Besides the fact that the IT industry is highly competitive, one of the hardest parts of tech recruitment is evaluating candidates to see if they have the skills and experience required. One effective tool in the hiring process is coding tests. These tests provide valuable assessments of a developer’s technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and coding proficiency.
With coding tests, you can identify candidates that, beyond theoretical knowledge, have the practical skills to develop in real-world development scenarios.
But are coding tests reliable? In this article, we will take a closer look at the best coding tests for interviews, and we will also share our insights from our experience recruiting top-tier developers, defining if these tests are worth including in your tech recruitment process.
11 Coding Test Platforms to Screen Developers’ Skills
Codility is an online coding assessment and evaluation platform that supports recruiters and hiring managers to properly assess developers’ coding skills and technical abilities.
The platform offers a range of coding tests and challenges to cover different skill levels and programming languages. If you’re looking for an efficient and standardized way to evaluate candidates, Codility is a reliable option.
- Extensive assessment library: You can choose from a wide range of pre-built tests from a wide library of coding assessments that cover different programming languages, algorithms, and data structures.
- Customize tests: You can also create your own coding tests and challenges based on the skill set you are after and your job requirements.
- Real-time monitoring and collaboration: Codility provides real-time monitoring capabilities that allow you to evaluate candidates’ progress and behavior while solving problems.
- Integrates with ATS: Codility integrates smoothly with popular ATS, which helps streamline recruitment processes.
2. Alva Coding Tests
Alva Coding Tests, formerly known as DevSkills, is an advanced coding test platform designed to facilitate developer assessment. It offers an extensive library of real-world coding tests hosted on GitHub, so you can effectively evaluate candidates’ abilities.
Most of the tests available on Alva Coding Tests have been meticulously crafted by specialists from renowned companies like Stripe, Spotify, and other industry leaders.
- Supports most tech stacks: Alva Coding Tests are designed to seamlessly integrate with the majority of programming languages and tech stacks currently in use.
- GitHub-powered: The platform enables you to conduct interviews that closely resemble real-world development scenarios by using GitHub-powered workflows.
- Code review scorecards: With Alva Coding Tests scorecards, it’s easier to have a comprehensive and thorough assessment of code quality – scorecards highlight the major aspects so you can evaluate code effectively.
- Use a hosted Gitpod IDE: Candidates can use their own Gitpod IDE or our hosted environment, ensuring they work in a fully equipped development environment without constraints.
Evalground’s online coding tests are tailored to meet specific job requirements and used by recruiters to evaluate candidates’ tech expertise.
- Extensive repository: Evalground provides an extensive repository of technical and coding questions, covering a wide range of technical roles.
- Customizable reports: Benefits for customizable reports that allow you to easily add comments and share them with your hiring team.
- Copy detection module: The copy detection module ensures effective plagiarism detection and provides insights into the uniqueness of each test submission.
- Window proctoring: This feature ensures that the developer remains on the test screen through the entire duration of the test.
Tests4Geeks provides coding challenges, algorithmic problems, and multiple-choice questions to assess candidates’ proficiency in programming languages and problem-solving abilities.
The platform has an extensive assessment library, with a real-time coding environment that provides a realistic coding experience, while adaptive difficulty levels ensure an appropriate challenge for candidates.
- Adaptive difficulty: The difficulty of subsequent questions is adjusted based on candidates’ performance, ensuring that each assessment properly reflects their skill level.
- Team-based assessments: Tests4Geeks supports collaborative coding assessments, enabling candidates to simultaneously work together on the same challenge.
- Real-time coding environment: With its interactive coding environment, candidates can write and test code in the platform, providing a more realistic coding experience during assessments.
- In-depth analytics: The platform generates detailed analytics for each candidate’s performance that includes coding accuracy, efficiency and time management.
CoderPad provides coding assessment tests designed for collaborative interviews. It provides a real-time coding environment where interviewers and candidates can write, run, and share code.
With support for various programming languages and key features, the platform has become popular for recruiters conducting remote technical interviews and coding evaluations.
- Customizable environment: CoderPad enables recruiters to customize the test according to their needs.
- Code playback and review: The platform allows to review and playback of the coding session to see closer how candidates approached the problem and iterated on their solutions.
- Secure and private: CoderPad reinforces the security and privacy of code and interviews by isolating the candidate’s sessions and preventing access to sensitive information.
- Code execution and output: CoderPad provides the ability to execute code within the platform, allowing candidates to test their solutions and see their output.
With its “skills speak louder than words” motto, HackRank is another popular coding test platform that provides recruiters with a comprehensive evaluation solution. They can obtain valuable insights based on data.
The platform is rich with features and has an extensive challenge library for different skill sets and more specialized tests. Over 3000 businesses from diverse industries use Hackerrank to assess potential hires, and 25% of Fortune 100 organizations also use the platform.
- Certified assessments: Availability of pre-built coding assessments that are designed and vetted by experts to evaluate specific skills or roles.
- Plagiarism detection: Its plagiarism detection system, powered by AI, uses various proctoring and user signals to ensure fairness and integrity in assessments.
- Variety of challenges: The platform offers a wide range of code challenges, spanning from fundamental programming exercises to intricate algorithmic problems, providing organizations with the chance to attract top talent.
- Exclusive interviewing content: HackerRank gives access to specialized interview material, assisting you in selecting the appropriate questions and evaluating the required skills for challenging positions.
LeetCode offers a vast collection of coding tests as well as interview preparation resources for software engineers. The platform covers a wide range of programming languages, and its technical tests are designed to assess different levels of difficulty.
The coding test platform also provides a discussion forum where users can collaborate and share solutions.
- Company-specific questions: LeetCode enables companies to create and share their own specific coding questions.
- Virtual whiteboard: The platform also includes a virtual whiteboard feature that simulates real-time coding collaboration.
- Leaderboard and analytics: LeetCode offers a leaderboard useful to rank candidates based on their performance on coding challenges.
- Dashboard: The platform has a company dashboard that enables recruiters to manage and track candidates’ progress by viewing their coding submissions and monitoring interview performance.
CodeSignal is widely used by companies for technical hiring as it provides coding assessments, challenges and interview preparation resources suitable for evaluating and hiring software developers.
The platform provides a comprehensive suite of tools to assess coding skills, algorithmic problem-solving abilities, technical knowledge, and more.
- Integrates with HR tech stack: CodeSignal integrates with your HR tech stack making it easy to streamline your technical hiring processes.
- Skill-based scoring: The platform provides an advanced scoring system that evaluates candidates’ coding skills based on code correctness, efficiency, and best practices.
- Machine learning-based proctoring: CodeSignal also incorporates machine learning algorithms for test proctoring, monitoring, and detecting any suspicious behavior during assessments.
- Company dashboard: The platform has a company dashboard that makes it easier for recruiters to manage and track each candidate’s progress.
TestDome provides pre-employment testing and screening services for technical skills and abilities. It offers diverse skill-based tests and coding challenges that help employers evaluate and assess job candidates during the hiring process.
Over 8,000+ companies use the platform’s tests to cover various areas such as programming, web development, database administration, software engineering, data analysis, and more. These assessments are designed to measure candidates’ proficiency in specific technologies, programming languages, algorithms, problem-solving, and other relevant skills required for specific job roles.
- Skill-based Testing: TestDome provides a wide range of skill-based tests covering various technical. The tests are designed to assess candidates’ proficiency in specific skills and technologies related to the job roles.
- Customizable Assessments: You can create and customize assessments based on your specific requirements. Additionally, you can select from a library of predefined test questions or create your own questions to tailor the assessment to your needs.
- Automated Evaluation: TestDome’s platform automatically evaluates candidates’ test submissions and generates detailed reports on their performance.
- Candidate Experience and Feedback: Candidates can receive instant feedback on their performance, helping them understand their strengths and areas for improvement.
DevSkiller markets itself as “the most realistic technical screening platform with zero whiteboards in sight.” The platform was created for developers by developers. Created in 2012, DevSkiller has helped over 700 customers from 90+ countries hire developers through its evaluations.
Companies use the platform to screen and interview tech candidates 100% remotely with online coding tests, virtual tech interviews, and pair programming challenges.
- Realistic Programming Tasks: DevSkiller provides a library with realistic programming tasks and coding challenges.
- Automated skill assessment: The platform evaluates candidates’ solutions to the tasks based on correctness, efficiency, and code quality.
- Customizable tests: DevSkiller allows employers to customize tests depending on their requirements.
- Real-time collaboration and interviewing: The platform supports real-time collaboration and interviewing features that allow employers to conduct remote coding interviews.
Qualified by Andela is a platform suitable for evaluating real-world coding skills. The platform allows companies to use coding assessments and pair programming interviews to screen, train, certify and hire technical talent faster.
Additionally, Qualified uses actual unit tests and a wide range of language-specific testing frameworks that better predict actual on-the-job performance.
- Customizable tests: Qualified enables you to create assessments on various scales, from small to project-level, all within their interface.
- Library of standardized assessments: The platform provides assessments that have been professionally built for evaluating skills. It provides detailed benchmarking statistics to understand the difficulty of each assessment.
- Organize comprehensive developer profiles: Qualified enables you to create detailed developer profiles that capture language and framework-specific competencies, soft skills, and working styles.
- Blind reviews: This feature eliminates identifying information from code submission, which encourages to eliminate hiring bias. The idea is to assess talent based on merit and demonstrated skills.
Do Coding Tests Actually Work In Finding Better Devs?
Coding tests are an effective tool for finding skilled developers. Beyond a shiny resume and ‘smooth talkers’ that are just too good at selling their skills, coding tests provide an arena to prove if candidates are as good as they are.
Depending on the platform, you’ll have access to advanced tests, allowing you to filter unqualified candidates easier and identify stronger performers, optimizing your recruitment process.
However, here comes the next question.
Are coders who do badly on coding tests as part of a hiring process necessarily bad at coding?
The main issue, stated by many developers on platforms like Quora and Reddit, is that coding tests usually test if the person is an expert at technology rather than programming.
I took one of those automated ‘can you program a given algorithm in an hour’ tests. Failed miserably. Twice! But none of that alters the fact that millions of people have used – and do use – my stuff, day to day. Have done this for 30 years. If you’ve eaten a commercially baked product, some of the conveyor belts that make it are controlled by my code. If you’re making a satcoms call from a ship, yep, mine too. Ever played the Bounce game on a Nokia handset? Glad you liked it. Done some web conferencing? I only boast about all that stuff to point out that you can be good at coding in many areas, and still have deficiencies in others. These are just tests. A moment in time. The random intersection of all your past training, learning and experience and a single question, phrased a certain way, with a time constraint.”– Alan Mellow, Software Developer
Another major problem that proves that coding tests are not the only source to interview and source developers is the fact that they are time-consuming. Highly experienced developers are often reluctant to waste their time doing them, which leads to weed out excellent candidates.
Why would a developer with a Master’s degree, a 4.0GPA, and years of experience who’s working 40+ hours a week be bothered with taking a test for a company they’ve probably never heard of? There are exceptions to this rule, for example it might be the person’s dream job or they might be out of work but on average a good developer isn’t going to waste their time. The philosophy I had to break my employer of was, “their career is worth an hour”. This is true as a person’s career is worth an hour but the company usually isn’t. You might think you’re getting a good developer, and you might actually land an okay one but you’ll never get a great one giving out tests.– M.T. White, Software Developer.
5 Tips for Effective Tech Evaluations
1. Diversify Evaluation Methods
Relying solely on coding tests may not comprehensively assess a candidate’s abilities. Supplement coding tests with other evaluation methods such as technical interviews, behavioral assessments, pair programming exercises, or take-home projects.
This allows you to understand better a candidate’s technical skills, problem-solving approach, and collaborative abilities.
2. Seek Expert Guidance
If you do not have any technical background, partnering with a specialized IT recruitment agency like DistantJob, can make your hiring process easier and more effective.
With more than 10 years of experience, we know coding tests are not the only way to evaluate candidates. The evaluation process begins with a deep understanding of the role itself, considering the necessary experience and skills.
Our technical recruiters craft evaluations that encompass various methods, including interviews that assess not only technical proficiency but also qualities like being a top performer and a team player. By incorporating different evaluation techniques, we gain valuable insights that enhance the likelihood of identifying the best candidates for the role.
3. Don’t Forget About Soft Skills
Assessing a candidate’s soft skills and communication abilities is crucial, as these attributes significantly impact collaboration and team dynamics.
Incorporate behavioral interviews or group discussions to evaluate how effectively candidates can articulate their ideas, listen actively, and work collaboratively with others.
4. Review Real-World Projects
Ask candidates to share their previous work or provide samples of code they have developed in real-world projects.
Reviewing their codebase and understanding their contributions can provide insight into their problem-solving skills, code organization, adherence to best practices, and ability to work on complex projects. This works particularly well with high-level roles with years of experience in the field.
5. Focus on Practical Scenario-Based Assessments
Present candidates with real-world scenarios or case studies relevant to the role they are applying for. This allows them to demonstrate their problem-solving skills, analytical thinking, and ability to apply their technical knowledge to practical situations.
It also provides a glimpse into their decision-making process and how they approach and solve complex problems.
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