Tech skills shortages here in the UK are well documented. The current jobs market is a highly competitive environment. Such high demand for tech talent means that employers will have to work quickly and make swift decisions.  If left waiting for a response or post-interview decision, your first-choice applicants are likely to get snapped up by a competitor who’s faster out the blocks.

To make the right hiring decision, employers will need to analyse each tech role and identify the exact technical skills that are required.  In a world where data analytics and its insights are key, businesses are requiring an extended set of skills, even for their technical roles. Soft skills such as communication, business analysis, and stakeholder management are growing in importance.

Despite these hiring needs evolutions, there’s still no substitute for technical ability; especially for technical roles.  Skills testing is an important part of the IT interview process.

How can I test for particular skills when recruiting tech talent?

When testing the technical skills of an IT professional, there are several ways to incorporate this into the interview.

Targeted technical questions.

As well as asking standard interview questions, you could add in some directed technical situational questions. These will help you to identify the candidate’s knowledge, proficiency, and work style.  For example, you could ask them to identify one element of the coding language they would change if given the chance.

This will highlight how well they know the skill, but also offers them a chance to use context to show how they like to work.

Top Tip…

  • Throw this approach out to your current team. Ask them to provide suggestions for technical questions based on some of the challenges they’ve faced working on recent projects.

Technical-based tests.

It’s sometimes useful to see how well a candidate can use tech skills in a time-pressured scenario, especially if your business has a fast-paced and dynamic environment.

To do this, you may like to create a relevant test that the candidate can complete during the interview process.

The test is also useful as an interview tool for the next round of interviews; you may like to ask candidates to explain their approach.

Top Tip…

  • Mix subjective and multiple-choice questions which are specific to the tasks and the role you’re hiring for. Don’t overload the test with questions. Instead, aim for hyper-targeted questions rather than volume.

Set a practical challenge.

Knowing the theory is one thing, but it’s great to see your candidates’ skills in real-time.  To get a glimpse into their working knowledge, you could set your candidate a practical task to be completed within their own time to a defined deadline.

Again, this task is useful if you take the candidate to the next interview stage.  Understand how they approach and solve tasks by asking them to talk you through the practical choices they’ve made.

Top Tip…

  • Ensure the assignment is relevant to the tasks they would need to do if they were to be successful. You can then feel confident that they’ll have the skills you’re looking for.

Can we help?

If you are looking for more creative and inventive recruitment strategies, you may like to read our recent blog on Stand Out Recruitment Strategies here.

Are you looking to build your tech team with the best of the UK’s tech talent? Ignite Digital can help.

Reach out to us today.

About the author: As a founder of Ignite Digital Talent, I lead our brilliant team to ensure we deliver time and time again for our clients. I also stay closely networked with industry influencers to ensure we are well placed to understand the issues and challenges our clients face.

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