evaluate work, as well as how good they are at fixing the issues in it.

Ask them to take you through their evaluations as well as “fixes” for the code. You either use a whiteboard for this process or have them share their screen with you if you’re conducting the interview remotely.

This can help you figure out if their ideas of quality align with yours too.

Final Thoughts on Assessing for Technical Fit

One last word here: as far as this stage of the hiring process is concerned, it takes an engineer to assess and hire another engineer.

That’s just another way of saying that you need someone with technical skills to oversee or manage most of the tasks here. Otherwise, you can’t be certain that your assessments of candidates’ technical skills are correct.

So, if you’re not too familiar with web/software development, you may need to call in your engineers or tech team leads to run this part of the recruitment process.

Alternatively, you can reach out to us for help. One of the reasons our candidate-job matches have such high ratings is that we have the tech expertise to run technical assessments for employers.

We even offer tech assessments to engineers on our database, to ensure their claimed accomplishments match with their actual abilities.

If you need help finding truly competent web/software engineers, reach out to us now at Skilledd.

Published by:
You might also like...