Are your technical tests scaring top talent away?

Posted by Tilt Recruitment on July 7th, 2021

Are your technical tests scaring top talent away?

Posted by Tilt Recruitment on July 7, 2021

Technical tests are a common part of many companies’ interview process, but do they actually add value – or are they scaring away the very talent you want to attract?

Do they really give you the kind of insights you’re looking for – and do they make for a good interview experience for candidates?

We recently did a LinkedIn Poll to see what candidates thought about completing a technical test for an interview? The results showed that 1 in 5 of candidates were not happy to take a technical test at the interview stage, does this mean that the test is a candidate deterrent?

Read on for the pros and cons of the technical test…


Technical tests are an objective method of measuring ability, but they don’t measure less tangible competencies, character traits, or willingness to learn and grow. A former Google HR leader has gone as far as saying “test scores are worthless”, and debate is raging about their real value. Here are some of the drawbacks.

• They don’t give a fully accurate picture of a candidate’s ability.
• Long tests (two hours or more) are a major time commitment and may put candidates off applying.
• The absolute pass/fail approach taken by many tech tests may lead to good candidates being turned away over a single assessment.


Despite the drawbacks, there are also a lot of upsides to tech tests. According to a Stack Overflow survey, 87,000 professional developers have taught themselves a new coding language tool or framework. This can’t be represented by an official qualification or direct job experience on a traditional CV, but a tech test will capture it, giving a fairer picture of people’s real abilities than judging them purely on conventional qualifications. Here are some more pros:

• Quantifiable results make it easy to filter out unsuitable candidates.
• Assessing practical knowledge via tech tests saves time on interviews and frees you up to focus on assessing soft skills at interview.
• The standardised nature of tech tests makes it easier to make an informed comparison between candidates.
• Tech tests help to eliminate unconscious bias and promote diverse hiring practices.
• They’re based purely on job-related criteria.

Like everything else, technical testing has its pros and cons, but judicious use of well-designed tests can be an effective tool to help you make better hiring decisions. Before your next round of tech testing, ask yourself these questions:

• When are you asking applicants to take the test? If they have to do it before they’ve met you or formed any kind of connection with your company, they may have less “buy-in” and be deterred from applying.
• Are the test questions relevant to the role?
• Are you timing it? Do you need to (perhaps because the role involves intense time pressure) or is it unnecessary?
• Are you testing candidates on the programmes they’ll actually be using?
• How long is the test? Would you want to do a test that long?
• Is tech testing necessary for every role, or are there some roles where you could just as easily discuss tech skills at interview?
• Are you confident in the design of your tests? To help you design better tech tests, check out sites like TestDome and HackerRank.

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