How to improve candidate experience using developer assessments

July 18, 2019
8 mins

David Heinemeier, the creator of Ruby on Rails tweeted:

 

David Heinemeier, the creator of Ruby on Rails

 

Several organizations still use whiteboard interviews as a standard process to hire developers. 

In a whiteboard interview, developers are given a problem statement for which they have to provide the solution on a whiteboard. 

The most common tasks include recalling algorithms and writing them bug-free on the whiteboard. 

The important thing to consider is that a whiteboard is not a code editor. Developers can’t actually run the code to see if it works, let alone benchmark it. 

Hence, many developers dislike whiteboard-based interview questions. It’s easy to find someone or the other venting about it on various social media platforms. 

The problem is not just limited to whiteboard interview processes. Developers around the world face a lot of challenges during interviews pertaining to lengthy recruitment processes, being ghosted by recruiters, coding in an uncomfortable environment, being asked irrelevant questions, etc. The phrase, “the recruitment process is broken,” is used so commonly by developers that it has become a cliché.

Unfortunately, most of these issues are falling on deaf ears. This ultimately gives rise to negative candidate experience. Negative candidate experience can cost companies more than just losing out on good candidates. It can even result in a significant monetary loss. The most famous example is that of Virgin Media where a bad candidate experience cost the company 5.4 million USD per annum.

This is where developer assessments come into play. When developers apply for a job, major organizations consider technical assessments as an integral part of the interview process. Here are a few points on how developer assessments can improve candidate experience:

  • With developer assessment tools, candidates can code from anywhere in an environment of their choice. They do not need to travel long distances to give interviews, code on whiteboards, or get rejected based on a phone conversation during the screening process.
  • Developer assessment tools ensure that interviews are structured. This means that all the candidates are asked the same set of questions and interviewers do not know the specifics of each candidate such as gender, age, ethnicity, etc. This assures the candidate that the hiring decision will be unbiased and they will be benchmarked the right way.
  • Irrespective of what the hiring decision is, candidates, feel that they have had a fair shot at showcasing their skills through an engaging process of developer assessments without any human bias.

So, how can you ensure a seamless candidate experience using developer assessments? 

We, at HackerEarth, are aware that enabling a good candidate experience is extremely important. When it comes to technical hiring, HackerEarth’s Assessment software optimizes candidate experience to help you stand apart from your competitors. 

 

Here are 5 ways how HackerEarth Assessment ensures a better candidate experience:

1. Let candidates use the assessment platform in the language of their choice

We understand that developers live in every corner of the world.

Hence, HackerEarth’s Assessment software supports various spoken languages so that developers can use the platform easily.

The languages that are supported include:

  • English
  • Japanese
  • Chinese
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • Russian

This instills a sense of belonging among candidates and they are bound to be happy.

2. Know the value of a candidate’s time

“You know why everyone loves a vacation? Because it’s the only time it’s okay to waste time.”

If you’re on the hunt for a new candidate to fill a job position, do whatever you can to save their time.

Time is a great equalizer, and every minute that a candidate uses for one task can be used for another, especially during interviews.

HackerEarth has a user-friendly coding environment in which candidates can write code in any language.

When they compile their code, they are shown errors in real time and this helps them review their code and make it better. They can also run their code against custom input and output.

One of the features that HackerEarth’s coding environment has is code stubs. Code stubs are boilerplate code that is required whenever a candidate writes code.

For example, the following C++ code is a code stub. This will be available to candidates in the code editor when they select C++ as the programming language:

#include <iostream>

#include <string>

using namespace std;

int main()

{

 <candidate will write the code based on the problem statement>

}

In this example, the candidate can focus on writing the code that will help in solving the problem statement. This saves the candidates time allowing them to focus more on the approach that they want to follow.

Another feature in HackerEarth’s Assessment software that saves a candidate’s time is the Autocomplete feature.

This feature in which the code editor predicts and displays the name of the related functions, methods, standard classes and objects, operators that you are typing.

For example, when a candidate types java.util, they see suggestions of various functions that can then be imported into their code by pressing Ctrl and the space bar.

 improve candidate experience using developer assessments

Also, you can check whether a code submitted by the candidates is written efficiently or not. We use an open-source platform, SonarQube, to inspect code quality. It performs automatic reviews of code to detect bugs, vulnerabilities, etc.

The code quality score is determined by calculating the average of four key metrics: maintainability, reliability, security, and cyclomatic complexity. In other words, the code-quality score is an average value of key metrics that represent the best practice to write code.

3. Let candidates know if something is wrong

With HackerEarth’s Assessment software, candidates get proactive alerts in their test environment if there’s any error pertaining to network failure, server error, errors in loading JavaScript files, etc.

This eliminates confusion, making it easier for them to fix their code before they submit it.

Candidate experience

Let candidates know if something is wrong in the platform

 

4. Conduct online video interviews

Online video interviews are great and serve as a valuable tool for providing a seamless candidate experience. HackerEarth’s live interview platform lets candidates take an interview from the comfort of their home or a location of their choice.

All they need is a working webcam and a computer with a working Internet connection. 

HackerEarth’s Assessment software integrates interviews with a candidate’s Google calendar. Relevant emails are automatically sent to candidates when interviews are scheduled, rescheduled, or canceled. 

It also has a default system check where a candidate’s system is automatically checked for the following:

  • Versions of the operating system and browser
  • Whether the JavaScript language is enabled
  • Dimensions of the screen size that is being used
  • Whether cookies are enabled
  • Whether the candidate’s webcam and microphone/speaker are working

In addition to writing code in real-time, candidates can explain technical concepts via high-quality video calls. Using the multi-room text chat in video interviews, candidates can easily communicate with their recruiters. 

Online interviews can connect the best candidates with the best companies out there. However, it is important for both candidates and recruiters to be aware of things that they need to do to ensure that the interview is hassle-free.

5. Light side vs. dark side

You must have heard some coders tossing phrases such as “I am much better at reading dark text on a white background” or “The dark background minimizes distraction. It lets you focus on the only light source, which is your desktop/laptop.”

So, what do we choose? The light theme or the dark theme? 

We understand that different developers have different perceptions about coding and themes are a personal preference. Hence, HackerEarth’s Assessment software lets developers code in a theme of their choice—light or dark—whichever they are comfortable with.

Other best practices

So far, we have spoken about providing a seamless candidate experience using developer assessments. Here are other small tips to keep in mind to ensure that you attract the right talent, make their experience worthwhile, and retain them.

Write accurate job descriptions

Job descriptions allow you to make informed hiring decisions. Most importantly, before a candidate actually applies for a job, a clear job description is what motivates them to do so.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of good and bad jobs posts.

Bad job post

Bad job posting example

Bad job post example

 

Source: Upwork Global Inc.

 

Good job post 

Good job post example

Source: HackerEarth

 

A good job description uses a clear job title, speaks directly to candidates, describes tasks, and most importantly, sells your job.

They provide the required information to candidates to help them assess if they are suitable for the position.

Remember that the candidate is also evaluating your organization and you based on such small but important details.

Address the company culture with enthusiasm

Company culture is what makes the company; it is the inherent personality of an organization.

Also, it is the top concern for millennials in particular. Hence, it is not enough to simply tell candidates that your organization offers a great company culture.

You have to give the candidate an accurate view of what it’s actually like to work for your organization. Start by citing examples of employees who have been in the organization for a long time and what culture means to them, define your core values, etc.

Make faster hiring decisions

Faster hiring decisions do not mean you make a rush hire. It means that you value the candidate’s time and want to make the interview process as seamless as possible.

For faster hiring, organizations can: 

  • Schedule interviews shortly after receiving the application
  • Ask for work samples ahead of time
  • Make the candidate meet multiple parties in one day

Keep candidates in the loop

Candidates may get frustrated if they send in applications for a job role and never hear from the company or fill an online job application and get an email saying their profile will be reviewed.

No one ever says by whom and by when. Also, after they appear for an interview and if they are not selected, they often hear recruiters say, “We shall get back to you.” 

Be modest. Let candidates know whether they have made the cut or not. If they have not been selected, send them encouraging emails listing their areas of improvement, which can help them in their next job application.

This opens up a door of positivism and respect in the candidate’s mind for your organization.

Do not let them wonder where they stand. It is always a wise thing to keep them informed, no matter what the hiring decision is. 

Here’s an example of a good rejection email.

xample of a good rejection email

Source: Beamery

Do your homework

Research what qualifies as a competitive salary for the open position. It is important that candidates with the desired skill sets, who strive to do their best, and who can perform exceptionally well, feel sufficiently compensated for their worth. 

Final thoughts

To sum up, high-quality talent expects a high-quality candidate experience. Starting from the initial recruiting process—sending emails or conducting phone calls—to rolling out a job offer, candidates these days expect the best out of an interview process. 

We hope this article will help you provide a seamless candidate experience during your next tech assessment. 

Feel free to get in touch by writing to me at ashmita@hackerearth.com 

Happy hiring!

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About the Author

Ashmita
Ashmita is a Content Editor at HackerEarth. With a knack for writing, she hopes to write something, someday, worth plagiarizing. When she’s not working, you can find her strumming her guitar or binging on Netflix.

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