So you’ve applied for your dream role but are required to do a pre-hire coding test? Don’t stress. Following is a guide on How To Ace a Pre Hire Coding Test? you ace a pre-hire coding test and land that role.
What is a coding test?
Pre-hire coding tests assess a candidate’s ability to problem solve by analyzing data, writing code, and fixing errors. These tests uncover the candidates who have the technical knowledge to do the role and are popular when there are many applicants. They take place in the interview stage and are often used early on to limit wasting time on underqualified candidates.
Coding tests can evaluate candidates in various areas, including their coding skills, programming languages, and software engineering frameworks. Different tests focus on different areas.
It should be noted that coding tests are also vastly different from take-home assignments. They are shorter, take place in an online environment, and produce more objective results that can be used for direct comparison. Coding tests assess coding competency, commitment, and how candidates handle the pressure.
Why do employers use coding tests?
Candidates can lie or misrepresent their abilities on resumes. By using pre-hire coding tests, employers can reduce the risk of a bad hire.
Pre-hire coding tests are an excellent way for employers to sift out applicants who are underqualified or lack the knowledge/ skills required to do the job. By comparing candidate results, applicants’ pool can be refined to those best suited or most qualified for the role.
How do coding tests work?
Coding tests require candidates to complete a set number of tasks in a set amount of time. These tests can be more traditional or can be more candidate friendly like this conversational coding test.
How to ace your coding test
Coding tests are often used in the early stages of the interview process. Before being assigned the test, an organization will typically reach out through an email or a phone call to brief a candidate on what to expect. Organizations will also send a link to the test at this stage.
* Research the organization and the interviewer
A great way to prepare for a coding test is by doing in-depth research about the organization. Knowing about their software, services, languages, projects, and partners can help when choosing practice questions and identifying personal limitations that need to be worked on.
If the test is being conducted by a known vendor, going through their public question library and attempting their practice questions can provide insight on what to expect.
* Go over the basics
Coding tests are designed to be relatively short assessments of a candidate’s ability to analyze, fix, and write code for problems. Assessors want to see how candidates approach problems and whether it is done in a straight forward manner or overengineered.
It is critical to remember that how you approach problems in the test is how assessors assume you will approach problems in a working scenario.
* Challenge yourself
While coding tests are short assessments, candidates should not assume that they are easy. Their key purpose is to find and separate the top performers in a talent pool. This means that candidates should expect a challenge and, to prepare properly, must challenge themselves. By attempting to practice questions that are outside your comfort level, you become better equipped for a test.
* Polish your weak areas
Related to challenging yourself, it is crucial to practice and tweak areas you are less confident in. This can be done through repetition and practicing problem style questions. However, make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself by learning too many new things at once.
* Be calm and clear your mind
Tests are stressful, especially when you have to watch the clock. Finding a way to be calm and clear your mind before starting can make a real difference in keeping your nerves in check. This can be done through meditation, listening to music, or even stretching.
By getting enough sleep the night beforehand, eating a snack before taking the test, and having water and necessary supplies on hand throughout is a great way to prevent wandering thoughts and boost concentration. Additionally, turning off or putting devices and other distractions in another room before starting a test can keep the mind focused.
* Read the instructions carefully
At the beginning of a test, instructions for how the test will be conducted are shown. When first opening the test, it is essential to read what the question requirements are and what is expected from answers.
As many coding tests are done remotely, especially now with covid-19, anti-cheating features are regularly put in place. Tests will also give instructions around anti-cheating features such as time restrictions, web proctoring, and auto submission features.
* Have a plan
Spending too much time on one question can lead to being pushed for time on another. This is where mistakes are made, and tests are left incomplete. Figuring out how much time there can be spent completing each question is essential to using time efficiently during the test and achieving that desired outcome.
* Make sure reviewers can understand and follow your code
When writing code to solve problems, it is essential that assessors can follow your process. As multiple developers often work on a project together, the role you are being tested for will require teamwork. How complicated and readable your code is, is also a reflection of team compatibility.
After the test
Once the coding test is complete, candidates can expect to receive a confirmation email. This should include an estimated amount of time before candidates can expect results. If a candidate is successful, they may undergo an interview or even a take-home coding challenge.
A final word
Remember that coding tests are just one aspect that employers look at when making decisions. Resumes, interviews, and how you work as part of a team all impact final decisions.
Whether you’re a software engineer, developer, or programmer, you will likely take more than one coding test in your lifetime. Knowing how to prepare and practice for tests will help you to ace your next pre-hire test!
Ella Moffat is a communications intern at Adaface, which provides conversational assessments for companies to find great talent.