Recruiting a technical profile necessarily requires an in-depth test of one's skills. You need to know what your potential future collaborator is capable of before going any further. It is often difficult to recruit certain technical experts, but that does not mean that the assessment of technical skills becomes optional!

What makes it essential

A Robert Half office study found that ¾ of UK business executives had already made a casting mistake on a tech profile. One of the main reasons for this was a skills mismatch ...

A CV can be very well presented. A candidate can be excellent at interviews. However, when it is a technical position requiring mastery of hard skills, this is not enough. These skills are irreplaceable and assessable. Of course, a skill that is lacking can be learned! But this must be planned in advance in order to integrate a dedicated training time.

The technical test is of great service to both recruiters and candidates: it is the most objective and effective way to get an idea of the level of a tech profile. There is simply no better solution to give them a chance to prove their worth.

Ultimately, the purpose of this test is not to immediately validate or discredit a candidate. The objective is rather to better understand their logic and how they work as well as to discuss their vision of the code... but not exclusively. Tech companies also test certain candidates on their problem solving, computational thinking, and algorithmic skills. It all depends of course on the position and the mission in question ...  as well as the level of seniority of the candidate! We do not test a junior profile out of school in the same way as a senior profile who went through several good companies.

It's simple: the more doubts you have about the candidate's real skill, the more you have to test them.

How to integrate technical tests into your recruitment process?

Before the first interviews, a portfolio and a GitHub profile can give you clues about a candidate's background, skills and abilities. By asking them about their past projects, you get valuable insights that help you understand their professional implication, their thoroughness, and their way of working. The portfolio and the GitHub profile thus provide you with elements that will be used to establish the technical tests later.

The question to ask next is therefore "when to test the candidates on their hard skills"?

The ideal is to integrate the technical testing stage in a second step, after the first contact with the candidate. The meeting with the manager, the team and the founders happens next, once the candidate's technical capacities have been validated.

A technical test can be sent to the candidate so that they take it at home - in this case be careful that the exercise is not too long, it could discourage some candidates. Or you can organize this test on your premises: why not a live coding session to observe how they think, code and communicate under the eye of the recruiter?

Note that in case of doubt, if you hesitate or if there is uncertainty as to your candidate's hard skills, you can very well ask them to take other technical tests. You have to be confident.

Should you create your own technical test or use an existing tool?

If you have the resources in-house, you can create a tailor-made technical test. You or one of your experts can build it to your exact needs.

It can be particularly interesting to start by asking very technical questions focused on a technology, for example "Do you think that your way of using Angular is different from other programmers?".

The test that you can create can be in paper format (MCQ with pointed questions) or online. Another possibility, often even more revealing, is to offer a concrete and practical challenge to the candidate. But if you do not have the financial and time resources or the required skills, there are fortunately “turnkey” solutions. You can for example use a platform like CodinGame, Codility or HackerRank and select certain programming languages and different technologies: Java, Python, React, C #, Spring, Jenkins…

The important thing is that you can easily analyze the test results and compare them with those of your short-listed candidates.

Technical tests therefore occupy a crucial place in the process of recruiting technical profiles. Recruiting a talent requires that you complete this key step. But the great thing about a well conducted technical test is that it rarely lies about a candidate's potential.