Interview Assessment: Your Choices for Quality, Efficiency, and Cost

If you’re hiring software engineers, you’re looking to bring on talent that will take your company to the next level.

Today, that’s even more challenging in an increasingly candidate-driven market.

Typically you would meet the challenge by devoting many hours of senior engineering time (about 65 hours per candidate) to the technical interview assessment process.

That requires some sort of screening instrument with questions relevant to the role you are filling (and there are many choices here) but above all, it requires in-depth evaluation of coding ability and application.

Interview assessment tools take on many forms. Initial interview questions to screen candidates focus on their experience in specific roles, major projects, preferred style of working, and their choice of coding languages. It might also include a “short test” of coding to whittle down the number of candidates who will be interviewed in person and who will complete the “long form” technical assessment.

Aptitude test for jobs

Sometimes, before the technical assessment interviews start, your company may want candidates to take more general aptitude tests: cognitive ability tests, numerical reasoning tests, tests of emotional intelligence, or tests of language comprehension.

When that initial testing concludes, technical assessment interviewing begins. Here are the three types of interviews routinely used:

  1. A coding quiz tests a candidate’s ability to write fluently and clearly in a coding language such as Python. The limitations of the code quiz are what led Woven to develop the leading technical interviewing assessment on the market today. It’s role-specific and evaluates core skills such as debugging, technical communication, systems thinking, backend programming, and frontend programming. Not just code.
  2. The whiteboard interview, which is usually done in person and requires the participation of senior engineers in every session, poses coding challenges for candidates to solve on the spot. It is notoriously unpopular with engineering candidates and creates intense pressure to solve problems without standard workplace references and tools. Plus, the location of the candidate and other factors can lead to the elimination of someone who might be a perfect fit for the job. Woven’s response was the creation of self-contained coding challenges that the candidate can take online. Our asynchronous tests save engineering time and reduce interview scheduling problems.
  3. Take-home tests can be purchased from many suppliers. Your senior engineering staff must select the test questions relevant to the role you’re filling, and very few go beyond knowledge of the field and code-writing ability. That’s why we developed coding challenges that can be administered online and that pose real-life challenges that the candidate will encounter on the job in that position.

Aptitude test preparation

Although “aptitude” is often characterized as a general assessment of reasoning and not focused on specific knowledge or skills, candidates will find many aptitude test-preparation websites to help them ace aptitude tests. There are thousands of practice questions, and they can retake the tests several times to try and improve their score. (Practice Aptitude Tests offers both a paid package and a free package.)

Some companies also screen candidates with online initial assessment interview questions. For example, there are Amazon online assessment tests for Amazon applicants. Initial assessment interview questions often combine a purchased test with relevant questions added by a company’s senior engineers.

Generally, these are the most commonly asked initial assessment interview questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Why should we choose you for this job?
  • What are your hobbies outside of work?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Why are you leaving your current position?
  • What are your main strengths?

Evaluating candidates after interview

No matter how you decide to approach the technical assessment, the most important part is evaluating candidates after the interview.

Often, take-home tests have an automatic scoring feature. This really only works for a coding quiz that asks for yes/no or right/wrong answers.

Woven’s evaluation is different. We assess engineering ability based on the candidate’s approach to defining a problem and working toward a solution. Our expert engineers score and rank candidates on coding, problem solving, communication, and more. That’s how we find hidden gems.

Interview feedback phrases

All of our technical assessments are handled by two professional engineers in the Woven network who do a double-blind evaluation of every completed coding challenge. Then, we compile detailed interview assessment comments for your post-interview evaluation form.

  • One result is a full evaluation and recommendations that are reported and interpreted for your hiring team.
  • Another benefit is that we provide feedback to every candidate who takes the coding challenge to further inform their professional growth.

These two outcomes don’t require hours of your time. With Woven’s evaluation and recommendation in hand, your hiring team can fast-track the next steps in your quest for finding talented engineers.

Imagine having an edge in making timely hiring decisions and offers — a critical advantage in an increasingly demanding market.

We can even help engineering candidates prepare for the technical interview process.

These days, recruiting the best engineering talent requires the best technical interview assessment approach on the market. Woven’s role-specific, problem-based coding challenges can make your process worthy of top talent, more efficient for your hiring team, and more candidate-friendly. It’s a win-win-win.

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