Best Practices for Assessing Coding Skills in the Hiring Process

In this article, we will explore the best practices and techniques to accurately assessing a developers’ coding skills before making hiring decisions.

As businesses increasingly rely on remote engineering teams and software developers for their expansion, it becomes crucial to implement effective methods for evaluating coding skills during the hiring process. While resumes and interviews provide valuable insights, coding tests offer a structured and objective approach to assess a candidate’s technical expertise and problem-solving abilities.

Coding assessments helps us hire pre vetted developers who might have the required abilities, ensuring that only competent people advance to the following stages of the recruiting process. In the end, coding exams offer an accurate assessment of a developer’s skills and significantly raise the possibility of making a wise hiring choice.

The Significance of Coding Tests in the Hiring Process

Coding tests are an essential component of the developer recruitment process as they provide a reliable means of evaluating a candidate’s practical coding abilities. Unlike traditional methods, such as resumes and interviews, coding exams offer a straightforward way to gauge a candidate’s coding style, attention to detail, efficiency, and adaptability to fast-paced work environments. By administering coding tests, companies can ensure that only competent candidates progress to the subsequent stages of the hiring process, significantly increasing the likelihood of making a successful hiring decision.

Effective Strategies for Testing Coding Abilities

1. Written Coding Assessments

Written coding assessments are among the most widely used methods for evaluating engineers’ coding skills. During these tests, applicants are presented with coding challenges that simulate real-world scenarios they may encounter in the workplace.

Observing how candidates approach problem-solving, their code organization, efficiency, and attention to detail can provide valuable insights into their technical capabilities. Platforms like HackerRank and LeetCode offer pre-built coding tasks and automated grading, streamlining the examination process.

2. Utilize a Real Development Environment for Testing

Conducting coding tests in a realistic programming environment, rather than a sterile and controlled setting, allows for a more accurate assessment of candidates’ skills.

By using flexible, real-world testing tools, hiring managers can gain a better understanding of candidates’ true capabilities and determine whether they would be a good fit for the organization.

3. Pair Programming and Technical Interviews

Pair programming exercises and technical interviews provide valuable insights into a candidate’s coding talents and interpersonal skills.

During technical interviews, candidates can showcase their previous work, explain problem-solving approaches, and offer solutions to hypothetical coding problems. Pair programming sessions allow hiring managers to observe how well candidates collaborate, communicate, and adapt in a team environment.

These interactive assessments provide valuable information about a candidate’s coding skills, decision-making process, and compatibility with the existing team.

4. Reviewing Resume and Prior Projects

Candidates’ portfolios serve as a great way to demonstrate their coding skills through individual and team projects. Examining their previous work showcases their experience level, project focus, and software development objectives.

Moreover, candidates can outline their specific contributions to projects, shedding light on transferable skills that align with the organization’s needs. Code from portfolio projects can also be reviewed to generate more targeted interview questions.

5. Evaluation of Real-World Experience

While coding tests and interviews are essential, analyzing a candidate’s real-world work experience can provide valuable supplementary information. By examining their GitHub repositories, portfolio, and publicly accessible code examples, hiring managers can ascertain their ability to work on diverse projects and adherence to coding best practices.

Organizing a code review session allows candidates to discuss their prior work and explain the thought process behind their coding decisions.

6. Behavioral and Cultural Fit Assessments

Apart from technical skills, evaluating a candidate’s behavioral and cultural fit is equally important for the success of remote engineering teams. Employers should incorporate behavioral interview questions that delve into a candidate’s problem-solving approach, teamwork, communication, and adaptability.

Assessing how candidates align with the company’s values and culture can help ensure they integrate seamlessly into the team and contribute positively to the work environment.

7. On-the-Job Simulation and Trial Periods

In some cases, hiring managers may consider offering on-the-job simulations or trial periods for final candidates. These simulations involve assigning candidates specific coding tasks or projects that mirror real work scenarios they would encounter in the role. This practice allows employers to assess a candidate’s performance under actual work conditions and provides candidates the chance to experience the company’s work environment firsthand. Trial periods can lead to better hiring decisions by ensuring a mutually beneficial fit between the candidate and the organization.

Cases When Coding Exams May Not Be Ideal

Coding exams may not offer a comprehensive assessment for candidates with limited work experience or recent graduates. In such cases, alternative measures like side projects, contributions to open-source initiatives, or internships can serve as better indicators of a candidate’s aptitude.

Additionally, coding tests may disqualify applicants with exceptional problem-solving skills but who struggle to meet deadlines or work under pressure. Employers must consider the unique circumstances and environment when assessing the relevance of coding exams in the hiring process.


By using these best practices and effectively assessing coding skills, we can succeed in hiring high-quality software developers and remote engineering teams. By incorporating coding tests, utilizing real development environments, conducting pair programming sessions, reviewing resumes and prior projects, and evaluating real-world experience, businesses can make informed hiring decisions and secure talented candidates who align with their technical requirements and team dynamics.

While coding exams may not be suitable for every candidate, a comprehensive evaluation approach helps build a skilled and cohesive team that drives the organization’s growth and success.

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