The Right and Wrong Way to Use Tests for Interviews

We can all agree on one thing: interviews aren’t exactly fun. Especially traditional technical interviews.

But due to radical changes in the tech world, there’s a need for companies like yours to acquire top engineering talent — and fast. To achieve this goal, you’ll need to go through the necessary process of assessing candidates.

As an engineering manager, you are responsible for recruiting new team members. Checks and balances ensure you have done your due diligence in thoroughly checking out the candidates’ work history, experience levels, references, and how well they will fit into your organization’s culture.

This typically happens in three or more stages:

1. Posting on job boards

We’ve seen multi-billion dollar companies list their high-level software, IT, and professional services jobs on all kinds of major job boards. Plus, reports show that 60% of potential candidates look for opportunities there. You’ll need to create a post with a clear title and clear job description if you want qualified people to apply — and even then, you’ll still need to sift through resumes and cover letters.

2. Phone screening

Dozens of potential candidates have applied for the position. What now?

To triage them, set up a series of technical phone interviews and determine who is to advance. This is the time for you to get a sense of how the applicant thinks, articulates problems, and uses technical vocabulary.

3. Interview rounds

You’ve trimmed the numbers down. Now the main interviews begin.

A technical interview takes about 65 engineering hours per hire (Facebook and Google plan four rounds) and involves different types of interview tests. The goal is to find out how well someone can do the job and how well they fit in with the culture of your organization. A thorough assessment is crucial to ensure a successful recruitment drive.

Types of interview tests

Agreeably, the right pre-employment assessment test questions and answers will bring you closer to the right hire.

Interview tests come in handy to determine a candidate’s skills, preparedness, and suitability for the role.

The types of interview tests most commonly used are:

  • General aptitude tests for jobs assess a candidate’s abilities and likelihood to undertake a given task successfully. Both in-person aptitude tests and online aptitude tests cover logic, communication, reasoning, cognitive, and personality tests for employment.
  • Interview practical tests assess a potential candidate’s skills and abilities to solve real-life challenges by subjecting them to real-life scenarios.
  • Written test interviews are tests you administer on paper or remotely as eExams.

In the software engineering field, the most commonly used interview tests include:

Code quizzes

Online coding test interviews assess a candidate’s coding abilities but don’t predict success on systems/architecture interviews. That means more unqualified candidates will make it to the expensive final round, cost time, and eat up interview slots that could have been filled by more qualified candidates.

Take-home tests 

These exams are given to candidates to complete outside the supervised interview environment, such as at home. Many take-home tests take 10+ hours to complete and have high candidate drop off rates. They also require lots of engineering team time to score, administer, create, and maintain.

Whiteboard tests 

During a whiteboard interview, senior engineers assess the candidate’s coding skills in person and in real time. They are generally despised by candidates and are better predictors of how someone can handle stress than how they perform as a software engineer.

Interview test online

Due to the nature of traditional technical interviews and their consumption of time and resources, administering interview tests online is a cost-effective alternative.

Online tests are similar to traditional in-person technical interview tests, with the use of technology bridging the geographical gap. You should conduct the online tests the same way as in-person tests, including asking the same software engineer technical interview questions.

You can administer tests at any stage of the hiring process. Conduct them in the early recruitment stages to triage applicants and use a pre-employment assessment test questions and answers pdf to determine how likely the potential candidates are to succeed in the various tasks you have prepared down the line.

Interview tests for employers

Code quizzes, take-homes, whiteboards, online or in-person tests — they all have their pitfalls. If your company wants to hire real problem solvers, you need tests for interviews that better emulate what people will actually be doing, rather than asking how they would code up a solution to an artificial problem.

Enter Woven.

Our online assessment platform is loaded with the right interview tests for employers to maximize talent acquisition and lower the risk of a bad hire.

When you interview candidates using a technical assessment and Woven’s Scenario Evaluation Engine, you’ll make 50% more successful hires from your existing candidate pool.

And, you can rest assured that our job interview test questions align with the technical roles your organization needs.

Here’s what else we’ve done to address the problems with the tests we mentioned above:

  • Configure our tests by role/experience
  • Create a time-boxed, asynchronous assessment that doesn’t cause unnecessary stress
  • Test for coding ability as well as architecture, debugging, and technical collaboration
  • Promise individual engineering feedback to every candidate who completes the assessment
  • And more!

Ready to conduct better programming tests for interviews? Start a free trial with Woven today. You can try a technical work simulation from our growing library of over 20+ engineering role scenarios and see for yourself why it’s not just another tech assessment.