Testing Candidates Coding Skills

Top Online Tools for Testing Candidates’ Coding Skills

Coding and development skills are perpetually in high demand.  To help determine that candidates possess the sufficient coding abilities you’re looking for, no doubt as part of your interview process you have a series of coding related interview questions and some form of coding test. Below we’ve listed 5 online candidate assessment tools that can help facilitate your interview process by testing your potential employees coding / programming abilities.

1) Interview Zen

This tool is used by a number of large companies and allows you to save yourself valuable time by eliminating those who are unsuitable for the available job and the skills it requires by testing their coding abilities. Using this tool, you are able to set your own programming challenges and watch as the candidates solve the problems online, in real time.

This gives you the added advantage of observing their problem-solving abilities, thought-processes and approaches first-hand. This, at times, can be even more useful than general coding knowledge, as the ability to approach tasks with a clear mind and persevere through trial and error will demonstrate the candidates’ ability to learn quickly.

One major benefit of using Interview Zen is that tasks can be conducted remotely; you don’t need to be present with the candidate, you save yourself money in expenses and it means that only the top candidates will be invited to a follow-up interview.

2) Codility

Since its conception in 2005, “more than 1200 companies in over 120 countries” have used the Codility tool, with over 130,000 tests having been assessed. Codility is an automated tool, which assesses programming skills and is aimed toward software development companies and companies which have a high IT demand.

This automated tool allows recruiters who might not have specialised IT knowledge to assess the skills of large amounts of candidates and determine how well they are likely to perform in the job. Candidates have to work through programming tasks or write a code function, set by the companies and developed by a software suite which checks whether or not the solution provided by the candidate ‘passes’ according to the specified task requirements.

Employers can choose from 15 programming languages to conduct the tests. As the tool assesses the solutions, employers are saved hours of time. The tool has won a number of awards, including Seedcamp 2009, Smarta 100 and the TC European Startup Award 2010.

3) CoderPad

This tool has been used by countless companies, including Airbnb, Yelp, Quora, CrowdFlower, Scribd, Hired and Lyft. It supports a wide range of programming languages, including C#, C, C++, Ruby, Python, JavaScript, MySQL, PHP, Scala and more.

The tool allows the employer to watch the code being typed in real-time and also provides live code execution via REPL. It is an intricate collaborative text editor which is one of the best tools available that can replicate how people really work and allows you to filter out candidates who would be very unlikely to pass a second-stage interview.

It has been praised for its aesthetics, its playback feature and its reasonable prices. Jason Fennell, Director of Engineering at Yelp, claims that “CoderPad has been a great addition to our interviewing toolkit. With it, you can watch a candidate iteratively develop their code and then use the compiler for debugging. This adds a whole new dimension to the process and brings it one step closer to the holy grail of natural coding in an interview.”

4) CodeInterview

This is another remote, real-time interview tool which prides itself on being developer-friendly and effective. One benefit of this tool is that the core service and the IDE plugins are free of charge, while you have the choice to pay for premium features.

The core features include two URLs, one for the employer and one for the candidate. When the candidate makes changes, they are reflected on the employer’s screen. The plugins mean that if a candidate so chooses, they can use Visual Studio or Eclipse to complete the tasks. Premium allow you to manage your interviews, share links with candidates, lock and unlock the interview and revisit past interviews and replay the candidates’ changes.

5) HackerRank For Work

This platform is a cost-effective means of interviewing candidates, and allows you to select from the ‘question library’ of programming challenges, subjective and multiple choice questions. The level of difficulty can be adjusted and if you would prefer a custom challenge, there are a team of developers available to assist in compiling the ideal tasks.

Currently, the tool supports 16 programming languages including SQL and UML. Once the challenges are carried out, the results are automatically evaluated and you are presented with in-depth performance reports. This means you are able to compare one candidates’ performance to another based on their scores and performance.

More than 1,000 customers have made use of this tool, including Forbes, VMware, TechCrunch, Mashable and Evernote. Athias Connot, Senior Staffing Manager at VMware, has stated that “HackerRank has allowed us to find diamonds in the rough that our old process didn’t give us the time to look for.”

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