The HR Outlook

Technical Tests: The Complete Guide

Technical Tests: The Complete Guide

Today, companies have long hiring processes to find the best candidate for a job opening because it’s scary to hire the right person. One such method used by companies, especially tech companies, is technical testing. If you are among those individuals looking for a job in the tech sector, you will likely be asked to pass a technical test sooner or later in the hiring process to get the position. 

We understand that you might get worried about a technical test and have several questions about it, like how a company uses it to hire candidates and how you can prepare to excel in it. But you need not worry anymore, as this guide will introduce you to everything you must know about technical tests. 

You will also learn how technical tests help hiring managers figure out if a candidate is a better fit for the job than the other applicants. Before diving into the detailed guide, let’s shed some light on what technical tests are and their essence to organizations. 



What are technical tests? 

Technical assessments are the tests that employers use to evaluate a candidate and get a good idea of what they know, can do, and how well they can do it. Tech companies use these tests in their hiring process to check if you know a specific computer program or coding language necessary for the job you are applying for. Employers do everything they can to assess if a candidate is ideal for the job, and technical tests are just the tool that helps them do so. 

These tests are nothing but a series of questions that check your responses to varying technical issues. Therefore, these tests help employers understand your abilities and skills and also give them an idea of where you need to learn more. Even though an employer can ask you to appear for the test anytime during the hiring procedure, usually these tests are conducted in the final stages of hiring. 

Some employers prefer to conduct a technical test in-house for the candidates. Some employers, however, have them driven by a third party or run through a computer assessment. When it comes to the type of questions or content of the test, you must know that it might vary from company to company and that it also depends on the job position you are applying for. Some companies tend to keep the format informal. 

For example, a hiring manager might think of your technical assessment as a quick quiz in which you answer questions about a certain subject. On the other hand, some companies use these tests as a coding challenge or present you with various problems to solve. Regarding the assessment results, it might be possible that the organization immediately shares them with you or that they choose not to disclose them. 

The organization is the only one that can say what the results are, and it depends on the employer and the test. Even though employers can choose to share test results, you can be sure that if you take a technical test, so will everyone else who is applying for the job. Therefore, there will be no bias in the process to assure all the contenders that the organization is following an ethical hiring procedure. 

Now that you know what a technical test is, let’s move on to the next part of the guide, where we’ll talk about how important this test is in the hiring process and what benefits it has for both employers and job applicants. 

What do technical tests cover?

Technical tests don’t have a set list of topics they cover, because the topics covered depend on the industry and the job role. With varying companies or job roles, the topics or subjects covered in technical tests vary to be suitable for the specific job. However, you must be familiar with some standard components that are part of most technical assessments. 

  1. Spatial reasoning: An individual’s capacity to comprehend, explain, and recognize the spatial relations between spaces or objects is measured with spatial reasoning. Not all industries assess the spatial capability of individuals. Some industries that include spatial reasoning in their technical tests are entertainment, engineering, and technical. 
  2. Mechanical reasoning: Mechanical reasoning is another common topic covered in the technical tests of industries like technology and engineering. This topic evaluates the knowledge of a candidate on physical and mechanical concepts. 
  3. Numerical reasoning: Industries also include numerical reasoning in their technical test to evaluate the understanding of a candidate of data, sketches, or situations. Numerical reasoning also assesses the ability to form logical conclusions. Some common industries that include this topic in their technical tests are retail, engineering, accounting, and financial services. 
  4. Verbal comprehension: To understand an individual’s ability to understand others’ language, industries like media, public relations, and customer support include verbal comprehension in their technical tests.

Benefits of technical tests

Technical assessments are an essential part of the hiring process followed by organizations today. One of the reasons for their significance is that this test allows employers to assess a candidate’s abilities and ensure that they are suitable for a particular position. A technical assessment gives the companies a concrete insight into a contender’s technical abilities. It is a test that helps figure out if a candidate will be good at a certain job. 

Realizing the importance of a technical test, an increasing number of industries are using it as part of their hiring process to select suitable candidates and filter out unsuitable ones. Some of the numerous industries using this assessment are healthcare, accounting, financial services, public relations, media, entertainment, hospitality, law, and retail. 

A technical test does more than just find out what skills and abilities a job candidate has. It also helps with a number of other things. Some of the most appreciated ones are listed below. 

1. Accurate hiring

Using a technical assessment helps the employer determine whether an individual is a good fit for the job. Finding this information on time saves them both time and money, as an unsuitable candidate will necessitate additional training time. Hence, conducting a technical assessment aids in hiring the appropriate contenders. 

Additionally, this test is also beneficial for you, as you will be able to know what you can expect to be your role if you get selected for the position. These tests tell you exactly if the job is hard enough to keep you interested or if it is way above your skill level and will require you to learn a lot more than you need to. 

2. Assess soft skills

You might believe that a technical test should focus on something other than soft skills. However, the truth is that it also shows the competency of a candidate’s soft and hard skills. If you want to do well on a technical test, you need more than just hard skills. You also need soft skills. A technical test is an appropriate opportunity for you, as a job seeker, to showcase all the skills listed on your resume and get ahead of your competitors. 

Patience, problem-solving ability, persistence, and creativity are some of the several soft skills that are tested by the employer using a technical test. Technical assessments are a practical presentation of these skills that assist an employer in learning if your skills support you to perform your duties in the organization and align with the company’s culture. 

3. Eradicates bias and discrimination

Although bias and discrimination in hiring procedures have ended in most organizations, they remain a top concern for most job seekers. Companies today are trying their best to follow ethical hiring procedures. Still, sexism, ageism, ableism, and racism remain common factors for hiring bias and discrimination. 

In addition to these things, the psychological trap is another thing that could lead to hiring without following the rules. For example, a hiring manager might show their preference for candidates who look, talk, or act similar to them over another contender who might be much more qualified and suitable for the position. 

With technical assessment, an employer can make sure that all candidates are seen and judged in the same way. Such tests are the perfect way to eliminate hiring bias in an organization. 

4. Test practical knowledge

Your educational background provides the employer with a high-level overview of your skill set. However, it does not allow them to assess the guarantee of aptitude. You can get a certificate if you know the basics of a subject, but that isn’t enough to show an employer that you will be able to use what you know in real life. A technical test helps find the gaps between what someone knows in theory and what they can do in real life. 

5. Reduces hiring procedure time

For companies that urgently need employees, technical tests support expediting the hiring process. Also, if you are actively looking for a job, a technical test can make the hiring process quicker and get you a job as soon as possible. The question that comes to everyone’s mind is how technical assessments make it possible to reduce the time required for the hiring procedure. 

These tests eradicate all the guesswork, leave the hiring managers with a clear picture of the candidate’s skills, and make it easier for them to decide. So, when a company asks you to appear for a technical assessment, you must know that the period between your first meeting and your first day of work will be short. 

Types of Technical Tests

Technical tests are categorized into various types, and companies choose one or more of them as part of their hiring process. The choice of technical test depends on the position for which it is being given. Some of the most common technical assessments used by companies are: 

1. Coding test

As the name suggests, a technical coding test assesses a candidate’s coding abilities. Usually, these tests are used by companies to evaluate the practical knowledge of freshers or recent college graduates. Still, a technical coding test can be used to find out how much a professional with a lot of experience knows. 

A technical coding test is administered in the form of an automated virtual coding test, which assesses a candidate’s knowledge of any specific coding language that may be required for the job position. In short, it tests how well candidates can write and run code, as well as how much they know about data structures and coding algorithms. 

Most companies give candidates a problem statement and ask them to write code to solve it. The candidates write code on the platform that runs it and check to see if it is correct. A technical coding test makes it easier for recruiters to figure out how good a candidate is at coding and weed out the ones who aren’t right for the job at the beginning of the hiring process. This test assists employers in verifying the claims of the candidates. 

2. Online technical test

An online technical assessment, which is another popular type of technical test, is a set of questions or cases that test a candidate’s soft skills and technical skills. An online technical test assesses skills like marketing and project management. These tests empower the recruiters to find the right candidate with accurate functional knowledge.  

Some common tests in this category are:

  • Marketing assessments: Companies looking to hire candidates for any marketing role use these assessments to test their marketing and other marketing-related abilities. 
  • Accounting and finance assessments: Another type of online technical test is an accounting and finance assessment that mainly evaluates the capability of an individual to analyze, process, and convey an organization’s finances or financial information. It is usually conducted for roles like management accountant and financial analyst. 
  • Sales assessments: Next in line is the sales assessments used to select the right fit for a sales job. These tests consist of content that analyses the behavioral and cognitive competencies of the candidates that are necessary for sales professionals. 
  • Operations assessments: The recruiters who wish to evaluate the knowledge of a contender in business operations use operations assessments. 
  • HR assessments: Communication skills, team building, negotiation skills, conflict resolution skills, and other skills necessary in the HR-specific areas are assessed with HR assessments. 
  • Customer support assessments: These assessments are used to fill positions in the customer support or service sectors. The ability to answer any customer question is one of the most important skills that this technical test looks for. Recruiters evaluate the problem-solving skills and interpersonal skills of the candidates. 

3. Take-home technical test

The next type of technical test is a take-home technical assessment, similar to a technical coding test. However, it allows the candidate to take the test at their leisure using their own equipment. You are given a more in-depth challenge that requires you to solve coding challenges. Another difference between an automated code test and a take-home technical test is that this is a more “real world” challenge.

The problems on a take-home test are similar to the ones you will have to solve or write code for if you get the job. Usually, companies present the candidates with a base and ask them to finish the code for the given problem and submit it as soon as they are done. 

One more aspect makes a take-home assessment different from a technical coding test. In contrast to a technical coding test, a take-home technical test is graded by a person and checked for accuracy carefully. A human evaluator benefits the candidates, as they might ignore and correct silly syntax mistakes and judge more objectively than a machine would. 

4. Technical interviews

During technical interviews, a team of engineers evaluates the candidate’s technical skills over a video call or in person. In this meeting, the recruiter’s team might ask you some technical questions, ask you to write code for a problem, or both. This kind of test lets recruiters evaluate a candidate’s skills in depth and gives them an idea of their “soft skills.” 

How to conduct Technical Tests?

A technical test only shows the desired results to the recruiters when it is conducted correctly. In other words, if a company wants to use a technical test to find good candidates, it must follow the right steps and methods. 

Two cutting-edge technologies—an online assessment platform and a proctoring technology—are used in unison to conduct an online technical test. The right way to set up a technical exam depends on three main things: ease of use, security, and the ability to grow. To make sure that these three things are taken into account when giving a technical test, the proctoring technology and online testing platform must work perfectly. 

The online assessment platform must boost the process of conducting a technical test and ensure convenience for both the recruiters and the job applicants. These platforms are an all-in-one tool for exam management. An ideal platform ensures that everything is completed and that the test runs smoothly. The platform lets you do everything, from putting together questions for the test to taking the test and judging how the applicant answered the questions. These platforms can give tests to a large number of people and give access to a proctoring tool to make sure the test is given in an honest way. 

The other requirement for online technical testing is online proctoring technology, which is a tool that works parallel to the online assessment platform to assist in proctoring the test. When the candidate logs into their account on the examination platform, they can find a proctor already connected. The proctor does an identity check on the candidate before they can start the test. In addition to ensuring that the candidates are following no unethical practices, an online proctoring tool also assists in providing a seamless experience for the test-takers and avoiding or solving any errors with the system in a timely manner. 

Here are some tips that can help recruiters and hiring managers run a technical test well: 

  1. Keep the test questions relevant: Whether it is a coding test or a technical interview, the questions involved in the examination must test the knowledge and skills of the candidate suitable to the role they are applying for. Keeping the questions relevant ensures that the process is smooth and encourages the candidates to complete the test quickly. 
  2. Be considerable while timing the test: If you have enough time to evaluate the candidates’ skills, give them a relaxed period to complete the test. However, you can pace it fairly if you require to hire urgently. 
  3. Make your system cheat-proof: Making the system cheat-proof is beneficial for both- the recruiters and the honest applicants. Therefore, always take strict action if a candidate is observed cheating to do fair to other candidates and yourself.
  4. Pair technical assessments with video interviews: Companies must consider taking a video interview rather than a technical test to evaluate the applicant’s interpersonal skills. 
  5. Inform the applicants about the criteria: Keeping the candidates informed about the purpose and content of the test not only support them in preparing but also assist the recruiters in finding the most suited candidates. Informing the applicants about the test beforehand will allow the serious applicants to be thorough with their preparation.
  6. Decide the right time to conduct the test: Although there is no fixed time to conduct a test during the hiring process, the hiring managers must decide and keep it uniform for all. Conducting a technical test pre-interview is usually preferred as it filters the serious candidates and assists you in moving forward with only the serious ones. In other words, a pre-interview technical assessment saves you time. 

How to prepare for Technical Tests?

If the company you’re applying to uses a technical test as part of their hiring process, you should take it seriously. The assessment is one One of the best ways to show off all the skills on your resume is during the assessment. What remains is how you prepare for this assessment. Below are specific tips that can make your preparation process more accessible and effective. 

1. Make a list of the basic principles

The first tip you must consider is making a list of the basic principles that might support you in solving the test based on the role you are applying for. The questions asked in the assessment might vary from one company to another, but the principles involved will be the same for a specific job role. Therefore, to start your preparation, list the foundations. For this list to be accurate, you must also know what you will be expected to do if you are selected. Knowing what the job entails will help you figure out what skills you need to pass the test.  

2. Practice sample tests

Practising past technical tests for the same job role you are applying for is essential to being fully prepared. Taking past tests will take you some steps toward success. However, there are some points to keep in mind while practicing these assessments. For example, you might have to practice under test conditions, such as finishing in a certain amount of time, sitting in a quiet place, and not looking at your notes between tests. After you finish the test, you can look at your answers to see how well you did and where you need more practice. 

3. Find new learning ways

Practice tests from the past are important, but you need to do more to improve your skills. To do this, you need to find new ways to keep yourself motivated and interested in getting better at the skills you need for the job. For example, for a coding test, you can play online games to ease tedious preparation and learn complex things in a fun way. You can also participate in online competitions to learn where you need practice. 

4. Be prepared for the trick questions

Although not all questions on the test will be challenging, some will fall into the “tricky category” for answering So, it would be best if you prepared for such questions to stand out from the other applicants. The ultimate tip for answering challenging questions is to read them thoroughly and then apply your knowledge to answer them correctly. 

5. Plan for questions you might feel unsure about

After preparing for the tricky questions, next come the questions you might need help answering. Seeing such questions might make you all panicky, but you must keep calm. Also, you must understand that it is possible to answer even the most difficult questions. To start with it, reread the question. Now, apply your knowledge of the fundamentals to the question and see if anything corresponds. Even if the basics do not support you in reaching the exact answer, they will narrow down the possibilities. 

6. Never stop trusting yourself

Preparing for technical assessments might stress you out, but you need not stress; prepare calmly. Getting all panicky does nothing helpful and only hinders your preparation. Therefore, practice all you can and always remember the crucial basics to success. The night before the test, get enough sleep and relax. 

Relaxing will help your mind carry out your preparation for a technical test or interview without getting things mixed up. When taking the test, you might want to give each question a rough amount of time based on how hard it is. At the end of the assessment, go through your answers once again to check them.   

Top 3 Effective Tools Required For Technical Tests

Today, technical tests are not limited to information technology or computer programming companies. Realizing the benefits of conducting technical tests has convinced companies in most industries to include these tests in their hiring process. Retail, hospitality, and even media companies take technical tests to find the best talents for their companies. When these companies do technical tests, they use some important tools that make sure the results are reliable and that the tests are done the same way every time. Three of the most common tools used are:

1. Objective-type questions

Such questions evaluate the applicant’s knowledge of certain skills specific to an industry. Objective-type questions involve multiple-choice, short essays, fill-in-the-blank, and true or false questions. 

2. Caselets

Another tool required for technical tests is a caselet. Caselets are the technical interview tools that give the candidates a situation. Along with a case, the applicants are given various options. The candidates must evaluate the situation and select the most suitable resolution for it. 

3. Case study simulation

As the name suggests, this tool curates specific discussions based on a real-world case. Recruiters can use this tool to judge a candidate’s knowledge and skills based on how they handle a real-world situation. Case study simulation is a great way to test how well a candidate can think critically and solve problems. 

Bottom line

The world is full of competition. No work field is deprived of skilled job seekers. Therefore, hiring the right candidate from several choices takes work for recruiters. It is where technical tests come to the rescue. These tests give an accurate idea of the candidate’s hard and soft skills to the employer, making decision-making easier for them. A technical test is a great way for the candidate to show off their skills and stand out from the other applicants. It is also helpful for the recruiter. 

Another reason technical tests are a crucial part of the hiring procedures of most organizations is that they ensure ethical hiring practices are being followed. So, technical tests make it possible to speed up the hiring process and find the best person for the job. 

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