Technical tests
By Mike Thacker-Cooke
5th July 2018

I recently asked the question “are technical tests useful or just lazy?” because any businesses that are hiring software and tech specialists are seeing a mass influx of candidates and are using these tests to cut down through some of the noise.

For some businesses tech tests are useful and can help them find the candidate with the right skills for a job, but as a candidate if you find yourself having to take a technical test what can you do to prepare for it and make sure you make it through to the next phase of recruitment?

Prepare

Preparation is the most important thing you can do, you should never go into a tech test blind. When my candidates have to take tests, I make sure they fully understand what they are being tested on, whether this is softer skills or technical skills. I always recommend they take practice tests first and time themselves. 

Many of these tests are timed so it is important you leave yourself enough time for each question and are not rushing to finish it.

As part of your preparation you need to make sure you have fully understood what is expected of you and what will be looked at. If you are unsure you should always ask questions beforehand, it is always better to ask than assume and not pass the test.

Go the extra mile

Don’t just do the bare minimum, make sure you answer any questions and complete any tasks set but if you have the time go the extra mile and expand on what is expected. You are most likely competing against other candidates and this will really help set you apart. This is your opportunity to show off your skills and prove your ability to do the job.

For many businesses these technical tests will form the basis of the next recruitment stage and will be used alongside your CV, so it is essential you really show what you can do and make the best impression. If you have completed the task in a certain way make sure you are able to explain why as they might be asked in the interview stage.

To Summarise

In the previous blog, “are technical tests useful or just lazy?”, I mentioned a company that I work with that use exercises as part of every interview process in order to get the candidate to tackle a real life problem or scenario. This gives the client a chance to see how the candidates acts and responds but it also gives the candidates a chance to experience a real - life problem or scenario that they will encounter in the position. I feel that these are the best types of exercises and add real value to the interview process, but I’m more than aware that there are companies that include exercises for the sake of it that don’t really add anything and overall take away from the interview process. 

So, when should you commit your time and resources to completing a task for a potential employer?

Simply put, it comes down to how much you want the position and to work for that company. If the company you are seeking a position with have designed exercises that are challenging and compelling then you should make every effort to complete these at the best of your ability in turn giving you the best chance of securing the role.  However on the other end of this, organisations need to understand that we work in a candidate driven market and often if a company is including unnecessary steps in an interview process then they are going to lose out on good candidates that are interviewing with companies who have adjusted to the current market.

Have you completed a technical test recently? Were you successful and how did you prepare for it? Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below

KDR Recruitment is the home of the best Information Management and Data Analytics jobs. For more career advice check out the KDR blog or follow KDR on LinkedIn.

This blog was originally published on LinkedIn. To read the original blog click here.

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