When the time comes to find and hire a new developer to become the next valuable colleague, in-office or as addition to a remote-work team, evaluating the range of skills required is essential to a fruitful and successful recruit.
That means a working and reliable person to meet your company needs when you or the corresponding department managers gets out of the way. No matter your project goals, take the time, focus, and effort to prepare a detailed list of the requirements prior to interviewing candidates for the best match to scope of work.
However, it can become challenging to interview a tech employee when you haven’t got enough knowledge about technical experience, specs, and challenges, not to mention the time wasted and cost leakage. It can be difficult to provide the right vetting tests and interviews when hiring remotely, and that’s a fact.
With a variety of screening tools and practices, being hours away is no longer a problem and it’s always better to make sure you have a senior software engineer by your side during interviews, helping you. But, even without having tech support, you can vet candidates’ tech skills on your own, whether you are a recruiter or a business owner.
In this guide by BBN Times, we share a collection of tools, techniques and tips to help vet the depth and breadth of knowledge software developers have.
First, let’s go over the basics.
Fast Hiring = Fast Firing
Recruiters are tempted or biased to take shortcuts and hire quickly, however, that always comes with risks, as you don’t get to know candidates good-enough. Therefore, taking shortcuts means that you won’t be fully aware if the developer will meet your needs or fit your work culture. That can be devastating.
No wonder, 30% of those looking for a job quit within 90 days of joining work. As a result, all the resources you spent on hiring are going to waste.
Here is why you should thoroughly vet candidates for both tech and soft skills:
- Reduce the risks of candidates you have to stop from leaving your company;
- Smoothen the onboarding process;
- Filter out undeserving candidates;
- Make the most of your investment and resources;
- Ensure you get the right software engineer for your needs.
Moreover, thoroughly vetting developers provides insights on how they prepare for interviews, which is a big trust signal. That’s why you should carefully-pick your best interview questions to ask and corresponding aspects to focus on.
Read more from BBN Times:
Never hurry through your hiring process! Rush could ruin recruitment and that means starting it all over again, and again, and again.
Preparation on Interviewing Developers
Your vetting process should provide clues to refine your interview.
You should prep and review which are the right questions to determine the hard and soft skills of your candidates. Keep the list of questions ready so that you don’t have to spend time thinking up queries. Otherwise, get a custom framework of questions from an experienced colleague or expert so you know where you want the interview to head in advance.
Have Experts By Your Side
Decide who will be on your interview panel and the role to perform.
For enterprises, you can have one senior staff from your HR and development team. To recruit efficiently, small businesses or solo entrepreneurs can use the tools we will discuss in the following sections.
In addition, pre-determine the set of technologies your projects will need. Make sure to define the video communication apps like Zoom or Skype to conduct remote interviews. How about the background and lights? Moreover, you can also use virtual whiteboards and code editors to facilitate your screening process.
Communicate the technologies you will use for each shortlisted candidate and address during the interview. They can sign up in advance on those apps and prevent wasting time during the actual meetings.
How to Validate Soft Skills
Recruiters may need particular personality traits in a candidate for project success.
For example, you may want a developer who can handle a heavy load of tasks, hase clear understanding of stages in development and work with less supervision. It’s necessary to identify the soft skills needed for the position at hand and assess where developers interviewed stand during interviews.
Here’s a wrap up of interview questions to screen candidates for specific skills:
Critical Problem Solving
Share an experience where you had a conflict with team members? How can one act upon to resolve it?
It all comes down to being part of something bigger. How do you collaborate with your team? What project management tools have you used? Are you familiar with different methodologies? How do you feel about emotional intelligence?
How do you focus when working from home? Do you take any additional steps? What hobbies or activities do you love in your free time?
Are you planning to learn any new programming language? What will you choose and why? Have you taken courses anytime soon?
“Dedication comes with proactive engagement, talent nourishing, and challenges throughout all stages of work or projects,” comment employee experts at Blink.
What did you dislike most in your last job? Tell me one thing you could have done to change things?
Share an experience where you set up someone for success? Have you ever experienced a leadership crisis?
Why do you want to change your job? Why did you choose our company?
“In a world that shifts to remote first, culture, gender, and race diversity only grow and companies leaving questions of bias, identity, and expression can damage productivity beyond the sight and understanding of management,” comments online diversity trainer Rachel Stanton. “Self-directed training programs in-house on a variety of HR topics such as the online diversity training, onboarding info of colleague diversity, and norms of harassment prevention go a long way. Set up and support your own learning management system (LMS) to offer employees a streamlined approach to etiquette and ethics,” she adds.
How to Validate Technical Skills
Technical skills are a must for any development project. However, you must prepare a list of the technologies you are going to focus on during the interviews.
Be aware that most developers don’t know each and all the programming languages and tools out there. People gain exposure and experience with different technologies as they work on more projects. As a result, don’t expect your developers to answer questions about every framework or language you pick. Your vetting process will provide hints on tech skill sets to focus on. Then you need to ask the right questions to find out how skilled your candidate is.
Here are a few example interview questions to help assess tech skills:
- How do you implement a circular buffer via an array?
- What do you mean by normalization and denormalization?
- How do you implement a HashMap from scratch?
- What is the best way to send a 1GB file over a network?
- How will you collect customer data using an app?
- What are your favourite DevOps tools? Why?
- What do you know about the RESTful API?
- How would you activate garbage collection in Java?
- When will you use an API? When to use integration instead?
Screening Software Developers using Online Vetting Tools
You can use a range of tools designed to evaluate the technical skills of developers. All these tools can be used online, so they are helpful in both remote and in-house interviewing processes.
Codility helps recruiters conduct online coding tests to evaluate candidates. With this platform, you can screen thousands of developers and speed up your hiring process by 2.5-times. The tool lets you enjoy several screening methods like:
- CodeCheck: It allows employers to develop remote skills assessment tests customized to job positions. It’s great for evaluating the basic technical skills of your candidates.
- CodeLive: This is your virtual interview platform for hiring remote developers. You can get several features like whiteboards and templates for smooth hiring.
- CodeChallenge: It helps you run online coding challenges to screen candidates. Codility provides all technical resources, while recruiters only need to design the contests.
Top names like PayPal, Microsoft, and Amazon rely on Codility to hire tech talent for their teams.
HackerRank is a full suite of remote recruiting tools to hire efficiently in less time. From finding potential developers to conducting interviews, HackerRank helps in the complete process of hiring a remote development team.
Employers can use several methods to screen candidates, including:
- CodeScreen: The feature lets you create online coding tests for candidates based on experience and skills.
- CodePair: Recruiters can use online pair programming to test the collaborative and problem-solving skills of potential developers.
- Projects: Allows employers to determine the real-life skills of a developer by involving them in mock projects.
- Insights: Provides insights on the performances of your candidates for hiring the best ones.
HackerRank also helps both sides – developers find jobs from leading employers worldwide and businesses to hire qualified software engineers.
ChallengeRocket is a job portal and online developer screening tool. Employers can post jobs and create online challenges to screen candidates for technical skills.
ChallengeRocket allows recruiters to conduct:
- Code challenges: You can create automated coding challenges and generate accurate results to zero in on the best candidates.
- Creative challenges: It helps recruiters test candidates for out-of-box thinking with advanced code challenges.
- Organize hackathons: An Ideal tactic to engage candidates via hackathons and help employers evaluate technical and collaborative skills. “Putting together online hackathons is amazing for recruiting talented experts,” comments Yes Assistant.
Many enterprises like Samsung, JP Morgan, Ericsson, and Bosch, rely on ChallengeRocket to find top tech talent. The platform helps you hire seamlessly by serving a ready base of potential developers.
Developer Screening Techniques without Online Assessment Software
Employers have ways to vet software developers’ skills without automated tools. However, these techniques are more suitable to hire a remote software developer in-house. You may need to ask your candidates to come to your office for the assessments. Also, it would be helpful to have a senior software engineer by your side to help you evaluate input and results.
Ways to screen developer skills:
Conducting a Hackathon
Hackathons are a great way to assess the level of expertise in cybersecurity of digital assets that potential developers adhere to. A great way to see skills in practice are hackathons where candidates can work together to solve one or series of problems.
Focus goals on a particular programming language or expertise, like mobile app security, game development, or any specific field you want to check for your project.
Hackathons are ideal for screening candidates to join a remote development team. You can understand the temperament of your potential developers and ability to collaborate. As a result, hackathons are suitable for assessing both technical and soft skills.
When you are hiring remote software engineers, you can create online hackathons using tools such as ChallengeRocket. It can help them screen remote developers and eliminate the need to meet physically.
Facebook, Google, and several companies hire through hackathons. Businesses can even arrange internal hackathons with employees to foster innovation.
Utilizing Pair Programming
Companies use pair programming to develop. It can also be a first-class option to vet candidates for tech skills.
In pair programming, one person writes the code while a supervisor is in charge of reviewing every line of generated code.
This process can help you test the real-time programming skills of your potential hire. An expert can sit along with your candidate and assess coding skills in real-time.
Additionally, recruiters can also assess ancillary skills like problem-solving, paradigm shifts, and rapid improvisation.
Pair programming also lets you pass judgment on communication and soft skills like the fundamentals of time management. It can be a natural choice for employers that use the process internally.
Vetting Developers, Final Thoughts
Screening software developers for skills is not a challenge, even if you are not a tech person, and making the right hire can make or break a ton of your time.
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When you know the right tools and methods, you can assess candidates’ backgrounds with no issues. The tools mentioned above are ideal for both hiring remote tech talent and finding in-house software engineers.