Made a mistake in hiring process, shouldn’t have send those online tests!

Having fun hiring, wrote some observations early this week. Some discussions happened on this thread at hackerstreet.in.

I made a huge mistake by giving an online test to a lot of candidates. I was selectively sending the tests to candidates whose skills were not ascertainable based on what was mentioned on the resume. I thought that it would be okay for people between 0-3 years of experience to answer them, hence, making my life easier. I was wrong.  A lot of these tests were not attempted.

When I tallied a report with the resumes, I found that most of the people who had more than 1 year of experience did not want to take the test. Makes sense. Candidates who are good (and good programmers are arrogant!) would ignore the test. Others who are average, would ignore anyways!

Changing the strategy now. More skype calls and seemikecode sessions.

This has pitfalls though. I can only do a limited number of sessions and there is a good chance some good candidates would get filtered before they reach the skype bucket.

Is it okay to ask the candidate upfront if they are willing to take an online test?

  • I think, even for an experienced (& good) programmer taking a 30-45 minute online test should not be a problem. Most of the times arrogant are the ones who are not very good, but are somewhere in between. And if I am hiring, however good one might be, I will not hire an arrogant one (especially in a startup). Skipping them is okay.

    BTW, I think, Adobe also asks everybody who applies to take up a test, and I have heard they face similar problem. 

  • Varun

    Its better to ask upfront , I being a Engineer with 3 yrs work ex will mind a little on being asked to give a online test as i relate it to something i used to do being a fresher. I do not mind the idea of doing a online code exercise using tools like collabedit.com ( Facebook conducts its first rounds this way )

    • yeah, i started using seemikecode ..  but i like collabedit now, thanks for the link!

  • Abhinav/Varun:

    Good points. 

    I think there is a slider. If you are facebook, even experienced folks are ready to go through the grill. Doesnt hold true for startups.

    • Sudheer Satyanarayana

      Absolutely. If I were to apply for a job at Google, I’d take the pain of going through ten or more rounds of tests and interviews. But not for startups and other small to medium businesses.

      When I’m interviewing candidates, I get an idea about how good the candidate is, in say, fifteen minutes of discussion. I’ll put the list of candidates who can’t convince me in the first round of discussion, on the back burner.

      Online test works for those candidates whose resumes don’t stand out. Also, it’s hard to draw a line in terms of number of years of experience. It all depends on the candidate.

  • Online test only show or check apart of knowledge.
    And during placement in college and fair this test is taken as useless .
    They choose the people sheet random sometime net does not work sometimes technical fault, this all make the people to hate online test.
    Thats why they did not want to give the online test.
    So for that problem a precious company can take a online test which  provide the result and that result valid in all company for a year .
    So person only have to give a test per year for that.
    Rahul
    Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra

  • Dev

    Its more about the motivation for the test. There are already ample number of tests online to fade the credibility of important one’s. And people with one or two years experience, there are more chances of discarding them , because they see it as just another test and not “test for interview”.

  • Warehousewale