How To Create A Great Take-home Coding Test

how to create a great take home coding test

Like with any other job role, in order to be a successful developer, you have to possess the required coding skills. It can also be referred to as the building blocks of a great developer.

The challenge arises when assessing them and there are numerous reasons for the same.

For starters, it could be the pressure of the interview that could hinder developers from showcasing their skillset. But there is a way to tackle this, a take-home coding test is what you need. It offers developers a pressure-free avenue to take advantage of while giving coding tests.

But if the take-home coding test is flawed, then you should expect flawed results as well. This is why in this article, we’ll cover the essential basics of creating a great take-home coding test.

Take-home coding tests – what are they?

In simple terms, they’re nothing but small assessment projects that HR/recruiters assign potential employees (developers). This is done to assess their coding skills and their knowledge in the required field. Typically, the assessments aren’t easy or difficult and demand a few hours’ time for their completion.

This gives developers (potential employees) to showcase their best coding skills in an environment that is free of interview pressure. It offers candidates a relaxed atmosphere to work in.

Challenges faced with take-home coding tests

When it comes to take-home coding tests, it is important for the recruiter to understand that their candidates have to work on these tests outside their current working hours.

how to create a great take home coding test

The solution

Although, the end result always depends on the candidate and the company in question. Here are a few essential tips that you should consider following for a higher rate of success in your company’s hiring endeavors.

Testing coding skills

The very first step is to make the goal of the assessment clear to the candidate. Here are a few questions you must answer as a recruiter to get a better picture of what you’re looking for:

  • What level of experience does this role require?
  • What type of coding/tech skills are we looking to evaluate?
  •  Will a simple screening suffice or is a full-tech evaluation necessary?
  • Is it possible to assess their skills with automated processes or is a manual assessment required?

Now get on to the creation of the task description. Follow the below-mentioned format:

  • Introduction – give a brief outline of the task at hand
  • Instruction to start off with – write a small description of the setup and how the particular test works. This helps them start off quickly and saves time as well.
  • State expectations – in this part, you jot down what you’re looking for in a developer and mentioned the part of the assessment that they should focus on. This will help them showcase relevant skills to the best of their abilities.
  • Help – here you can state what should be done if the candidate gets stuck on a particular problem of the test.
  • Estimated time required – this helps the candidate plan out and save time for the test beforehand.

After this, you can automate the test so that it can be used by candidates on their devices. If you have a lot of candidates to assess, you can also use the auto-test features to grade candidates.

Here are a few extra tips that you can make use of:

  •  Make use of a Git repository rather than sharing tasks via email.
  • Request your candidates to create a “pull request” in place of sending an email
  • Offer a pre-uploaded template for the candidate to work with.

Standardize scoring system

Make sure a standardized scoring/grading system is in place, this helps in the elimination of selection bias. You can use a standard 1 – 5 scale for grading your candidates or you can also automate the scoring process, this makes it easier as well.

How to improve your take-home coding test

If you’re just starting out with these, then you should expect a couple of flaws but don’t worry it’s always bound to happen, but the main problem is when your candidates don’t point out issues with the take-home coding tests.

how to create a great take home coding test

This will undoubtedly help you create a great take-home coding test.

Final thoughts

Of course, searching for the right developer is never too easy. But if you use the right strategy and implement the right techniques, it does not have to be too hard either. The above-mentioned approach is a great one and can help you hire great developers as it gives you an insight into the mind of the developers and how they tackle problems and it also helps save a lot of time.

Also, why don’t you check out HackerEarth’s coding assessment platform, you can create coding tests for interviews with ease and it also helps simplify the process. It’s a great addition to your hiring arsenal, you can start off with the free trial!

Happy hiring!

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