How to Assess Technical Skills When Recruiting New Hires – Pt 2

Two businesswomen wearing suits handshaking after signing a contract of a good deal in an office interior

Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on assessing technical skills before making a hiring decision. When it comes to IT and technical positions, you need someone who can step smoothly into the role of administrator, engineer, or developer. They need to be not just familiar with the technology, but capable and comfortable using it on day one. However, many people ‘pad’ their resumes or even took official academic courses without really gaining the functional knowledge you’ll need. This makes technical assessments a vital part of the recruiting process.

Last time we talked about remembering that resumes are only the surface of a candidate and how to verify the truth behind the printed page. Not only do on-paper credentials fail to reflect today’s range of technical abilities, but honesty and accuracy must also be checked for. The first stage of any technical interview should be ‘casual’ story verification, asking detailed questions about capabilities and history. Join us again today as we pick up with the ways to directly assess your candidate’s technical skills.

Ask for Theoretical Solutions

Once you have verified a candidate’s past work experiences and uses of the technical skills they claim, you can further test their abilities by asking them to come up with theoretical technical solutions. If you are not well-versed in this area of IT, consider bringing along someone who will, ideally from the department or team the candidate could potentially join if they are hired.

The position in question should determine the kind of solutions you ask for. It could be their response to a security breach or how they would secure a network with known vulnerabilities. You might even simply ask them to describe their ideal software stack and work environment. Being able to go into each solution or scenario in detail is a good sign that you’ve got someone with genuine skills and interest.

Use Online Assessment Programs

However, there is only so much technical ability that can be assessed in a conversational interview. Some people are fairly good at talking tech but can’t actually cut the mustard when it comes to real projects or the stress of a timed assignment. There are a number of digital or online assessment programs that can run candidates through theoretical problems and projects. When fingers hit the keyboard, you will be able to see how they might actually perform if hired for the position.

You may also want to create test projects with teams of candidates using either collaboration software for a demo project or having them share the assessment test program as a team. This will give you a very good idea of how each candidate works as part of a team, something that matters a great deal in today’s business environment.

Request a Sample Project

Finally, your assessment doesn’t even have to fully take place in a room (or video call) that you have control over. For a high paying position, especially one that might include remote work, the right answer might be to ask your candidates to each produce a sample project in a style and tech stack relating to the open position. This could be anything from designing a small website to drawing network diagrams. Just make sure it’s something that can be submitted and assessed side-by-side when the project time period is done.

IT recruiting in Tulsa is not something you can do with your eyes closed. Between the usual deception detection duties of every recruiter and the need to finely assess candidate skill levels, giving good technical interviews is as or more difficult than being a candidate in a technical interview. Remember to always take resumes with a grain of salt and to design your interview approach based on the technical requirements of the position you are hiring for. If you’d like more best practices for hiring skilled employees, contact us today!