Companies are missing out on top tech talent because they fail to deliver the perfect candidate experience

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Companies may be missing out on top tech talent because they are failing to deliver the perfect candidate experience, according to a joint survey by CodinGame and CoderPad. The technical interview forms an essential part of the developer hiring process. But companies are still using whiteboard or pen and paper coding interviews in person, and may be losing out on talented developers as a result.

  • More than half of recruiters still use whiteboard or pen and paper coding interviews
  • Over three-quarters of developers (77%) prefer technical tests and live coding interviews
  • Remote interviews: 34% of developers found it difficult to demonstrate their personalities and soft skills remotely

More than 50% of recruiters who were polled by CodinGame said they still use whiteboard interview methods when testing tech candidates.

Whiteboard interviews can be an inefficient hiring tool because they often eliminate highly qualified candidates who aren’t used to performing in front of people.

When CodinGame asked its community of developers about this method of testing, many felt such tests caused needless anxiety, and often featured problems to solve that weren’t related to the daily requirements of the role.

Developers were also asked which assessment methods allowed them to best showcase their technical skills the best; more than three-quarters (77%) preferred technical tests and live coding interviews.

Rethinking the interview process with real-life technical assessments

Tech recruiters have made candidate experience their top priority in 2022, as demand for highly skilled developers has skyrocketed since the pandemic. “Candidate experience” refers to how candidates feel about a company’s complete hiring process.

And part of the candidate experience is ensuring the technical interview identifies effectively and efficiently the best candidates for the position, while removing bias by focusing on a candidate’s skills.

Aude Barral, co-founder of developer recruitment platform CodinGame, comments:

“The first prerequisite for implementing a next-generation remote technical interview process is to place the candidate in a test environment that is close to the one they might encounter once on the job.

“The closer your technical assessment is to simulating the job, the better you’ll be able to understand how the candidate will perform on your team.

“In addition to a realistic development environment, it helps if you provide problem solving challenges based on real-life situations. Giving candidates a sense of the types of problems they will work on will get them excited about the job.

“Also, it’s highly recommended to tailor your interview duration and test questions to different roles and particularly different skill levels.

“Finally, be sure to always give feedback about the test, as the majority of candidates expect feedback without always receiving it. Candidates are much more likely to come back to your company for a future job role after receiving useful feedback from you previously.”

Soft skills – challenge for remote recruiting

With high demand for developers, many companies are looking to widen their talent search, and hire internationally. But this presents its own challenges.

The pandemic has accelerated the remote-working revolution and many developers are attracted by the idea of working remotely full time.

This trend has also seen a growth in remote hiring. And while developers are happy to undertake live coding tests remotely, they are less comfortable when it comes to remotely evaluating their soft skills.

Soft skills such as adaptability, empathy and open mindedness are valued by recruiters, as any hire not only needs the technical skills but is also the right fit for the tech team.

When CoderPad and CodinGame asked developers and recruiters about soft skills, 34% of developers said they found it difficult to demonstrate their personalities and soft skills remotely.

More than a third (37%) of recruiters agreed that the most challenging aspect of hiring remotely is evaluating candidates’ emotional intelligence and team culture fit.

Amanda Richardson, CEO, coding interview platform CoderPad, comments:

“Concentrating during a lengthy video call requires a great deal of effort, and candidates will typically start to feel fatigue 30 minutes into the call. This is not an ideal environment to assess candidates’ quality of communication, openness, and level of interaction.

“Making the soft skill evaluation more human and informal can make candidates feel more comfortable, reducing fatigue. For example, suggesting alternative interview styles such as a walking meeting or a remote talk over a lunch – where you offer to send lunch to your candidate prior to your chat.

“You could also split the hiring process into shorter parts and throw in other interview formats, such as pre-recorded interviews, where candidates can record a video in which they present themselves as they wish, in an environment that best suits them.”

Aude Barral, concludes:

“In a competitive hiring environment, delivering an outstanding candidate experience could swing the balance in your favour.

“The technical interview is a key component of the candidate experience, and you want to ensure that candidates have the opportunity to perform to the best of their abilities. This is where next-generation interviewing platforms come into play, allowing candidates to benefit from a bias-free and real-life test environment.

“Improving the candidate experience will definitely have a positive effect on your recruitment efforts. Candidates who rate their experience positively, even if things don’t work out for them, are more likely to recommend their friends and family. Plus, they won’t hesitate to contact you again in the future if another position opens up.”